Meet Grown Up Dinner: A Crown Me Frugal Mama Tip

IMG_20160429_223320It’s one of those days where I am trying my very best at supermom. The hub’s car didn’t start this morning so he had to take mine, meaning that my one day this week without appointments and therapies for my daughter is not going to include errands. This will be a day without milk, bread, and equally as annoying, napkins. First world problems, yes?

Meet Grown up dinner, our good friend. Tonight the magical hour will be 8 o’clock when we turn back into a nice couple having a quiet dinner in peace.  If you are also a parent, then I am sure you can relate to eating a whole meal without getting up, having a real conversation, and briefly ignoring all of your to-do items in exchange for sanity.  It’s rare that most parents have the opportunity to actually go out on a date, so this is also the next best thing.  If you don’t have children I still recommend grown up dinner with a significant other, good friend, or neighbor.  It’s a budget friendly spirit booster and we look forward to it all week. Dare I say it’s also occasion to splurge on calories. What is grown up dinner and how do you get on this train?

  1. Purchase ingredients for a restaurant quality meal. My husband always says he likes to cook because he likes to eat. So, even if you allegedly don’t cook, I encourage you to google a recipe for your favorite menu item and make it. Recently I have taken to finding high end ingredients at a couple key places for a song. Aldi carries a variety of lovely things like Prosciutto, Pancetta, Havarti, etc. I have a grocery outlet that I find treasures at like the crème brulee that I found last week where all you had to do was to sprinkle sugar on top and broil it for a few minutes. If you run to Whole Foods, Wegmans or Trader Joe’s, you’ll likely spend a fortune and might as well eat out. The whole point of grown up dinner is to eat a restaurant quality meal in the confines of your own home for much less money.
  2. Eat food you aren’t willing to share with littles. Our kids eat almost anything. However, I am not willing to share grown up dinner ingredients with them, because that’s just it, they will eat anything. So, this is the time to spend a little more time cooking, or spend a little more on your ingredients. Why give them a steak when they will eat a hot dog with the same joy?
  3. If you don’t have time to cook or don’t like to try our favorite summer meal: prosciutto, fresh melon, a nice wedge of cheese, and a decent bottle of wine or a glass from your house Bota Box. Sometimes we add a nice crusty loaf of bread with some olive oil and spices. Simply lovely! Other non-cooking options would be a caprese salad. But don’t order take out as that detracts from the loveliness of cooking a delightful meal at home.
  4.  Make sure that you clean out the dining area of all toys and clutter so your mind can truly rest. Leave your phone elsewhere as this is a time to reconnect with your loved one or rest your over programmed mind. My dad owns several antique dishes. So, I learned from him to choose a different plate based on what you are having. Presentation is half of the thing that makes this meal so fun. You should be able to sit back and think, “I made this gorgeous meal!”

Still don’t know where to start? Text your dinner partner, and ask for their favorite meal or choose from the list below:

Guy Fieri’s Cajun Chicken Alfredo Recipe:

Grilled Pizza: (may I suggest toppings to include fresh mozzarella, (pre-cooked) ground sausage, and caramelized onions). You can purchase pizza dough in the deli section of most grocery stores. Do NOT use Pillsbury as this in my opinion is NOT worthy of calories.

Gordon Ramsey’s Perfect Steak instructional video:

How about Easy Chicken Tikka Masala with Coconut Rice?:

Buy this sauce and follow the directions on the jar:

then make coconut rice:


One thought on “Meet Grown Up Dinner: A Crown Me Frugal Mama Tip

  1. Such a good point, and something I think we forget we can do for ourselves. I don’t need to go out somewhere fancy, where I have to worry about how much we spent. A night where I don’t have to keep an ear out for little dude to stir, and enjoy eating the “grown up” food we don’t typically get is my idea of good vacation right now.


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