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Cooking first time for girlfriend. Help!

Howdy guys!

Hopefully I can get some advice on a nagging concern I'm having. It's been years since I've actually made a homemade meal for a love interest and I'm rather rusty, but I would like to try to make something for my current girlfriend.

Long story short, I have a lapband and she is rather picky of an eater. I keep mental notes when we go anywhere. She will not eat onions, tomatoes, or any kind of peppers. However I feel that if it was blended up and well hidden she wouldn't mind them (but can be risky). She loves Italian food and Chinese food. I have several recipes for both however I had been really bragging on my grilling skills and she has been pressing for a day out on the grill.

She loves burgers and I originally thought of a homemade grilled burger (which I have a mean recipe for) however she's recently got on a diet and exercise kick. Also red meat is rather hard to eat with my band. I usually eat chicken for my protein.

I have yet to try my homemade burger so I don't really know if it would even be hard to ingest. Being as how airy and juicy a homemade burger can be. I figured I could make that and some baked potato wedges. I know she would love that, but due to the above issues I'm unsure.

She's also hispanic so she has her fill of Mexican food and thus doesn't every really want that. She also likes seafood, so perhaps she would rather prefer grilled shrimp, fish, and scallops. This sounds like a healthier option but I don't have any recipes for that.

I'm 26 and not a professional cook at any means, but I appreciate any advice or tips.

Thanks for reading guys!

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  1. keep it simple and make things you can prepare ahead - so you are presenting food but not stressed out cooking it - you want to be paying attention to her, not a collapsing soufflé

    Since it sounds like you are health conscious and looking to stay away from red meat a poached salmon dish could work like this

    http://www.food.com/recipe/poached-sa...
    - easy to make ahead, fairly healthy and pairs well with other stuff - make a sour cream dill sauce to go with it - you could serve this alongside a simple pasta - perhaps as simple as an aglio-olio http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aglio_e_... or a simple rice and vegetable pilaf like this http://www.thekitchenwitchblog.com/20...

    for starters maybe some crostini or something to pick on - you could even buy some tapenades to make life easy or grilled vegetable antipasto like this http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe... edit to omit any offending veggies

    avoid soups or green salad as they are messy/slupy and not very romantic to eat

    fresh strawberries and cream cant go wrong as a desert

    note the recipes I posted for example are just to be descriptive they are not vetted by me at all

    1. I have a soft spot for chicken marsala since my husband made that for one of our first dates (and we've been married 20+ years). Something like this:

      http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ty...

      1. She loves Italian food but will not eat tomatoes? Is fresh tomatoes that she will not eat, or tomatoes in any form like sauce (don't tell my wife that I didn't call it 'gravy').

        I assume that garlic is also out of the question? I was going to suggest a simple pasta dish that my late mother-in-law made on Christmas Eve. However it involves the use of garlic. It was spaghetti with oil in which garlic was sauteed. The flavor was just a hint of garlic.

        Maybe if eggplant is substituted as an aromatic vegetable, the pasta could be topped with oil and sauteed eggplant that was cubed.

        ...Or make scampi with shrimp and top the spaghetti with it.

        In bocca al lupo (Good luck)!

        1. Keep it simple so you're not so caught up cooking that you can't pay attention to your GF.

          "She also likes seafood, so perhaps she would rather prefer grilled shrimp, fish, and scallops. This sounds like a healthier option but I don't have any recipes for that."
          _______
          You barely need a recipe at all for that kind of stuff.

          To grill sea scallops (ideally dry packed): dry them, salt them, put them on a hot grill for 2 minutes per side, serve with something tasty - maybe some grilled vegetables or a salad. You can find many youtube videos where this kind of thing is demonstrated.

          Shrimp: more or less the same thing, though you might want to skewer them if they're small enough to fall through the grates.

          Fish: some fish grills better than others (tuna, swordfish, salmon, halibut works well; flounder and other delicate white fish can be a little trickier). You can marinate it if you want, but don't have to. Be a little extra careful about sticking. But again you don't really need a recipe.

          In any case, there are sauces you could make in advance if you want to go for a more impressive effect while adding very little extra work at the time of the date.

          Keep the cooking simple and quick so you can focus on your date, and if you buy good ingredients and don't mess them up, the food will taste just fine.

          1. bake a whole chicken with small potatoes underneath.... its easy and in the hour it takes to cook you can have wine and cheese or salad