About Me

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I don't bother nobody. I'm a real nice girl. Kind of laid back like a dead squirrel. Da ha, da ha, da ha ha ha ha. On a more serious note, I was born in Brooklyn, NY, then after nine years moved to Richmond,VA and lived there for thirty years. Lived in Fayetteville,NC for two and a half years. I lived in Savannah,GA for two years. I'm back in Richmond right now. I'm a recently divorced Christian BBW foodie concerned about human rights, ex-offender re-entry, recovery from all addiction, behavioral health,natural beauty,healthy living,etc. Right now I'm a caregiver,for the elderly,children and those with special needs and I am also trying to become a professional restaurant reviewer and blogger as well as looking for partners,investors & other resources to open a diner in the Bay Area of California or in Savannah Georgia 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sunny Anderson...Food Network Personality,Author,Air Force Veteran

Sunny Anderson was born born April 9, 1975 in New Orleans, Louisiana and grew up as an Army brat, which allowed her to travel the world (living in Germany and other places) and sample many local cuisines with her parents, who were food enthusiasts. She attended Madison High School in San Antonio, Texas and upon her graduation she joined the United States Air Force in June 1993, where she earned the rank of Senior Airman and worked as a military radio host in Seoul, South Korea, then worked for Air Force News Agency radio and television in San Antonio from 1993 to 1997. She was honorably discharged from the Air Force in June 1997.
 While growing up traveling the world as an Army brat, Sunny's parents always encouraged her to indulge in the local cuisine. When she joined the Air Force as a radio broadcaster and journalist, she continued her trek through the world for news stories while indulging in culinary finds along the way. Upon leaving the Air Force an award-winning broadcaster, she continued her travels as a radio DJ in many cities, culminating in her dream job in New York at a #1 rated radio station. There, as a hobby she began cooking for her friends in the entertainment business and turned her growing client list into a catering company. That led to a guest appearance on Food Network’s Emeril Live! in 2005 and shortly after, she left her radio career and closed her catering business to focus on chasing yet another dream, sharing her recipes with the Food Network audience. Things worked out in 2007 with her first show, Gotta Get It, a food gadget show, quickly followed by Cooking for Real, How'd That Get On My Plate and other Food Network show appearances. Her cooking style combines classic comfort foods along with unique flavors inspired by her many travels.  With an understanding of everyday life and the belief that real people deserve down-to-earth, delicious meals, Sunny offers real food for real life. Sunny is currently working on a new Food Network show The Kitchen and just released her New York Times Best Selling debut cook book, "Sunny's Kitchen", on Clarkson/Potter.

Sunny lives in Sunset Park, Brooklyn with her 4 rescue cats, Cheddar Cheese, Truffle Tycoon, Milky Mouth and Sea Salt.


G. Garvin...Celebrity Chef,Author,Entrepreneur,James Beard Award Nominee,Philanthropist

Road Trip Season 3
Being raised by a single mother and surrounded by four sisters, the determined 13-year-old Garvin traded after-school football practice for a job at The Old Vinings Inn in Atlanta, soaping dishes while soaking up the inner workings of a high-end kitchen operation. Two years later, he became the youngest cook at the downtown Ritz-Carlton, where he worked after school and during the summer.

Garvin moved to the West Coast in 1988 to open the Ritz-Carlton’s Rancho Mirage resort in Palm Springs. Soon after, at the age of 20, he moved to Europe to further his culinary training and serve as an apprentice to Jean Pierre Maharebacha. There, he gained a wide range of on-the-job experience taking kitchen positions in Hamburg and Warsaw, documenting everything he learned. After nearly two years, he returned to Atlanta to become sous chef of the award-winning Italian restaurant Veni, Vidi, Vici. However, the lure of the West Coast drew him back, this time to Los Angeles.

