Cheap Date Night Foods That Still Feel Fancy

I’m going to be honest with you all, I didn’t expect the article I wrote on the Best Date Night Foods to work so well at getting me dates. Now I’ve blown a bunch of money on first dates, and I really wasn’t equipped for this. I’ve had to resort to scheduling two first dates a night, and all those trips to the grocery store are starting to add up. Thanks to the Sporked‘s taste tests, I’ve found seven items that help me stretch my budget while still creating a meal to remember. Let me tell you about my secret weapons for serving up a wallet-friendly fancy date night dinner!

The following article contains affiliate links that may generate a small commission to us when you make a purchase through the link. Learn more about how we work with affiliates here.

Bubba Burgers Angus Beef

Frozen burger patties were my go-to move in college when my fraternity bought them in bulk, so you can trust me to know my way around these bad boys. Sporked wasn’t around when I was in college, so I’ve now upgraded from US Foods’ generic burger patties to Bubba Burgers Angus Beef patties. To elevate the burger even further, I’d pair these with a homemade brioche bun and, on managing editor Gwynedd Stuart’s recommendation, “grilled onions, a good blue cheese, peppery arugula, and something sweet like fig jam.”

Related: Best Frozen Burgers: An Updated Ranking of the 6 Best Frozen Burgers

Vigo Red Beans & Rice

These dates are adding up fast, but I’m taking notes from senior writer Jordan Myrick, who ranked the best store bought cajun rice dishes and found the best red beans and rice in the process. Rice and beans are the ultimate cheap and filling dish, but these don’t feel cheap. As Jordan noted, you don’t need to add a single thing to this to make a great dinner. I love to over deliver, though, so I’ll add some andouille and a side of buttered French bread (thanks for the tip, Jordan!) and serve it at a candlelit table. I’m always a sucker for buying more of something to lower the price per item, so I’ve already bought a 12 pack of these. Now I need some help eating them!

Related: Store Bought Cajun Rice Dishes You’ll Geaux Crazy For!

Betty Crocker Creamy Butter Mashed Potatoes

Saving money on one item to splurge on another is the name of the game and the winner of that game is Betty Crocker’s Creamy Butter instant mashed potatoes. At a dollar a packet, I’m clearing the shelves of these! When the Sporked team went searching for the best instant mashed potatoes, these completely blew the competition out of the water. According to Gwynedd these are packed with flavor and don’t need any additional seasoning. Pair them with a show stopping main course like steak or salmon and no one will suspect you didn’t make your mashers fresh.

Related: Best Instant Mashed Potatoes: Who Needs a Masher?

Green Giant Simply Steam Creamed Spinach Sauced

I used to buy a lot of spinach when I stupidly thought the secret to finding love was losing weight. All along the secret was just writing unhinged articles on the internet to find women who’ll fall for me! Fresh spinach can skyrocket the total at the register and when you add in the fact that I’d have to cream it myself to serve for dinner, forget about it! Editor-in-chief Justine Sterling enjoyed the creaminess and savory flavor this pre-made frozen creamed spinach brought to the table. No one will suspect they should actually be dating the Jolly Green Giant.

Related: Best Frozen Creamed Spinach: Sidle Up to the 5 Best Frozen Creamed Spinach Brands

Bertolli D’Italia Marinara Sauce

Beggars can’t be choosers, I whisper to myself as I douse our pasta dinner with this affordable sauce from Bertolli. See, this didn’t take the top spot in Sporked‘s ranking of the best marinara sauces, but I’m simply not in a eating-Rao’s-with-every-meal tax bracket—sorry, ladies! All the same, this sauce is solid. Contributor Danny Palumbo praised it for including both tomato juice and tomato paste, the later of which brings out a certain sweetness in the sauce. Add some fresh basil and oregano, and you can take this sauce from good to great.

Related: Best Marinara Sauce: The 8 Best for Your Weeknight Pasta Cravings

Celentano Cheese Ravioli

Powerful enough to replace Jordan’s Wellbutrin, there’s nothing cheap about Celentano’s cheese ravioli besides the price. Jordan said it best: “Celentano’s cheese ravioli is absolutely sensational. The filling is herby and creamy. The dough is the perfect thickness. The ravioli are huge. You could eat these totally plain and be satisfied.” I’ll be pairing this with Bertolli d’Italia and a loaf of frozen garlic bread, so we can stay fed while we save up for that romantic trip to Italy.

Related: Stuff Yourself with the 5 Best Cheese Ravioli

Great Value Chocolate Ice Cream

“Basic, totally inoffensive, and highly affordable.” You might think these were the words my ex used to describe me, but, in fact, this is how Gywnedd described Great Value’s chocolate ice cream in her roundup of the best chocolate ice cream! I’ve saved money on ice cream by getting a gallon pail of chocolate ice cream for under six bucks, and that extra money went towards stocking up on toppings. Sprinkles, caramel, Oreos, Smucker’s Unicorn Magic Shell; you name it, I’ve got it. What’s fancier than me bringing the full ice cream shop experience to you?!

Related: Best Chocolate Ice Cream: 8 Best Chocolate Ice Creams for Cocoa Lovers

About the Author

Vinz Karl

Vinz Karl is a freelance contributor to Sporked and self-proclaimed Guy Fieri superfan. He believes in breakfast supremacy and is on a never-ending mission to try every flavor of Oreo out there. Originally from the Midwest, Vinz now resides in Los Angeles, where you can find him going on hikes, checking out new restaurants, and preparing for his eventual casting on CBS's Survivor.

Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!

Your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *