If you’re tired of dining out and fighting traffic as well as paying high restaurant tabs, enjoy a night in for a change. Enjoying a nice meal with your family or significant other can be a delicious change of pace, especially when you prepared it. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience cooking, you can pull together a restaurant-quality mean at home. Here are a few tips that can help.
Buy Quality Foods
Instead of shopping for the most economical cuts of meat and bargain bin veggies, opt for more exciting variations. Meat is often one of the most expensive parts of a meal, but you can usually find coupons for some of the higher quality cuts. Additionally, many supermarkets carry a premium line of meat and produce that you can look for. They will likely also have organic options as well.
There is no need to buy top-shelf items, but you can find quality meat and vegetables to prepare a first-rate meal. Some may be discounted for various reasons, such as an approaching expiration date, so look for good deals on preferred items.
Use Stellar Recipes
Find reliable and creative recipes for your home-cooked meal. Look for recipes that only call for ingredients you know how to work with. You can impress your family and guests without having to go to extremes or using cooking methods you’re unfamiliar with.
For example, if you’ve baked chocolate cakes before, you can do that again. This time, add a layer of raspberry cream and a decorative fruit topping. Following familiar methods with an added twist will impress your diners without adding unnecessary stress for you.
Coordinate Entrée with Sides
When planning your special meal, make sure it is cohesive. The sides you choose should work with and complement your entrée. If you’re unsure what works best together, think of a favorite restaurant and take ideas from their menu. You also might want to organize your meal around a food theme, using ethnic or seasonal foods as your base.
Add Specialty Food Accents
To top off your at-home dining experience, add a specialty food item. This might be an item that can be challenging to work with or difficult to find. This add a nice touch to your meal and are often what elevates it to restaurant quality.
Exotic mushrooms, shrimp appetizers, and similar add-ons will enhance your at-home dining experience. For bread, you can pick up a French baguette loaf at a nearby bakery before dinner.
Having dinner at home can save time and money while providing a private and delicious meal option. Plan your next dining-in date by following tips like these for an affordable, quality dinner in the comfort of your own home.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.