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Old 02-16-2008, 12:40 PM   #1
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Default Do you make your own meals....or takeout?

I've really been trying lately to make basically all of my own meals at home, using fresh ingredients (except for splurging on weekends, occasionally!). I find that it is tastier, fresher, and healthier. I feel better when I'm mostly cooking for myself, rather than relying on takeout or frozen meals.

But of course, we all have those busy weeks where it seems like all you're eating is chinese and frozen pizza!

I was curious...in a typical week, do you make your lunch at home and take it to work...or buy lunch? Do you usually make dinner at home, or get takeout or restaurant meals?
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Old 02-16-2008, 12:48 PM   #2
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I go through phases. I like to cook at home, but it depends on what hours I work and I hate the clean-up. There are some pretty great take-out places in my neighborhood (including the pizza joint right below my apartment) so often the temptation gets the best of me. I'd say cook at home and take out is almost 50-50.

When I'm working someplace that has take-out places nearby, I'd rather do that than bring a lunch. I hate carrying around a dumb lunchbag, and I don't like to make it the night before and don't feel like it in the morning. Sadly, the place I just started working has NOTHING nearby, so I'm forced to bring my lunch. So sad
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Old 02-16-2008, 01:51 PM   #3
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I know it's no surprise that I cook 98% of the time. Not for being cheap. I feel like crap alot of the times I eat out. At work though(this is a new thing for me), I cut up ten servings of vegetables and that is what I eat all day. When I come home I eat whatever I want.
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Old 02-16-2008, 02:15 PM   #4
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I hardly ever eat take out, but do use boxed pastas with added chicken or tuna quite a bit. I love to cook though, would much rather have something fresh made than ordering in all the time.

However, I wish we had more places locally as an option, I live in a tiny little town and we don't have a lot of take out that I'd get, so cooking is also a win by lack of ability to choose another!
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Old 02-16-2008, 02:50 PM   #5
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I go out to eat every two weeks and usually it's lunch somewhere, and I get paid twice a month so on those days I do my Starbucks ritual (I won't buy one unless I can treat the person behind me if there is one...don't ask why).

Otherwise I'm cooking or eating something that can be made at home. I'm totally not above a Red Barron pizza or an Amy's Frozen Meal. Cranky posted a thread about frugal foodie and there were some good ideas there for making batches of things so that you can grab one or two things and go, w/o spending $$ at places like McD's for breakfast.

During the week for work, there are a ton of places to go and someone will pick up lunch for me every day if I wanted...just how it is where I am, but I've been diligent about taking my breakfast & lunch for money reasons.

What's interesting in the past 4 months that I've been doing this...I feel like it's a real treat and I have so much more fun.
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Old 02-16-2008, 03:41 PM   #6
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I like to cook. It's not a hobby or anything, just an activity that provides satisfaction -- and you get to eat the result. I hate the cleanup, though. My wife is just the opposite: she can happily wash dishes all night, but she regards cooking the way the average dog regards a bath. Consequently, I'm the cook, and she's the dishwasher, and we have a home-cooked meal just about every night. We eat out once a week or so. Since I work on a large college campus surrounded by crappy, yet expensive, eateries (mostly chains), I tote a brown bag almost every day: sandwich, chips, piece of fruit (or individual portion of applesauce), maybe a cookie...what could be more satisfying at the price?
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Old 02-16-2008, 05:08 PM   #7
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I am the cook and the dishwasher/kitchen clean-up person in our house. I usually don't mind but there are times when I am not in the mood. We order out every Friday which I look forward to, we will also order out sometimes for special occasions or if I am not up to cooking for some reason. For the most part we are trying to watch our budget too so we try to not eat take out more than once a week. I pack my husbands lunch for work everyday too, once again just trying to save money where we can.
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Old 02-16-2008, 05:46 PM   #8
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I love to cook. Tonight I made a Rachel Ray recipe variation. Chicken Parm, with crushed tomates instead of a marinara gravy and monterey jack instead of mozzerella. Teamed with radiatore pasta with green/black olive sauce, a salad and milk to drink.
It tasted a lot better than last Saturday's trip to Ruby Tuesday's with 3 of my 4 kids, my father in law and my wife. It was much cheaper, too.

