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Cooking on the cheap shouldn't mean minute rice and buttered pasta every night. With a little creativity and a little planning, Gabriella Paiella shows us how to make the most of a tight budget -- without sacrificing flavor or variety.
Broke as you may be, there will be a time when you're going to have to buck up and spring for a fancy dinner.
You'll want to celebrate something special appropriately -- whether it's a birthday, a promotion, or even a certain holiday coming up this Friday that will remain unnamed. (I'm talking about the House of Cards Season 2 premiere, folks.)
So here's how you do it:
- Forget going out to a restaurant, because we both know your credit card can't take that right now. And regardless, it doesn't matter, because you probably completely forgot to make a reservation.
- Put on a nice dress. Or suit. Whatever you're into. Maybe brush your hair, too.
- Learn to set a table. Don't worry about owning perfect plates and silverware -- mismatched settings can be charming in their own way.
- Light a candle or two.
- Wine. A lot of it.
Once you've got all those things covered, you're going to need a main dish that's a stunner. Steak and lobster are out of the question, so here are some affordable alternatives that'll still make for a special and memorable meal.
Tell us: What are you favorite dressed-up dinnertime mains that are still affordable?
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