Making dinner doesn’t need to be a solo endeavor! Cooking with family and friends boosts confidence, happiness, and altruistic feelings for everyone involved, any night of the week. And, for obvious reasons, we think that cooking dinner together is a great choice for a date night in.
With a few extra hands to help slice, dice, stir, and even (dare we say it) do some dishes, the work of cooking will feel a little lighter and more fun! Here are a few tips and recipes that can turn this everyday part of life into a special occasion.
1. Cooking is an Act of Caring
Making a meal with a loved one or spouse is a way to provide for each other on a fundamental level. Nourishing another person also feeds into our sense of altruism and encourages feelings of trust, purpose, belonging, and intimacy. All these good vibes only increase our happiness and sense of purpose.
Try making this: Pasta Primavera with Gremolata
2. Cooking Promotes Communication
It’s no secret that open communication is an integral part of a healthy relationship. But meaningful conversations, like learning to cook, take practice. So, why not use this time to learn something new together, or take turns showing each other a skill you’ve already mastered like knife skills or the secret for perfectly seared steak.
Try making this: Quick Korean BBQ
And, while you prep vegetables, pick a fun topic to chat about. Even if you’ve known your cooking partner for years, boost your intimacy with some first-date questions. Ask something like: Given the choice of anyone in the world, who would you want as a dinner guest?
3. Cooking Boosts Confidence
By teaching each other skills like cooking, it builds confidence in your abilities and in your partner. Making something together gives you a shared sense of satisfaction and pride. If you can conquer a new recipe together, you can take on other household challenges like building IKEA furniture.
And, if a night alone isn’t an option, get the kids involved in the dinner prep because cooking is essential for their development and family bonding. Cooking with your children increases their self-esteem, creativity, and curiosity, too.
Try making this with the whole family: Cheeseburger Pizza
4. Cooking Is Sensory
In the kitchen, distractions can lead to burnt dinners. Cooking demands that you and your partner stay in the moment. This mindfulness can boost feelings of peace and happiness for both of you. Start by engaging all of your senses. Cooking is perfect for this. Observe the vibrant red bell peppers while you chop them, listen for the sizzle of food hitting the hot pan. Smell ingredients as you add them to the recipe and taste-test as you go.
Try making this: Chicken Paprikash
To make dinner at home feel more like an event, add a tablecloth to the dinner table along with a few votives and a small vase of fresh flowers. Use the good dishes, a few cloth napkins, open up a bottle of wine, and enjoy an extra special meal.
I love this!!!
Love these tips! I can’t wait to share these!
I agree with all of these tips! I LOVE cooking for my friends and family. My number one thing to do.
As a therapist this article was great! ❤️
I love this! Henry doesn’t cook as you’ve guessed, but I will give him preparation “jobs” to do. Cutting veggies, starting the salad etc. It makes him feel useful, we talk and sometimes act silly and laugh! My dementia support group tells me to keep Henry busy, so cooking is good communication and fun!
I love all of those ideas!!! Perfect night with the family and not so much on one person. Thanks for the tips!!!
Thanks for the tips and recipes. Will have to try them. Husband and I like to cook together.
The instructions say that I can’t preheat the stoneware.
Have you ever tried to do this?
There is no need to preheat stoneware. The stoneware heats up a little slower than metal or glass but it reaches and stays at a consistent temperature. You may find that you will cook food on stoneware a little longer than the recipe calls for and one reason for this is that food won’t burn on the bottom. The top of what you are baking will always be browner than the top.
One reason NOT to preheat stoneware is thermal shock. If cold or frozen food comes into contact with a hot stone the temperature variation may cause the stoneware to crack or break. You can bake frozen foods on stoneware. Just remember to spread the food around the stone so that there is not a concentrated cold spot. A good rule of thumb is to use your thumb. If the food is thicker than your thumb, thaw it out first. Frozen nuggets, fries, fish sticks, tenders, etc. will get crispy like fried but baked without the added oil!
Thanks for the recipes and advice much appreciated. I have always cooked Dinner every night except for occasional spurge of take out. Always tell my husband how lucky he is as most women I know do not cook I find that so amazing. Also Thank you for the new idea’s.
You are welcome! Cooking at home is so good for many reasons. I heard that a family that eats most meals at home can save $3,000 a year and eat so much healthier!
Great article! Great tips! Thank you
I agree with this. When my daughter was 12, she asked me to teach her how to cook, because she is my only girl of 5 kids. It was so thrilling and exciting to do that with her. Now she is 16 and cooks dinners for a family of 6. Of course the pampered chef products helped.
Awesome, thx for this!
It is an act of caring!