During the month of March, we’ve been talking about cooking to save money. I’ve posted:
- Low-Cost Menu + Grocery List
- 63 Budget Friendly Meals, Meal Stretchers and Desserts
- 5 Keys to Saving Money with a Pantry/Freezer Challenge
Today, we’re going to talk about saving money by cooking restaurant-style meals at home. This type of meal may cost a bit more than your weeknight fare, but will come in much lower than taking the family out to eat. Next week I’ll post a big list of easy restaurant style recipes. Until then, here are a few tips to making it special:
Buy fresh herbs, if the recipe calls for them. The difference in taste is worth the splurge. Adding fresh basil to a pasta dish transforms it.
Serve good bread, especially with Italian meals. You can buy it from the bakery or make your own. Try Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking I’ve made this bread before and it is delicious! It’s amazing what you can do with flour and water.
Make your own Seasoned Olive Oil for dipping your bread. This is an easy thing to do and it works to make the meal special.
Serve a big salad, with all the fixings. Depending on your main dish, try all the normal salad veggies, plus croutons, crisp tortilla strips, nuts, pine nuts, banana peppers, fresh fruit or dried, or anything else that sounds good.
If you’re having Mexican, don’t forget the chips and salsa. Serve several varieties. Add guacamole for more fun.
Buy frozen egg rolls or potstickers to round out an Asian meal. Break out the chopsticks. Don’t forget the fortune cookies!
Disclosure: The link to the cookbook above is an affiliate link. If you buy, I’ll make a small bit of money, possibly enough to buy a candy bar. That’s a great cookbook and I think you’ll enjoy it. I often check cookbooks out from the library before investing in them. You might like to do the same.