Entrees · Fun & Entertainment

$10 Dinner Date – Pan Seared Sea Scallops served with garlic polenta, marinated mushrooms, and spicy collard greens


$10 Dinner Date is my latest series idea- dinners for two for $10 or less!

I love making special meals at home. I know that some people feel like cooking is a chore, but the more you do it the easier it is. If you keep at it long enough, you’ll find that you don’t want to go out to eat because you are able to cook beyond the level of most restaurants in your area.

Since my typical meals come in at around $1.50 a serving, $5.00 a serving allows for some real luxury. Anyone who has worked in the service industry will tell you that restaurant food is marked up big time (don’t even get me started on alcohol). The markup is so high that $10 in groceries, prepared with some moderate skill, can produce the equivalent of a $30 dinner out (and that’s not including a tip). .

This first recipe in my $10 Dinner Date series is on the lighter side, great for an early spring evening!

Ingredients- serves 2 

6 sea scallops (U-12 size, I use frozen scallops from Costco) ($5.63)

1 bunch collared greens ($1.19)

1 1/2 cup coarse cornmeal ($0.47)

6 1/2 cups water

4 0z. mushrooms- or 7 average sized white or baby bella mushrooms ($0.89)

4 cloves garlic ($0.12)

1 tsp. salt ($0.02)

1 tbsp. chili oil ($0.08)

1 tbsp. butter ($0.10)

2 tbsp. vegetable oil ($0.06)

2 tbsp. olive oil ($0.06)

1 tsp dukkah ($0.05) – dukkah is an Egyptian spice blend, if it is not readily available in your area than a mix of basil, paprika, and oregano will also be delicious. 

1 tbsp. liquid aminos (or soy sauce) ($0.05)

Step by Step

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Clean, stem, and quarter mushrooms. Mix in oven safe bowl with 2 tbsp. olive oil, dukkah, and soy sauce. Bake for 15 minutes. (When the timer goes off, remove mushrooms from oven and set aside)

3. As mushrooms are baking, wash and roughly chop greens. Combine greens in a saute pan over high heat with 1 tbsp. chili oil, 1 tbsp. vegetable oil and 1/2 tsp. cumin. After two minutes turn heat very low and cook, stirring continuously, for four more minutes.  Turn off burner and let greens set while you make the rest of your meal.

4. Now fill a large pot with 6 1/2 cups water, mince and add in garlic, add in salt,  and bring to a boil. Slowly stir in cornmeal. Once all of it is in the pot, turn heat down to medium low. Continually stir until polenta is nice and thick. Turn off burner and let it set when done. 

5. Take you scallops and saute them (without moving them around) for about 4 minutes on each side in oil. 

Now plate 3 scallops for each of you, divide up the side dishes, and serve! One of the great things about this dinner plan is that it leaves several servings of leftover polenta that you can serve as a side dish for the next meal or two.





One thought on “$10 Dinner Date – Pan Seared Sea Scallops served with garlic polenta, marinated mushrooms, and spicy collard greens

  1. Another great post – I am often dissapointed when I go out and eat – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left a place thinking, “Well, the one good thing was I didn’t have to wash the dishes.” This has even happened at highly acclaimed places from time to time…my birthday dinner at a new Italian Bistro started out looking very promising. There were lovely trees in the entry way, a classical music pianist, gorgeously stained concrete floors, midnight blue walls – and the food, $24.99 for my plate tasted like frozen tortellini. My two friends felt the same way about their meals.

    Learning to cook is easy, especially if you can cook meals like yours above, elegant without being overly fussy and complicated, and cooked in a way that lets the flavors of the food shine through.

    I’m looking forward to more of your 10 dollar posts!

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