After a long day at work, nothing quite satisfies like coming home to a hot meal and a glass of wine.
Well, gentlemen, here is your opportunity to impress those ladies in your life. (And ladies reading this, act now and email the link to this post to your main man. That should be a not-so-subtle-enough hint for them, right?) November 3rd was National Men Make Dinner Day. So what better way to celebrate than by taking your leading lady's place in the kitchen this weekend?
OK, I hear some groans. Oh, I've got to leave work early, head to the grocery store, and ugh. I have to turn on the oven??!! Not necessarily. If you have a little sense of humor, and don’t mind helping out with the dishes (or to earn some extra bonus points, just sayin’), opportunity knocks.
I don't worry about those of you out there who already do all the cooking. I'm talking to the rest of you. Those who consider making tuna fish sandwiches and PB & J an artform, or don't know the difference between a chef's knife and paring knife. Yeah, you. You're cooking tonight!
To help get you excited, and give you a hand in planning, we’ve come up with a list of seven reasons why you should seize this opportunity to show you can cook (even if it means assembling a spread of mouthwatering cheeses and accoutrements to match that bottle of whatever you’re drinking). Dining with the family? Get the kids involved and have them help you in the kitchen or set the table while you cook — placemats, water glasses, even candles. Dining à deux? Up the romance factor with these easy tips for setting the scene (and don’t forget the music). Whether you’re cooking a romantic dinner for two, or having the kids lend a hand in the kitchen, just be sure to pop open a bottle of something she likes and greet her at the door, glass in hand.
1. You Can Play with Fire
C’mon, we know how much you love your grill. Fire it up and slap on a steak. Throw together a simple salad — all you need is a box of greens, a container of dried cranberries, some roasted almonds, and a log of goat cheese. A drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and voilà! A restaurant-worthy meal that is simple to prepare. (Bonus points for a fresh baguette from the bakery to mop up all those juices with.)
What guy doesn’t love a cold beer? Here’s a chance to enjoy a cold one and cook with it, too. Try beer-braised lamb in tacos, or use it to make crispy shrimp. Did you know that beer goes really well with cheese, too?
3. Making Dinner Doesn’t Have to Mean Everything Comes From Scratch
Short on time, or don’t know the difference between a saucepan and a frying pan? It’s OK. Pick up a fillet of salmon and heat up the broiler. With the aid of some jam, frozen berries, and this recipe, you can make something fancy and delicious in minutes. Serve with some rice pilaf and green beans almandine (both from the box, if need be).
4. An Amateur? Knock Her Socks Off with Your Skills
Wowing her doesn’t mean you have to source obscure ingredients or spend a fortune (or tackle something complex and perhaps risky, like a bacon-wrapped venison with a blackberry-chocolate sauce)? Roast your own chicken. It’s simple and doesn’t require a lot of hands-on effort, as long as you have an hour to allow for cooking. Plus, what’s more fun than tearing into a still-warm roast bird with your fingers?
It’s true — and a secret that those who host lots of parties rely on. For those who’ve mastered the takeout call but don't know how to turn on the oven, you can still serve her a hot meal — you just have to know the art of assembling. When you're short on time, or skill, it’s OK to call on your local Boston Market or Whole Foods for turkey with mashed potatoes or a roast chicken. Add a side of roasted veggies and a loaf of fresh baked bread. Butter. Voilà. Better than the corner bistro.
6. It’s an Excuse for a Picnic (Inside)
Want to surprise her with a knock at the door (and a dinner)? Pick a selection of no-bake appetizers that double as dinner. Pack a blanket, then set a fire in the fireplace — and don’t forget the wine.
You grew up on your grandmother’s spaghetti and meatballs, and you’ve waited for the day that you can pass the recipe down to your kids. Here’s your chance. Have them help you in the kitchen making meatballs and cooking pasta. Even if the finished meal isn’t as perfect as your Nana’s, your wife will be delighted knowing how much love everyone in her family poured into the dish.
Worst case scenario is that she doesn’t like what you make. Well, then, call for takeout. At least your dog will shower you with love and attention if you give him the scraps. And whatever you do guys, don't make her do the dishes.