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BEST Recipes To Impress a Man... Please HELP!


Hey lovelies, so I really need some sure-fire man approved recipe's that will blow this man's socks off. I'm single and in my early twenties but I'm not getting any younger, my biological clock is ticking!!

Anyway, this guy is around 5 years older than me so his tastes are probably more sophisticated than a guy my own age, and he doesn't seem too hard to please. I don't really know him that well ( *yet*... cue sinister giggle), but I DO know that he likes cupcakes, brownies, meat, and cheesecake. Does any body have any mind boggling recipes? This is what I'm looking for:

- Savory and dessert recipes ( especially those falling under the above mentioned categories)

- Some recipes that can be made for a dinner date but also easily transportable dishes for potlucks and things that make good "treats" that transport and store well, like cookies or cupcakes

- Classics that every body loves, but taken up a notch ( example: lobster mac and cheese. It's popular American dish gone gourmet!) or some sort of decadent brownie but not just any brownie, like a brownie with a twist

- Obviously it has to taste incredible, and be like, the best thing you've ever eaten :)

Anyway, I would sooo appreciate your help, thanks guys!

  1. I wouldn't try to make anything fancy. If it were me, I'd simply make something he's very familiar with and likes very much - but make the very best version of it he's ever had. I'd pick familiar foods such as roasted chicken, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, yeast rolls, etc.. You get the idea. My point is, I wouldn't try to make lobster macaroni and cheese (which I've never been impressed with whatsoever - I'll take regular macaroni and cheese any day of the week) or anything else "refined". Just make regular ol' food, but make it really well. There's a lot to be said for a near perfect everyday foods.

    All of that being said, the food you serve won't matter one bit to him - if he's the type of man you're probably seeking. If he's the type of man you're probably seeking, he'll be MUCH more interested in what's in your heart and in your head than what's on the plate.

    So, relax, make good food, and just be yourself.

    2 Replies
    1. re: 1POINT21GW

      How did the dinner/date go???

    2. Anything, as long as you are wearing something lowcut.. It works!

      Seriously though, most men are not picky.


      5 Replies
      1. re: Jerseygirl111

        Spot on girl, men eat with otherthings besides their eyes.

        1. re: Jerseygirl111

          I'd say most PEOPLE aren't picky. Even CHs. We all appreciate the effort and care it shows.

          1. re: c oliver

            Hee hee hee, yep. The first meal I made my SO was a pork roast with fried apples, salad, and mashed potatoes.

            He was very big into working out and ate really lean, so all the grease and fat made him 'toss his cookies.' I felt so horrible and never want to cook for him again!

            Then like a true gentleman, the next meal I made him of bakes fish in parchment with green beans, he never skipped a beat and dug in and thanked me.

          2. re: Jerseygirl111

            I came here to say the same. Most men are not that picky (I am a man). Make him a nice steak with some sautéed mushrooms and a simple salad. Wear something nice, revealing is a plus. If he doesn't like it, he's not the one.

            Do you really want someone you have to spoil all the time? He either likes you or he doesn't...

            1. He's a guy. We just aren't that hard to figure out. Fix him a porterhouse or a ribeye steak and some kind of potato. I suggest a baked potato. You want to get fancy try a twice baked potato.

              After the initial seducement, you can fix him whatever you like and he will say he likes it....even if he doesn't. Pay attention to what he orders at restaurants and mimic that style of food.

              My family and I like chicken marsala, Swiss steak, lasagna, stir fry of almost anything.

              Develop some kind of spaghetti or pasta dish.

              The secret to a successful date for a guy is ... you showing up. Anything that doesn't end with you spitting on his shoes after that is a win!

              6 Replies
              1. re: Hank Hanover

                "Fix him a porterhouse or a ribeye steak and some kind of potato. I suggest a baked potato. You want to get fancy try a twice baked potato."

                This. Steak and baked potato is relatively easy and is quintessential "man food" Something with a bone in it will even up the awesomeness. Bone in ribeye would be my suggestion.

                1. re: twyst

                  Seriously. My fiancé will go with me to all sort of restaurants and is getting more adventurous but 9 times out of ten he will order a steak and potato combination. Provided that they offer that.

                2. re: Hank Hanover

                  "He's a guy. We just aren't that hard to figure out. Fix him a porterhouse or a ribeye steak and some kind of potato. I suggest a baked potato. You want to get fancy try a twice baked potato."

                  This x20. I make all sorts of things at home, fancy and not, and nine times out of ten, my husband is happiest with just beef and potatoes.

                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                      This is so true. My DH will eat anything I make for him, but really raves when it's "guy" food--meatloaf, burgers, steak, stews, even casseroles with lots of meat and cheese.

                      A guy who doesn't eat this type of stuff at least once in a while is either lying, or just not worth dating.

                      1. re: Isolda

                        After all these years, and all these meals, Mr. Sueatmo still orders hamburgers almost everywhere. These days it is a hamburger with a salad, instead of fries, but still--a hamburger. Oh yeah, ten years ago it was a cheeseburger.

                        I agree with everyone else. Get the guy a good steak, a beautiful baked potato, and a really nice, fresh salad. Light a candle or two, dress like you really want to see him, and then post how the dinner went! OK?

                    2. Sweetheart, your biological clock is most certainly not anywhere close to ticking in your early freaking twenties. Good grief!

                      That being said, wowing dates with food is still fun. :-P If you want to try something a little more sophisticated and impressive-seeming, look for recipes for panna cotta. It's an Italian dessert that is very simple to make and has few ingredeints but it is incredibly delicious and a little different. (Also, incredibly unctuous and creamy, very suitable for a cheesecake enthusiast.) I've made it for all sorts of crowds (with chocolate ganache and berry coulis for toppings, also very easy to make!) and, the moment everyone tries it, all you can hear is the sound of spoons on dishes until there's nothing left!

                      But, just remember, there's really no such thing as "man food." Men are just people and like all kinds of food and he will be touched at you doing something thoughtful for him regardless of what it is, if he's worth his salt. Like 1POINT21GW says, if he's worth it he's going to care about who you are, not what you cook. Just relax and have some fun. :-)

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Lady_Tenar

                        1+.That said, Julia Child's Lobster Soufflé was what did it for me and we were married for 46 years until she died.

                        1. re: Joebob

                          you were married to julia child? did her husband know? ;)

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            My wife was Swedish and her mother taught her how to cook from an early age. Lucky me!

                        2. re: Lady_Tenar

                          +1 on that. Seeing your screen name and repost after just an hour of no replies, you might be confusing a "ticking clock" with some other needs. Men will smell desperation more than anything you make in the kitchen.

                          1. re: Chefpaulo

                            The virtual slap on the wrist that I needed. Thanks... Lol

                        3. I would recommend you watch Ina Garten *The Barefoot Contessa*.That woman knows how to feed a man and keep him happy! Plus her recipes are simple and every one I have duplicated have been beyond scrumptious:) She has been married to her man for like 44 years.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Lillipop

                            I agree Lillipop.

                            Here are some of Ina's standouts that I have made and got raves.

