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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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

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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How to Make Lox- Easy, Delicious, and Afforable

Cooking 101: How to Make Lox

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.

How to Make Lox- Easy, Delicious, and Afforable

How to Make Lox

Every time we stay somewhere with a really nice breakfast buffet, the husband’s eyes dart back and forth until he finds what he’s looking for– piles of either lox or smoked salmon.  He is immediately on a mission, making a beeline past the glistening piles of fruit, eggs, and fluffy waffles, and straight to the seafood.  Only after he finishes devouring one, sometimes two, bagels, always overflowing with cream cheese and salmon, does he move on to the other options.  If you, like him, get positively giddy when you see lox, you may have had the same crushed look that he had on his face when he saw what lox costs to buy pre-made.  Even if you find a good price, pre-made lox typically comes in teeny-tiny, sad little packages.  It was therefore, with some relief, to both my wallet and to the husband, to realize that lox is INCREDIBLY simple to make at home.  For this ‘Cooking 101’ lesson, ‘How to Make Lox,’ we’ll take on those pretty pink salmon fillets and turn them into a delicious breakfast topping.

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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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Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos

Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos

Spicy Fish Tacos- Perfect for Serving Buffet Style at Your Next Dinner Party

These Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos are marinated in a lime juice and chili powder, and grilled to perfection.  Serve them with a spiced yogurt sauce, cherry tomatoes, and avocado.

You know what I miss in the winter?  Sunshine, specifically, but also that woodsy, delicious smell of food cooking on a charcoal grill.  I love how it wafts into my kitchen from the open door, filling my entire apartment with tantalizing promises of a scrumptious dinner.  At the first signs of spring, we break out our heavy metal grill and start cooking.  One meal that’s really at its best on a grill is Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos.

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Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta

Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta

Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta- Perfectly Sear Scallops at Home!

Do you love pasta?  Do you love seafood?  If you haven’t been combining them to make quick, delicious dinners– this recipe for Spicy Seared Scallops with Pasta could revolutionize your dinner routine.  (Okay maybe not, but it’s seriously quite tasty.  And fast.  And did I mention tasty?).  The Italians, of course, are onto something with all the seafood and pasta dishes filling their kitchens and dinner plates.  Let’s join them!

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Basil Pesto Salmon

Basil Pesto Salmon

Easy Basil Pesto Salmon- all you need is salmon, pesto, and seasoning.

I’ve been eating ridiculous amounts of salmon recently.  I just can’t stop myself– it’s delicious.  It’s flavorful, flaky, and filling.  Salmon is an easy and quick main dish on a busy night.  However, as amazingly tantalizing as perfectly cooked salmon is, it is also incredibly easy to overcook and dry out.  Few things in life are sadder, my friend, than hard, dry salmon.  (Okay sure, that’s not true.  A ruined dinner, however, is always a minor tragedy).  One way to make sure your salmon stays tender is to smother it in pesto.  That’s right- whether you make your own or buy it pre-made, this herb-filled sauce will lock in the salmon’s natural moisture and help make your fish perfect.  This recipe for Basil Pesto Salmon has 5 ingredients (6 if you include the lemons) and is incredibly flavorful.  My favorite part, the best part, is that it’s ready in 15 minutes.

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Lemon Risotto

Gourmet Special: Lemon Risotto

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.

How do you feel about rice?  Have you given that much thought?  (I can’t be the only one fixating on rice… right?)  Personally, I think rice is delicious.  I even love plain old white rice– add a little butter, pepper, and soy sauce– and you have an easy, if somewhat bland, side dish or snack. However, my favorite rice, the star of rice dishes, the rice dish that is not simply a background for your main dish, is risotto.

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