Invest in what’s real. Clean as you go. Drink while you cook. Make it fun. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It will be what it will be.Gwyneth Paltrow
Alright, ladies and gents! Mark your calendars! The first Thursday of November marks “National Men Make Dinner Day.”
Never heard of it? Well, it’s about to be your favorite day of the year! And it’s much more established than you may think. The day’s official website lists strict rules (and benefits) for full and willing participation.
The Benefits of Men Make Dinner Day
While there are ten “official” reasons why men should heartily join in the fun, three stand out:
1. Many recipes include HER favorite ingredient: Wine
3. The dog is sure to pay more attention to you while you’re in the kitchen.
And, if you want to get all sentimental, here’s the real reason: you love your family, and you want to show them you care!
Listen up, ladies and kiddos! While this is “National Men Make Dinner Day,” you have a role to play too. This day allows you to show your outstanding “fella” how much you admire him for reaching outside his comfort zone. (This assumes the man of the house is a newbie in the kitchen.)
Official Rules of Men Make Dinner Day
There are several rules (and we encourage you to check them out). A few notable ones include:
1. Man must willingly agree to participate… no nudging or bribes allowed!
2. He must select the recipe, which should have four or more ingredients, and require more cooking utensils than a fork and a knife.
3. Man must do all the shopping and clean-up. Extra points if he actually takes inventory of what’s already in the kitchen before he goes to the store.
4. No grilling allowed! All cooking must take place in the kitchen!
5. Dinner should be eaten at the table with the whole family.
Oh, and a little reminder… Women aren’t allowed in the kitchen or permitted to answer cooking questions.
Recipe Ideas for Men Make Dinner Day
If you’re a man who feels like he’s been stripped of his one esteemed cooking ability (grilling!), do not fear! Check out these five doable, mouth-watering recipes that will leave your family counting down until next year’s “National Men Make Dinner Day.”
Crock-Pot Pot Roast
What’s the number one advantage of “Men Make Dinner Day” for men? You get to choose the menu. If you’re tired of healthy food, you can roll out all the stops for one night. Chances are good that you’re a guy working from home. So when you’re grabbing that second cup of coffee from the kitchen on your morning union break, take an extra 15 minutes to put some simple ingredients into the crock-pot. What’s more manly than meat and potatoes? Check out the recipe here!
15-Minute Wonton Soup
OK, gents. Here’s one that will make you look like a star! And it checks off most of the boxes: quick (under 30 minutes), contains vegetables (greens and leeks), contains a couple of short-cuts from your friends at Trader Joes, can be 100% vegetarian and can be doubled easily to allow for a bowlful of leftovers during your noon Zoom call the next day. They’ll think you really worked hard on this 15-minute Wonton Soup. Ssshhh, it’s our little secret!
Braised Chicken Thighs, Tomato & Garlic Sauce
Hey guys, if you feel like you don’t know your way around the kitchen, the word “braise” may throw you off. But the easy thing about braising, all ingredients generally go into one pot on the stove and cook for a long time. So if your kitchen cabinet isn’t home to a crock pot, try out this recipe. Minus the salt, pepper and EVOO, there are only 5 ingredients for the recipe. It is so simple yet savory, it may become a family favorite. Here’s a link AND a video to make even easier.
Linguine with Shrimp Scampi
Gentlemen, even if you don’t spend much time in the kitchen, chances are you still may have seen Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa) on the Food Network. The men I know enjoy her for her casual and light-hearted nature. And for me, every recipe I’ve made of hers comes out perfect every time. And that makes this recipe a win/win. This linguine with shrimp scampi is like a date night dinner that doesn’t take a nuclear physicist to figure out. I can just hear you now — in your best Ina voice — “How easy is that?” (And if you don’t know what her voice sounds like, check her out on the Food Network.)
If you read the rules, you’ll know that you get bonus points for making a recipe that includes the word “scallopini.” While it seems a fancy name, it’s simply a type of Italian dish that contains thinly sliced meat, dredged in flour or breadcrumbs and sauteed in a number of ways. This is a delightful, aromatic dish that will leave your family gobsmacked. And one of the best parts is that it only takes 30 minutes and is a one-pot wonder, making your clean-up a breeze. One of the ingredients is white wine, so like Gwyneth suggests in her quote above: “Drink while you cook. Make it fun.” And while you’re cooking, pour some of that wine for your partner. Take a look at the recipe here!
By making this special effort to stretch outside your comfort zone, you can do a lot to show your family you care. They’ll feel appreciated, and who knows, if all goes well, you’ll walk away with some bragging rights! Just watch out — you might find this little evening so much fun (and easy) that you’ll want to keep going and try out the rest of the recipes too.