6 Easy & Cheap Meals You Can Make at Home for Your Date - Dating on a Budget
In my Hub Dating on a Budget, one of the things I suggested to the guys is to have dinner dates at home. Cook! It's intimate, it's fun, it's a great way to get to know each other, and it's cost efficient.
Picking up a few recipes is easy. There's videos, websites, and books geared towards beginners.
While you're on your way to learning how to make a few dishes, here's 6 crazy-easy recipes for the non-cook. These are very easy dinners you can pull off without much effort or money and they require no special cooking tools.
1 - Crockpot Chicken Soup
The best part about this one is that you can throw this together before you leave for work in the morning, and it's pretty much all done when you get home.
If you don't have a crockpot, I guarantee you your mother or someone you know has one they'd love to give you. Otherwise, pick one up in Kmart for $19. You'll get a lot of use out it.
In the crockpot put in chopped celery, carrots and onions.
On top of that, put some skinless boneless chicken. Thighs are great for this, they're cheap and they cook nicely.
Pour chicken broth over the top until the chicken is almost covered. You can get chicken broth in the can or in the box.
Ya know those little soy sauce packets you get when you have Chinese food? Put some of those in. Soy sauce slow cooks better than salt. Don't over do, you can always add a little salt later.
That's it. Cover it and put it on low. It can go all day long.
When you get home from work, turn it off and put a pot of water on the stove, and boil a bag of wide noodles.They're just like any other pasta. A little salt and a little oil in the water, once it's boiling add the noodles.
When the chicken has cooled, take the pieces out and use a scissor to cut them into little pieces in the broth. Drain and add the noodles. Salt to taste. That's it.
For dessert try picking up a couple of cupcakes from a bakery.
2 - Breakfast for Dinner
You know you love it. And you know you can do it.
The trick to pulling off breakfast for dinner is that you have to go a little overboard. Pick up some fresh fruit: either a bowl of it from the salad bar in the super market, or get a thing of strawberries and a couple of oranges. Have a juice based cocktail: cranberry juice and vodka, Champagne Mimosas or Bellinis, or Bloody Mary's. Serve a fun egg dish like an omelet. Have some bagels or muffins. And if you know she's a meat eater, make some sausage or bacon.
Of course French Toast or Pancakes are fine main courses too.
3 - Hotdogs
Super easy. Boil hotdogs. (Or chicken-dogs, or tofu-dogs or whatever.) Place on bun. If you want to add some va-voom, add some cheese or chili. You can pick up a can of chili. Even the cheese comes pre-shredded.
Just add some cool side dishes and a fun dessert. A can of baked beans, a can of sour kraut. Just open the cans and heat the stuff. If it's in season, pick up some corn on the cob. Clean the corn and put it in a pot of cool tap water. Add a little salt. Put the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. As soon as it begins to boil, it's done. Shut the heat off. Don't forget to buy butter.
Keep it in the summer spirit. A couple of good dessert choices would be a pint of ice cream, or some fresh watermelon. You can do all this in an apartment. You don't need a barbecue to have a fun sunny meal.
4 - Tacos
This is a nice one to do together.
Buy the kits. They come with the tacos, the taco sauce, and the seasoning for the meat. All the directions are there. Brown a pound of chopmeat in a frying pan. You can use ground turkey instead of beef. Then follow the seasoning packet directions, which is probably to drain the oil, add a certain amount of water, and the contents of the pouch.
Together you can chop up tomatoes, lettuce, onions, black olives and jalapenos. Put out the sour cream, shredded cheese and the guacamole which comes in a jar, you don't have to make it. Put out some salsa and chips.
A nice side dish is refried beans. Again, it comes in the can. Just open it and heat it up. Another nice side dish is Spanish or yellow rice. Just buy a box mix and follow the directions.
Serve with Corona and lime, or make Margaritas. A nice dessert for this meal is flan. Don't panic, you can buy it frozen. See? Super easy, and lots of fun to make together.
5 - Couscous
Ooh this one sounds exotic right? Nah, it's uber-easy. And it takes all of 10 minutes. You'll find the couscous right next to the spaghetti in the super market.
All couscous is, is little pastas. Get a can of chicken broth, and heat it up in the microwave in a bowl for 5 minutes. Add just a splash of olive oil, and stir in a full cup of couscous. Cover with a big plate, let stand for 4 minutes.
When you remove the plate all the broth should be absorbed. On top, sprinkle a whole container of feta cheese, and a bunch of chopped up fresh parsley and chopped up tomatoes (or sundried tomatoes.) That's it.
So all you need is a container of couscous, a container of feta cheese, a can of broth, tomatoes and basil. It doesn't get easier than this. Serve this with a bottle of white wine. A nice dessert for this would be vanilla pudding. Just buy a couple of those little snack-packs, but spoon them into two stem glasses when you serve it.
6 - Something & Salad
You can't go wrong with a nice big salad. You can get the salad bags at the grocers, or you can go to the salad bar in most supermarkets and get yourself a nice box o'greens. Add some sliced cucumbers, avocado, artichoke hearts and green olives. Grab a bottle of Italian dressing and garnish with a sliced up lime. It's all different shades of green, and it's really tasty. If you really want to get fancy, add a chopped up green apple and a pear. It's an impressive salad. It's a little different but it's still really easy.
You can pair a nice hearty salad with just about anything.
Ham steaks! Super-easy, just cut them out of the package and cook in a frying pan with a little butter and a little ducksauce. Flip once. Done in 5 minutes.
T-Bones! This can be pricey, they can be $7 - 10 bucks a piece. But it's still cheaper than eating out, and maybe you want to splurge just a little bit. Add a loaf of French bread.
Burgers! Especially safe if this is a first date and you don't know if she's a vegetarian. Buy a box of Boca Burgers or Veggie Burgers and have them in the freezer for just such an occasion. Turkey burgers, beef burgers, whatever you want. All you need is a package of buns and some condiments.
If the salad is big and busy enough, you don't need to make any other side dishes if you don't want to. A couple of easy sides if you do decide you need a little more, are baked potatoes or grilled eggplant.
You'll just need a dessert. For this one, I recommend cookies that you bake. You know that package of cookie dough you've bought and eaten raw? Well buy one of those, all you have to do is separate it into cookie sized drops on a cookie sheet and bake. She'll love the effort. Bake them before she gets there, but let them be out cooling when she walks in so she knows they're fresh baked.
Clean your bathroom. Even if you only have time to pick up the rest of the place instead of give it a good cleaning, you have to really clean the bathroom.
Empty the garbages inside the house.
Candlelight and flowers go a long way. It can be one votive candle on the table, and a small vase of daisies. It doesn't have to be overkill or expensive.