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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This Pumpkin Tiramisu is a seasonal version of the classic Italian dessert.

Pumpkin Tiramisu

This Pumpkin Tiramisu is a seasonal version of the classic Italian dessert.

Pumpkin Tiramisu

This Pumpkin Tiramisu is a seasonal version of the classic Italian dessert, made with fluffy layers of mascarpone cheese and pumpkin purée between espresso-infused Italian lady fingers.  

Tomorrow is the official start of fall, and I’ve already got full-blown pumpkin fever.  I’ve been scouring my brain, my recipes, and my cabinets, wondering, “What else would be better with pumpkin?!”  The answer was obvious– everything is better with pumpkin!!!  However, when I found Italian lady fingers hiding in the back recesses of my pantry, I knew it was the beginning of something fantastical.  You already know, I’m sure, that pumpkin and espresso together are magically, wonderfully, delicious.   (Starbucks has been marketing that flavor explosion for years!)  With a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte in hand, giving me pumpkin-infused confidence, I whipped up another batch of pumpkin-coffee goodness.  This Pumpkin Tiramisu is made with layers of mascarpone and pumpkiny goodness between espresso-infused Italian lady fingers.

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Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce: A fast, easy, and delicious date night dinner that's ready in about 20 minutes.

Gourmet Special: Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce

Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce: A fast, easy, and delicious date night dinner that's ready in about 20 minutes.

Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce

Do you need a fancy recipe for date night?  A romantic dinner for two?  Are your in-laws or boss coming over for dinner, and you need to impress?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Gourmet’ recipes.  These will still be budget friendly and relatively simple, but will help you confidently serve a gourmet meal without hiring a chef.

If you’re looking for a decadently delicious seafood meal, you might think– “Lobster.  I love lobster.”  Typically I would agree with you, but if you haven’t tried sea scallops– they give lobster a fight for the Fabulous Seafood Award. (I just made that award up, but let’s pretend it’s real.)  These Seared Scallops with Wine Sauce are rich, delicious, and fast– the perfect date-night meal.  They’re also perfect if you want to treat yourself to an easy, fancy-schmancy meal.  You know, the kind where you get to eat everything yourself instead of sharing.

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This easy how-to is a step-by-step tutorial on making French Crêpes

Cooking 101: French Crêpes

This easy how-to is a step-by-step tutorial on making French Crêpes

How to Make French Crepes

Do you wish you could take a basic cooking class?  Do you find yourself buying lots of pre-made ingredients, but suspect your food would taste even better from scratch?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Cooking 101’ recipes.  These cooking staples will take your food to the next level, and will help you make more ingredients from scratch.

If you find yourself impersonating the fabulous Julia Child while declaring, “Bon Appétit!” before a meal, you aren’t alone.  (Or maybe no one else does this?  I’m sure I can’t be the only one.  I also like to take selfies with cardboard Julia at the Smithsonian,* so maybe it really is just me.)   Whether or not you’re a Julia-fan, you should at least be aware that, if you’re looking for a basic, go-to, will-not-fail French recipe– she’s your gal.  Her recipes have never failed me, and are always delicious.  Her recipe for basic French Crêpes is easy to follow, and is sure to leave you with a stack of delicious, ultra-thin French pancakes.

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Portabello Wellington- This vegetarian version of Beef Wellington is simple to prepare, ready in 30 minutes, and bursting with flavor.

Gourmet Special: Portobello Wellington

Portobella Wellington: Portobella caps filled with goat cheese and veggies, and wrapped with puff pastry. Perfect for your next date night!

Do you need a fancy recipe for date night?  A romantic dinner for two?  Are your in-laws or boss coming over for dinner, and you need to impress?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Gourmet’ recipes.  These will still be budget friendly and relatively simple, but will help you confidently serve a gourmet meal without hiring a chef.

Three years ago last July, I dressed up all fancy-like, and went to dinner with my parents at a tiny French restaurant downtown.  When I opened the door, I thought, “Did they just start playing the love song from Phantom of the Opera?”  I walked in farther and thought, “Huh.. We’re the only ones here.  That’s nice.”  Then I walked a little farther in, past a little half-wall, where I stopped in confusion.  “What’s the boyfriend doing here?  Why is he crouched down on his knee?  Why is he holding that sparkly ring?  (Pause for mental comprehension)– HE’S HOLDING A SPARKLY RING!”  What else do I remember from that night?  For one, trying to convince my parents to try escargot (they declined), trying to eat said escargot with shaky hands, and the wonderful, decadently delicious Portobello Wellington that I attempted to eat while recovering from shock.  We’ve been back to that little French bistro several times since that night, however (both fortunately and unfortunately) it’s one of those wonderful places where the chef changes the menu seasonally.  The seasonal changes mean that, while I’ve always left ecstatically food happy, I’ve never seen my beloved Portobello Wellington again.  The solution to the Case of the Missing Mushroom?  Cook it myself!