Acclaimed Chef, Cookbook Author, Television Host, James Beard Nominee, and Philanthropist, all words that describe Chef Gerry Garvin, simply known as G. Garvin. Chef Garvin started his culinary career in his hometown, Atlanta, Georgia at the Ritz Carlton-Downtown, as the youngest line cook in the gourmet dining room. He was chosen to move to Palm Springs, California to open the Ritz Carlton-Rancho Mirage, where he worked under Chef Jean Pierre Dubray. With a promising career ahead, he relocated to Los Angeles, California, took on a position as the dining room Sous Chef at Noa Noa. After spending 3 years there, Chef Garvin then headed to the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills. He went on to become the Executive Chef of Morton’s and Kass Bah.

After spending some time in Los Angeles, Garvin returned to Atlanta to work with the Buckhead Life Group at Veni Vidi Vici and Pricci. He later returned to Los Angeles and partnered with Keyshawn Johnson to open Reign Restaurant. After Reign was off to a great start, Chef Garvin opened his signature restaurant, G Garvin’s, where he continued to cater to and host High Profile dinners for such clients as Former President Bill Clinton to Halle Berry to the Former Prime Minister of Israel.

Chef Garvin continued to make a name for himself, as he is in the homes of millions for 7 seasons on the TV One network with, Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin (airing in the US and Brazil). His increasing popularity earned this talented artist a second series on the same network entitled G. Garvin: The Road Tour. Eventually, Food Networks’ Cooking Channel tapped him to host the series, Road Trip with G Garvin. This show is currently in its second season.
garvin has mastered offering a one-size-fits-all approach to cooking with sophistication and simplicity
Garvin is also a notable author. His first cookbook, "Turn Up the Heat" with G. Garvin debuted in October 2006. Its widespread success quickly prompted a second printing and won an American Literacy Award and a nomination for a NAACP Image Award. It was also chosen as a participant in the 2006 Library of Congress National Book Festival. Garvin's highly anticipated sophomore effort, Make it Super Simple with G. Garvin, a collection of recipes for super simple, healthful and delectable dishes, was released in February 2008. A third cookbook, Dining In, released in October 2008, features all new, fine-dining recipes that will provide even the most inexperienced cooks with recipes and guidance to create the most impressive gourmet meals at home. Garvin has mastered offering a one-size-fits-all approach to cooking with sophistication and simplicity, proving that even the most basic cooking palate can create flavorful of dishes.

Ever the entrepreneur, Garvin has developed his own line of spices, G. Garvin’s Spices, a line of Gourmet Nuts and G Garvin’s Wines. He also develops recipes for such clients as Kraft Foods, Tyson Foods and The Coca-Cola Company. Restaurant consulting, another aspect of his career, where he helps restaurateurs realize their vision by overseeing all aspects of new operations, polices and procedures, recipe development and the creation on menu’s placement of Executive Chef’s and General Managers.

Garvin's impressive resume and philanthropic efforts has warranted such accolades as the 2007 Man of the Year award by Women Moving Forward in Business and Third Best TV Chef by Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine in 2006 (behind Jacques Pepin and Emeril Lagasse.) Additionally, Garvin has been a popular guest on both The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Good Morning America.

To further make an indelible mark on culinary history through his One Bite At Time Foundation Garvin has launched his culinary boot camp which is geared towards kids ages 16-19, whom will experience not only the education side of the culinary field but also experience the hospitality, restaurant front of house, management and operational skills as well as hands on cooking experience. Through this seven day sleep over camp Garvin expects to change lives and introduce kids to a new career choice, culinary arts. Through Garvin's efforts he hopes to aid in breaking down the diversity barriers within not only the cooking industry, but in society as a whole where chefs of color are often categorized more often by race than profession.


Aaron McCargo, Jr...Celebrity Chef,Author,Restaurateur

Aaron McCargo, Jr. (born 1971) is an American chef from Camden, New Jersey. He is best known as the winner of the fourth season of the Food Network's reality television show, The Next Food Network Star.

He has a preference for meats and bold, spicy flavors, and avoids overly complex recipes. He calls the food he cooks "soul food," but with multiple cultural influences. Big Daddy's House features members of his family as guests, and each recipe was advertised to utilize five or fewer ingredients (although they usually include more than five).

