162235657Food always tastes better when made with love, so what better way to spend quality time with your significant other than in the kitchen!

Not only will cooking as a couple be an enjoyable bonding experience, there is a also delicious meal to be savored! Mealtime is a great opportunity to enjoy each other’s company. What follows are a few recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner guaranteed to make both your taste buds rejoice without sacrificing too much of your time.

 

 

Breakfast for Two:

Berry Green Smoothie

This blended delight is guaranteed to satisfy both you and your partner until lunchtime. Blueberries and raspberries add a touch of sweetness to hearty oats and creamy banana while sneaking in a serving of greens to start your day off right.
2
  • 1cupspinach leaves
  • 1/2cupfrozen blueberries
  • 1/2cupfrozen raspberries
  • 1ripe banana
  • 1/2cupalmond milk
  • 2Tbspold-fashioned oats
  • 1Tbsphoney
  1. Combine spinach, blueberries, raspberries, banana, almond milk, oats, and honey along with 1 cup of ice in a blender. Process until smooth, serve immediately and enjoy! (Source: DamnDelicious.net)
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Lunch for Two:

Chicken Avocado Pitas

These chicken avocado pitas are easy to assemble and incredibly tasty. Filled with heart-healthy avocado, lean chicken, and protein-rich Greek yogurt, these pitas are certain to keep afternoon cravings at bay.
2
  • 1large cooked chicken breast
  • 1avocado, hallowed and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4cupplain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2tspcilantro, divided
  • 1/2tspgarlic salt
  • 4cherry tomatoes, quartered (add more if desired)
  • 2slices of thin baby Swiss cheese
  • 1Tbsplemon juice
  • 2whole-wheat pita pockets
  • 1/2tspextra virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over chicken breast, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer chicken breast to an oven-safe pan.
  4. Roast for 25 minutes or until cooked through.
  5. Once cooked, cut chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. Set aside
  6. Cut 1 piece of Swiss cheese into each pita pocket.
  7. In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt and garlic salt. Set aside.
  8. In a medium sized bowl, combine avocado, tomatoes, lemon juice, and half of the cilantro. Set aside.
  9. Add half the cut chicken to eat pita.
  10. Top the chicken with a drizzle of the yogurt mixture followed by a large spoonful of the avocado mixture, all within the pita pocket. Can be served cold, or drilled on a Panini press/foreman grill for 2 minutes to serve warm. (Source: TheCookieRookie.com)
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Dinner for Two:

Lemony Kale, Pasta, and Pistachio Salad

Kale greens come together with tender whole-wheat pasta and crunchy pistachio nuts for a decadent, dinner-worthy salad. Shredded Parmesan cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice add just the right amount of tartness to the homemade dressing. This salad is sure to have you coming back for seconds.
2
  • 3Tbspextra virgin olive oil
  • 2Tbspfresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2clove garlic, minced
  • 4ozdry whole-wheat penne
  • 2cupskale, chopped
  • 1/4cupparmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4cuppistachio nuts, shelled
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  1. For the dressing, combine olive oil, lemon juice, and minced garlic in a jar. Shake well to combine and set aside.
  2. For the pasta salad, cook pasta according to the directions on the box, then drain. Pour the pasta into a large bowl. Add chopped kale, parmesan cheese, and pistachio nuts. Drizzle dressing over top of mixture and toss well.
  3. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
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The pasta salad may be served immediately, but I recommend letting the dressing infuse the pasta and the kale for 10 or more minutes for optimal flavor development. This pasta salad may also be kept in the refrigerator and served cold the following day, if you can wait that long! (Source: Eastewart.com)

Smoky Mustard Maple Salmon

2
  • 1 1/2Tbspwhole-grain or Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2tsppure maple syrup
  • 1/8tspsmoked paprika or ground chipotle pepper (see Notes)
  • 1/8tspfreshly ground pepper
  • 1pinchsalt
  • 24oz skinless center-cut wild-caught salmon fillets (see Notes)
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a small baking sheet or baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.
  2. Combine mustard, maple syrup, paprika (or chipotle), pepper and salt in a small bowl. Place salmon fillets on the prepared baking sheet. Spread the mustard mixture evenly on the salmon. Roast until just cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes. (Source: EatingWell)
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So get cooking! Individuals are more successful in adopting healthy habits if their partner also makes positive lifestyle changes, according to research published in JAMA Internal Medicine, 2015. With a stable support system, it becomes easier to keep new healthy habits. Preparing nutritious yet delicious meals together is a wonderful way for both of you to feel your best individually and as a couple. Spending more time in the kitchen can even spice up your love life. Foods such as pomegranates, asparagus, beets, avocados, and artichokes are known aphrodisiacs – an added bonus to enjoying a healthy diet!

Kimberly Evans, MS, RD, is a clinical dietitian for the UVM Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

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