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Romantic Meal Makeovers?

Last post 01-29-2013 11:26 PM by BargainBinge. 13 replies.
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  • 01-27-2013 7:21 PM

    Romantic Meal Makeovers?

    Time to put your creative frugal thinking caps ON my friends...I've got a challeng for you and hope you have some nifty ideas to return.

    I was browsing romantic & Valentine's Day make at home dinner meal menus online. The suggestions sounded delicious but the price to make some of these meals did not and for those on a tight budget these meals just could NOT happen. So, I was thinking about how these meals could happen on a tight budget by substituting and tweaking some things around to be more affordable.

    Here is the challenge. I am going to present three romanic but high priced meal menus. Your job is to figure out and suggest how you would tweak things so the meal could be more affordable but still mimic the original meal as CLOSE AS POSSIBLE in ingredient, taste, color, texture, etc. - think "you could have fooled me" style where it's so close in match you may not even notice much difference except for the PRICE!!! No budget limit for this challenge, just be mindful of basic frugal living prices if you know what I mean. You don't have to answer them all either. Do your best, every answer counts. It's really important to get a variety of answers and ideas so folk and have different options to chose from in case they want to try making these frugalized makeover meals happen at home. Valentine's Day is just around the corner... maybe you can plan from this post?

    Have fun and please "play"... Here are the original meals that you will be making-over:

    Meal One:

    • Fresh French garlic bread
    • Endive Caeser salad: endive, cherry tomatoes, fresh Italian cheese, croutons, Caeser dressing
    • Lobster and jumbo steamed artichokes with lemon and drawn butter to dip 

    Meal Two:

    • Gourmet triple creme brie on toasted Artisan bread rounds
    • Pear and candied walnut salad: baby spinach, baby heirloom tomatoes, fresh sliced pears, candied walnuts, classic spinach dressing with bacon
    • Grilled filet mignon and jumbo prawns; roasted fingerling potatoes and asparagus spears

    Meal Three:

    • Demi cup of cream of wild mushroom bisque soup
    • Baby arugula and avocado salad with fresh pomegrante seeds and blood orange-herb-champange dressing  
    • Fresh pistachio nut crusted halibut; exotic wild rice pilaf; steamed broccolini

    Could you frugalize any of those meals or specific courses? How???

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • 01-27-2013 9:17 PM In reply to

    Re: Romantic Meal Makeovers?

    I think I am going to have to bite my own tongue here because when I made these menus I really didn't think how hard it could be to mimic them as close as possible. I'll shoot suggestions for frugalizing based on my palette but some things may just be frugal subs verse close matches that may still cost a pretty penny lol

    Meal 1: Make your own garlic bread if it's cheaper than buying ingredients or premade. If you aren't going to make the actual bread yourself then first look around your home shop for bread items they may work like english muffins for garlic bread rounds, hot dog or hamburger buns as a bread base, sliced sandwich bread, etc. The price of a fresh baguette is pretty much that same price as garlic bread from the bakery at the store so if you're going to go that route just buy it from the bakery... The endive can be replaced with romaine hearts or the inner part of ice berg lettuce which is cheaper than romaine. You want that nice crunch... Cut your own fresh tomatoes, cheaper than cherry tomatoes... make your own croutons... this will cut costs. Splurge and allow fresh Italian cheese but not sure how to make a frugal Caesar, sorry. Now for the entree, there's a company that makes that inmitation crab stuff. They also make inmitation lobster pieces - this would be a lot cheaper. It's lobster flavored polluck or something, not sure. Margerine can replace real butter if it's too expensive. Splurge on fresh artichokes.