In 2010, Aaron’s cookbook entitled, Simply Done, Well Done entered bookstores nationwide offering up the delectable menu choices showcased on his series in an easy to prepare, simple way making his good cooking available in people’s kitchens everywhere.   Aaron also launched a product line of spices thereby furthering his quest to make flavorful, bold foods available to everyone.

McCargo grew up in Camden, New Jersey, and is one of six children. He became interested in cooking at age four, when he began baking cakes in his sister's Easy-Bake Oven. He began cooking in his family's kitchen at age seven. He was encouraged by his father, Aaron McCargo, Sr., who is a fine cook, and his mother, Julia, who has a preference for food with a great deal of flavor. He first studied cooking in a home economics class at Pyne Point Middle School in Camden, and began cooking as a Junior Volunteer in the kitchen of Cooper University Hospital in Camden at age 13. He took further cooking classes at Camden High School, graduating in 1989. He attended the Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape Community College in Mays Landing, New Jersey but did not complete the program, leaving after one year to assist his mother with his brothers.

Following his graduation from high school, McCargo took a month-long cake cooking class at Wilton Cake in Audubon, New Jersey and began selling cakes and cookies throughout Camden. He has worked in nine restaurants in New Jersey (some while doing on-the-job training during his year at the Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape Community College), including T.G.I. Friday's, Steak 38, Holmes Lounge, the Marlton Tavern, and the former Harbour League Club in Camden, and the Armadillo Steakhouse & Saloon in Edgewater Park Township, New Jersey as sous chef; he also worked at the Armadillo Steakhouse & Saloon in Barrington, New Jersey. Aaron was introduced to the Burlington County, New Jersey area when he opened Citrus in Westampton, New Jersey with Ian Russo.

He opened his own restaurant, McCargo's Creative Cuisine, in 2003. The restaurant was located across from the U.S. Federal Courthouse on Cooper Street, in Camden near Rutgers University in Camden, and closed in 2005. He has worked as an executive chef, including at the catering division of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he oversaw approximately forty jobs per day. He left his job there on June 6, 2008 due to his demanding television schedule.

In 2008, McCargo entered the fourth season of Food Network's The Next Food Network Star at the urging of his wife. He beat out 3,990 other entrants as the winner of that year's competition, the finale of which aired on July 27, 2008. He was awarded a six-episode commitment for his own cooking show on Food Network. His show, Big Daddy's House, premiered on August 3, 2008 and ranked as the number one “in the kitchen” weekend show during its initial six-episode run.Food Network renewed the show for a second and third season. Since then, he has made many public appearances, and is particularly interested in teaching young people to cook and encouraging them to follow their dreams. McCargo's own dreams are to open his own restaurant on the Camden Waterfront and to introduce a line of soups

McCargo makes frequent guest appearances of Spike TV's Bar Rescue

McCargo lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He has a Roman Catholic background. His wife is named Kimberly and they have three children (sons Joshua and Justin, and daughter Jordan). He has a strong Christian faith and is a member of The Living Hope Christian Center in Pennsauken Township, New Jersey. He enjoys watching boxing, as well as playing the drums and listening to music. Aaron also enjoys Bible study,playing tennis,eating Buffalo wings, watching sports, and traveling.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Gina and Patrick Neely...authors,restaurateurs,television personalities

<b>Pat and Gina Neely: Just Begining</b>
Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook
The Neelys' Celebration Cookbook: Down-Home Meals for Every Occasion
Back Home with the Neelys: Comfort Food from Our Southern Kitchen to Yours
Food Network celebrities Patrick (Pat) and Gina Neely are successful examples of hard work, a great opportunity and strong business savvy. They are the co-owners of Neely's Bar-B-Que restaurant in downtown Memphis,Tennessee and Neely's Barbecue Parlor in New York City. They also host two popular Food Network television programs named Down Home with the Neelys and Road Tasted with the Neelys. The pair co-wrote cookbooks The Neelys' Celebration Cookbook: Down-Home Meals for Every Occasion,Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook, and Back Home with the Neelys: Comfort Food from Our Southern Kitchen to Yours.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tips for Creating a Romantic Valentine's Table by Becki Rizzuti

