Dear Home Ec 101,
I’m a young wife who doesn’t have a lot of experience cooking. My husband’s birthday is tomorrow, and I really want to make him something nice. I tried asking him what he’d like, but he says it doesn’t matter. Well, it matters to me. I want him to have a nice birthday dinner. Can you suggest something that doesn’t take a lot of advanced cooking skills but isn’t the normal Thursday night casserole type of meal?
I’ll Cook It and He’ll Like It
I know the feeling. What would you like for dinner this week? The answer is either “Whatever.” or something so insanely out-of-season and complicated that I wish I hadn’t asked.
In our house, birthday meals are special and don’t follow our usual rules of in-season or please-don’t-make-me-turn-on-the-oven-from-June-to-September. I’m offering a bunch of options, all geared toward a less experienced cook that should still give good results.
Remember that setting does a lot to make a meal feel more special. Simple meals served at the table, by candlelight, even if it sounds corny, just seem so much more special than the fanciest of meals eaten in front of the television.
To make this dinner extra pretty, add a few diced tomatoes or slice some grape cherry tomatoes in half and add them at just the last minute to the blackened beef. Spoon this over the alfredo just before serving.
If you don’t eat beef, serve it with shrimp, chicken, or salmon. I like to “faux” blacken salmon, I use the same cooking method as my dilled salmon, but instead of the yogurt or mayonnaise dill sauce, I just add a generous topping of Cajun seasoning.
Salmon with Lemon and Rosemary, Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Potatoes (the benefit is all of this can be done on a single baking sheet) oh, and there’s a video with me fixing it, too.
How about the grill?
Lasagna, tossed salad, and garlic bread
If there aren’t enough ideas here, I wrote up some meal ideas for Valentine’s Day that may fit the bill and I’m sure the Home Ec 101 audience has a few ideas of their own. Have at it, ladies and gents.
Good luck and happy birthday to your husband.
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