Frugal Dinner: Romantic Seafood Dinner Date for Under $20

One of my big time and money saving tips for food is batch cooking ahead of time.  I usually cook a big, huge meal once a week for the rest of the weekdays.   Then I package them in tupperware (freeze the extra’s, if any), and eat the portions through out the week for lunch and dinners.  This works if you don’t mind eating the same thing the entire week.  If not, then try freezing some portions for next time.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that eating out is a weakness for BF and I.  This dinner is not as frugal as my other meals.  I think it’s a bit of a splurge for making my own food, and much less than dining out.


One time when BF and I were having dinner on his patio, he lit some candles and this completely changed the mood of our dinner.  It made it special and romantic.  This weekend, tried to put a romantic spin on our dinner, and what is more romantic than wine and seafood?

I grabbed some fresh clams and mussels from our local fish market, some fresh fruits & veggies, a bottle of white wine, some linguini and the old candle from lathe previous weekend.

I made a simple linguini in seafood and wine sauce, lit some candles, and we had a romantic dinner on his patio.  I know not everyone had their own patio, and I think a dinner inside would be just as sweet.


Alcohol always kills the bill.  I can’t believe BF and I used to order wine by the bottles when we first dated.  We still get the occasional glass or 0.5L, but much less now.

This is one of my favourite wines.  It tastes great – not too sweet or too dry, and it’s only $7.75 for 750mL. Perfect.  If we ordered this at a restaurant, we’d be paying at least $30 – $40 (+tax + tip) for the bottle of wine.


For some reason, I associate seafood with romance.  Maybe it’s because oysters are an aphrodisiac… Or maybe because it’s always so expensive at restaurants.

I used to be intimidated by clams and mussels, but now that I’ve cooked it once, it’s super easy.  Always get your shellfish at a good fish market – make sure it’s fresh, it shouldn’t smell super fishy.

Put your clams and mussels in a pail of water with salt.  Let it sit for 10 – 20 minutes.  You should see sand at the bottom of your container.  Rinse and it’s ready to use.

If your shells do not open after they are cooked, discard them.  Also remember, clams take longer to open than mussels.

Total cost of ingredients: $9
Cost of Wine: $7.75
Total Servings: 2
Cost per serving: $8.38

  • 1 lb of mussels and clams (clams weight a lot more than mussels)
  • 1 dry pint of grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • 1 shallot (chopped)
  • few leaves of fresh cilatro (torn)
  • 2 tbs of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 2 servings of linguini pasta
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring water in a big pot to boil for pasta.  Cook pasta to al dente.
  2. Place mussels and clams in basin of water with salt.  Leave for 10 – 20 minutes, then rinse.
  3. Over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic, shallots and tomatoes.
  4. Cook until tomatoes are soft.
  5. Add wine.
  6. Add mussels and clams.
  7. Close lid for 3 – 5 minutes until shells have opened up.
  8. Discard unopened shells.
  9. Turn off heat, add linguini and toss together.
  10. Garnish with cilantro and serve with wine.

Enjoy with your significant other with some candles and jazz music.



Filed under Frugal Dinners

5 responses to “Frugal Dinner: Romantic Seafood Dinner Date for Under $20

  1. Sounds lovely! I wish we had our own place so I could cook romantic dinners. Also I wish BF liked seafood!

  2. Pingback: Monthly Update – October 2011 « diggingoutandup

  3. Thanks for the recipe! We tend to cook one big pot of whatever and try to make it last 2-3 nights, but we’re horrible about eating out. It’s especially hard b.c we live in a highly asian area where food is easily available and inexpensive.

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