Fall is here, and alongside the chill in the air, it brings the perfect time of year to hole-up indoors and impress your date with an inexpensive, seasonally appropriate home-cooked meal. Admittedly, I’m no Iron Chef, so I’ve handpicked a few recipes to create a simple autumn menu that will be sure to score you some major points with your date – even coming from the most bare-boned of kitchens. It’s a scientifically proven fact that our hearts are most easily accessed through our stomachs…so pay attention because class is in session:
Starting things off with a pretty simple salad made from the hugely popular super-food/nutritional powerhouse, kale. Did you know that per calorie, it has more iron than beef!? Not to mention its chalk full of antioxidants, Vitamin A,Vitamin K, and calcium? Anyway, this salad also features apples and walnuts which are always delicious fall favorites. You should aim to complete this recipe just before your date arrives so you have more time to prepare the other courses, drink wine, and entertain them. Also because sometimes people are a little skeptical about our good friend kale until they see it transformed into an impressive dish placed in front of them.
* Sidenote: this meal is vegetarian, so if you want to throw in some lean protein, add a grilled chicken breast to the kale salad and you’re golden.
When I think of date food, I automatically think Italian, so we’re going to go with a butternut squash and and pesto pizza recipe – a real winner. Squash is readily available in the fall at almost every grocery store and farmers market, and if making your own pesto from scratch makes you nervous, just buy some. The prep time for this recipe is only 10 minutes, and the cook time is 20, so you can feel free to make this in front of your date and they will be super impressed by your efficiency in the kitchen. And let’s be serious, everybody loves pizza.
For dessert I’m not going to recommend something ridiculous like handcrafted crème brûlée or maple ice cream because although that stuff is delicious, it’s also pretty hard to whip up if you’ve never done it before. Also this is a date, so you have other stuff to worry about too. So we’re going with a crisp, which is SO easy, SO delicious, and is SUPPOSED to look like a mess! You can’t go wrong. If you don’t have fresh strawberries, that’s fine too! Run to the grocery store for frozen ones, and pick up some vanilla ice cream while you’re there. Bon appétit!