    I am sitting here thinking how I may end up being the only one who responds to this post or very few as these are not frugal meals or very easy to makeover... doing my best here and hope you all will too lol

    Meal Two: Cream cheese can replace brie, whip it yourself and spread on toasted bread rounds from home. You an cookie cut circle shapes in sandwich bread as toast them so you don't have to go out and spend if you have bread at home. The bottoms of hamburger buns work well for this one too...or English muffin halves like suggested above for the garlic bread idea. Whatever works, put the art in the artisan part by making your own artistic creation the frugal way lol Now for the salad, if canned pears are cheaper and you can't afford fresh then used canned slices/slice yourself. Make your own dressing using a frugal recipe. Candy your own walnuts, allow walnuts as a splurge here. Slice your own tomatoes. The entree is really hard as I am not a steak eater. I would assume use a cheaper cut or steak or frugal yourself to the max and use salsburry steak patty without the sauce?! Shrimp are cheaper than prawns in my experience. If a shrimp cocktail ring is cheaper than tail on shrimp by the lb then get the ring. Replace fingerling potatoes with cheaper potatoes you can cut or chunk yourself - they are still delicious roasted. Asparagus is hard, I have not had good luck with the texture of frozen asparagus and canned is just different. If you can splurge, allow fresh - if not try canned or frozen. I really can not think of a veggie that looks and tastes like asparagus, it's really independant in that sense.

    Meal three in a moment... need an eye break.

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • 01-27-2013 9:36 PM In reply to

    Re: Romantic Meal Makeovers?

    Meal Three: Safely forage wild mushrooms. If that is not an option than use basic white button or whatever is on sale - this generally means white button. Frugalize the rest of the ingredients. Powdered milk works fine if milk is not on hand. If all else fails call Campbells or cream of mushroom store brand LOLOLOL... Tell em' you gave up and gave in, smile. Replace expensive arugula with radish tops, they are spicy and radishes are frugal. You can no waste this way too. Use dried canberries instead of pomegrante seeds if you can't access them or they are too expensive. Splurge on the avocado, you only need 1 anyhow. Enjoy it please. Make your own dressing the frugal way. Now this entree... jeeze... what was I thinking lol... Replace halibut with a thicker white fish that will hold up and not mush. Splurge on the pistachios or just use another nut that's cheaper for you. You really don't need much. Grind them in your food processor. You can also do half pistachio and half cheaper not to cut costs. If you can't afford wild rice then mix different rices you have on hand to make your own rice mix/pilaf. Season from your herb/spice collection. Replac broccolini with fresh or frozen broccoli florrets. If all else fails with the fish call Gordon's and tell him to please donate a few pistachios while he is at it so you can crush them on top of his pre-breaded frozen fish fillets. Thank you very much... calling it a night.

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • 01-27-2013 9:47 PM In reply to

    Re: Romantic Meal Makeovers?

     French breat with real butter

    Some type of roast of meat

    endive lectuce salad and vineagerette dressing

    Roasted potatoes

    French cut green beans sprinkle with pine nuts

    Rasberry topping to a boston cheese cake 

    After dinner coffee

    White lite wine for the roast of meat of some kind bt a california reisline 

    and a mint chcolet square

    P.s Oh your dinner menu got me going I think the romantic setting for my house would be your salad forsure and the french bread with the fresh type of sweet butter you bad guy there you done it to me again...Stick out tongue

    chrissanne
  • 01-27-2013 9:50 PM In reply to

    Re: Romantic Meal Makeovers?

     Guess what b.b I had to beat mom off with my club just to keep her from drooling she told me to tell you the secound meal is good and its a go to your first email.

    Cindy likes meal 1 I like meal 2 good job on your meals good meal starter here maybe I can pass this to the boss guy and see what he likes on it so we can have this for the lonely hearts here inner city this should work.

    chrissanne
  • 01-27-2013 10:05 PM In reply to

    Re: Romantic Meal Makeovers?

    Sissy glad you like the ideas but I sure as heck ain't cookin' em' hahahha I will gladly take a seat at your table though and all your yummy dishes. Thank you very much. I give up but I would LOVE a meal with you, Cindy and Mom... I will do the dishes, all of them.

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • 01-28-2013 2:07 AM In reply to

    Re: Romantic Meal Makeovers?

    Ok, let me give it a try... *cracks knuckles*

    BargainBinge:

    Time to put your creative frugal thinking caps ON my friends...I've got a challeng for you and hope you have some nifty ideas to return.

    I was browsing romantic & Valentine's Day make at home dinner meal menus online. The suggestions sounded delicious but the price to make some of these meals did not and for those on a tight budget these meals just could NOT happen. So, I was thinking about how these meals could happen on a tight budget by substituting and tweaking some things around to be more affordable.

