A woman loves when a man can provide for her. That's a fact. And one of the most common things she'll be surprised and pleased by is finding a man that can provide her dinner by making it instead of just ordering or paying for it.
I'm not sure about you, but when I cook, I don't measure and I don't time things. I just cook. I assume you're cool with that? Okay, cool. My recipes don’t involve a lot of steps, hard to find ingredients or almost anything that can't be swapped out for something similar to it.
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The specifics: Bring her back to warm, comforting memories of childhood with a home cooked breakfast. One of my favorites is French toast. Just dip some good bread (Wonder Bread will fall apart on you) in egg (adding a little vanilla to the egg mixture makes it even tastier) and then cook in butter (both sides, genius). Top with some more butter, powdered sugar, syrup, jam or all four (which is commonly known in the culinary world as the "Diabeetus Deluxe") and enjoy.
Prep time: 15 min.
Recommended beverage: It's brunch, bitch! Have a screwdriver.
Photo credit: ralph and jenny, Flickr
The specifics: My favorite version of this involves frying up some thinly sliced potato and onion on the stove top, mixing in eggs that have been seasoned with garlic powder, salt, pepper, paprika and a touch of Tabasco sauce and then topped with mozzarella as the now somewhat solidified mass of deliciousness is quickly broiled to perfection. Mix your favorite hot sauce and mayonnaise together with a little lemon juice for a great sauce to go along with it. Slice like a pizza and serve.
Prep time: 40 min.
Recommended beverage: White or red sangria.
Photo credit: jeffreyw, Flickr
The specifics: This is basically just a fancy name for veggies n' shit. A meal version, though, should have vegetables, cheese, meat and crackers. Cut up some fresh vegetables (zucchini, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts), cheese (brie, havarti, cheddar) and meat (genoa salami, black forest ham, prosciutto) into manageable sizes, arrange on a platter and go to town.
Prep time: 10 min.
Recommended beverage: Pretty much any type of beer or wine, except for cans of Beast Ice or jugs of Carlo Rossi.
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The specifics: This is a good dish for the lady who enjoys the idea of a salad and the taste of a meal. Chopped greens, shaved carrots and sliced tomatoes start this off. Then comes the fun part; if you want to do something Southwestern, add black beans, shredded cheddar, sliced avocado, salsa, corn and sliced skirt steak. Another good protein-filled salad is one with grilled chicken, walnuts, dried cranberries and an oil and vinegar-based dressing.
Prep time: 25 min.
Recommended beverage: An MGD 64, ya health freak.
Photo credit: Protein salad image by Shutterstock
The specifics: Brown some beef, broil some steak or bake some chicken. Place two flour tortillas in an oil or butter greased pan on medium heat and add shredded cheese and some beef or sliced meat. If you don't have a large pan you may want to do half a tortilla at a time. When it gets melty on the inside and crispy on the outside place them together like a sandwich (duh) and press down a bit to help them stick. Slice it like a pizza and serve with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.
Prep time: 35 min.
Recommended beverage: Dos Equis cervesas...ese'.
Photo credit: Barnabus, Slayer of 3vil, Flickr
The specifics: I have a couple of friends who swear by their slow cooker. For this, you don't necessarily need any cooking skills, just the right combination of ingredients and plenty of time. Get a chuck roast, pour in some BBQ sauce and let it go all day. Shred the beef for sandwiches or put a baked potato on the side for a more entree-style meal. If you're in the mood for soup, put in peeled tomatoes, enchilada sauce, pre-cooked chicken, chicken broth, minced garlic, (deep breath), chopped cilantro, spices, diced onion and peppers, frozen corn, corn tortilla strips and some vegetable oil for a chicken tortilla soup.
Prep time: 6-8 hrs.
Recommended beverage: A nice creamy beer like Guinness goes well with stews and stewed meats.
Photo credit: dave.hackbarth, Flickr
The specifics: One of the most popular pasta dishes of all time is just a simple pasta bolognese (meat sauce). You can use ground beef, lamb, pork or veal (or any combination) for this. Brown some meat then put it into a pot of tomato sauce that's just beginning to heat up. Keep the fat from the meat in the pan and use that to fry some garlic and diced onions. In the meantime get some pasta (a medium ribbon or bow-tie shaped pasta will hold the meat and sauce well) cooking in some lightly salted water. When the pasta is al dente and has been drained of water, the onions are translucent and the sauce is piping hot, mix the meat, sauce and onions and then pour over the plated pasta. Top with some oregano, hot pepper flakes and/or some Italian cheese and you're good to go.
Prep time: 30 min.
Recommended beverage: A glass of red.
Photo credit: *clarity*, Flickr
(Previously published on January 30, 2012.)