ThreeJars Daily: Make Your Fave Restaurant Meals At Home

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Make Your Fave Restaurant Meals At Home




Why fight traffic—and pay expensive prices—to go out for dinner when you can make something just as yummy at home? We got a foodie mom to tell us how to whip up three cuisines in a snap. Check out how much you save! (Wine suggestions are listed for a cozy date night; just sub in milk or juice and increase ingredient portions where necessary for a family meal.)

By Tara Rummell Berson

Dinner #1: Filet mignon with two side dishes
Savings: 61% ($29.58 vs. $76.25 at Outback Steakhouse)

Serves 2
2, 8 oz. pieces of filet mignon
2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
2, microwave-ready yams
1 bag of Bird’s Eye Steamfresh vegetables (broccoli/cauliflower/carrot combination or whatever you want)
1. Season meat liberally with salt & ground pepper or use McCormick’s Montreal steak seasoning. We usually like to grill it, but since it’s cold outside, sautéing it is just as tasty. 2. Heat about two tablespoons of butter (or olive oil) in the skillet and quickly sear each side of the meat. Continue to cook over medium heat about 4 minutes each side (medium-rare) or longer if you prefer the meat well-done.
3. Follow the directions on the microwaveable yams and veggies (and add butter, salt or whatever you like to them) and you’ll pull together a delicious meal in about 10 minutes!
4. If you have extra time, serve a salad and some warm crescent rolls on the side.
Wine: To go with meat, we like Guenoc, a Californian cabernet sauvignon. It only costs about $10.99.

Dinner #2: Penne à la vodka
Saving: 71% ($22.22 vs. $77.50 at my local Italian restaurant)

Serves 4 to 6
1/4 lb. diced pancetta (Italian bacon), do not substitute
1/4 c. butter
1/3 c. vodka
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb. penne pasta
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 c. tomato sauce (or 12 oz.)
Recipe: (from
1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. When the butter foams, add the diced pancetta.
2. When the pancetta browns slightly (takes 2 to 3 minutes), add the vodka and stir.
3. After the alcohol burns off, stir in the tomato sauce and cream (the alcohol only takes a minute or two to burn off).
4. Stir continuously for 5 - 8 minutes. Place drained pasta into frying pan, add Parmesan cheese, and mix thoroughly for about 2 minutes.
Wine: Try a Chianti you like, or the Guenoc, suggested above.

Dinner #3: Shrimp Pad Thai
Savings: 28% ($36.94 vs. $51.24 at my local Thai place)

Serves 2
2 lb. bag of frozen raw easy peel and de-veined jumbo shrimp
Thai Kitchen Original Pad Thai mix with sauce (need one egg and 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  from pantry)
½ cup fresh bean sprouts
¼ cup crushed peanuts (I had a 12 oz. jar of dry roasted peanuts on hand, but if you don’t it
  cost about $3.49)
Optional One lime (or you can use lime juice that you already have in the fridge), A Taste of Thai garlic pepper chili sauce ($3.29)
1. Defrost about 7-10 shrimp per person (depending on how hungry you are!).
2. Follow the directions on the Thai Kitchen Original Pad Thai box.
3. Sauté shrimp and add it to your pad thai.
My husband and I like Dr. Loosen Riesling. It’s inexpensive, light and compliments the dinner well. Another one is Cavit Pinot Grigio. (Both bottles are $9.99 each.) We always have that in the fridge. Bon appétit!

Tara Rummell Berson is a freelance writer who lives at the Jersey Shore with her husband, two kids, and dog.


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