HAVE A LAUGH!
HOW TO HAVE A MAGICAL VALENTINE’S WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK ROMANCE ON A BUDGET
Everybody wants to make Valentine’s Day special for their significant other. Advertisers would have you believe the only way to achieve this goal is to make a reservation at the fanciest restaurant in town and present your date with a diamond necklace. In reality, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to create an evening neither of you will ever forget. Here are a few ways to make Valentine’s magical without crying about the bill the next day. Dine Out With a Discount Ask any restaurant employee and they’ll tell you Valentine’s Day menus are a racket. Because places know they’ll be inundated with reservations, they jack up prices and decrease portion sizes. If you want to go out to celebrate, you’re much better off doing it around Feb. 14 rather than on the exact date. You can also use services like Groupon to score discounted rates at restaurants. Better Yet, Dine In Forgoing a restaurant entirely will save you even more money. The markup on restaurant food is so much that you can even do a trial run on your romantic meal without coming close to the cost of going out. Another great tip is to use less expensive cuts of meat. Skirt steak costs a fraction of the price of filet mignon, but prepared well, it’s just as delicious. Repurpose Decorations Every February, the stores fill up with Valentine’s-themed decorations. Why spend extra for something you’ll get one use out of? Instead, opt for Christmas lights, cheap votive candles, and other affordable options. They may not say “Be Mine” on them, but they’ll set the mood all the same. Remember, Love Doesn’t Have a Price Tag Spending as much as you can is no way to show your affection for a significant other. A little gesture makes just as much of an impact as an expensive purchase. Show your love in a personal, touching way. You can’t put a price on that!
BARBECUE PULLED PORK SHEPHERD’S PIE Start to finish: 35 minutes Servings: 8–10
Ingredients For the ranch mashed potatoes: • 2 pounds red potatoes • 1/2 packet ranch seasoning mix • 2/3 cup sour cream For the filling: • 1 pound pulled pork • 1 bottle barbecue sauce
• 1 can corn,
juices drained • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese • 1 bunch scallions, diced
Directions 1. Heat oven to 400 F.
2. Make the ranch mashed potatoes: Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces, then place pieces in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl. 3. Add ranch seasoning and sour cream and mash potatoes until the mixture is thoroughly combined and most of the lumps are gone. Set aside. 4. Make the rest of the dish: Toss pulled pork with barbecue sauce (as much or as little as you’d like to use). Add it to a large casserole dish, smoothing it to create one even layer. Top with corn, then add a layer of
mashed potatoes. Cover with shredded cheese and scallions. 5. Bake until the cheese is melted, about 14–16 minutes.
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