On Feb. 5 I was working at the polls as Asst. Registrar of Voters. In my district that meant I had to come up with food for the poll workers. At $7 each for 9 workers, and a moderator who had a wheat allergy, that limited my options unless I wanted to go into my own pocket. So I had coffee, tea, orange juice, water, cream sugar & sweet n low. I had mini bagels & cream cheese, grape jelly, coffee cake and a banana bread. I had 2 14" wide rubbermaid conainers, one filled with fruit salad and one with garden salad. The fruit salad had fresh watermelon, honeydew, pineapple, applles, pears, oranges, dried cranberries, coconut, peach. walnuts, grapes, strawberries, kiwi, bananas and juice. The garden salad had spring mix, grape tomatoes, cucunber, celery, carrots, almonds, dried cranberries, olives, yellow squash, brocolli, arugula, snow peas and red peppers. On the side I had 2 plates of Perdue short cuts diced chicken, microwaved in the teachers lounge. I bought it all for the money they gave me and everyone was thrilled with the food. At the polls, you usually get coffee, donuts, a sandwich for lunch and a slice of pizza for dinner. (alright, I am in the New Haven area, so pizza is better than most of the country, but still.)

The moral of the story is: good cooking beats takeout almost any time.
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Old 02-16-2008, 06:55 PM   #9
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I have crazy hours, so I do a lot of take out or prepackaged meals. I try to pick up the healthy stuff. Like progresso soups or smart ones frozen dinners. However, in the end processed food is horrible. The sodium count is crazy.
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Old 02-16-2008, 08:19 PM   #10
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I prefer to make my own food. I know what goes into it and it is a heck of a lot cheaper. We probably do take out once a week or once every two weeks.
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Old 02-16-2008, 10:15 PM   #11
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I cook for my husband and myself, but I also get take out.

When my husband gets home from work during the week, he's ready to eat. The time that he gets home varies, so I like to have his main meal of the day ready at 1 pm or so. I'm not ready to eat at that time, and I usually don't have the energy to make a real dinner at 5 or 6, so I'll make a boxed side dish, pasta or rice, for myself or have take out.

On weekends I can usually stretch his main mealtime a little later and I'll eat a little earlier so we can eat at the same time.

I much prefer the food I make at home. It's not necessarily cheaper, but it's better quality, tastier and fresher. I love to cook, even more than eating what I cook.

BTW, I don't do leftovers. But my husband does, so that works out very handily.
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Old 02-16-2008, 11:15 PM   #12
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...BTW, I don't do leftovers. But my husband does, so that works out very handily.
ooooh great thread idea!!
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Old 02-17-2008, 01:24 AM   #13
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Given my current situation, We eat mostly take out. I cook occasionally, but nothing spectacular, Pasta and I'll grill just about anything (weather permitting).
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Old 02-17-2008, 02:34 AM   #14
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Workdays usually involves me opening a tin of food - soups, curries, chilli, stew, etc. This is pretty much a cost and time saving issue for me.

Week nights and weekends will usually be something simple but homecooked. Dependant on ingredients at hand.
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Old 02-17-2008, 04:39 AM   #15
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Like Lucky said, I'm trying to figure out ways to make home cooked meals that are faster and cheaper....and there are some great ideas over on this thread.

Still, there are times when I do rely on take out. I'd say I still get take out about once every 2-3 weeks for dinner, and about once every 1-2 weeks for lunch at work.

As for processed foods, I'm finding that with the batch cooking, I'm relying on those much less than I used to, and mostly just for the kids snacks afterschool (they both love ramen, for example). They are finally learning that they can actually slap some peanut butter and fluff on a couple slices of bread and make their own sandwiches, so hopefully we'll wean ourselves off of those unhealthy convenience foods.

As for eating out, as in "May I take your order?".....nearly never. In fact, I'd say that outside of vacations, it happens about twice a year, tops.
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Old 02-17-2008, 08:44 AM   #16
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I go out to eat every two weeks and usually it's lunch somewhere, and I get paid twice a month so on those days I do my Starbucks ritual (I won't buy one unless I can treat the person behind me if there is one...don't ask why).

Otherwise I'm cooking or eating something that can be made at home. I'm totally not above a Red Barron pizza or an Amy's Frozen Meal. Cranky posted a thread about frugal foodie and there were some good ideas there for making batches of things so that you can grab one or two things and go, w/o spending $$ at places like McD's for breakfast.

