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I have never really cooked and said I would cook dinner for my boyfriend sunday. I love very clean and healthy food. Any ideas for a beginner?

asked by Caroline Scheinfeld about 4 years ago
13 answers 4355 views
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Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Creative Director of Food52

added about 4 years ago

Welcome! What sorts of food does your boyfriend like? This is a fantastic recipe, for starters: http://food52.com/recipes...

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HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

added about 4 years ago

Need a little more information. Are there any food restrictions (like any food allergies, dislikes, etc)? Is he a vegetarian or an omnivore? Same questions apply to you.

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AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 4 years ago

I agree with LucyS. If your friend like pork, I have a "Cuban Adobo Pork Shoulder" recipe which my son, who is in college and just recently started learning to cook, made for his first dinner party hosted all by himself. Feel free to use dried herbs if the fresh herbs seem like too much work (about a tablespoon of each). The pork shoulder cooks low and slow, and sort of makes its own sauce, especially if you put a lot of onions in there with it. They melt down into a flavorful topping for the meat. You could cook orzo or another small pasta to serve with it, to soak up some of the sauce. A salad on the side with a vinegar, oil and mustard dressing could round out the meal. For dessert (if I didn't bake), I'd serve raspberry sorbet with some simple store-bought chocolate cookies or chocolate+vanilla cookies (think Milano) or perhaps split a brownie from a bakery. Good luck and have fun! ;o)

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QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

added about 4 years ago

Hmm, this is an interesting question. If your boyfriend likes shelfish, clams and mussels are difficult to mess up. Here are two dishes you can easilly pull off (I personally prefer clams to mussels, they are also easier to clean). You can serve with baguette, brie and a bottle of nice white for a lovely dinner.


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added about 4 years ago

I think now is a great time to learn to make a great roasted chicken.

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added about 4 years ago

I'd go with pasta and a salad. You avoid the protein issue, which I agree could be the most challenging, and you can still have a lovely meal. You can search for seasonal pasta and salad recipes in the recipe search to see what floats your boat. Dessert can easily be a slice of good store bought poundcake with a scoop of good ice cream.

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added about 4 years ago

A favorite food writer of mine, Tamar Adler, told me (yes, I was fortunate to meet her), "anything is smash-able and put-on-toastable." That's a great starting point for serving a loved one something wonderful, without much experience in cooking a meal. Some might call what Adler described as open-faced sandwiches, some might call them "tartine" but they are simple if you want them to be, crazy fancy if you want them to be, and make anyone eating them feel really special. Find some bread you know you and the boyfriend will like, spread it with butter or lightly brush it with olive oil. Then you can get seriously creative with a mashed spread (mash avocado, use homemade or store-bought hummus, mash some canned or cooked beans with some spices, use a soft spreadable cheese), then top with cooked or raw vegetables, then drizzle with quality olive oil. Can't go too wrong, as long as you keep texture in mind. You could also top with nice cheese and broil them for a few minutes. You probably want to serve something alongside this--a green salad, perhaps?

Surprisingly to me, there aren't many "tartine" or "open face sandwich" recipes on Food52--those that are seem complicated for a newbie. This is a gorgeous take on the topic, though it's still complicated. http://www.101cookbooks...
I share these with you so you see that it's just about those different textural layers, whatever level of cooking or prep that you're comfortable with.

If that concept doesn't ring true, 101cookbooks.com (or pick up blogger Heidi Swanson's actual cookbooks) is a favorite around here for health-supporting food ideas. Big Girls Small Kitchen has a great way of indexing recipes and tutorials so you can choose based on experience, what you have around, etc. http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen....
and http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen...

Remember--you don't have to do it all from scratch! Pick one or two things you'll really "make" and make them great, then use well-made simple foods and high-quality ingredients to round things out. Eventually you'll get more comfortable timing the cooking of a meal and you will be more confident with techniques, and you can make it all.

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added about 4 years ago

I meant to say you should probably pan-toast or oven-toast that bread after you put the oil or butter on it, or it will collapse under the fillings. You want to be able to pick it up.

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added about 4 years ago

Great answers listed above! But here is my nutrition take, cooking in and of itself is the healthiest way to feed those we care for the most. Just cooking is an act of love.

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added about 4 years ago

What is your definition of clean and healthy food?

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added about 4 years ago

I know this is a little late, but have you ever heard of Clean Eating? Check out their website: www.cleaneatingmag.com The gracious pantry also has some amazing recipes, my personal favorite is healthy chicken and dumplings: www.thegraciouspantry.com

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added about 4 years ago

I just want to know if and what you cooked!

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