Dinner Help!

Help! I’m a big fat guy with a cat. My girlfriend for the past four months is coming over tonight and I don’t know what to make for dinner. My bachelor cooking repetoire is made up of two dishes, chili and meatloaf. Everything else is just reheat in a microwave or going out to dinner. I want to avoid the latter two.
Any suggestions with recipes? Only proscriptions are the meal must be free of lactose and involve meat.
This post is worth a dollar.

Well, “must have meat” doesn’t narrow it down much. What are you in the mood for? Steaks? Mexican? Italian? Why not just make chili or meatloaf if that’s what you’re good at?

Here’s one idea - nice and easy:

3-course meal for the cooking-impared:

Course 1, Salad:

  • 1 bag salad greens
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 cuke
  • cheese, except if your girlfriend is lactose intolerant
  • your favorite salad dressing

Peel cucumber unless you’re lucky enough to get an unwaxed one. Slice tomato. Put salad greens in 2 bowls. Top with cucumber and tomato. Serve with salad dressing.

Course 2, Spaghetti with meat sauce & garlic bread:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce. I like the Newman’s own brand
  • 1/2 pound italian sausage
  • 1 loaf frozen garlic bread. I like Pepperedge Farm brand.

In a large frying pan, brown the italian sausage, making sure it’s in bite-size pieces. When it’s done all the way through, drain. Add the spaghetti sauce. Cook until heated through.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

Cook garlic bread according to package directions.

Serve by putting cooked noodles on plate, pour sauce over. Garlic bread goes on the side. If you want to be fancy, put some minced fresh basil or oregano on top of spaghetti.

Course 3: Bananas Foster

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • vanilla ice cream

Slice bananas. Heat butter in frying pan over medium low heat. When it’s melted, add brown sugar and bananas. Saute for a minute or two. Add rum (do NOT pour rum directly from bottle - measure into a glass or measuring cup first - otherwise there’s a change you could set the whole bottle on fire). Saute a minute to heat. If you have a gas stove, the rum may ignite - if you’re not comfortable with this, add rum when the heat is off - the heat in the pan should warm it more than enough.

Put a scoop or two of ice cream into a bowl. Top with banana mixture. Yum!

Only 'cause I made chili and meatloaf the past couple of times. I wanna try something new.

Lactose free? Hmm.

  1. Meatloaf. That’s something you know how to make, go with it.

  2. Roasted potatoes. Red potatoes are best, but you definitely want small potatoes of a roughly uniform size. Peel, coat with olive oil, add any combination of the following: salt, pepper, sage or rosemary, paprika, granulated garlic. Arrange in a flat pan and roast. 400 degrees is best, but if you’re doing the meatloaf at the same time you’ll incinerate it unless it’s in a heavy covered dish. 375 will do. Time depends upon size: 20-30 minutes will usually do it, but make a couple more than you plan to eat and test them by sticking a fork through them. If mayonnaise isn’t also out of bounds, top with that (or better, mix it with some dijon mustard - or horseradish - and a little water to make a sauce–if you do that, don’t use paprika). If mayonnaise is off the menu, eliminate the seasoning on the potatoes and make sauce provencale: finely chopped onions or shallots cooked slowly in olive oil, add a little garlic, a cup of beef broth (canned is fine, but it will add most of the salt you need), reduce, stir in a spoonful or so of tomato paste) it will be good on both the potatoes and meat loaf.

  3. Salad. Buy a bag of salad and save yourself some grief.

  4. Vegetables. Steam some broccoli.

  5. Dessert. Aside from fresh fruit, I’m stumped. Or bake apples stuffed with dates,brown sugar and cinnamon (or maple syrup).

Don’t forget the flowers.

OK, if you don’t want to make meatloaf, buy two small steaks and cook in a pan with sliced mushrooms.

I love it that The King of Soup responded to your post.
I think that either chili or meatloaf would be perfectly acceptable, especially if those are your specialities. Add a salad and some rice or potatoes, and you’re set. Instead of dessert, you could have coffee with a liquor like Tia Maria or Bailey’s (not sure that’s lactose free).