                            Perfect Roast Chicken
                            Lobster Mac and Cheese
                            Turkey Meatloaf
                            Chicken Stew with Biscuits
                            Asian Grilled Salmon
                            Shrimp with garlic and herbs
                            LInguine and Shrimp Scampi
                            Shriimp Salad
                            Chinese Chicken
                            Roasted Vegetables with Orzo
                            Coconut Cupcakes
                            Raspberry Cheesecake
                            Filet of Beef Tenderloin

                            All of the recipes I have made from Ina have been wonderful. She uses really good ingredients, albeit too much salt. I cut back to about 1/2 the salt in any recipe she has. Other than that, my friends and family swoon. And her recipes are pretty easy to make.

                            I couldn't think of more, but there are no failures I can think of. Good luck, have fun and enjoy learning to cook.


                          2. Depends on what kind of a man he is...simple? sophisticaated? down to earth? My experience was making Indonesian dry curry always work. Some men will be happy with barbeque steaks and spicy potato salad. You need to "fish" his taste and don't work too hard on it. The most important thing is to carry a good conversation during dinner and knowing what his interests are. Good luck :)

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: roro808

                              Thanks! He is pretty laid back, likes burgers and beer and strikes me as the laid back type!

                              1. re: urfuturewifey

                                Then prepare delicious cheeseburgers...crispy fries...get him all liquored up and well you know what to do next:) Dessert!

                                1. re: Lillipop

                                  Really, homemade burgers and fries would please most men I know!

                            2. For me, lobster w/mac would be too rich (I love them both on their own).

                              I love Marcella Hazan's roast chicken with 2 lemons .. so easy, so delicious. Use a chicken that has not been frozen. (I use 1 big lemon and quarter it.)

                              I recently made the latest Cook's Illustrated carrot cake -- it's very impressive, delicious. You bake it in a half sheet pan so it cooks in 16 minutes. When it's cooled off, you cut it into 4 six by eight inch pieces.

                              So far, I'm too dumb to know how to transfer the photo from my iphone but SOMEDAY soon, I'll learn how and send the pic.

                              I also love Cook's chicken piccata recipe .. does not call for wine, just broth and lemon juice.

                              1. ...oops-- as for dessert, a strong dark chocolate cake with rasperry and chocolate ganache will win his heart. Or, a simple apple pie with icecream.. :)

                                1. My husband didn't like lobster mac and cheese (from a restaurant) saying it was a waste of a good lobster but he doesn't care for pasta (except lasagna and American chop suey).
                                  I don't think age has to do with sophistication. Sophistication has to do with experience and upbringing. I'm not sure if you should try anything his mother makes but I think you should try some old standbys, everyday type of cooking. Steak and baked potato is a good suggestion. DISCUSS what kind of soup he likes. Has he ever had homemade soup? Involve him in choosing the menu.
                                  Sending him home with a small bag of homemade cookies or brownies would be clever. I make a peanut butter cookie with either very mini pb cups (King Arthur flour purchase) or chopped up Reese's minis. Whoopie pies are extravagent. Any homemade cookie is a good idea just find out if he hates nuts or raisins.
                                  The key is not to impress him with your skills but to indulge him/pamper him with his favorites. Introducing something new that he has helped choose, is also a good idea. How about a shopping trip date? Or, even better, are you near a city where a foodie tour is offered?
                                  So many do not cook anymore that I think your efforts will be greatly appreciated.
                                  At my house, a good pot roast also is important. DH also loves my chicken and rice soup (flavored with bay and dill, based on a Moosewood cookbook recipe for mock chicken noodle soup), and he has this awful urge for homemade pizza every Sunday night. He also appreciates homemade muffins, blueberry is his favorite - the muffin is almost cakelike.
                                  Keep in mind my husband was brought up on a NH farm so exotic flavors or anything too spicy is not something he likes. He hates Mexican (despises cilantro).
                                  Also keep in mind that one time a former boyfriend took me to a Chinese restaurant where he ordered a steak and then asked for ketchup. I knew our relationship was over.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: dfrostnh

                                    Hahaha, that's funny! And thank you for the suggestions :) I really like the idea of making some whoopie pies for him to take home... Although He might interpret that as a double entendre sorts :x

                                  2. Breathe. Relax.

                                    He's not interested in your kitchen. It helps, but it's not the biggest decision.

                                    Make something that you're familiar with -- this is not the time to attempt some detailed, difficult recipe that you're not comfortable preparing....difficult recipes rarely turn out perfect the first time -- and while cooking isn't the primary factor in finding someone you enjoy being with...putting a burned, off-tasting wreck in front of him isn't going to help you any, either.

                                    Keep it simple...a romantic evening is not enhanced by garlic breath or indigestion.

                                    And really -- hit the snooze button on that clock, dear. Early twenties is far too early for that thing to be ticking.

                                    And don't, *don't*, DON'T go after this with the assumption that you'll get married and live happily ever after after this date. The world doesn't work like that anymore....enjoy your time with him and see where the road takes youl.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      ++++++++1000 on this.

                                      how confident are you in the kitchen? would you feel ok making something you've never made before? not everybody does.

                                      make something you already know you can make that is great.

                                      most people, that includes men, are just happy somebody wants to do something nice for them, and a home-cooked meal is always appreciated. i've been with the b/f almost 11 years and he still thanks me for cooking. (although as mentioned above, he would shoot me in the hand if i made lobster mac and cheese. i agree it's utter heresy.)

                                      don't make anything too drippy or saucy, to avoid potential embarrassment -- on either side. that includes avoiding long noodles and soup. if you wouldn't eat it on a job interview, don't make it for a date.

                                      avoid lots of garlic or spice. he may not tolerate the latter well and garlic breath is NOT romantical.

                                      don't make anything too BIG, cheesy or starchy. you don't want him needing a nap after dinner.

                                      my b/f only like fruit for dessert and rarely wants sweet on top of dinner. he waits a few hours and never orders dessert out.

                                      and lastly don't make it look like "this is the meal that will snare me a husband/baby-maker/picket-fence-builder/little-league-coach forever and ever." it's just dinner with a man you like and want to know better.

                                      good luck!

                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                        Oh heavens, yes -- do NOT invoke Mama in his mind. Linking yourself to his mama will never, never end well.

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                          I'm fairly experienced in the kitchen and cook/ bake often, but I feel like I always make the same few recipes!

                                          1. re: urfuturewifey

                                            Well, they'll likely be 'new' to him, so I'm not sure why you wouldn't make something you know you do well.

                                      2. For a main I would stick to something simple. You could perhaps try making steak with chimmichurri, roasted fingerling potatoes and roasted asparagus.

                                        The chimmichurri you would ideally make a few days before the date to let all the flavours mingle. It will also take away from any cooking chores during the date.

                                        For a dessert, I would definitely recommend the Smitten Kitchen chocolate silk pie. I've made this a couple times now and it doesn't disappoint, even my husband who doesn't eat dessert will have a small slice.


                                        I also add a shot of coffee liqueur to my whipped cream garnish.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: Musie

                                          I've never tried chimmichurri before, but it sounds intriguing... And that silk pie sounds amazing!

                                          1. re: urfuturewifey

                                            The pie is pretty easy too. You could even make it the night before since it'll need time to set.

