Time was, the fastest way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. But in Title IX time, turn-about is fair play. Bachelors, take heed: the way to a woman’s heart is a home-cooked meal.
Restaurants are wise choices for first dates and special occasions. But soon enough, she’ll invite you over, then wait for you to reciprocate. Or she won’t, but your wallet will suffer from dining out.
Enter Date-Night Chicken, an easy, inexpensive and make-ahead supper guaranteed by a now happily married cousin to ‘reel them in’.
A relaxed evening at home is the bait. With a little planning, your preparations can be just as easy-going; with a little luck, your payoff can be just as big. First up, the tackle. Stop by the grocery, remembering to pick up salad essentials from the salad bar and something chocolate for dessert. You can cook the chicken, but not bake it, up to a day ahead.
With supper under control, survey the fishing hole. Create a romantic playlist on your iPOD just for her. Chill a bottle of white wine. Set the table with slow-burning candles. Set out cheese and crackers. Turn down the lights and turn up the thermostat. Take a shower and while you’re there, give the sink a quick wipe. So there you have it, bachelors, a proven method for impressing the woman of your destiny. If she loves your attentions, she’s a keeper, no catch and release.
Time to table: 60 minutes
Serves 2 with leftovers or 4 without
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Pepper to taste
- 1 pound fresh broccoli
- 1 can low-fat mushroom soup
- ½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons curry powder (don’t skip this)
- Small squeeze lemon juice
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- Egg noodles, cooked and tossed with butter
If baking right away, preheat oven to 350F. In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium til shimmery. Meanwhile, cut breasts into two or three pieces each. Drop into hot skillet, sprinkle with pepper, cook for 3 minutes without moving. Turn over, cook 2 more minutes. Turn off heat.
While meat cooks, cut broccoli tops into bite-size florets, arrange around perimeter of a large baking dish. Peel stems (because they’re tough) with carrot peeler, slice into ¼ inch coins and arrange in center. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes. Remove plastic, arrange chicken in center over stems.
In a bowl, stir together soup, mayo, curry and lemon juice. Spread evenly across top. (If you’re cooking ahead, stop here, cover with plastic and refrigerate. A half hour before serving, remove from frig and preheat oven.) Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and hot all the way through.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.
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