Date Night

Pinch a penny on date night? Of course! My husband did the penny pinching this time. He went to the grocery store and found bags of salad mix 2/$5 and because they were going to be out of date in 2 days there were $1 off coupons on each bag! He got $7 worth of salad mix for $3. Awesome deal. He picked up 2 sweet potatoes instead of a whole bag of potatoes. This way we are not allowing the rest of the bag to go to waste if we don't have a recipe for them this week. He went to the meat department and found a steak to feed us for $7. It was not the fillet Mignon but it was good enough for me! All you have to do is cook a piece of meat correctly and it will just melt in your mouth. He then went to the wine store and got a $9 bottle of Jacob's Creek Shiraz. We try and keep our bottles under $10. A sign of a good bottle of wine is not its price but what you think of it.

A penny pinching tip for when you are going out to eat in a restaurant is to see if you are able to bring your own bottle of wine with you. Some restaurants do not have liquor licences and will allow you to BYOB. Even those with liquor licences sometimes will allow you to bring your own bottle. The catch there may be they might have a corking fee. Something small, like $5, is to be expected. But that is far cheaper than purchasing a bottle at the restaurant. Did you know that restaurants mark up the bottle of wine 200-250%? But please be nice to your server and tip them as if you had ordered the wine in the restaurant. They are taking the extra time to open it for you, get extra glasses and make sure your glass is full of the wine YOU brought.

So we put the kids to bed, pulled out the wedding china and crystal and hubby and I had a steak dinner for 2, with wine, for under $20. We even thought enough to turn off the lights and light some tapered candles. Hubby went as far as to turn on some Michael Buble for our dinner music.

Just in case you wanted to know our steak recipe here it is:
2 pounds flank steak or tri-tip, cut into 8-ounce pieces *
4 tablespoons black peppercorns, lightly cracked
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon **
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Preheat grill to high heat.

Cut flank steak into 8-ounce portions and lightly tenderize with mallet. Dust with crushed black pepper and kosher salt. Press salt and pepper into steak with the palm of hand. Transfer steaks to a baking dish and place in the refrigerator. Let marinate for 4 to 8 hours.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add extra-virgin olive oil and onions and lightly saute until onions are caramelized. Add garlic and cook until garlic begins to turn brown. Deglaze with wine and balsamic vinegar. Add sugar and let simmer and reduce for 20 to 30 minutes until mixture reduces to 3/4 cup.

Place steaks over a hot grill. Move once on first side to mark the steaks, cook for 5 minutes and flip, again only moving once to mark steak, cook for 4 minutes. When desired doneness is achieved, remove steaks from grill and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes.
Strain wine mixture and return to heat to reduce for 5 more minutes or until thick syrup is created. Serve with the steaks.

* just a note we used sirloin steaks
** we used our Shiraz

We also had baked sweet potatoes baked in the oven for 45 minutes at 400*. Bagged mixed salad greens with bottled dressing we had in the refrigerator. I topped mine with a few nuts and dried cranberries.

I love a penny pinching date!

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