                                            Chimmichurri is a herb blend of parsley and oregano, usually served with Argentine steak.

                                            1. re: Musie

                                              Musie, I've been wanting to make steak with chimichurri. Do you have a recipe you could recommend? I see a lot out there with cilantro, which I'm not sure I'd dig...

                                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                A pretty good chimichurri, no cilantro:

                                                1 bunch flat leaf parsley, de-stemmed
                                                4 cloves garlic
                                                1/2 cup OO
                                                1/4 cup wine vinegar
                                                3 TBS lemon juice
                                                1tsp. salt
                                                1/2 tsp black pepper
                                                1/2 tsp cayennne
                                                I whack the garlic first in a small chopper, then add everything else and whack it some more.

                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    finally - a good chimichurri without cilantro. Hurray. And thanks.

                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                      Veg, this recipe of yours is a CH classic. Thanks for sharing again.

                                            2. The first time my wife made spaghetti carbonara for me, I knew that she was the woman I would spend my life with.

                                              27 Replies
                                              1. re: jpc8015

                                                I was going to suggest this. Everthing about it is scrumptious. And drink sparkling rose' with it and a simple salad and some good bread. Done.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  No man wants to be seen drinking a sparkling rose when he is trying to impress a woman. Try a good pilsner or an English style IPA.

                                                  1. re: jpc8015

                                                    in her flat? Seriously?

                                                    How about red wine?

                                                    I wouldn't put a rose with carbonara, just because IMO there's too much heavy for the rose, but no man ever lost points in my book because he drank the right wine for the dish.

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      In my house there is a red wine for any occasion. There is also a beer for any occasion. I know that not all men in their twenties enjoy wine, most do enjoy beer.

                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                        I can't find the thread I'm looking for but here's a different one re sparkling rose's.


                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          i know plenty of men whose masculinity is not threatened by rosé champagne. lol, many of them are master sommeliers.

                                                          that being said a good brut rosé champagne is a far cry from cheap pink bubbles.

                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                            And if they ARE threatened, then THAT'S someone to weed out right away!

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              My SO wouldn't be threatened, but if I served him a sparkling rose he would look at it then go to the fridge to get a beer. :)

                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                Well, then he prefers beer to wine.

                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                  As he was muttering *seriously JJ* to himself as he huffed off:)

                                                        2. re: jpc8015

                                                          No kidding, c oliver and hotoynoodle! This thread is starting to read like more foodie version of "Cosmopolitan" with all this "all men are primitive beasts who all think the same way and like the same things" stuff. As far as I'm concerned, a guy who is going to be thrust into a vortex of gender confusion and insecurity just because he's served something that isn't super-stereotypically "manly" is one you want to kick to the curb RIGHT away. There are plenty of men who enjoy a nice wine.

                                                          I will repeat, whatever you choose to do, OP, just remember that you're on a date with an individual, not all of male-kind. Tips about getting into "the male mind" are good for selling silly books and magazines but pretty useless for actually getting to know a person that you like. Just look at it that way, and whatever you end up cooking, have fun.

                                                          And FYI: My mom is a crappy cook and my dad (an excellent cook) will have been madly in love with her for 30 years this summer. It's always nice when someone can cook you a good meal (I certainly appreciate it in men!) but this ain't the 50s anymore. ;-)

                                                          1. re: jpc8015

                                                            No! No! No!

                                                            Men buy sparkiling rose in restaurants for women. 9/10 he will take it the wrong way if you serve it to him in your apartment.

                                                            1. re: law_doc89

                                                              I remember once in the late 60's when a guest brought a few bottles of Lancers to a party. The women enjoyed it and the guys wanted to know "who brought this $hit?". I think they would have sooner had a Grasshopper.

                                                                1. re: law_doc89

                                                                  Not this allegedly "sophisticated" man! If he knows about wine, he'll know how food-friendly it is.

                                                                  1. re: law_doc89

                                                                    When you first meet a man, he will eat or drink anything you throw at him, and swear it 's the best he ever had. If he likes you of course, so actually it's a good test. Then when you get to the next stage, you can worry about what he really likes ;-)

                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                      THIS is true.

                                                                      The first meal I ever served BF included Wild Sockeye Salmon and rose--perfect for a warm late May evening. He loved it!

                                                                      I have long since come to realize that while he will eat salmon, it's no favorite and he doesn't like/never drinks wine at all.

                                                                      To Coll's point above--when you are truly interested in someone, everything is delicious!


                                                                  2. re: jpc8015

                                                                    What about the manly feat of opening the bubbly wine?

                                                                    1. re: Musie

                                                                      Opening it correctly, I assume you mean.

                                                                        1. re: melpy

                                                                          nah -- then you just have busted glass, flat Champagne all over everything, and slivers of glass in your bubbly.

                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                            Haha -- although I met a guy at a party recently who swore that he does indeed open champagne with a sword and gave me some detailed explanation (while flirting with me of course). Haven't seen it for myself though...

                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                              HA! i read this quickly and thought it said "slivers of glass in your hubby"!


                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                That could happen, too. O.o

                                                                                It's impressive as all get-out to see...but the reality is that it's really hard to see shards of glass in the bubbles of the Champagne -- and intestinal bleeding is such a buzzkill....

                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                  shards of glass in somebody's food was a slow-kill method during one season of "the sopranos".

                                                                                  if you could get a pre-nup, before the dinner, then...

                                                                            2. re: melpy

                                                                              melpy, that was my very first thought when I read this on my phone in the car yesterday!

                                                                    2. The "keep it simple" advice probably should be where you start followed by "don't make something his mom makes for him", it is difficult to match up against years of mom cooking. The basic dishes nicely done are most often winners. Cliche, but the so called man food , meat and potatoes is most well received. For more specific selections look into lilly and mce suggestions in more detail for recipes. Good food and drink, of course, enhance the evening but the main attraction should be you.

                                                                      1. Most of these suggestions sound good and would have impressed me as a younger man. Especially the low-cut thing. A perfectly cooked, high quality porterhouse steak and baked potato is always nice and an authentic carbonara (made with guanciale, if you can find it) would be super-nice. You didn't mention your degree of cooking artistry, but if you're confident, I always enjoyed sitting in the kitchen with a glass of wine and watching the process. This is where the low-cut top can work its magic.

                                                                        Also, the cheesecake is a great idea. Made ahead of time and available, if you burn the steaks or screw up the carbonara, you both can stuff yourselves with cheesecake. I use a fabulous recipe by Nathalie Dupree, but can't seem to find a link for it. Good luck with whatever you choose. Remember, the way to a man's heart isn't only through his stomach.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: grampart

                                                                          After that porterhouse (bone-in, of course) and baked potato, for dessert try a Japanese cheesecake -- so much lighter and really delicious. Not hard to make.

                                                                        2. How about cooking a dish YOU really enjoy making and YOU really like to eat? At least he gets to know the real you and he may just love the dish you so happily prepared?

                                                                          1. We've had posts on this before and the advice is unfailingly similar...definitely forgo fancy in favour of a well-executed, thoughtfully selected simple menu.

