How to Make Gourmet Meals on a Budget

gourmet meals

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Today’s post is an awesome guest post from a personal friend of mine, Josh Potter! Josh is the blogger behind Best Quick Dinner Recipes, where he writes about eating well without having to break the bank. You can also follow him on Twitter and Instagram @BestQuickDinnerRecipes. Hope you enjoy!

Have you ever heard the phrase “Champagne taste on a beer budget?” Wish you could be having a fancy steak dinner like the “rich folks?”

Well, you don’t have to break the bank to eat like royalty. You can, quite literally “have your cake and eat it too.”

In this post, I’m going to lay out some very simple ideas that will help you create amazing gourmet meals on a budget.

Meal Planning

Before you make your grocery list, plan out your dinners. I generally do my grocery shopping once a week, so this means planning out 5 or 6 dinners. Once I’ve planned those meals out, it becomes much easier to make a shopping list with exactly the ingredients I need, so nothing goes to waste. You also avoid some of the temptation to eat out, since you already have a plan in place.

Home Made Sauces

Learn how to make a few easy home made sauces. They’re quick, inexpensive, and add a gourmet touch to your dinner. 5 minute pesto served over pasta and chicken is simple to make and tastes delicious. Gorgonzola cream sauce over Gnocchi will make you think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Both meals can be made for two for under $10, significantly less than eating out at a restaurant!

Change the Way You Buy Spices

You don’t go to the store and buy a single use bottle of laundry detergent each time you need to do laundry. However, a lot of people buy spices at the store on an “as needed” basis, when it is called for in a certain recipe. At the store you’re going to be paying around $8 an ounce for basic spices. If you buy in bulk ahead of time, you can get fresher and higher quality herbs and spices for roughly $1 an ounce. Find a friend or two, and split a bulk buy. It’s definitely a big money saver. I have written a series on buying, storing, and using spices, if you want more information about this.

Save on Steaks

Start to learn the prices of meat in your area, and stock up when there are sales, or my favorite:“manager’s specials.” The meat will last several months in the freezer, and you can often save 30% or more, just by knowing what to look for. I also like to divide my bulk meat purchases into individual freezer bags with meal sized portions in each. I recently picked up a 5lb. pork loin roast on sale for $10. Since there’s no way my wife and I could mow down 5 pounds, I cut it in half, and now have 2 delicious dinners for 5 bucks each. I also snagged some sirloin steaks for $15 that were on sale for $5 a pound. That’s 4 relatively large steaks, and two steak dinners coming in at a whopping $7.50 per meal.

Hopefully these ideas will help you escape Hamburger Helper hell, and put a gourmet meal on your plate that fits your budget.

What about you? Do you have any great money saving secrets at the grocery store? Share them in the comments section below!

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