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Weeknight Chicken Casserole

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It seems logical to think that stopping somewhere on the way home and buying a pre-prepared dinner would be more expensive than making it at home. But by how much? And does it save you time?

I got a bug in my ear on this subject and decided to do a little research.

I went to the Boston Market website to make my comparison. Now, I’m not picking on Boston Market. They seem to have decent food offerings. They also have more than 500 locations and more than 14,000 employees, so they have to be doing some things right. I am using them for my comparison thinking many of you are familiar with the company.

I wanted to compare chicken dinner offerings. On the front page of their menu they feature a chicken dinner that includes a large piece of chicken including dark and white meat, some red skinned potatoes, a serving of green beans and a piece of cornbread. A pretty normal dinner.

So what does it cost for a family of four to buy this dinner at Boston Market? If you buy the “package deal” you get it for $37.37. If you were to buy it individually (so maybe not everyone would eat the same thing) it comes in at $10.92 per person or $43.68 for dinner for four.

My next stop was my grocery store. I live in Chicago, so it stands to reason that maybe the food here is a bit more expensive than where you live. So let’s factor that into the equation. I priced out four options for my chicken. In the deli they have the pre-prepared rotisserie chickens. They are $6.98 each. They are sort of small, so to feed four I’d probably buy two. If you go to the fresh chicken section, a six-pound chicken will run you $14.00. That will definitely feed four. And if you buy your chicken cut up, enough to feed four will run you $11.

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Let’s go to produce. One pound of green beans will run $1.75. That’s plenty. If you choose frozen beans they will run you two dollars.

The red potatoes are 75 cents a pound. If you buy three pounds you’ll feed four hungry people and might even have some left over.

With the cornbread I got lazy, so I found one in the bakery that was $4.50. You’ll get six sizable pieces from that choice, so a couple of pieces will be left over.

The most expensive options here add up to $22.50. So buying it and taking it home is about 60 percent more expensive. That’s a lot. But you might be saying… but I’ll save time!


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