                                                                            Meat and potatoes will not fail you. I do agree that steak is a good option however, in my experience, many men will actually cook steak for themselves so, to step up the "special" factor I'd suggest cooking a roast instead. Here's what I'd make:

                                                                            STANDING RIB ROAST: If your budget permits, nothing can beat a standing rib roast. Tuck some halved garlic cloves into pockets you create w a knife in the fat. Give it a good rub w evoo and a nice dousing of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper and when it emerges from your oven you will have a beautifully crusted roast that would melt any heart!

                                                                            PERFECTLY MASHED GARLIC MASHED POTATOES: I know, I know, no garlic for a date...but wait, if you roast garlic it loses its bite and its staying power. If you don't have a potato ricer, I'd highly recommend investing in one. This makes for satiny smooth, perfect mashed potatoes that will differentiate yours from all the rest he's had. Here's a recipe from a terrific Vancouver restaurant. It appeared in Gourmet magazine years ago and has been my go-to recipe ever since:


                                                                            YORKSHIRE PUDDING - I don't know many guys that would make this for themselves and similarly, I can't think of many guys who'd pass these up either. Here's a foolproof recipe:


                                                                            GLAZED CARROTS - Most men love carrots and this honey glaze takes a traditional dish and steps it up a notch:


                                                                            APPLE PIE - I know it sounds boring but I've never ever met a man that doesn't love apple pie. For something a little different and, fuss-free, I'd suggest making this Crostata recipe from Ina Garten but, swap out store bought puff pastry for home made to make your life easier:


                                                                            ....the only decision you'll be left to make is whether your dinner date is worthy of you!

                                                                            19 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                              x2. Considering every man I've ever cooked for, this menu is spot on and foolproof.

                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                Oh my goodness... This sounds amazing!! He grills steaks so the roast idea is brilliant. You are a genius!

                                                                                1. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                  Well, if he grills steaks,
                                                                                  then one of the BEST dessert ideas EVER.....

                                                                                  Grilled peaches.... Google a few good methods,
                                                                                  but basically grilled peach served with Vanilla Bean ice cream, maybe with a tiny drizzle of Raspberry liqueur on top.
                                                                                  OMG !!!!!!
                                                                                  WHEN will peaches be in season again ?!?!?!?! Hurry !!!!

                                                                                  1. re: oooYUM

                                                                                    My peach trees are in bloom now. Patience is hard!

                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                      Aaaaaahhhhhh !!!!!
                                                                                      Are you in Georgia ?

                                                                                      1. re: oooYUM

                                                                                        Nope--Southern California.

                                                                                        1. re: pine time

                                                                                          zomg!!! so jealous! here in new england, we're predicted to get another foot of snow starting tonight!

                                                                                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                  I think the garlic is bad for romance. But you are on a track I think is right. Different train:

                                                                                  Brisket is real easy and looks like it isn't. You have a hearty beef, and plenty of it (Let it cool before slicing) and it lends itself well to heavy sauces, mustard, horseraddish, etc

                                                                                  Mashed potatoes or boiled, with carrots and you can sautee shredded cabbage with onions (use a dash of nutmeg to finid)

                                                                                  Most guys are somewhat indefferent to desserts, but this guy is a cake eater, so buy something at the store, and have him come into the kitchen while you make a whipped cream from scratch and decorate the cake slice with the whipped cream and some nuts.

                                                                                  Red wine or beer.

                                                                                  To be further impressive, start with a Caesar salad that you make at the table: a raw egg (or mayo) mix in lemon juice, olive oil, Worcestershire, some minced garlic. Mix together in the bowl and keep tossing in ripped up romaine leaves. Toss in shredded Parmesan, some croutons and a very impressive display.

                                                                                  1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                    If I was doing steak and knew the man didn't have anything against it, I'd consider Martinis. So classic (at least to me).

                                                                                    1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                      You contradict yourself. You say no to roasted garlic mashed potatoes but yes to Caesar salad??? I would definitely stay away from anything made with raw garlic. How about chicken or veal parm? It is delicious and can be made in advance.

                                                                                      1. re: Gloriaa

                                                                                        But wouldn't the sauce have garlic in it?

                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                          it doesn't have to -- or you could limit the amount of garlic.

                                                                                          Plus it's cooked, so quite a lot less harsh than the crushed garlic of a Caesar dressing.

                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            Me, I just saute the whole garlic cloves with the onions and then remove them completely before adding the tomatoes. But I know I am in the minority, in general: I've had some really heavy duty garlic tasting sauce in the past, and don't trust anyone else to make it the way I do.

                                                                                            So edit to read, if doing Italian, take it easy on the garlic.

                                                                                        2. re: Gloriaa

                                                                                          I said "some garlic" for the salad. It does have to be limited.

                                                                                          1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                            I always thought the original Caesar just called for rubbing the inside of the bowl with a halved clove of garlic, not adding it to the dressing.

                                                                                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                              That is quite true, and of many dressings. You take a garlic clove and rub the olive oil into the wood with it.

                                                                                            2. re: law_doc89

                                                                                              Suggesting no garlic and then suggesting a caesar salad - the others suggested such things and you didn't approve.

                                                                                              1. re: Terrie H.


                                                                                                It's called use in moderation

                                                                                                Garlic potatoes are called such for a reason. Using a bit of garlic for bite is quite, quite different. No contradiction at all.

                                                                                                I was responding to the following comment above:

                                                                                                "PERFECTLY MASHED GARLIC MASHED POTATOES: I know, I know, no garlic for a date...but wait, if you roast garlic it loses its"

                                                                                                Which of course is not true with garlic potatoes.

                                                                                                Sorry if you found that confusing.

                                                                                                1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                  I said roasted garlic loses its bite. You may not agree however this is a scientific fact.

                                                                                                  "The pungent flavor of garlic is caused by a chemical reaction that occurs when the garlic cells are broken. The flavor is most intense shortly after cutting or chopping. This chemical reaction cannot occur after garlic is cooked, which is why roasted garlic is sweet rather than pungent."


                                                                                      2. Don't go overboard. He will hear the ticking clock and it will spook him. And plan a meal that allows you to enjoy a glass of wine and maybe an app with him before dinner, rather than exhausting yourself in the kitchen the whole time he is there.

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                          I've read the advice that having a date over for a home-cooked meal shouldn't even happen to early in the relationship. They might not be worth it :) And that's a non-gender specific rec, of course!

                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                            CO, I am an old bachelor now, but I did scores of dinners at home early on in a new friendship, and never had a regrettable one. What does one learn about a woman in a movie theater?

                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                              I was thinking more like start with meeting for coffee, then dinner out. Then a home cooked meal. YMMV of course. Old? Poppycock!!!!

                                                                                            2. re: c oliver

                                                                                              My late husband and one of my long standing boy friends both reeled me in by inviting me over for *lunch* as a first date.Both turned out to be long term happy relationships that included many delicious home cooked meals:)

                                                                                              1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                Ooh, I like the lunch idea. A lot as a matter of fact.

                                                                                            3. re: Veggo

                                                                                              Don't go overboard.

                                                                                              this and op, eeck, that's a terrifying username. sorry.

