It Can Taste Just as Good at Home

Even though I promote cooking and eating at home, I do enjoy eating out every once in a while. The thought of sitting down, being given a list of a variety of foods to choose from, having my chosen meal brought to me, and not required to wash any dishes afterwards is a perfect way to spend an evening. Before Darling D and I were married, we should have been restaurant critics because we ate out more than we ate in and frequented restaurants that prepared and served various cuisines.

There is something about marriage and family that makes you become a little more cost conscious and eating out just doesn’t seem as practical with a family of five as it did as a couple of two. I also have become more particular about the places where we do eat and surprisingly, it is not as much fun as it used to be. My main reason is the expense because the tab could feed our family for a few days at home instead of for only one night “out on the town.” Despite that fact, a meal out every once in a while is good because of the reasons I mentioned above. It is always nice to have someone serve you. Just ask your children.

Another reason I do enjoy eating out is because I get to taste some of my favorite meals that are specials or signatures at those restaurants; meaning I can’t make them at home. I guess I could, but it may not be as good as they make it. Some of my favorites include the seafood puff pastry and crab cakes from Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto, the Linquine con Gamberetti and Tiramisu from La Strada, the Szechuan Prawns from the Szechuan Garden Restaurant, the apple turnovers from Neldam’s Danish Bakery, the Pasta Primavera from Mama Ricotta’s, the Sizzling Rice Soup and Mu Shu Prawns from Hunan Villa and yes, the chips and salsa from Chevy’s. Oh, I could go on.

You probably have your list of restaurant favorites, which keep you returning for that special meal you can’t get anywhere else; or can you? Todd Wilbur has put together a series of books that reveal the “secret” ingredients behind some of your favorite recipes that you thought you couldn’t get anywhere else. With titles like Top Secret Restaurant Recipes, Top Secrets Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits, & Shakes, and Low-Fat Top Secrets Recipes, you can prepare and eat a few of your favorite meals anytime and as often as you would like for the cost of groceries and minus the tip. You may not find too many of the recipes from your higher end restaurants, but it is a start. I’ve got another solution for that, which I will share in future posts.

If you are thinking about dining out, then feed yourself and many others by doing it this coming week. Share Our Strength’s Great American Dine Out is helping out to leave “no kid hungry.” During the campaign week of September 20-26, participating restaurants will donate up to five percent of their sales, which will be used to support private programs and communities that feed children and their families. Their goal is to end childhood hunger because of such alarming facts as children under the age of 18 being “more than one-third of individuals served by food banks.” Make a difference in the life of a child as well as his family and treat yourself to a night out on the town.

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