Well, I heard it again the other day; how home cooking from scratch takes up so much time, and the ingredients cost so much, that there's for no real gain.
To me, that's a ludicrous comment on the face of it. All of us here can make a long list of the benefits of cooking from scratch. But the implication that home cooking is more expensive than take-out or convenient products is the silliest thing I've ever heard. The fact is, one can cook great tasting food, and do it creatively, for very little money.
Case in point. I just went through my periodic cycle-the-chicken routine. Chickens were on sale for 85 cents. These averaged about six pounds each. Total upfront cost: $15.35. Let's keep that figure in mind.
I broke down the three chickens. In this case I kept the breasts aside, because we're having a party, and they'll be grilled as part of that. With chickens that size, each breast half makes two servings. So that's 12 servings right off the top.
The wings go in a freezer bag. When enough of them are saved, they're made into a meal. From this group, we can count the wings as one serving (albiet a short one).
So far, our investimnet is $1.18 per serving.
The balance of the chicken was put up for stock, from which I put up 8 quarts. Last time I looked, stock was upwards of three dollars a box, on average. So that's a cost savings of $24.
After simmering 40 minutes I pulled the chicken pieces and stripped the meat, returning the bones to the stock. Yield was 8 cups of chicken meat, totalling a hair less than two pounds.
Most recipes (chicken salad, croquettes, chicken a la king, chicken empanadas, etc.) using cooked chicken call for two to four cups for six generous servings. Going with the high end, that's another 12 servings, dropping the per-serving cost to 61 cents.
Granted, there is more involved in any dish than just the protein. But remember that $24 cost savings. Apply that against other ingredients, and it's pretty close to a was. But let's go whole hog again. At most, the cost of any of these dishes is a buck per serving.
Side dishes are almost always exponentially less expensive. F'rinstance, with the grilled chicken breasts I'll be serving a quinoa dish. Haven't figured it out, but I seriously doubt, even fancied up as I do, that it will cost more than 20-25 cents per serving. Same goes for the other side dish, in this case, honeyed carrots.
So, without even considering the taste, nutrition, and health benefits, it's obvious that there's no way you can serve take-out or convenience meals less expensively than making your own. Not if you're willing to trade time for money.