                                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                Hahaha, don't read too much into it... I'm just having a little fun on teh internetz :) I'm much more subtle in real life, I promise!

                                                                                            4. Why not ask him what his ideal meal is? My SO is pretty much a meat and potatoes kind of guy but he also loves lighter stuff like fish. So, you can't just rely on stereotypes about what men like to eat... and you already know the basics of what he likes to eat. Keep it simple the first few times, that way you're not stressing yourself out about it.

                                                                                              And I agree, your biological clock is nowhere NEAR ticking in your early 20s. I'm 30 and I'm barely hearing mine.... tons of time for that. While I'm sure he will be impressed with anything you make for him, trying to use food or other displays of domestic goddessness to rope a man into marrying you isn't going to work... been there, tried that. If he likes you, he likes you, no matter what you make for him.

                                                                                              But, in the end he will be pleased with anything you make for him. So many women in their 20s and 30s do not cook these days, so guys always seem impressed when they come across one that does (but again, this does not guarantee he will fall madly in love with you). The first time I cooked for my SO was at his own Super Bowl party, and I made tacos with ground elk and ground beef, and homemade pico de gallo, and potato bits wrapped in bacon, and he was super impressed with it, he even called his mom to tell her about it (she told me about that later). Goes to show, just making ANYTHING for him will likely please him.

                                                                                              1. Make the kind of food you intend on making for the rest of your life. Using food to set a "trap" isn't cool and will be nothing but disappointing for him if you two were to be together for a long time- he'd only remember what you "used to cook" and resent what you cook later if it isn't up to the same standard.

                                                                                                That said.., the first things I ever made the man were Beef Wellington and Chicken Cordon Bleu (which I still make fairly regularly.) He was 30, I was 36 and his palate was plenty developed for these "sophisticated" meals, don't underestimate people. :)

                                                                                                1. It's the thought that counts and most guys aren't that picky. But if I were to put effort into anything... well guys really appreciate dessert.

                                                                                                  1. It's a balancing act - too much emphasis on the food and you get stressed and can't pay attention to the date... so don't bite off more than you can chew.

                                                                                                    That said, a steak is always a good choice, with twice baked potatos and chimimichuri and a Cesar will blow his doors off.

                                                                                                    Past that you should just ask him " I'm making dinner and I'm a decent cook - what do you like"

                                                                                                    1. This is an amazing brownie recipe and I make it with the walnut crunch topping

                                                                                                      16 tablespoons (2 sticks/8 ounces/225 grams) unsalted butter
                                                                                                      10 ounces (280 grams) bittersweet chocolate 60% to 62% cocoa solids, cut into 1/4-inch (60-mm) pieces
                                                                                                      2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
                                                                                                      1 cup all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
                                                                                                      1/4 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                      4 large eggs
                                                                                                      2 teaspoons vanilla extract
                                                                                                      One 9 x 13 x 2-inch (22.5 x 33 x 5-cm) pan lined with buttered parchment or foil
                                                                                                      1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350˚F (180˚C).
                                                                                                      2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Let the butter get hot and start to sizzle after it’s melted. Add the chocolate all at once and gently shake the pan to submerge all the chocolate in the butter. Set aside.
                                                                                                      3. Combine the brown sugar, flour and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat with the paddle on lowest speed until evenly mixed together.
                                                                                                      4. Add 2 eggs to the mixer and continue to beat just until they are absorbed. Stop and scrape the bowl and beater
                                                                                                      5. Repeat step 4.
                                                                                                      6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the vanilla.
                                                                                                      7. Whisk the butter and chocolate smooth and scrape it into the bowl. Use a large rubber spatula to mix it in thoroughly.

                                                                                                      9. Bake the brownies until they are firm, about 30 minutes.
                                                                                                      11. Invert the brownies to a cutting board and remove the pan and paper. Cover with another board and invert the whole stack. Remove the top board and wrap the brownies on their board in a double thickness of plastic wrap. Keep the brownies at a cool room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight before cutting.
                                                                                                      WALNUT CRUNCH BROWNIES: Place 1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces/140 grams) coarsely chopped walnut pieces in a mixing bowl. Whisk an egg white until it’s just beginning to foam and add 2 teaspoons to the bowl. Rub the walnuts between the palms of your hands to coat them all over with the egg white. Use a large rubber spatula to toss the moistened walnuts with 1/3 cup sugar. Scatter the walnut crunch all over the surface of the brownie batter before baking. Gently press the walnuts in with the palm of your hand. Bake, cool and cut as above.

                                                                                                      The first I Love You from my boyfriend was when I made him Pumpkin Whoopie Pies(I think a Martha Stewart recipe)
                                                                                                      Good Luck!

                                                                                                      1. Wow, I am touched by how many of you have taken the time to respond - thank you so much! I'm excited to read all of the replies!

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                          My last bit of advice: hold offf on giving him "dessert".

                                                                                                            1. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                              But let him know it is worth waiting for:)

                                                                                                        2. Every man I have ever known loves grilled steak, french fries and salad. You can add garlic bread and a veggie like corn if you want. The dessert can be anything . Its all good. I have all brothers and a couple of sons and they would love this meal.

                                                                                                          1. Thank you for suggestions, I'm still reading them so keep 'em coming! :) I've decided I'm definitely going to go the meat and potatoes route! Either steak with some kind of sauce, or maybe beer can chicken? For the potatoes, maybe potatoes au gratin or a warm potato salad with bacon? Oh, and I would LOVE a good dressing recipe for a ceasar or arugula salad

                                                                                                            1. My best advice is "variety is the spice of life." No man likes eating man food all the time.

                                                                                                              1. Meat loaf - and I mean MEAT, as in all-beef or the meatloaf mix sold in supermarkets. (I prefer all beef chuck.) With cheesy mashed potatoes if you want to avoid garlic. Guys love meat loaf. There have been many threads - read to the bottom for the happy ending: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/722037

                                                                                                                Or pot roast, same spuds. All these are great leftovers. Cheesecake is fine if he has a hearty appetite but if you think it, or brownies, might be too heavy with the rest of whatever you plan, make baked apples or a fruit crisp. Either can be paired with a little vanilla ice cream if you want to make it a little more special.

                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                    Mine could take it or leave it, he never requests it.

                                                                                                                  2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                    Love meatloaft I have a whole book with nothing but meatloft. Most of the time I use my Mothers old cookbook and it has become a staple for me.

                                                                                                                    1. re: catface1

                                                                                                                      IMHO, meatloaf is a bad early-relationship dish. There are too many variations and those that like one usually don't like another. I was raised on meatloaf that was topped with cheese rather than tomato sauce or ketchup.

                                                                                                                    2. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                      I made my husband meatloaf in the beginning of our relationship (maybe the second thing, first was lasagna which was my specialty at the time). He seemed pleased, but could have been an act...I was lucky that I knew he really liked me so didn't have to go crazy. Then I cut into it and he saw the hard boiled eggs I had embedded inside. That's how my grandmother always made it and I didn't know any other way. He really freaked out, like I was trying to poison him! Either way we're married 36 years now so it wasn't a dealbreaker.

