Inflation forced me to make my own Breakfast!

By Andrew Davidson
on Jan. 24, 2024

Welcome to 2024, where I've silently noticed the rampant shrinkflation and absurd grocery price hikes slowly squeeze my ever-so-tight food budget every month. I've stopped buying brand name anything, and always look for ways to save money. The first target in my belt-tightening (literally?) mission: making my breakfast cheaper, healthier, and larger!

The Problem Child

familypack I'd delighted myself for years eating these Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sandwiches (pictured to the right, in a family-sized 12-pack), currently selling for $20.09 from Giant Grocery. Each sandwich costs $1.67, and weighs a mere 4.5 ounces; each is wrapped in disposable plastic, and requires paper towels to reheat in the microwave, so it has an environmental impact and generates trash with every meal. After watching the price of these rise again and again, I've decided to simply stop buying these. While I note that this is still about half the price of what you might pay at a diner for the same sandwich ($3-4), it lines up with the typical 50% markup of prepared food, even if it's 3 minutes in a microwave.

My Solution

9oz_breakfast_burrito Alas, Croissant's aren't easy to make or cheap to buy; and the rounder burger-like sausage patty they use isn't readily available, so I've simplified my breakfast to a simple Breakfast Burrito. I've swapped the round sausage for two frozen sausage links instead, added a hash brown patty for volume, and swapped the croissant for a 10 inch flour tortilla. Every ingredient comes from the fridge or the freezer, to maintain freshness. I use frozen packaged goods (Hash Browns, Diced Onions & Peppers, Sausage Links) to save considerable prep time. The finished Breakfast Burrito weighs in around 9 ounces (twice as much food!), with a mere 600 calories (50% more calories), and comes in four cents less per serving than the commercial option, which I'll break down later.

Unit WeightCost Per OunceUnit CostTotal CaloriesCalories Per Ounce
Home Meal Cost9 oz$0.18$1.63600 cal66.66 cal
Jimmy Dean4.5 oz$0.37$1.67400 cal88.88 cal

After experimenting with two eggs, I find that one egg is enough to produce enough filling without breaking the seams of my tortilla. I heat up my cast-iron frying pan, with the sausage links and hash brown patty in the cold pan. Once they're warmed and browned, they get placed on a quickly microwaved tortilla (to soften it for wrapping), while I make a single-egg omelette in the hot pan with the frozen vegetables and cheese. Once cooked to my satisfaction, the omelette gets put in the tortilla, and then wrapped up and placed back in the pan to heat seal the burrito. Once both sides are browned, simply serve and enjoy. You can wrap it in a paper towel if you're gonna store it, but it is easily consumed with one hand while on the go without leaving a mess. Below is the breakdown of individual costs of each ingredient and the calorie count - you'll note the benefits of buying in bulk.

IngredientPackage CostPackage UnitMeal UnitsMeal CostUnit Calories
Link Sausages$6.59502$0.26120
Hash Brown$6.49201$0.32130
Large Egg$4.29181$0.2470
Cheese Slice$2.99161$0.1950
10" Tortilla$3.29101$0.33210
Onions & Green Peppers$2.29161$0.1420
Totals$1.63600 cal

Not listed is Salt & Pepper, which I use to season the eggs before cooking. I could switch it to simple sandwich (using two slices of toasted bread for about the same cost/calorie counts) in a pinch, or removing the cheese slice if your lactose intolerant. Overall, I'm pleased with my new breakfast solution. While it doesn't save me considerable money, I do get twice as much food for the lower cost, plus full control over the entire cooking process to make it the way I prefer. I'm no longer supporting Big Food Corporations (as much as they try and dissuade you with their 'down home' advertising and spokesperson) and hopefully buying more local. I haven't tried freezing the result and seeing if it can rewarmed successfully, but that might be a future option if I find the daily prep time too time-consuming.

Mission Accomplished!