Gourmet Recipes on a Budget

18 Gourmet Recipes on a Budget

Gourmet Recipes on a Budget - champagne-tastes.com

Gourmet Recipes on a Budget

These 18 Gourmet Recipes on a Budget feature gourmet-style recipes that are full of flavor and flair, but won’t hurt your wallet!  

Does your bank account start sobbing as soon as your car pulls into the grocery store parking lot?  Does your credit card start to hide deeper and deeper in your wallet as you approach the checkout?  If buying your usual groceries stretches your budget, buying “fancy food” for a party or date night might send you into a panicked frenzy!  Never fear– fellow budget-conscious foodies!  If you too, have ‘champagne tastes, but a beer budget,’ these 18 Gourmet Recipes on a Budget will help you serve flavorful, gorgeous food– without stripping your savings account dry.

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Try the World - Michelin Curated Specialty Box

Try the World Review – Michelin Curated Box

Interested in having gourmet ingredients from countries around the world delivered straight to your door?  Try the World does just that, and right now they’re featuring their special Michelin Curated Box!  Please Note: Try the World sent me their Michelin box in exchange for my honest Try the World Review.

Do you ever wander around the international section of your local grocery store in confusion?  Does it throw you when the labels aren’t in English?  Do you see 15 different kinds of pesto, and don’t know which is best?  Have you ever tried asking someone for help choosing the right curry spices, only to receive a blank, confused stare?  If you find yourself peeking around the aisles, hoping to find someone who radiates ‘food confidence,’ or asking ten employees in a row before shrugging, grabbing food at random, and hoping for the best– you aren’t alone!   Picking out unfamiliar, deliciously tantalizing international food can be exciting– but it can also be confusing.  I was ecstatic, therefore, when I came home and found Try the World’s new specialty Michelin Curated Box on my doorstep, because they’d done all the research for me!

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Green Chef Review- A Week with Green Chef

Green Chef Review- A Week with Green Chef

Interested in a meal subscription plan and want to try Green Chef?  Looking for a Green Chef Review?  I tried it for a week, and here’s what I thought.  Please note: This post is NOT sponsored by Green Chef– I used a promotional email offer for a free week of meals to try it out (but I still had to pay for shipping).

Do you want someone to plan your dinners for you, deliver the food straight to your front door, and keep doing it week after week?  Have you begged your neighbor to be your personal chef, but they refused?  Is your ‘better half’ still laughing?  Did your mom tell you it’s time to learn how to cook, and your cat refuses to grow opposable thumbs and cater to your every whim?  Well, dear reader, I totally understand!  Never fear– you aren’t out of options yet!  There are plenty of meal subscription companies ready to be your personal meal-planning assistant– for a price.  Which is right for you?  Here at Champagne Tastes– I’m here to help!  During my ‘Blue Apron Project,’ I’ve been experimenting, taste-testing, and eating everything in sight.  I’m trying out several meal subscription plans, so you can figure out which is best for you.  Today I’m looking at Green Chef— one of the few meal delivery services out there that offers a vegan menu.

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A Week with Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh Review- A Week with Hello Fresh

A Week with Hello Fresh

A Week with Hello Fresh

Interested in a meal subscription plan and want to try Hello Fresh?  Looking for a Hello Fresh Review?  I tried it for a week, and here’s what I thought.  Please note: This post is NOT sponsored by Hello Fresh– I used an online promo code for $40 off one week’s meal to try it out.

A few years ago, Jamie Oliver came to my hometown to help the schools ‘get healthy.’  The show was controversial locally, because it interviewed mainly unhealthy kids and parents who didn’t know what a tomato is, and some people were upset by how that made us look.  (I was upset too, but mostly because now I knew there were people here who didn’t know what a tomato is!)  I admit– I didn’t watch the whole series, but I saw the aftermath in the schools, and it was Wonderful.  Not everything stuck (the flavored, sugar-filled milk was back right away), but the salad bar stayed, and the breakfast pizza vanished completely.  Not every student took advantage of every healthy option, but there ARE more healthy options for those who want them.  Because of his healthy schools program, I’m a huge Jamie Oliver fan– but I’d never tried any of his recipes.  When I saw that Jamie Oliver worked with Hello Fresh, I was excited to give it a try as part of my “Blue Apron Project.

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Try the World Italy

Try the World Review- Italy

Interested in having gourmet ingredients from countries around the world delivered straight to your door?  Try the World does just that– each month, they ship out specialty food items from a featured country.  This month– Italy!  Please Note: Try the World sent me their Italy box in exchange for my honest Try the World Review.