                                                                                                                    3. Really folks-- it's not the food that makes a man attracted to you, although it helps. Again, depends on the man -- you can make the fabulous chateaubriand and all its fixin's but all he needs is a simple food and your charming personality...so, don't worry too much. This is a mature woman to younger woman talk :)

                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                            UGH !!!! Run away fast........ looks like the chicken is about to give birth....... Icky

                                                                                                                          2. Young lady my suggestion would be a baked lasagna with meat sauce, Caesar salad, and a decadent dessert of your choice. Don't blow your wad so early on. A home-cooked meal won't be the clencher on whether he likes you or not. Let him wine, and dine you before you put yourself out there.

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: letsindulge

                                                                                                                              Lasagna is a great suggestion as well! Most guys I know LOVE it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                                                My lasagne NEVER failed me back in the day !!!!
                                                                                                                                With Crusty bread and something nice to drink.
                                                                                                                                Brownies for later......

                                                                                                                                1. re: oooYUM

                                                                                                                                  I've never met a guy who didn't like brownies.

                                                                                                                            2. I have been married for 35 years, after every meal my husband says " good meal dear" otherwise he knows I will say," next time you cook".. Thats how much most men think about food. As for other post nothing wrong with steak and spuds and a sweet cake. ( they are so easy to fool)

                                                                                                                              1. You've got lots of good advice. I'll chime in to say the the steak/roast/lasagna suggestions are the ones that click for me.

                                                                                                                                If you can make fresh pasta, that's something to consider, maybe with a sage and brown-butter sauce. That and a salad course and maybe a cheese course would win me over. But don't go outside your comfort zone in techniques.

                                                                                                                                I'd angle around a bit to see if he likes lamb. Braised shanks made a day or two ahead (or beef shanks for that matter) can be tremendously easy to warm up on date night, and they're actually better a day or two after cooking. Let me know if you want some recipes. Same applies to some other braises--notably brisket. But that's heavy.

                                                                                                                                Oven roasted potatoes. Mmmmmm. Right now I'd suggest asparagus, too, but for the volatile pee factor. Save that for when you're comfortable passing gas together! There's a milestone for you...

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                  Nice imagery from Deliverance - dueling.....oh, nevermind.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                                    Doesn't Hallmark have a card to mark that occasion?

                                                                                                                                  2. I was with my husband for 58 years so here's my advice: if this guy has to be impressed with sophistication, find somebody else. A good potential husband would rather have meatloaf and mashed potatoes. He wears old corduroy pants on Saturdays. He pays bills on time. He is kind to animals. He will meet your plane even in a blizzard. He knows how to make the toilet stop running. He likes homey food. He likes home. He likes you. Look at online menus to see what the $100 prix fixe restaurants are serving, and don't try to cook him that. Make him macaroni and cheese. Bake him an apple pie. Find out what he likes and cook him that.

                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                      Amen to that! I have lady friends who do not cook well or worse, hate to cook; and they are happily married or in a good relationship. So, be yourself and be charming.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                        Querencia .. your advice above really touched me; I almost shed a tear. I wish you were my neighbor.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                          OMG I too shed a tear. So true.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Querencia


                                                                                                                                            You just described my dad..... wow, was he crazy about my mom and everyone loved him.

                                                                                                                                            I'm glad that you had 58 years with that wonderful guy who treated you like you deserved. He certainly was a "keeper".

                                                                                                                                            Thanks for your story.... you are "spot on". :)


                                                                                                                                            1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                              So lovely Querencia. He sounds like a special guy. Thanks for sharing such touching, thoughtful insights.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                Querencia, I also shed a little tear.
                                                                                                                                                What a wise woman you are, and how lucky as well....

                                                                                                                                                My husband is just like yours was, even down to the picking-up-at-airport-in-blizzard thing.
                                                                                                                                                I must remember how lucky I am too.......

                                                                                                                                              2. The dish I make that comes to mind is duck confit shepards pie. If you can get ahold of pre-made duck confit,you can just sub it for ground lamb or beef in any shepards pie recipe. Some frozen pearl onions, a salad, and you're set.

                                                                                                                                                1. I'm going to suggest a slightly different approach than much of what's been said:

                                                                                                                                                  1. Do not serve anything that has to be prepped or cooked at the last minute (trying to track the time to get everything off the burners, out of the oven, etc.) while still being charming? Difficult to multi-task.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Do not serve anything that you have to cut / slice at the last minute (such as a salad) - trust me, carrying on a conversation with this person, while standing at the cutting board, can easily lead to slicing one's finger.

                                                                                                                                                  3. Simple is good. Do not be too ambitious. Serve simple, tasty, appealing food. He's there to be with you, not assess you on your skills in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                  4. Relax. Have fun. Be yourself. Let yourself laugh.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I suggested a steak and it seems a lot of people agree. I suggested a steak for the following reasons:
                                                                                                                                                    It's easy and not time consuming.
                                                                                                                                                    It's expensive enough to impress and show that you want the evening to be special but it doesn't break the bank.
                                                                                                                                                    It's eaten rarely enough to be a treat for a meat eater.

                                                                                                                                                    I would have beer and wine available although if he is invited to dinner and doesn't have enough class to bring wine or a dessert, you might want to think about throwing him back.

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                      Steak and potatoes!! hard to go wrong

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                                                        good thinking, he is definitely a steak guy!

                                                                                                                                                      2. Thanks for the advice guys... you're right - I need to relax a bit more and not take cooking dinner so seriously... I think I've watched too many episodes of Chopped

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                                                                          Maybe relax about every date being a potential mate. The guys our daughters dated in their early 20s were a far cry from the ones they married in their late 20s. And bore children with in their mid30s.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                                                                            One of my best friends (another RN) bought a Marie Callender's pecan pie and brought it to one of our potlucks in an antique pie dish.She told everyone she had made it herself.They all believed her.Later she confessed the truth to me:) You could maybe include a few *pre made* items into that first *home cooked meal*:)

                                                                                                                                                          2. I recommend pot roast. It's delicious, everyone loves it (so long as they eat meat, and you said that he is a beef guy), you can put it in the slow cooker hours and hours beforehand and have almost nothing to do but make a salad once he gets there. Well, if you want to you could boil some water for wide egg noodles to serve the pot roast over (that's how we do pot roast in my family, carrots and onions cooked with the meat, ladle the meat, gravy and veggies over the noodles). It's still appropriate pot roast weather in most of the US, as nights are still pretty chilly for a few more weeks. Pot roast also makes most people feel comfy and happy...just about the way you'd hope to feel with your spouse.

                                                                                                                                                            I refuse to bake, and I believe in starting as I mean to continue, so I'd go to a favorite bakery for your favorite whatever they make. Tell him how much you love this dessert, and how much you wanted to share it with him as he watches you unbox the sweet. This makes you seem enthusiastic and thoughtful without setting yourself up for expectations of regularly providing made-from-scratch desserts. If you want to make such things regularly, let that be a pleasant surprise later on. Don't start with all your best tricks right out of the gate! Let him discover more and more great things about you as time goes on...men do like pleasant surprises.