During the week for work, there are a ton of places to go and someone will pick up lunch for me every day if I wanted...just how it is where I am, but I've been diligent about taking my breakfast & lunch for money reasons.

What's interesting in the past 4 months that I've been doing this...I feel like it's a real treat and I have so much more fun.
Well I tried to go back and edit but I guess there's a time line on that? Anyway what I meant to say about frozen pizza and frozen meals, I still consider them eating at home. On re-read, I'm sorry if I came off as snobby.

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Old 02-17-2008, 09:43 AM   #17
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We eat out 65% and eat something prepackaged or cereal about 25% of the time and eat something made for real about 10% of the time.

I'm gonna work on that. When daylight is short and I leave in the dark and come home in the dark, I just can't find the energy to cook and then clean it up.
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Old 02-17-2008, 07:53 PM   #18
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I don't ever eat lunch out. My usual lunch is yogurt, a banana, celery and peanut butter. Easy stuff; salad, apples, cheese sticks, cauliflower. Sometimes a bagel with cream cheese. I wrap low sodium ham around pieces of swiss cheese sometimes. Bread is always soggy by lunch time and it grosses me out so I just leave it out of my "sandwiches".

For dinner I usually cook. I order a pizza or a gyro a couple times a month, and every so often I will pick up some popeyes chicken.

Take out food is too salty and I definitely pay for it the next day. I would avoid it all together if it wasn't for "the cravings" that still run my PMS life.
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:20 PM   #19
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Someone above said they feel better when they cook rather than eat out. I agree. Of course, I hate to cook, but my husband is good at it. But then I have to clean up after him, and oh my gosh does he know how to dirty everything!

When we eat out, we try to eat something "light" like Subway or Quiznos. A pizza is always good though!

I'm making myself hungry now ...
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:57 PM   #20
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During the week I really have NO time to make any BIG meals....so we do burgers, tacos, sandwiches - light meals that don't take too much time....on the weekends I do my BIG cooking (pot roasts, italian meals, etc.) and we go out to eat about twice a month.
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Old 02-24-2008, 09:23 PM   #21
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here's my deal. if i am living alone, i will never cook anything except macaroni and cheese or ramen noodles. i hate cooking for just myself. if i have roommates or friends over, or a date i might cook. the way it is right now, my best friend of 11 years and her fiance live with me. so she cooks us big huge meals every night for dinner. also, another new friend of mine is in culinary school, so she will come over and make breakfast or pots of chili and all sorts of good stuff. so right now i have 2 personal chefs cooking for me. I do love eating out though, and again, if I lived alone, that's probably what I'd be doing. I started a youtube account and a myspace for critiquing local & chain restaurants FCSquared or 'Fat Chick Food Critics' is the name. It's still in the construction stages but we might get gung ho and start going out to eat again sometime. Anyways...I prefer either one. I'd like to go out and order a ton of food and videotape it sometime. That'd be tons of fun!
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Old 02-27-2008, 12:06 PM   #22
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Lately I have been taking a bag lunch from home to work, more out of financial necessity than anything (even going to the local deli for sandwich starts to add up after a while.) Often times I will bring in leftovers from dinner, or I'll make a sandwich and a piece of fruit, etc. Last week I made myself a couple of light salads to bring into work, which was pretty good.

At home I have been making a lot of stir-fry stuff lately. Nothing too fancy... I'll usually just cut up a few veggies like pepper, onion, cabbage and maybe some mushroom and fry it in a pan with oil, garlic, seasoning and then stir in either some chicken or shrimp. It doesn't cost much and it's really good (every bit as good as the stuff you get from Chinese take out, I'll say. )

I do still on occasion buy the frozen pizza, just because it's quick and cheap and some nights I'm just to tired to do anything but stick that pizza in the oven. lol But yeah, whole foods and fresh ingredients are definitely the way to go when cooking from home.... I think the key is to take some time and do some "prep work" earlier in the week. That way you'll have to spend less time chopping, slicing and dicing when you come home from a hard days work and all you gotta do basically is heat something up. I can't remember when's the last time I got take-out... it's been a while.

This is from the perspective of a dude who lives alone.... I can't imagine what some of you folks who work all day and then have to come home cook dinner for your entire family! Hats off to you!
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LJ Rock
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