Now that you have recipes for the Valentine's Day meal, here are some romantic tablescape ideas to make the amorous atmosphere perfect.
Setting up a romantic table with roses and gifts will help get your February 14th off to a good start!
Men and women alike want to be charmed this Valentine's Day, so whether you're planning a beautiful date for your husband or for your wife, try to plan something that will make a beautiful and memorable occasion. The key to romance is to make sure that your setting is designed not for a group of people, but for the two of you, focusing on something that you and your valentine share with one another and that you both enjoy. If you want to create the most romantic date possible, it all starts with a beautiful setting that will charm him or her!
This hub will help you to put together the components of a beautiful and romantic Valentine's Day table so that your dinner for two will be set against the backdrop of an amazing table and lighting. You will find ideas to help you create a romantic table and place settings for you and your date on February 14th, as well as some suggested items to purchase for your setting this year.
Make 2014 the most memorable Valentine's Day yet!

Start with Romantic Colors

Nothing creates a mood better than romantic lighting. Make sure to turn the lights down low, and if you're looking for a particularly amorous evening, choose shades of pink and red (known as the colors of love and romance) to set the mood for a beautiful dinner and evening with the one you love.
Red is a highly energetic color that will help to keep your date invigorated and ready to move on into the evening. It is also associated with love and lust, and may set the atmosphere of romance between you and your partner. The color red will encourage the desire to act in your partner, enhancing the mood for romantic encounters later on. Combined with pink, associated with a nurturing love, you have a powerful combination for any kind of romantic dinner date that you may have planned for your partner.
Rose petals in red or pink make an excellent addition to any Valentine's Day table.

Consider decorating the space for your date with pink and red colors in order to encourage feelings of love, compassion and well being. If you are hoping for a passionate end to the night, go heavy on the red. If you're hoping to encourage your partner to feel nurtured and loved, use more pink colors in your palette.
The following items come in both red and pink and make excellent options for setting the mood for your romantic Valentine's dinner.
  • Rose Petals - Rose Petals make an amazing and inexpensive addition to your holiday table setting. You can purchase lots of silk rose petals on Amazon or on Ebay for this purpose. I recommend purchasing them in pink and red, with the possible addition of white. Mix the colors together before spreading them.
  • Candles - Candles make for romantic lighting for you and your Valentine this year. I recommend using lots of candles for your Valentine's Day table and making sure that you have them lit at the time the date starts (preferably before your date arrives). See below for more information about scented candles. You may wish to choose a romantic candle holder as well, such as the one suggested to the right
  • Tablecloth and Napkins - You can find romantic table cloths and napkins anywhere you'll find linens sold. I recommend purchasing these in red, or using red with white accents instead of using pink linens for your Valentine's day dinner. Red provides a nice, strong backdrop, particularly if you scatter pink rose petals over its surface!
  • Valentine's Candies - Along with your rose petals, scattering your table with Valentine's Day candies can add to the romance, and it's totally edible! Candies come in all sorts, but chocolate is considered to be an aphrodisiac and therefore would be a wonderful choice. Just remember to make sure that your chocolates are wrapped!
2 lot Heart Bouquet Candle holders, Valentines Day Gift & Decorations

Romantic Scents Add Ambiance

Tastes will differ when it comes to which scents a person finds romantic. Remember in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince when the Potions students were introduced to the Amortentia potion? What scents do you find romantic? Hermione found mint toothe paste and fresh-cut grass romantic. Your partner's tastes will differ from yours: They will differ from anyone else in the world. Knowing what he or she finds romantic is critical to building a good atmosphere for your date night, but you may wish to work with the following suggestions:
  • Vanilla
  • Orange
  • Cherry
  • Cinammon
Most of these scents can be found in some form of room freshener, but you may also wish to try adding an extract to a coffee cup and putting it in the oven for an hour prior to your date (at 350 degrees) as this will make the scent permeate the entire house for a minimal cost.