                                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: StrandedYankee

                                                                                                                                                              You know, the pot roast idea sounds really great, and it lends itself to the casual "I felt like making a nice pot roast in the slow cooker, and there's going to be a lot, so...."
                                                                                                                                                              Then it cooks itself, and you have time to get a salad and some crusty bread ready, maybe have a glass of wine or a beer together first.....
                                                                                                                                                              Casual and easy...

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: oooYUM

                                                                                                                                                                Pot roast is, in my humble opinion, the most delicious dish one can make and believably pull of the "This old thing? Oh, it's just something I love to make...my mom/grandmom/favorite aunt used to make it like this, and it's been my favorite since I was a little girl..."

                                                                                                                                                                It's such a comfy/homey/simple dish with so much flavor...Another good thing about it...you can tell him, smiling, how the next night it will be even better when you make yourself a hot open faced sandwich with some of the leftovers. See if he doesn't try to wangle an invite from you for this. If he does, get a good Pullman loaf sliced thick, make a small batch of mashed potatoes, and also make a salad. A slice of bread piled high with pot roast & veggies, a scoop of mashed potatoes on the side, lots of gravy on the mashes and over the meat & veggies, enough to soak the bread a little...Yummy comfort food to the nth!

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: StrandedYankee

                                                                                                                                                                On America's Test Kitchen I saw them cooking Beef Carbonade .. made with Belgian Beer (Ale?) Chimay Blue .. TJ sells it for $10). It looked really GREAT. I don't have the recipe yet, will probably buy the book with their TV recipes. (Does anyone have this recipe? Have you tried it?)

                                                                                                                                                                A great thing about a pot roast is that you can make it the day before so all you have to do is heat it up and make some mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                  I always use cheap beer or cheap red wine for pot roast, but I use fancier hard ciders for braising pork or chicken thighs. However, I have always had great luck with ATK recipes, so I'd happily give anything they do that looks good to you a whirl.

                                                                                                                                                                  Another pot roast plus...if you make it the day before, it will actually taste even better when you serve it (though maybe leave the carrots a bit parcooked if you choose that route so they still have a bit of life in them when you actually eat the dish).

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                    I make my carbonnade with Chimay blue, or in leaner times, Ommegang's Belgian abbey ale. It comes out great!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                      Do you use the ATK recipe for carbonnade?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                          No, I don't. I use a recipe I compiled from a few different sources. You can find it on my blog (linked to in my profile). I've made a few changes since then:

                                                                                                                                                                          -butter and/or bacon grease instead of the olive oil for browning the meat and onions
                                                                                                                                                                          -deglaze with the beer rather than the broth
                                                                                                                                                                          -skip the flour dusting on the meat
                                                                                                                                                                          -lightly saute the garlic in the same pot before the deglazing step

                                                                                                                                                                          If the sauce is too thin, you can pour it off into a saucepan or skillet to reduce separately, so you don't boil the meat.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Might I suggest that you prepare something that you like to eat, as well as something that you know he likes? Really.
                                                                                                                                                                    I spent an unfortunate year with a man who didn't like broccoli, wouldn't eat anything which was "messy", such as crab with ginger cream sauce, and had other food issues. Really, I should have halted when I heard about the broccoli... It's much better for me to be with someone who is willing to try new foods as well as appreciating the old standards.

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KarenDW

                                                                                                                                                                      Is he reciprocating by cooking for you or taking you out on the town? That's important...especially early in a relationship.

                                                                                                                                                                      That said....a roast chicken stuffed with garlic, rosemary, and lemons is simple and delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KarenDW

                                                                                                                                                                        HA !!!!! I had an unfortunate year with a man who not only didn't like anything green, but only liked his mother's cooking, no joke. I can't believe I wasted that much time. It didn't matter WHAT I made *(even her very own recipes!) it was never quite "piquant" enough for him......


                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: oooYUM

                                                                                                                                                                          When I first married my wife (40 years ago next week), I compared her cooking to my mom's occasionally. I even said a few stupid things like that isn't as good as moms but i got smarter and more sensitive. Judy hung in there. She was a pretty good cook in her own right.

                                                                                                                                                                          Later...many years later, I figured out that my mother wasn't all that good of a cook. It was quite a shock for me.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. As far as the brownie, I have made one with a raspberry coulis in the middle and topped with a chocolate ganache that everybody loved. you mix the brownies (I used a homemade recipe) and cook it in two 9x13 pans. When done, spread the coulis on one half, place the other half on top and top with the ganache. YUMM!!!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 2 things came to mind.
                                                                                                                                                                          A gorgeous roasted chicken and beautiful Caesar Salad, smash potato with garlic olive oil parm cheese, lemon and almond green beans, Mexican hot chocolate cake.
                                                                                                                                                                          Rachael Rays Mile High Lasagna with same salad and tomato zuchinni with onions and cheese baked, Nutella chocolate brownies.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. This Yankee boy, fresh back from SEA in 1968, found himself in Biloxi MS and dating a young single mother of two who didn't have the means to prepare anything special for a home-made dinner. With an apology, she served me my first genuine bowl of red beans and rice with bits of smoked ham hocks. WOW!! I was blown away by this simple dish and wondered how it had escaped me for my first 21 years. I told her (truthfully) that it was one of the best things I'd ever eaten and, for sure, NO apologies were necessary. Sometimes, the best things in life are simple and cheap.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. I agree with others who suggested making something that can be prepared ahead so that you are not spending most of the night in your kitchen sweating profusely through you cute outfit and worrying about overcooking things instead of being relaxed and enjoying the time together. If you make something that is labor-intensive on the front end but can be finished or warmed through just before serving, you'll have the confidence of knowing you've already tasted and tweaked it to perfection AND the added bonus is, if you plan correctly, it looks effortlessly elegant as well.

                                                                                                                                                                              Personally, I'd make braised short ribs (start marinating two days before, braise the day before, chill, defat the morning of, heat through and reduce the sauce at dinnertime), a gussied up mashed potato (perhaps mixed with 1/3 sweet potato and roasted garlic, or rutabaga, celery root, etc., sour cream, and herbs). Then your choice of green---broccoli is usually a safe choice---you can steam and combine it with nutty browned butter, lemon zest, and juice. Green beans can be similarly prepared, perhaps with toasted almonds as well. For dessert, I second the panna cotta idea, maybe served with a homemade shortbread cookie or tuille and a strawberry coulis. A simple green salad with goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and roasted beets would make a nice starter. Or just set out some nice nuts---pistachios, maybe, or Union Square spiced cashews---and pour a good beer. Then switch to a nice red wine with the main dish. Head to your local wine and beer shop and ask them for recommendations based on your menu. You could pour some port with dessert (Sandeman's Founder's Reserve porto is tasty, widely available, and not too $$).

                                                                                                                                                                              If you'd like specific recipes for any of these ideas, I'd be happy to share.

