Knowing 10 cheap dinner ideas will help you out ALOT when deciding where to take a girl out on a date. Knowing how to impress a girl on a budget is key especially since a lot of you are out of work, or had to take a cut in hours or pay because your company is trying to weather the economic downturn. These may be enlightened times, but men, we all know she still wants you to buy her dinner. But just because you're a little light right now doesn't mean you have to stay home alone on a Saturday night.
- Make her dinner. What girl doesn't want a meal made just for her? It's romantic and shows her you are the kind of guy who likes doing things for her. And the best part: you'll pay only a fraction of what you would in a restaurant. The only question now is what to make.
- Baked Chicken with Rosemary Potatoes Whatever you do, keep it simple unless you are a gourmand or are planning on appearing on "Iron Chef." Roasted Chicken with Rosemary Potatoes is a comfort food that has wide appeal and is easy to make. This cheap dinner idea will make any guy look like an experienced cook. Season two chicken breasts however you like, but salt and pepper do just fine. Bake the chicken for 20-25 min on each side at 275 degrees. Cut up about 1/2 a pound of red potatoes and season with salt pepper, and rosemary. Put a dollop of olive oil and a teaspoon of butter in a frying pan and fry the potatoes until they are soft on the inside and a little crispy on the outside. Don't forget to toss a salad together to round out the meal. A bottle of wine never hurts either.
- Tacos are a cheap dinner idea that can be fun and colorful. Buy some pre-packaged marinated meat and ready-made taco shells from your favorite grocery store. Look for avocados on sale to make guacamole if you feel like putting in the extra effort. Don't forget to crisp the shells in the oven.
- Sliders have become popular in bars and restaurants, but they're basically mini hamburgers. All you need are the little buns and ready-made frozen slider patties and you can have a fun little dinner for cheap.
- Sandwiches might seem like a cheap and lazy dinner idea. But if you dress up your sandwich just right, you might be able to front like you're an "Iron Chef" in the making. Instead of buying a boring old loaf of white bread, buy a baguette or french rolls. They're just as cheap and will make any sandwich seem fancier. Splurge on some fancy flavored mayo like cranberry or pesto mayo and you can let your date think you put more effort into making her meal than you actually did.
- BBQ In the summer, barbecue for her. An evening outside as the sun sets, grill up some BBQ sauce marinated pork chops or chicken. Add a few corn on the cobs and you've got another cheap dinner idea.
- Pizza is easy if you buy pre-made crust and a jar of marinara sauce. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and whatever toppings you choose. Or you can just as easily buy frozen pizza and pass it off as homemade.
- Food Carts If you live in a city with good food carts, take her for tacos or falafel from your favorite street vendor. Warning: not every girl will go for this. Take only an adventurous girl and make it fun by turning it into a larger excursion into the city. Take her to sites that are "off the beaten path." She'll be impressed by your city savviness and won't notice that your date cost less than twenty bucks.
- Happy Hour A lot of restaurants offer happy hours with drink and food specials. It might be hard to get your date to go out between four and seven o'clock (and a little lame), but many places have late-night happy hours too, usually beginning at ten o'clock. Invite her over for hors d'oeuvres at your place and then go out for dinner late, if you two don't get distracted first….
- Wine symbolizes romance and intimacy. Fortunately, you can get a good bottle of wine most places for less than ten dollars. Don't be afraid to ask your liquor store clerk for a recommendation with a price range. They are usually eager to help and know a lot about wine. It will be worth it when you open the bottle and pour two glasses. Make a short toast and lock eyes with her as your glasses meet across the table. Her heart will melt.
Whatever you decide to do, you can save money by doing it yourself and doing it for her. She will think you're sweet for going to all the trouble for her and you'll be able to get your game on even when you don't have a lot of scratch.