Quick Tips on How to Create Restaurant-style Meals on a Budget

Pasta is a side dish with unlimited options.

There are a few ways to implement simple, tasty, home-cooked meals into your regular diet. You can find inexpensive ways to add flavor to any meal with just a few simple ingredients. Here are three main side dishes that work well with any dinner meal.


Pasta is a quick side dish that can be prepared several ways and has unlimited options to add flavor to your meal. Just by adding white wine and cherry tomatoes to your dish, it can elevate a simple meal to the next level.

Of course, you can make traditional spaghetti with tomato sauce but by adding white wine or a combination of seasonings and spices, you can transform a bland, boring meal into an elevated restaurant-style meal. You can also toss in some red onions and mushrooms to add more flavor.


There are a multiple ways to cook vegetables that adds diversity to any meal. It’s time to get creative in the kitchen and experiment or explore new veggies or herbs that can enhance your dishes and tingle those taste buds.

Here are a few of my favorite veggies that add flavor to your dish. If you have not tried them, I would highly recommend it.

Boy Choy

Swiss Chard

Kale, Collard Greens or Spinach

Just by adding a mixture of common spices, it can flip a meal into a gourmet dish. Here’s a few to consider sprinkling into your dish.



Old Bay Seasoning

Lemon Pepper


Onion Powder

Garlic Powder

Curry Powder

Cayenne Pepper

Turmeric Powder


Never underestimate the power of cooking oils. It can enhance the flavor of your key ingredients. Of course, the oils can also be used to stimulate hair growth and eliminate breakage. Just thought I would add that in. I couldn’t resist. 🙂

Olive Oil

Almond Oil

Grapeseed Oil

Coconut Oil


Potatoes are a solid source of vitamins that provides unlimited potential because it’s so diverse. You can roast, bake, boil, fry, stir fry, or stew. It’s a sure way to add substance to your meal; loaded potatoes topped with sour cream, greek yogurt, or cheddar cheese with sprinkles of paprika, chives, sauteed onions and mushrooms levels up a basic potato.

When you over-bake the potatoes skin, it can also provide a crispy texture that provides a great alternative to a regular baked potato. I also like to smear butter onto the skin of the potato and then wrap it in foil paper, then bake. The skin comes out extra soft and buttery.


One of my favorite meals of the day is breakfast. It provides me with the nutrients and energy to start my day. There are endless ways to prepare short, quick meals to start the day. You can quickly elevate a simple breakfast by adding a few ingredients.

Here are three quick and delicious recipes to try.

Greek Yogurt Bowl

  • Sliced apples diced in cubes
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Honey (1 teaspoon drizzled over the top of the yogurt)
  • Peanut butter granola clusters broken in pieces and crumbled over the top
  • Crushed Bevita crackers (optional)

Pouched Eggs

  • Sliced thin salmon
  • One sliced avocado
  • English muffin

Breakfast Pastry Wrap

Phyllo Dough [thawed at room temperature]

Diced red onions

Chopped mushrooms

Fresh Spinach

Soppressata (optional)

Cooking Oil Spray

Lightly coat the pan with cooking oil spray. Layout the Phyllo dough and top with onions, mushrooms spinach and soppressata. Roll into a wrap. Spray the exterior with oil. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes at 375 degrees until lightly brown.


Salmon Pita Sandwich

Pita bread with canned salmon stuffed with arugula, cucumbers, red onions

Tonic water, fresh cranberries blended or strawberries and favorite chips

Loaded salad

Homemade Pizza with toppings of choice


Sweet Potato Souffle

Sweet Potato [One per serving]

Plain Greek Yogurt

Vanilla oat milk, coconut milk or vanilla almond milk

Brown Sugar



Topped with peanut butter granola or pecans (optional)

Bake the sweet potato in the oven for an hour.

Mash sweet potato once you take it out the oven and add a teaspoon of butter. Add one or two tablespoons of yogurt. Add just a bit of milk of choice. Just enough for the potato to have a whipped texture. Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg and mix well. Top with brown sugar. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes. Add pecans or peanut butter granola (optional).

Bake until golden brown and serve.

Bon Appetit! 🙂