Have you ever gone out to a restaurant and had a meal that really wowed you? I have. A few weeks ago I had a business luncheon at a local Italian restaurant and had some bruschetta that knocked my socks off! I have remembered that yummy bruschetta a few times and thought about going back to the restaurant just to get some more. And then it occurred to me, why not just learn to make it on my own – it has to be cheaper right?
After some research, I felt ready to tackle the project. I had a 4th of July picnic to attend so it was the perfect opportunity to try out my new recipe!
Here’s the breakdown of my ingredients and what I spent:
- loaf french baguette – $2
- 2 lbs fresh tomatoes – $4
- 1/2 C Balsamic Vinegar – $2
- 1/2 C Olive Oil – $2
- 1 lb Goat Cheese – $5
I won’t count the salt, pepper and onion I used because those were already in my pantry. So for $15 I was able to make about 36 delicious pieces of bruschetta – enough for a picnic crowd with some leftovers. I would say mine was at least as good as what I had at the restaurant, and the appetizer I had there was $6.50 for 6 pieces. The 36 pieces I made at home would have cost a whopping $38.99 in the restaurant, not including tax or tip. This works out to $1.08 a piece. In start contrast, the homemade bruschetta ended up costing about 0.41 for each piece. This is a 0.67 difference in price for each piece. Quite a savings!
There are lots of different ways to save in this way! For instance, my family loves pizza, but takeout or delivery is expensive and frozen just isn’t quite as good. Our solution? We buy plain cheese take and bake pizzas from a local grocery store – $5.99 for a 16 inch. Then, we take them home and add our own toppings. My personal favorite is sautéed peppers and onions, sliced tomatoes and feta cheese. I’ve figured out that typically the toppings I add end up costing me about $6 more. So for about $12 we end up with a gourmet, hot and fresh pizza that feeds my family of 4. In contrast, the 12 inch pizzas that we would order from a delivery place locally would usually cost between $20 and $30 since it would take 2 to feed my crew (with some leftovers). This is a dramatic savings for very little effort.
It doesn’t even have to take a ton of cooking expertise to copy some of your favorite restaurant meals – if you can follow a simple recipe, you can probably handle most of the techniques you would need. Granted, there are some complicated ones out there, but you can match your skill level to the ones that fit you best.
The possibilities are endless if you start digging a little bit! I found this great post about how to make your own Frappucinos (a la Starbucks) at home for a fraction of the cost.
So how about you? Have you successfully copied any of your favorite restaurant meals? Share your results with us in the comments.