Eating Well In The New Year – Gourmet On A Dime

Chances are you, along with millions of other people, have ambitious plans for the New Year:  Save money, eat better, hit the gym, lose weight.

Unless you’ve been on top of your planning and preparation for the New Year, you’re as likely to attain and have success with these goals as you would be trying to bake a loaf of bread without flour, water, yeast and a working oven.

If you’re trying to save money while still eating well, you can do it with a simple trick – eat at home.  There is no reason to abandon gourmet fantasies just because you are tightening your purse strings.  Cooking up a gourmet meal at home doesn’t have to be expensive, or hard to make.  Take inspiration from your favorite restaurants, and recreate them at home.

With fine cooking comes the need for high-end ingredients which can put a serious dent in your wallet, so just exactly are you supposed to save money while eating gourmet you may ask?  It’s easy, be creative, and substitute some of the more expensive ingredients.  Our favorites are the Porcini Rubbed Bone-In Ribeye with a 15 Year Aged Balsamic and the Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Mosto from Capital Grille on Larimer Street in Denver.  

Instead of pricey bone-in ribeye, you can substitute with a cheaper cut of beef.  What we’ve done is substitute the ribeye with New York strip – a much less expensive cut.  Just be sure that you purchase cuts at least 1” thick for the best results.  The porcini rub is relatively cheap if you spend an extra two minutes preparing – just grind up some dehydrated mushrooms.  A porcini mushroom rub can run up to $13 for a 2oz jar, and is difficult to find.  Aged balsamic vinegar can also be expensive, but with a little preparation, and a less aged variety (just be sure to check the label that it is purely balsamic vinegar), you can create a balsamic reduction to mimic the sweetness of an older aged variety.

The same trick works for seafood.  Many varieties have similar flavors and textures, just talk to the fishmonger and ask for their suggestion of a less-expensive substitute.  There are so many ways to save money while eating well.  

With simple substitutes, you’ll be entertaining on a dime.  Here is a recipe that has been altered to be made for less:

Porcini Rubbed NY Strip with Balsamic Glaze

For Steak:
2, 1” thick NY strip steaks
1/4 cup ground dried porcini mushrooms
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter

For Glaze:
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar


In a small pot over medium-high heat bring balsamic and sugar to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer until the thickness of maple syrup – about 20 minutes.  Glaze should coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.  

In a small bowl mix mushrooms, and spices.  Coat all sides of steak in the spice mixture you just made.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large pan and heat until shimmering.  Place steaks in the pan, and cook for 5 minutes, flip and cook to desired temperature – about 7 minutes for medium-rare.  

Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes.  Transfer steak to a plate and drizzle 2 tbsp balsamic glaze over the top.  

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