Lighting Sets a Romantic Mood

Make sure that you have plenty of candles on hand for your Valentine's Day date. They are the bread and butter of a romantic setting and you'll want to have enough of them lit and enough backup to keep the atmosphere going for as long as possible. Tea lights are an amazing option for ambiance, but don't rule out using pillar candles as well. A good pillar arrangement provides a good centerpiece for your Valentine's Day table if you'd prefer not to use flowers (and are a good option for women whose boyfriends or husbands aren't eager to receive flowers on Valentine's day).

Romantic Color Chart

Positive Associations
Negative Associations
Passion, Sensuality, Energy, Activity
Fear, Aggression
Love, Security, Nurturing
Low Self Worth
Heart-shaped ornaments or fairy lights can add atmosphere to your Valentine's Day Gathering.


The Place Settings

Make sure to set your table with romantic plates, good silverware and wine glasses. Since this is a Valentine's Day date, you'll want to make sure that you're serving a good wine, or even champaigne (with strawberries!). Using good china with quality wine glasses will make your date feel incredibly special this February 14th.
The champagne flutes suggested to the right would make a beautiful addition to your romantic Valentine's Day table.

Make Your Valentine's Tablescape Personal

The video to the right offers some suggestions for decorating your Valentine's Table. The most important thing is to make sure that you're providing your partner with a personalized experience that shows him how well you know him. Try to make sure to personalize the menu as well as the tablescape and table settings. Cook up something you know that he'll enjoy! Consider choosing options that offer a romantic one-on-one and keep the lights low.
Add your own touches to the Valentine's Day table. If you use a book, video or tutorial for decorating your table, make sure that you also add your own touches to whatever you're doing. Make sure you're using some kind of a "signature" that reflects who you really are as a couple. Take her preferences into consideration and make sure that the menu and decorating reflect not only your tastes, but hers as well.
Valentine's day is about making memories and about sharing past memories with one another as a couple. Do something that will make him laugh, or that will make her cry. Don't forget to look for the perfect gift for your Valentine as well! Awristwatch for your man or a beautiful piece of jewelry for your lady. Make your partner feel special: That's where memories are made.

Get More Valentine's Day from Becki

If you've enjoyed this article about how to prepare your Valentine's Table for your date night, you might also enjoy some of the following articles featuring romantic tips for Valentine's Day 2014 and beyond. All of these tips can be used throughout the year for romantic occasions!
For ideas for a romantic dinner date at home, you might enjoy learning about romantic ways to incorporate fondue into your date night. Fondue isn't just about cheese! With some good recipes you can show off your cooking skills while providing your Valentine and you with an excellent meal at home.
Maybe you're thinking about what kind of music you should play at your Valentine's dinner. You do have plenty of options, but why not think about country music, particularly if you're going to have an active date with some dancing? This list of romantic country songs may help you to plan your playlist this year!
Finally, why not wrap up your Valentine's date with some romantic movies and snuggle down by the fire with a cup of spiced hot cocoa? Toss on a hand-crocheted throw made especially for your honey and you have the right idea for a perfect romantic date night!
For more Valentine's Day tips, tricks and ideas, please visit Becki's Valentine's Tag on Tumblr.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Katie Lee's Recipes For Seducing Your Boo from Cosmopolitan.com

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, I thought it would be timely to post eight recipes for a variety of occasions for you and your honey to share some romantic meals together.