    Here is the challenge. I am going to present three romanic but high priced meal menus. Your job is to figure out and suggest how you would tweak things so the meal could be more affordable but still mimic the original meal as CLOSE AS POSSIBLE in ingredient, taste, color, texture, etc. - think "you could have fooled me" style where it's so close in match you may not even notice much difference except for the PRICE!!! No budget limit for this challenge, just be mindful of basic frugal living prices if you know what I mean. You don't have to answer them all either. Do your best, every answer counts. It's really important to get a variety of answers and ideas so folk and have different options to chose from in case they want to try making these frugalized makeover meals happen at home. Valentine's Day is just around the corner... maybe you can plan from this post?

    Have fun and please "play"... Here are the original meals that you will be making-over:

    Meal One:

    • Fresh French garlic bread
    • Endive Caeser salad: endive, cherry tomatoes, fresh Italian cheese, croutons, Caeser dressing
    • Lobster and jumbo steamed artichokes with lemon and drawn butter to dip 

    I'd get a cheap loaf of French bread and make my own garlic bread. Easy peasy! I'd also make the Caesar salad using romaine instead of endive, just like BB suggested. The main dish, however --- this is where I'd make some drastic changes. Instead of lobster and steamed artichokes, I'd get a package of lobster ravioli and another of artichoke ravioli and served them together with a lemon butter sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

    Meal Two:

    • Gourmet triple creme brie on toasted Artisan bread rounds
    • Pear and candied walnut salad: baby spinach, baby heirloom tomatoes, fresh sliced pears, candied walnuts, classic spinach dressing with bacon
    • Grilled filet mignon and jumbo prawns; roasted fingerling potatoes and asparagus spears

    Meal Three:

    • Demi cup of cream of wild mushroom bisque soup
    • Baby arugula and avocado salad with fresh pomegrante seeds and blood orange-herb-champange dressing  
    • Fresh pistachio nut crusted halibut; exotic wild rice pilaf; steamed broccolini

    Could you frugalize any of those meals or specific courses? How???

    Let me think on these a bit longer... I have a long commute to San Francisco tomorrow and thinking up ideas will help me pass the time. School starts again tomorrow!

    Mama to a teen and a preschooler KINDERGARTENER!! -- oh, the fun! Also co-parenting 3 other awesome kids. :)
  • 01-28-2013 5:34 AM In reply to

    Re: Romantic Meal Makeovers?

    Hi Spider, I was hoping to see you here because you always play my challenges and come up with such good ideas to share with others. Thanks! Hey, the raviolis sound yummy. We just did lobster raviolis I got for 1.50!?!?! a pack at GO. Can you believe that? Oh they were good too and real lobster meat not fake stuff.... what a good deal.

    Hey, goodluck with your return to school. I hope this semester there will be some yummy free food finds on holidays or events!

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • 01-28-2013 7:23 AM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-28-2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: Romantic Meal Makeovers?

    Meal One:

    •Fresh French garlic bread
    •Endive Caeser salad: endive, cherry tomatoes, fresh Italian cheese, croutons, Caeser dressing
    •Lobster and jumbo steamed artichokes with lemon and drawn butter to dip

    A cheaper but still more expensive than daily frugal eating replacement:

    Homemade garlic bread
    Salad-use whatever is in the fridge and get a few other things on sale that week in produce, top with finely shredded cheese and croutons
    Shrimp- barbecued on an indoor or outdoor grill
    A pasta side- herbs with butter sauce work well or a fetuccine sauce

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • 01-28-2013 7:34 AM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-28-2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: Romantic Meal Makeovers?

    Meal Two:

    ◦Gourmet triple creme brie on toasted Artisan bread rounds
    ◦Pear and candied walnut salad: baby spinach, baby heirloom tomatoes, fresh sliced pears, candied walnuts, classic spinach dressing with bacon
    ◦Grilled filet mignon and jumbo prawns; roasted fingerling potatoes and asparagus spears

     

    Frugal replacement:

    Toasted buns with a slice of swiss cheese melted on top
    Mandarin salad
    Grilled steak kabobs with onions, pineapple, bell pepper and mushroom
    Roast potatoes
    Green beans, cooked 6 minutes with a splash of lemon juice and olive oil, salt and peppered


    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



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