Cooking a meal for your date/significant other can be an impressive and endearing gesture…as long as your meal doesn’t end up doubling as oven-roasted ipecac. Trust me, nothing kills the romantic vibe quicker than a violently emetic bout of food poising (unless you’re aroused by that sort of thing). The ability to cook something edible and non-toxic beyond mere scrambled eggs is a vital skill to cultivate if you don’t want to spend the rest of your life crying salty tears of loneliness onto said scrambled eggs.
What’s important to remember when it comes to cooking is that it’s okay to be a novice. Don’t fret if you lack the culinary skills of your favorite celebrity chef; making a basic, tasty, and functional meal is better than failing at some exotic dish. You have to play to your strengths. A delicious date dinner doesn’t have to be a multi-hour labor of love (save the multi-hour labors of love for postprandial friskiness), but it does have to be palatable and not just something you nuked in the microwave.
Anyway, here are five easy-yet-good meals you can whip up for your date/S.O. in (roughly, depending on your chopping speed) under 45 minutes. I’m not a cooking expert by any stretch of the imagination, but they’ve worked for me (so if you’re dating one of my exes, the recipes should work for you, too!).
5) Asparagus soup
Asparagus is one of the most nutritive vegetables around, and this soup recipe is outstanding. Soup isn’t exactly stick-to-your-ribs filling, however, so make sure to swing by a nearby bakery and grab a loaf of freshly cooked bread to accompany your creation. You can even double up on the date aspect and spend the morning acquiring the needed vegetables from your local farmers market, just make sure to ask if the asparagus was free-range or not.
4) Stuffing and garlic mashed potatoes
It has been scientifically proven that nobody dislikes Thanksgiving food, not even people with ageusia. Cooking a turkey, however, actually takes some knowledge and preparation. Making stuffing in an oven and whipping up some garlic massed potatoes, on the other hand, is easy as pie. (Oh, and pumpkin pie is also pretty damn simple.) This is an especially cute meal if you’re a young couple that isn’t quite ready to do the whole meet-the-parents-and-the-drunken-abusive-uncle-at-Thanksgiving ritual yet, but still desires to stuff (pun intended) yourselves silly with a meal straight from Plymouth Rock. It’s all of the fun of your first Thanksgiving together with none of awkwardness of her racist grandpa castigating you for having voted for Obama.
2) Sesame beef
Not only is sesame beef delicious and easy to make, but the opportunities for “beef” related sexual innuendoes are endless and always funny. Always. “Hey, sweetie, would you like some of my special beef tonight?” See? Hilarious! There is NO way such an allusion won’t directly result on a wild bedroom romp. “Hey, want to come over for some beef?” Comedic gold. Remember, if your date is not laughing at your beef jokes, it’s probably because she doesn’t quite get them, so make sure to repeat the lines over and over and over until she understands that you’re using “beef” as a euphemism for your bovine furry costume.
Yes, I’m aware chili doesn’t seem all that romantic. However, not only is chili one of the best tasting things ever devised by the deities above, but it is also a helpful relationship booster. See, every fledgling couple goes through the phase of being uncomfortable with flatulence. Exchanging bodily fluids? Hell yeah! Letting a little fart rip on the couch as you to watch Supernatural? Gross!
Chili forces the issue, requiring both of you to overcome your reluctance to pass gas. If you’re comfortable enough to share a bed, you should be comfortable enough to fart with impunity under the covers. Sure, chili may not be the most elaborate meal on this list, but it’s the only one that can strengthen and save your relationship.