Breakfast with Your Boyfriend

Show your guy your love by pampering him with an extraspecial breakfast on a weekend morning. Wake up a little early, and slip this bread pudding into the oven (you make it the day before for ultimate ease). The irresistible smell of cinnamon will come wafting into the bedroom and arouse his senses. Some say it’s a natural aphrodisiac — hint, hint. Spend the rest of the a.m. hours feasting, sipping, and well, whatever just happens to come next.
Cinnamon-Swirl Breakfast Bread Pudding
It is said that the Queen of Sheba used cinnamon to mesmerize King Solomon. So it has power. Prepare this bread pudding ahead of time so that in the morning, all you have to do is turn on the oven.
4 eggs
1½ cups milk
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ loaf day-old bread, cut into cubes
¼ cup pecans, chopped
Nonstick cooking spray
Maple syrup

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Add the brown sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon, and whisk until all the ingredients are completely incorporated. Stir the bread and pecans into the egg mixture. Coat an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour in the bread pudding, and cover with foil. Let sit in the refrigerator at least one hour and up to overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread pudding, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake an additional 10 minutes, until the pudding is browned. Serve hot with maple syrup.

Sexy Picnic for Two

There's something so intimate about a picnic with your guy. And as the temperature begins to rise, eating outside becomes refreshing and romantic. But no boring ham-and-cheese sandwiches or store-bought potato salad here! Entice him with an exotic Middle East-themed menu of foods rich in bold flavors. Pack a colorful blanket or tapestry and a few pillows for lounging. Find a pretty spot to settle down or, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, spread out on the floor of your apartment. Between the aromas and tastes, you’ll be transported.
Meze Platter with Herbed Pita Crisps
Meze is traditional in Greece and Turkey and is the equivalent of tapas or finger food. Make these homemade pita crisps, and buy the rest in the deli at your grocery store. A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice brighten up all the flavors.
2 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 T minced fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, thyme, etc.)
2 pitas, split in half, and each half cut into fourths (use whole wheat for a healthy alternative)
Baba ghanoush (eggplant dip)
Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves)
Greek olives
Tabbouleh salad
Feta cheese
Lemon wedges
Extra-virgin olive oil

For the pita crisps: Preheat oven to 400°F. Use a fork to mix butter and herbs in a bowl, then spread onto the pita slices. Sprinkle with salt, and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes.
For the meze platter: Arrange hummus, baba ghanoush, dolmades, olives, tabbouleh, feta, and lemon on a platter. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, and serve with the pita crisps.

Exotic Summer Dinner

A luxurious vacation may not be in the cards right now, but this meal will make you feel as if you're on holiday in the South Pacific. Invite your guy over for a romantic escape from your usual dinner date. Decorate the table with tropical colors, put on a flowy dress, and if you feel like getting really festive, tuck a flower in your hair. Between the sweet and spicy flavors and summer heat, things are bound to get steamy.
Macadamia Nut-Crusted Tilapia with Pineapple Salsa
The macadamia-nut crust adds a nice crunch, and the pineapple salsa has just the right balance of spicy and sweet flavors.
For fish:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup crushed macadamia nuts
2 tilapia fillets (about 3 to 4 ounces each)
For salsa:
1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1/2 jalapeño, seeds removed, minced
1/4 cup minced cilantro
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put flour, egg, and nuts in three separate shallow dishes. Dredge each fillet first in flour, then egg, then nuts. Place on oiled baking sheet. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, until golden brown.
While fish is baking, make the salsa. Combine pineapple, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with fish. The fish is done when it is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

Cozy Winter Meal

It may be cold outside, but that's all the more reason to heat things up inside. Hibernate with your guy and savor this simple yet luxurious dinner. Potpies stretch an expensive ingredient like lobster, and their creamy sauce coupled with a buttery, flaky crust might as well spell c-o-z-y. Serve with a light green salad and bottle of champagne.
Lobster Potpie
These potpies are so pretty that you almost don't want to eat them. Almost!
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
½ cup frozen corn
½ cup frozen peas
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
½ pound cooked lobster meat (can be bought at the seafood counter)
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (keep refrigerated until ready to use)
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set out two 2-cup individual ovenproof bowls. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add corn and peas. Stir in flour, and cook 1 more minute. Add milk and chicken broth, stirring constantly. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Then remove from heat, add lobster and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator. Cut the dough in half, and reserve one half for another use. On a lightly floured surface, flatten out the pastry, using a floured rolling pin, to about 1⁄8-inch thickness. Using one of the bowls as a guide, cut the pastry into two circles. Spoon the filling into the bowls, and place one circle of dough on top of each potpie, pressing the edges to seal the pastry to the bowl. Cut a vent in the center so air and moisture can escape. Using a pastry brush, cover the entire surface of each pie with beaten egg. Place the potpies on a baking sheet. Bake until the pastry is puffed and becomes a dark golden brown shade, about 35 minutes.

