As many of you, my loyal readers know, I’ve been spending the last few weeks trying to learn to cook new things and make more of my own food. For the most part, I don’t think about the cost of dishes I make. For example, I learned how to use my slow cooker to make a beef stew. The ingredients for stew are cheap. You can buy stew in can but I believe it’s still more economical to make it yourself. Homemade stew is also way heartier and tastes better than the canned stuff. Making the roast lamb was way more expensive than making the stew but I still think you come out ahead money-wise. Looking at the price of roast lamb at Greek restaurants, I can make three meals of lamb from the cost of just one lamb dinner if I went out. Also keep in mind I bought my lamb at Safeway the first few times, which I know isn’t the cheapest for lamb.
Unfortunately, I think I may have come across a dish where I question the economics of making it myself. I know you might find this odd but I’ve been wanting to learn to make a proper lasagna. I’ve always enjoyed this iconic Italian dish and it seemed like a natural thing to learn next. Previously, I’ve had lasagna at restaurants or when I get it ordered as takeout or delivery. I’ve also sometimes bought it frozen at the supermarket. Now I’ve been looking at various lasagna recipes and most of them have a few common ingredients that are required no matter what which one you go with. The key sticking points are the meat and the cheese. Cheese is expensive. So far, I’ve calculated that most recipes call for about $10 worth of cheese, give or take a dollar or so. Add in the ground beef or other meat and that’s about $5. Now I can order a $15 lasagna from Italian places and while it might be smaller in portion to what I’m making, it’s not that much smaller. I can also buy a frozen lasagna for way cheaper than $15. Sure, there’s the question of quality but the takeout or delivered lasagnas are usually pretty good. I guess part of the problem is I haven’t tried making my own lasagna yet, so I can’t fully assess the value properly.
Going forward, I just need to make it on my own and determine if it’s worth the time and money. My mother is always fond of saying that some things are just easier to get done for you, especially if time and effort are involved. Might lasagna be one of these things?