Try the World Italy

Try the World Italy

Last summer, the husband and I strapped on our backpacks, got on an airplane, and headed to Italy.  Hours later, after running full-speed through a Moscow airport, vowing never to take a budget flight with a too-short layover again, blundering through my un-fluent Italian phrases to find the shuttle from the airport to the train station, and finally collapsing onto the bed in our tiny, non-air-conditioned hotel room, I sighed in happiness.  “Now, we eat!”  It didn’t take long to find food– we were in Florence, and food was everywhere.  If you haven’t eaten your way through Italy– what stood out to me most was the quality of the food.  The pasta was fresh, and everything I put in my mouth just exploded with flavor.  So, as you can imagine– when Try the World offered to send me their Italy box– I was ecstatic!  First of all– I would get to try Italian food again without paying for a plane ticket, (but I’ll be back, Italy–  I promise!) and second– I’ve ordered from Try the World before and was incredibly impressed.

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A Week with Sun Basket

Sun Basket Review- A Week with Sun Basket

Interested in a meal subscription plan and want to try Sun Basket?  Looking for a Sun Basket Review?  I tried it for a week, and here’s what I thought.  Please note: Sun Basket sent me one week’s worth of meals for free in exchange for my honest review.  

A Week with Sun Basket

A Week with Sun Basket

Does planning dinner exhaust you?  Do you come home from work, march straight to the fridge, and then stare blankly at everything inside?  Do you want to try new recipes, but you’re a little intimidated by unfamiliar ingredients?  Are you trying to learn how to cook, and want a little help?  If so, there are plenty of meal subscription companies just waiting to send food your way.  Choosing the right one for you, however, can be a little overwhelming, particularly since you don’t get to taste test the food first!  Which should you choose?  Here at Champagne Tastes, I’ve been trying out several different meal services to help you navigate your food delivery choices.  I’ll be your taste tester, and let you know what I thought.  Today, we’ll look at Sun Basket— a meal subscription company that offers organic produce, and a large meal selection for those with vegetarian, pescetarian, paleo, or gluten-free diets.

*Note: Along with a free box, Sun Basket also sent me a coupon for you!  Scroll to the bottom of this post for the coupon link.

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I tried Blue Apron for a week, and here’s what I thought. This post is NOT sponsored.

Blue Apron Review- A Week with Blue Apron

Interested in a meal subscription plan and want to try Blue Apron?  Looking for a Blue Apron Review?  I tried it for a week, and here’s what I thought.  Please note: This post is NOT sponsored by Blue Apron– I used an online promo code for $50 off one week’s meals to try it out.

A Week with Blue Apron

A Week with Blue Apron

Alright everyone– it’s story time.  Once upon a time, I thought I wasn’t affected by advertising.  I rarely watch commercials, I do research before buying things– I cannot be swayed!  Right?  I thought so, but then one day I found myself at the gym, pounding the treadmill, drooling inexplicably over an Olive Garden commercial (I don’t even LIKE Olive Garden, guys!), and then convincing the husband we NEEDED to try their Taste of Italy THAT NIGHT.  Well, friends, that’s when I knew ads work.  (It’s okay though, because that meal was really tasty!)  Recently, the ads on Pinterest and in my email drone on and on about meal subscription companies– you know what I mean, Blue Apron and the like– and honestly, I’ve been a bit obsessed.  These companies promise to deliver ready-to-cook groceries straight to your door, and I WANTED it.  I worried, though.  Was this a clever advertising campaign design to make me lust after expensive food that I didn’t need?  (Probably.)  Would I end up loving it anyway?  (I really thought I would!)

The problem is, once I started looking, I had a little bit of sticker shock.  Using these meal delivery companies is pricier than going to the grocery store, no lie.  (At least, it is for me with my Aldi shopping ways.  If you frequent Whole Foods or other pricier grocers, you might disagree.)  No matter how long I looked, however, these companies still seemed so FUN.  I loved the idea of little ‘home cooking lessons,’ with ingredients I didn’t normally have easy access to (or just hadn’t tried).  The more I looked, however, the more confused I got– because there’s a bunch of meal delivery companies, and they all offer something a little bit different.  That’s when I decided I probably wasn’t alone– you might be confused and curious too!  And that, dear readers, was the beginning of a new project.  Let’s call it– The Blue Apron Project.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be trying out a few different meal subscription services, and giving you the 411.  The info.  The low-down.  Ya dig it?  (If you want to bail now, to avoid any more bad jokes/outdated slang/awful puns– I totally understand).  Let’s start with the one you’ve probably heard the most about– Blue Apron.

*Note: Blue Apron did NOT send me a free box, but they DID send me a coupon for you!  Scroll to the bottom of this post for the coupon link. Continue reading