Pub Food - Dining In Instead of Dining Out

pub foodSo many people say that their strict budget does not include dining out. So I say, why not stay in and have fun creating your own pub style restaurant food?

While we try to follow a low carb diet for most of our meals, my husband and I enjoy pub food, especially Nachos with salsa and sour cream.

At the beginning of this year we made the decision, based on our new budget, to dine out less and less. While many people may feel deprived by not being able to dine out, we decided that instead of feeling deprived we would just make our favourite pub food at home. Not only is this a great way to save money, but we also know exactly what ingredients are in our meals.

Now you may be thinking that one of the other benefits of dining out is that you do not need to do all the cooking and cleaning. Instead you get to relax, enjoy a drink or two, and just unwind.

I agree. That is definitely a benefit.

But if you make meals that are quick and easy to prepare, and require little clean up afterwards, you will still have time to relax and unwind.

These are some of our favourite pub style meals. As you can see, some of these recipes are borrowed from other sites so that I didn’t miss any of the ingredients or steps.

Homemade Chicken Fingers With French’s Fried Onions

1 can French’s French Fried Onions

2 tbsp flour

Boneless chicken breasts sliced into long individual pieces like chicken fingers.

1 beaten egg

Using a plastic Ziploc bag, pour in can of onions and flour. Crush the onions.

Dip chicken pieces into the egg then drop chicken pieces into the bag of onions and toss to coat well.

Place on baking sheet and bake at 400 F. for 20 to 25 minutes.

Oven Baked Fries

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Scrub 4 or 5 potatoes and cut into wedges. Pat dry with paper towel.

Place in large bowl and add 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Sprinkle with Sea Salt.

Toss potatoes around in the bowl until they are well covered with oil.

Arrange potato wedges on baking tray lined with foil wrap and lightly sprayed with Pam, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Keep an eye on them so that they do not overcook. They should be golden.

Thin-Crust Tortilla Pizza

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Use your favourite tortillas. I like whole wheat tortillas.

Place tortilla on a baking sheet.

Spread on pizza sauce.

Add your favourite pizza toppings such as bacon, ham, peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni.

Sprinkle cheddar, parmesan and\or mozzarella cheese on top.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Baked Chicken Wings

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, pressed

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt to taste

10 chicken wings per recipe


Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Combine the olive oil, garlic, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large, Ziploc bag; seal and shake to combine. Add the chicken wings; reseal and shake to coat. Arrange the chicken wings on a baking sheet.

Note: I always line the baking sheet with foil wrap first and lightly spray with Pam to prevent sticking and to allow for a quick and easy clean up.

Cook the wings in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until crisp and cooked through.

What are some of your favourite meals when you dine out? Can you make them at home instead?



    • WorkSaveLive

      WorkSaveLive 03/27/2012 5:34 a.m. #

      ...baked chicken wings...yummmmmmmmmmmm

      I have a confession: I love food.

      That's it. Thanks. :)

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 03/27/2012 9:25 a.m. #

      Yeah, me too! :-)

    • Modest Money

      Modest Money 03/27/2012 10:05 a.m. #

      Personally I'm a lot less inclined to order a meal that I can make at home just as well. So usually I go more for the meals that I wouldn't know how to cook or wouldn't bother trying...things like sushi, pho, chinese, etc. A good steak or chicken wings is always good too.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 03/27/2012 10:27 a.m. #

      @ Modest Money - Years ago when I was in college I was able to make good chinese food, but for some reason it doesn't turn out nearly as good anymore, so that is something that we do order in. We use to go to the Cactus Club if we wanted a nice steak meal. Do you like that place?

    • CultOfMoney

      CultOfMoney 03/27/2012 11:07 a.m. #

      Nice ideas you have here! We make roast patatoes for holidays, and we always boil them first. Good to know if I cut them small enough I can just do them in the oven. Also, for the thin-crust pizza, I've had a lot of luck with wheat pitas as my crust. A bit more carby\substantial, but still only about 20g of carbs.

    • Michelle

      Michelle 03/27/2012 12:04 p.m. #

      This is awesome!! We aren't dining out at all right now, and I don't feel deprived either. I feel motivated to save more! I feel good about it. And now that the weather is warmer, we can take the kids out to have a good time...and guess what? It's not at a restaurant!

      Also, wanted to say that I agree with Modest Money about being able to make food just as good at home. I hated going to restaurants and getting food that was nowhere near as yummy as something I could whip up at home. What a waste!

    • popthoughts

      popthoughts 03/27/2012 2:18 p.m. #

      I have a hard time ever ordering pasta when I go out to eat, since I feel I can make just as good, if not better at home. Unless of course I go to some of my favourite little Italian restaurants, but that is the exception.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 03/27/2012 4:21 p.m. #

      @Cult of Money - I like wheat pitas as a pizza crust as well. It works out great. For the potatos, you can slice them into thick wedges. You don't need to cut them thin like french fries from the store.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 03/27/2012 4:24 p.m. #

      @Michelle - I agree! There are many restaurants that we use to go to where the food was awful and we would come out and say well that's another restaurant we won't be going back to. We make as much of a variety at home as we can, but a few times a year it is nice to go out for a steak. I never like the way my steaks turn out at home.

    • AverageJoe

      AverageJoe 03/27/2012 5:23 p.m. #

      When we first moved to our current home, we were 900 miles from our old house. We each felt a little we actually implemented your pub food idea for our own personal parties while everyone became more comfortable with friends.

      We jokingly called it Joe's Bar and Grill and because I work from home, I had some snacks laid out for everyone after school/work. I made some upbeat music mixes and we just talked about our days and enjoyed each other's company.

      Now that we've been here 3 years and my kids, spouse and I are all integrated into the community, I still look back on those "parties" fondly. They were cheap and helped us stick together as a family during a tough time.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 03/27/2012 5:34 p.m. #

      @AverageJoe - I love the bits and pieces of your life that you share in your comments. How cool it must have been to have a little family party at the end of each day to have fun and unwind with each other.

    • Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

      Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter 03/28/2012 12:19 p.m. #

      We like to cook and experience new dishes so eating at home isn't a challenge for us. Plus we love how much money it saves. Cool idea for the tortilla pizza. I will have to try that.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 03/28/2012 12:51 p.m. #

      @Miss T - Thanks for stopping by! Yes, cooking at home does save a lot of money and you know exactly what you are getting. I think I am going to make the Tortilla pizzas tonight for dinner.

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