My boyfriend has a problem: He’s addicted to eating out.

It’s not that he can’t cook – he’s great in the kitchen! Like most males, he carries the barbecue gene. He knows his way around a pan, and even made up some delicious recipes of his own.

So why does he insist on going out every chance’s he’s got? Laziness may play a small part in it, but I think that mostly, in some way, he enjoys justifying that he can get a good burger and two sides for “only $4.95.” He likes the fact that in NYC, pizza comes for $1 a slice, and that you can get your fill of nitrate (hot-dogs)  at any street corner from a cart. I’m not saying that eating out is always unhealthy, but he certainly doesn’t go to a restaurant for the salad, if you catch my drift.

This has caused some strain in our relationship, as I hate eating out. Why pay $16 (including tip) for a dinner that could have cost me $5 to make at home, turned out healthier, tasted better, served on my own china with my own silverware, and included a glass of wine?

So, we agreed to compromise. Burgers, chili, pizza and pork rolls are still a part of the diet, but now they’re homemade. We haven’t stopped drinking altogether, but we keep the liquor cabinet stocked, instead of barhopping (for which we are too old, anyway). But I can’t eat this “man food” every day, so I had to come up with something else to keep my honey out of the fast food joints.

Yesterday, I did something new: instead of asking the usual “what’s for dinner?” I wrote out the “Menu du Soir” on the dry-erase board. I grew up in one of those tiny European countries near France, so I speak fluent french. Using the fanciest, fruitiest terms I could think of, I wrote out the menu I had in mind:

*Asperges au four, avec un fin filet d’huile et parsemées de gros sel*

*Blancs de poulet à la panure poivrée*

*Compote de pommes chaude au miel*

Even if you don’t know how to say half of the words, doesn’t it sounds so much more appetizing (and a bit snottier) in french? The menu translation is as follows: roasted asparagus, with a thin trickle of oil and coarse-grained salt; chicken breasts with peppered breadcrumbs; hot applesauce with honey.

It did the trick, and helped feign the illusion of a ritzy frog-leg-serving, mustachioed-waiter-harboring establishment, rather than our boring old kitchen. It took a lot of energy to be the chef/sous-chef/waitress/busgirl all at once, so I’ll still let my beloved carnivore fix sloppy joes and franks three or four nights a week, but it’s nice to treat him to his “restaurant outing” without paying the salty (hehe) bill.

For the avid cookers out there, here are the recipes of the night. For applesauce recipe, refer to previous post.

For the chicken, you’ll need:

  • chicken breasts (1 breast per person)
  • All purpose white flour (enough to cover the breasts)
  • slightly beaten eggs (1 egg is enough for about 4 breasts)
  • enough bread crumbs to cover the breasts (I bought mine plain, and mixed in some salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and dried rosemary)
  • olive oil

Pre-heat your oven at 350˚F. Rinse and pat the breasts dry, and roll them in the flour.

Then, roll them in the egg.

And then, in the bread crumbs.

Generously coat the bottom of a large frying pan with olive oil. Heat the pan on high, and add the chicken (if you’re fairly new at frying, I would only do one breast at the time).

When the breasts are browned, transfer to a baking sheet covered with a sheet of aluminum foil, and bake 10-15 minutes, or until the breasts are done. COOKING TIP OF THE DAY #1: To check if chicken is fully cooked, make a small incision. If the juices run clear, the chicken is done. Also, the inside should be white, not pink. DO NOT EAT UNDERCOOKED CHICKEN! Serve warm!

For the asparagus, you’ll need:

  • a bunch of asparagus
  • coarse-grained salt (regular salt is okay)
  • olive oil
  • pepper

Preheat the oven (or your toaster oven, if you have one!) to 420˚F. Get rid of the ends (opposite of the yummy-looking tips). COOKING TIP OF THE DAY #2: The easiest way to get rid of the “bad ends” is to snap them off with your bare hands. Just put your fingers at the base of the spear, and snap wherever it’s the easiest – that’s where the tough, stringy part stops and the yummy, tender part starts!


Arrange the spears on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil, and drizzle some olive oil on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 10 minutes. Bon appétit!

Advertisements