                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                I agree with the short rib idea, making it a day or two ahead. I'd also do a creamy mashed potato and probably a nice salad to start. This would be great if you are still in a chilly climate.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                  2 days of prep for a guy I hardly know? No way, no how. But I'm lazy '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                    True, dat. It would be an investment. I probably wouldn't go to so much trouble or a new paramour, either, but all this cooking a la minute strikes me as a recipe for potential disaster, or at least much fluster.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm speaking from experience, of course...the first meal I cooked for my now-husband was one of those last-minute deals, and wouldn't you know, I managed to overcook lentils! And I made a recipe I'd never tried. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... Haha. But I wasn't trying to woo either of my dinner guests at that time, and to his credit, he went back for seconds! I was so irritated with myself, meanwhile, I could barely eat my first portion. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                      It's not 2 days of prep, really. It's making stuff that's good later so that you don't have to do your cooking with company around. That's how I cook when I throw parties and entertain friends. It just makes it so you can spend more of your time enjoying your company.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: StrandedYankee

                                                                                                                                                                                        It's admittedly easier to just throw a steak on and make baked potatoes and some steamed veggies, but I think the investment pays off sometimes. I like to cook for people who love to eat, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. You're thinking too hard. We men are simple creatures and are not complicated like you women. Also, you're too young to hear your biological clock ticking.

                                                                                                                                                                                    My advice? Simply ask him what else he likes and make a great version of it. You can never go wrong with a good steak (ask him how he likes it). Comfort food like lasagna and a good Sangiovese wine will go well.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, and best of luck! Just don't do what a previous date of mine did who tried to impress me with her Chinese "cooking". When I went to throw the leftovers out, I noticed a bunch of takeout Chinese containers in the trash. Haha. I appreciated the effort though, especially when she sat on my lap and fed me strawberries dipped in melted chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Roast a chicken! Make a potato type of side, and yes, apple pie with some ice cream. Alternately, if he likes to grill, maybe offer to bring the meat/sides to grill and the dessert, and if he has the booze, let him decide what to drink with dinner. Teamwork.....

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I favor a roast or braise. He will experience that amazing aroma the moment he walks in the door.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Or a just baked pie will work in that way too!

                                                                                                                                                                                        Keep it simple, minimize dishes that require last minute fussing or that require perfect timing, avoid food that may cause embarrassing situations (Jerusalem artichokes, corn on the cob getting stuck in between teeth). Have something for him to do while you attend to the meal - open the wine, stir a pot - activity helps sooth nerves. Stay relaxed and enjoy each others company.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. The fact that you ARE cooking for him would already impress him. I wish my girlfriend had even the slightest of cooking skills so I can enjoy an evening of someone else cooking!

                                                                                                                                                                                          As a guy, I agree with a nice ribeye or porterhouse as mentioned previously. How are your grilling skills? Pair it with a baked potato and oven roasted vegetables. My favorties are brussel sprouts and carrots, roasted together.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Another good "date" dish is chicken piccata. It's my go-to dish when I want to step up my dining experience with a friend and not spend all day prepping. Look up Giada de Laurentis' recipe, it's pretty fool-proof and delicious!

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                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Dinermite

                                                                                                                                                                                            I am of a generation where guys are expected to find their way around a kitchen, as well as a diaper, an iron, and a needle and thread. I'm 58 years old.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Ask him what he would like. Definately don't try to improve on his favorites. Three light courses and then you can get on with the rest of the evening. Which may be his heading out the door.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I have learned to have very low expectations whenever I cook for somebody the first time. I do not do my best when I am trying to juggle 4 courses and keep a sparkling conversation at the same time. And when they are cooking for me, I offer to open the wine and clean up after. I am definately not there to critique. Not if I want a repeat.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I'll be back with an update soon~

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. For a no-fuss impressive meat dish, braised short ribs are a great way to go. This recipe is excellent: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/br...

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                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mbCrispyBits

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, but too much liquid. Reduce the amount of wine to about 2/3 of a bottle and use one cup ea. chicken and beef stock. I also prefer English-cut to flanken short ribs, which are sometimes hard to find in a decent thickness unless you can get a butcher to custom cut them for you. I also recommend straining and reducing the sauce separate from the meat, which you can keep warm separately. If you want, you can thicken it by whisking in a few cubes of cold butter over very low heat after it reduces. A few chopped herbs at the end are nice, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Make what you are comfortable cooking. However, reading about your ticking biological clock and looking at your user name, my bit of advice is don't push yourself on to the guy. There is nothing that will make a guy hesitate about getting into a long term relationship with a woman than a woman who is trying to get him into a long term relationship. That would have sent me running for the hills back in my 20s. If that's your goal, dress nicely but don't wear the top that is cut down to there and the skirt with the slit that comes up to here. Be relaxed, have a good conversation. Read the day's sport section so you know what is happening. Don't need to talk stats, but be aware of what's going on so you can keep your end of the conversation up. You want the guy to call you back because he enjoyed spending the evening dining and talking with you. You want him to look at you and not down your top or up your skirt. If it works out, there will be plenty of opportunity for that.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I wish I could recommend this in flashing red type.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  (and the reverse holds true for the guys, too.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                    So true. This is a date. Both should know a little about each other and participate in a meaningful conversation. If all you want is sex, just about any bar will suffice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Every date is a potential pairing off. Whether for 10 minutes or the rest of your life is why you are getting together. Do not do as I normally do and obsess over the food and get all in a tizzy trying to produce the finest meal in the world. And yawning instead of talking afterwards because you are so tired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    If a lady wanted to impress me, it would be combed hair, hint of perfume, dressy work clothes, real Caeser salad, vegetable beef stew, and either cheese or ice cream. And she will pick what we will have to drink before, during and after the meal. I will offer to clean up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. So, I'm back with an update guys...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I scared him away!! :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                  He basically told me that initially he was attracted to me and thinks I'm pretty but I tried too hard, I came across as desperate and impatient, and I opened up way too much way too soon and it was super overwhelming to him and a total turn off! He just found it exhausting ( one time I sent him a fb message that he said he put into word document to read for later and it was 14 pages single spaced...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It was really hard to hear that from him... But I'm glad i did, I needed to :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I hope I haven't ruined things for good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe you should have gone with a pizza.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh no! Such a bummer! Most of us have been there. I know it stinks right now, but try to view it as a learning experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      And, in the meantime, you have all of US to hang out with and talk about good food with, right? I know, hardly comparable but now's a great time to start developing some great cooking skills that will serve you well your entire life!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Can you get a copy of Ad Hoc at Home, maybe from your library? (And if not, there are tons of recipes online...) Maybe come join us for the April Cookbook of the Month!


                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here's a link to the April Cookbook of the Month thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/895097 Come join in! It's a lot of fun!


                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry to hear that. So, in all things: moderation. Meaning edit, edit, edit, be it in writing, meal planning, "conquering" a potential mate, and certainly, in fashion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hard lesson to learn, but keep your chin up, learn, and move on. Enjoy your life as an independent person--that in itself is attractive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                                                                                                                          You HAVE ruined things for good...with HIM. Go cook something :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                                                                                                                            We warned you, don't overdo it. A 14 page single spaced message? The Declaration of Independence is only 1330 words.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            That fish got away. Change your bait, and your tactics, and try for another. Good luck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: urfuturewifey

                                                                                                                                                                                                              He does get points for honesty, however.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Agree with veggo - change your 'bait' and head out for more fishing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Folks, we really don't want to see this thread turn into a referendum on the OP's dating style so now that the issue of what to cook is done, we're going to lock it.