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Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna with Ginger Soy Sauce

Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna with Ginger Soy Sauce

Seared Ahi Tuna with Ginger Soy Sauce- Delicious, Easy, and Ready in 15 Minutes

Seared Ahi Tuna with Ginger Soy Sauce

I just wrote a love poem to my tuna– want to hear it?  ‘Ahi Tuna, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  I love thy flavor and freshness and–‘  Okay I’ll stop.  Seriously, though, ahi tuna is FANTASTIC.  If you’ve never tried it, it’s typically served either raw or VERY lightly seared.  It also tends to be on the pricey side at restaurants, which is tragic, because I want to eat it ALL. THE. TIME.  The solution to my (and your) tuna-budget woes is to cook it at home.  This Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna with Ginger Soy Sauce is simple to make, and is so bursting with delicious flavors that you’ll giggle with happiness.

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Lemon Pepper Octopus

Gourmet Special: Lemon Pepper Octopus

Lemon Pepper Octopus - Perfect for seafood lovers!

Do you need a fancy recipe for date night?  A romantic dinner for two?  Are your in-laws or boss coming over for dinner, and you need to impress?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Gourmet’ recipes.  These will still be budget friendly and relatively simple, but will help you confidently serve a gourmet meal without hiring a chef.

Are you feeling adventurous?  Let’s talk octopus.  That’s right, those eight-legged sea monsters that spend their days looking like they’ve escaped from a Jules Verne novel.  The spineless, fascinating creatures that can fit through any space they can squeeze their jaw bones through.  Well, my friends, those leggy beasts are also completely and utterly delicious.  The husband talked me into buying one on a Jungle Jim’s trip, and that’s how our invertebrate obsession began.  This recipe for Lemon Pepper Octopus is easy, and sure to leave you with a tender and flavor-packed meal.

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Forbidden Rice with Mushrooms

Gourmet Special: Forbidden Rice with Mushrooms

Forbidden Rice with Mushrooms - This easy to prepare, nutty rice will add a gourmet flair to your dinner

 Do you need a fancy recipe for date night?  A romantic dinner for two?  Are your in-laws or boss coming over for dinner, and you need to impress?  Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Gourmet’ recipes.  These will still be budget friendly and relatively simple, but will help you confidently serve a gourmet meal without hiring a chef.

Awhile back, I found myself staring at a restaurant menu, asking the husband, “What in the world is Forbidden Rice?  Also, if it’s forbidden, how are they allowed to sell it?”  (If you want to leave now, before the puns get worse, I totally understand).  I didn’t try it that day, but a few days later, while walking through Jungle Jim’s, I saw it again.  And no worries, even though it was marked “forbidden” rice, they didn’t confiscate it at the cash register.  I did, in fact, make it home with this odd little grain.  I even successfully cooked the contraband rice, without any strange rice regulators banging through my front door.  I later learned that this nutty, gluten-free grain is not only delicious, it’s also definitely NOT forbidden. (I’m just kidding guys, I totally knew that right away).  This recipe for Forbidden Rice with Mushrooms is easy to make, delicious, and will impress all your guests (because, you know, they’ll be wondering how you got the off-limits rice).

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Rosemary Fig Pizza

Rosemary Fig Pizza

Rosemary Fig Pizza- Thin Crust Gourmet Pizza with Gorgonzola Cheese, Fig Jam, and Fresh Rosemary

It’s time for pizza!  Everybody loves pizza– even if someone says they don’t, there is probably at least one kind of pizza they would, in fact, love.  Pizza means choices, and not just for toppings.  Some love the goopy, deep-dish Chicago-style pizza.  Others prefer huge, thin slices of hand-tossed New York-esque pizza.  There’s also the traditional Italian Margherita pizza, and a newer favorite– the gourmet pizza.  These tasty slices are usually on a thin crust, and have flavorful, non-traditional toppings.  One of my favorite gourmet pies is this Rosemary Fig Pizza.

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Easy, Vegan Poached Pears cooked in White Wine and Cardamom. Ready in 15 min

Poached Pears with Cardamom

Easy, Vegan Poached Pears cooked in White Wine and Cardamom. Ready in 15 min

Poached Pears

A few weeks ago, I found myself watching, in complete suspense, episode after episode of “The Great British Bake Off.” (Keep it coming, BBC!)  At one point, everyone in the show had to tackle the tricky ‘pear pie.”  Have you seen photos of (or maybe even eaten) these pretty poached pears wrapped in puff pastry?  Apparently, mastering these little beauties is more difficult and time consuming than it appears.  After seeing everyone on the show struggle with pear pie after pear pie– poaching pears, cooling them down and glazing them, and then oh so carefully wrapping them in puff pastry– I had little desire to make my own.  It did, however, most definitely cause me to start craving the un-glazed and pastry free Poached Pears with Cardamom.

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