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PLEASE.. help me plan a simple dinner for tonight!

I want to cook dinner for my boyfriend and I tonight and I am having trouble thinking of a fresh and creative meal plan. I want to make something relatively simple with only a few ingredients, but really good. I was thinking maybe steamed artichokes and chicken (maybe just pounded, skinless, boneless filets dipped in egg mixture, flour and then sauteed, topped with lemon?). Maybe some really good fruit for dessert or a peach crumble sort of thing? Is this really boring? Does anyone have any better ideas or recipes? It doesn't need to be complicated, but I am getting bored of making the same things every night!!!! (plain sauteed chicken with either tomato and cucumber on the side or a salad of spinach, nuts, strawberries or dried cranberries and goat cheese.) My boyfriend has been trying to eat healthy which is making it hard for me to think outside of the box. Please help me! Does anyone have any other ideas, recipes or suggestions? I won't have a ton of time, but I want to change up our routine! Thank you!!

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  1. We love to make rubs for pork tenderloin (see Michael Chiarellos Fennel Spice rub) and roast some asparagus and tomatoes as a side dish. It is one of those meals that leaves you satisfied all around - and isn't heavy at all!

    1. I love the Vietnamese-Style Grilled Steak with Noodles from Epicurious. I have used several different types of lean steaks and have most of the ingredients on hand--only needed to buy mint and a red pepper (I substitute julienned cucumber for the bean sprouts). It is tasty, quick, healthy and the mint gives it a great freshness that I especially love when it is hot outside like it is now!!


      1. How about quail instead of chicken?

        I love it, especially the semi-deboned which is so, so easy to grill/George Forman-ize, sautee.

        You can stuff them with almost anything (I personally like figs, but go crazy), and they only take a very few minutes to cook.

        You'll look like a "gourmetgal" without having to tell the BF how simple it is.

        (Hints: while I like a simple salt and pepper and paprikia [for color mainly] prep, another one of my quail favs is a simple raspberry jam-mixed-with-Korean-chili-sauce glaze.)

        1. There was a very simple recipe in this weeks NYT mag for pasta with roasted tomatoes, basil & mozz. Also, the 10 min mains at gourmet.com can be helpful!

          1 Reply
          1. re: elizabeththinks

            That pasta recipe does sound good.

            Or what about pesto with pasta and/or chicken?

          2. My go-to simple, fresh dinner is shrimp scampi. Takes no time too. BF loves it and not too awful for you. When I did weight watchers I could fit it into my plan. I usually make a simple green salad with shaved parm. This recipe from Gourmet is a piece of cake! http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

            1. Ina Garten has a great parmesan chicken recipe which mixes parmesan in with the breadcrumbs for the coating for the chicken and then cooks in oil on the stove. You can top it with the salad.

              She also has a great peach raspberry crisp which you could downsize.

              1. Completely simple menu! sweet red peppers sauteed slowly with a quarter cup of Balsamic vinegar. (slowly - so set it on low, cover it and check every 20 minutes). While that's cooking, grill two boneless porkchops basted with garlic and Balsamic. (they are about as lean as chicken!) I serve this with nothing but fresh crusty bread and fresh Mozz. Cheese. If you want a green veggie, take baby spinach and wilt it... it doesn't need anything more than that and won't compete with your flavors. (Another suggestion is to serve the meal more like an appetizer and main course - it can be a slow romantic way to have dinner, and more so if you buy a bottle of Chiant (goes great with the peppers and doesn't have to be expensive) Easy dessert? (My fiance thinks I rock when I make this... Men... :) Grill sliced pound cake (you can put a little butter on each side so that it browns, but don't have to. Top each slice with fresh cut peaches, and sprinkle nutmeg and cinnamon on top. This works great with any juicy fruit! If non are in season buy the canned peached in juice - healthy and easy and tasty - what more can you ask for??

                4 Replies
                1. re: Jennyb

                  Love the dessert but pound cake is sinfully fattening. Angel food cake, though not so dense, rich, and yummy work really prepared like this.

                  1. re: kittychow

                    "pound cake is sinfully fattening".

                    With all due respect, the scampi recipe that you suggested sounds delicious, but it has 5 tablespoons of butter plus oil! I wouldn't call that "light".

                    1. re: valerie

                      Per serving calories aren't too horrible and I don't recommend dessert with it. Obviously scampi AND pound cake are not a dieter's friend and I would suggest them both in one sitting. ;)

                2. Starter
                  Salad with Cucumber, tomato and Avocado with EVO and Chines Rice Vinegar

                  Pasta with Tuna and peas

                  Get higher end canned or jarred tuna in oil.
                  Drain oil and reserve,

                  Just prior to draining the pasta, use the oil and if needed add a little more and saute thinly sliced garlic, then add fresh or frozen defrosted, not canned, peas and diced and seeded fresh tomato, and tuna. Toss and fully coat with oil serve over pasta, prep time is very fast.
                  Top with grated parm if you like.

                  Lemon ice or sorbet for later.