Easy Double-Date Dinner

Instead of eating out for your next foursome, have another couple over, and show off your cooking skills. This isn't the time to get fancy with soufflés and beurre blanc sauces — fix a meal that can be made mostly ahead of time so your guy isn't left to entertain while you spend all night avoiding kitchen disasters.
Lasagna Spirals
Lasagna can be time-consuming, but these spirals are done in a snap! Even better, the individual servings look so elegant.
1 teaspoon olive oil
10 lasagna noodles
1 pound ricotta cheese
1 10-ounce package chopped frozen spinach, thawed (squeeze out water)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
6 basil leaves, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
4 cups tomato sauce
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add olive oil. Cook noodles 7 to 8 minutes. Drain. Mix ricotta, spinach, mozzarella, basil, egg, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Spread each noodle with a layer of ricotta mixture, then roll up and place seam side down into the dish. Top spirals with 1½ cups tomato sauce and ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Bake 20 minutes. Serve with extra sauce and cheese on the side.

Make Up After Fighting Snack

If you’ve had a fight, nothing will ease the tension like a sweet treat, such as my No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. One bite and he’ll forget there was ever a problem. Plus, chocolate is an aphrodisiac, so who knows where you two could end up next!
No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Yields about 30 cookies
2 c. sugar
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. milk
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
2 1/2 to 3 c. rolled oats

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, cocoa, milk, and vanilla. Bring to a slow boil, and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the peanut butter. Remove from the heat. Stir in 2 1/2 c. oats. The mixture should be thick. Add the remaining 1/2 c. oats if necessary. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop the mixture by the heaping tablespoonful onto the parchment. Allow the cookies to firm up at room temperature, about one hour.

Dessert to Win Over His Parents

When you're going to meet your man's mom and dad, it's always nice to bring them something homemade and from the heart. Make this delicious Nutty Banana Bread, and when it cools, swath it neatly in plastic wrap then paper, and tie with a beautiful ribbon — it shows that you put thought and time into it. Presenting it to them the moment you arrive is a great icebreaker. The next morning, when his clan breaks out the bread for breakfast, they'll remember how thoughtful you were and how much they liked you.
Nutty Banana Bread
Yields 6 to 8 servings
2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. canola oil
2 large eggs
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2c. buttermilk
3 medium bananas, mashed
1/2 c. walnuts, finely minced (about 2 oz.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk in three additions. Gently stir in the bananas and nuts. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Carefully turn out the loaf to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Make Him Pop the Question

I think any man can be won over by being fed my Chicken with Roasted Garlic, Pancetta, and Rosemary. Guys love the crispy chicken with the smoky bacon and earthy flavors of the roasted garlic and rosemary. Serve it up with some mashed potatoes and he might just drop down on one knee right then and there!
Crispy Oven-Roasted Chicken with Roasted Garlic, Pancetta, and Rosemary
Yields 6 servings
6 boneless, skin-on chicken-breast halves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. pancetta or slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 T olive oil
15 garlic cloves
Canola oil
1 T fresh rosemary, chopped, plus sprigs for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse chicken, and pat dry. Salt and pepper each piece. Set aside. In a medium ovenproof skillet over medium heat, cook the pancetta until crispy, about 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Add the olive oil and garlic. Cook until the cloves are golden, then bake in the oven until the cloves are soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven, and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large ovenproof skillet, heat 1 inch of canola oil over high heat until very hot but not smoking. Carefully place the chicken skin-side down in the hot oil. Let cook 3 to 4 minutes to start crisping the skin. Do not turn. Carefully transfer the pan to the oven, and bake until the chicken is cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and plate.