Cupid's on a Tight Budget

Prepare a romantic dinner for less than $20

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    NEWSLETTERS

    cmpalmer/Flickr Creative Commons 2.0
    Valentine's Day on a budget

    Chocolates? Check. Flowers? Check. A cute gift? Check. Dinner for two? Oh, my ... is there any money left for a romantic dinner at a five-star restaurant?

    Valentine's Day, that holiday of love, can turn into the holiday of financial pain for some guys who just paid off their Christmas bills.

    But fear not. There is a way. Budget-challenged Romeos, take note.

    Tell your significant other you're going to make dinner for her on Valentine's Day. Next, go to BrokeAssGourmet.com. Yes, that's really the name of this San Francisco-based food and lifestyle blog. You'll find dozens of recipes, all for under $20.

    They include entrées like "Almond Crusted Shrimp Over Mixed Greens With Lime Dressing." Appetizers like "Green Chili-Winter Squash Dumplings with Orange-Soy Dipping Sauce." Soups like "Sweet Potato-Coconut Soup." Salads like "Rosemary Turkey Burgers over Spinach Salad." And desserts like "Ginger Butterscotch Over Ice Cream in Won Ton Cups."

    I met Gabi Moskowitz, the managing editor of BrokeAssGourmet.com, at Bi-Rite Market on 18th Street in San Francisco. Our mission: to find ingredients for a dish called "Cilantro Pesto-Stuffed Chicken Breasts Over Pinto Beans." We bought shredded mozzarella, a lemon, pinto beans, cilantro and a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast. The damage: just $15.26.

    We went to her home, rolled up our sleeves and went to work making the pesto first. We combined the mozzarella and cilantro with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. We then squeezed half a lemon into the mix and even shredded some of the lemon skin into it.

    We took the chicken and pounded it to thin it out, added the pesto to the chicken, and rolled it up. The oven was pre-heated to 375 degrees. After a little more than 20 minutes, the chicken was ready. We placed it over some smashed pinto beans, then garnished it with more cilantro. Delicious!

    I can say this: For under $20, it was incredible. And from the presentation, your sweetheart will think you spent way more than that. Here's a link to the recipe.

    The lesson: You don't have to sacrifice quality and tasty food because of the recession. I guarantee your significant other will thank you -- and so will your wallet.