If you’ve ever been sitting on your couch watching a cooking show and salivating in envy over the sheer deliciousness of the foods they’re cooking while you’re snacking on a grilled cheese sandwich, then you know what it feels like to crave gourmet while you’re stuck with generic. Most people assume that fancy meals cost a lot to make and they’re a hassle to prepare, so we tend to get comfortable just “whipping up” certain simple dishes most of the time. However, there are plenty of ways to spice up your average dish and turn it into a gourmet masterpiece without spending a fortune to do so. Start with the four tips below and you’ll be on the right track towards equipping your kitchen and pantry with everything you need to make gourmet on a budget:
1. Incorporate Homemade Sauces and Garnishes
Sauces are cheap yet powerful flavor enhancers that not only set off the taste of a meal but also make it look more appealing by adding colors and textures to the dish. A good sauce can take something as bland as an unseasoned chicken breast and turn it into a sheer masterpiece when drizzled alongside a simple garnish. Thus, the best way to start on your path to making pocket change gourmet on a regular basis is to learn how to make a variety of low-cost homemade sauces and garnishes that can set any meal off.
2. Try the Meat and Two Veggie Approach
A simple way to get the basic of a gourmet dish without going overboard on variety is to use the good old meat and two veggies rule. Of course, the normal steak, potatoes, and green pea type dish is anything but gourmet. So how do you add the gourmet touch? Opt for meats and veggies that are less common yet still affordable, such as salmon, tilapia, lamb, etc. Instead of regular potatoes, you could go with purple or red potatoes for a more gourmet look. Gourmet seasonings also play a major role in dishes like these, but seasonings aren’t very expensive either, and you can even make some good seasoning recipes at home.
3. Repurpose Left Overs and Make Stews
Leftover food may look unappetizing when it’s sitting there all cold and frosted over in the fridge, but once you heat it back up it can be just as delicious. The question is, how do you make “yesterday’s meatloaf” a look like “tonight’s gourmet?” A few methods to consider would be making goulashes or soups, or you could check out some of the many leftover re-purposing ideas out there.
4. Invest in Some Fine Dishes and Silverware
With the tips above, you should be able to eat great without spending a ton of money to do so. Thus, why not take some of those savings and invest in some nice new plates, cups, and silverware so that the presentation of our food can match its deliciousness. After all, you wouldn’t see cheap-looking generic plates in a gourmet restaurant, and it’s said that humans eat not only with their stomachs but also their eyes, so presentation is key in giving that gourmet effect.