Tag Archives: Risotto

Winter Date Night: A Female’s Inner Monologue

15 Nov

Date Night

I don’t know how many of you reading this are female.  If you are female, I don’t know how many of you have been faced with a dinner date night conundrum.  Having lived in the district for over two years, one could say that I’ve participated in the modern dance known as luring a potential significant other contender.  Historically, men are assumed to be the courtiers.   I however fully believe in equal participation in the romance ritual from its onset, but I digress.  Basically, sometimes you wanna impress someone. Sometimes, an opportunity presents itself out of the blue and you gotta put your game face on.  This is one example: cooking him a meal.  I happen to relish in this circumstance as I hope this blog has conveyed.  However, I cannot say the same for several girlfriends, who would view the below as a complete nightmare.  In an attempt to both highlight and appease their anxiety, I give you Winter Date Night: A Female’s Inner Monologue.

Setting: Drab cubicle on the 5th floor of stereotypical downtown DC office building

Time: Friday, 1pm

Background: Appropriately witty text banter has evolved into impromptu date night plans at female’s residence.

“CRAP. He’s coming over for dinner tonight? OMG HE’S COMING OVER FOR DINNER TONIGHT?! Ugh why don’t I live with Martha Stewart or Giada whatsherface and make my life easier.  The only thing I know how to cook is frozen Macaroni and Cheese bites, which are sub-par to say the least.  Okay. I can do this. I will finish crushing this spreadsheet at 5:30, he’s coming over at 7. The metro sucks (who can forget that off-boarding nightmare yesterday at McPherson Square), so that leaves me approximately 45 minutes AT BEST from when I get home to look attractive and make an epic dinner that’s delicious yet simple and a little ambivalent. I mean, it’s only been a month, kid’s not getting Filet mignon, but he should obviously know I’m impressive in yet another facet of life. Thank god I went grocery shopping this week. There’s gotta be something I can pull together.  It’s dismal and frigid out so it should be warm and comforting…  Wait what am I going to wear??!!! Everything is in my stupid laundry basket because I ALWAYS procrastinate like this. Monday resolution: do your laundry dammit. Alright whatever I have that cute sweater dress.  Focus.”

5:30 arrives. Hustles home. Stares in cupboard/fridge for inspiration.

EPIPHANY: 5 simple ingredients. 20 minutes. Healthy yet provides man-substance.
-one box Archer Farm mushroom risotto
-one package asparagus
-one red pepper
-one box Archer Farms frozen turkey meatballs (which I genuinely snack on regularly)
-Parmesan cheese


Immediately preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Rinse and slice the red pepper.  Place red pepper and asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, set aside.  While oven heats for 15 minutes, run upstairs and touch up your already effortless make-up and put on that slammin’ outfit.  Run back downstairs when oven dings and throw in the veggies.  Pause to pour a glass of wine and press play on that tasteful dinner playlist. While veggies bake, make the flavored risotto.  Following instructions, risotto usually takes around 20 minutes, but is very low maintenance.  Just stir occasionally. After 15 of those minutes, place 10 small turkey meatballs on a microwave-safe plate and heat according to the back of the box (usually microwave takes 5-6 minutes).  Take out the veggies. Timing everything strategically means that the risotto, baked vegetables, and meatballs will all be ready within your crucial 20 minute window.  For compilation right before his arrival, separate the risotto into two bowls.  Layer the veggies along the inner rims of the bowls as pictured.  This is strictly for presentation but I like attention to detail.  Place 5 turkey meatballs in the center of each.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Voila!  A casual, delicious and surprisingly filling meal.


Doorbell rings. Scratched Ikea table is already set with bowls and two glasses of Fourteen Hands Hot to Trot red blend ($9 and my favorite). Answer door, sit, coyly sip, because YOU, my friend, are indeed too hot to trot. Enjoy.


So close to wine


Discovering new Foodventures with each bite

Madison Sheffer

a creative communicator

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