The $10 Dinner Date [RECIPE]

Dating can be tricky when you’re a parent. If you have lots of extended family living near you, then consider it a blessing. For those who don’t, or who have family who travel and/or are busy, keep reading. For many of us, hiring a babysitter seems like a daunting, if not impossible, task. Are they safe? What type of background do they have? And where do you find Mary Poppins in a sea full of crime and horrible people? Every day I read the news and cringe at the many tragedies involving children. It’s enough to make any parent think twice about having a date night out. But, despite our fears sometimes we just have to take a few hours to be a couple. And that got me thinking….

Seafood Pasta
Seafood Pasta

My daughter was with my mother this past weekend, and my husband and I were eager for some much-needed couple time. I looked at him and asked, “I wonder if we could make a great dinner date for $10?”. It’s not that we had to. But like many families, we budget our pennies and watch our savings carefully. Finding creative ways to create precious memories without breaking the bank is something we’re pretty good at. That night we made it our mission to whip up a delicious dinner and dessert all for $10.

When it comes to budget-friendly romantic meals, you can’t go wrong with pasta. Now pasta can be fattening, but it’s all about what you do with it. Pasta itself isn’t fattening. In fact, you can get whole-wheat pasta… or even Banza (chickpea-based pasta)! For our meal I decided to purchase the following:

  • 1 box of Linguine ($1.00)
  • 1 bag of mixed, frozen seafood ($3.50)
  • 1 jar spicy red pepper marinara sauce ($1.50)
  • 1 small jar Parmesan cheese ($1.00)
  • 1 pint Stephen Colbert “Americone Dream” ice cream ($3.00)

As a rule, I hate jarred pasta sauce. It’s bland, overly salted, and just plain boring. But keeping to the budget, I picked up this jar of sauce and was determined to make it into something worthy of a dinner date. I added a pinch of red pepper flakes, 1 tbsp. of sugar, a few dashes of oregano and sweet basil, and some salt and pepper. The frozen seafood was sauteed in a tiny bit of olive oil for about 8 minutes until tender and then added to the sauce. Finally I added 2 tsp. of fish sauce once I combined the seafood into the marinara sauce, just to give an extra “seafood flavor”, and everything was done! I tossed the sauce through the cooked noodles and the result was a fantastic dish chock-full of seafood with a gentle heat. We loved it! As for the ice cream… oh my goodness y’all, it is simply divine! I urge you this summer to go pick up a pint and give it a try for yourself.

The $10 dinner date!
The $10 dinner date!

So the next time you and your partner are itching for a night out, stop and try to get creative by making a date at home! It will be cheaper, and cooking together can be romantic and fun too! Have a wonderful day everyone and keep on cooking! ❀

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