Men Share 21 Easy Dinner Ideas Sure To Impress The Guy In Your Life

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couple eating a meal she cooked for her boyfriend

Finding easy dinner ideas for dishes that look and taste like you slaved away all day isn't always easy, and especially when it's the first time you'll be cooking for a man you really care about (and hope will fall in love with you!), it can be one of the most nerve wracking moments you ever face in a new relationship.

That's so silly, though, right? It's not like it's the 1950s. Most men worth their salt aren't going to judge you based on your homemaking abilities.

Still, chances are that if you've decided to cook for a man you've been seeing, it's because you want to do something nice for him that also happens to show him you've got some serious skills. After all, there's a reason the whole "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach" thing is such a popular saying.

Silly as it may be, it's also true, and wanting to make someone you love happy is nothing at all to be ashamed of.

Cooking for your boyfriend for the first time?

Picking out what to prepare for him when you cook for a man the first time is super daunting. Do you go with steak or chicken? Should you keep it simple or dazzle him with your culinary skills like some kind of ultra cute Julia Child type?

Sure, on the surface men are easy to please, but appearances can be deceiving. You might be positive that the guy in your life will melt for a steak when the truth is that nothing makes him feel as loved and as a cared for as a nice pan of lasagna baked from scratch.

Then there are some men who like being surprised by whatever you might prepare for them, while others are picky eaters who appreciate the gesture but would much rather know what you're going to put on their plate in advance than risk being surprised by some strange vegetable they have absolutely no intention of ingesting.

Sure, you can you go ahead and ask a guy exactly what he wants, but it might help you to know that there are, in fact, some meal ideas that many men agree are fail-safes when it comes to making his belly happy and his heart super full.

RELATED: 7 Things Even The Worst Cooks Can Make (That Will Impress Your Partner)

Since you probably don't have time to take a nationwide survey of men to find out their collective favorite ideas, we looked to Reddit's AskMen forum, where one redditor asked, "What's a good meal to make for a man the first time you're cooking for him? Not sure if I want to go with relatively simple but good, or try to go all out and really impress."

We gathered 21 of the best easy dinner ideas men say are certain to impress the man in your life when you cook for him.

21 Romantic Dinner Ideas Men Say They Would Love To Have Cooked For Them

1. His own particular favorite.

"I'd definitely ask if they like the meal before cooking it. As a dude, I appreciate that more the the surprise. If it is something really good like homemade meatballs or a nice pasta then I spend the days up until the date thinking about it in anticipation."

2. You can't lose with spaghetti with meat sauce.

"Gimme a good red sauce pasta with a lot of meat and you're golden. Throw in a bottle of white wine, some candlelight, and soft jazz to set the mood."

3. Steak. Always steak.

"Steak, mashed potatoes and a veggie."

4. Easy yet classy salmon.

"Salmon with garlic sauce and a side of green beans. Keeps things nice and light. It's pretty easy but still classy. Throw in a bottle of white wine, some candlelight, and soft jazz to set the mood."

5. Something gamey.

"Go out and get a deer, then do venison shanks."

6. Italian recipes always score major points.

"Chicken marsala. Something that fits his meat and pasta criteria, and isn't the typical (though very tasty!) red-sauce based Italian."

7. Don't forget the potatoes.

"A simple meat with pan sauce, mashed potato with cheddar cheese, and some roasted vegetables would be really well received. Almost impossible to mess up, and almost all men would enjoy it."

8. Something you've made before and know you can do well.

"If you can make a Marsala that is delicious do that. Cook something you are familiar with that tastes good. Save experimentation for later dinner dates. If you need to be fancy you can always add dessert to an otherwise simple meal. Desserts are great because you can cook them the day before and if something goes wrong they'll never know."

9. A solid sandwich will always do.

"I mean, a sandwich is simple but good, same with a pasta. But if you can show off your culinary skills, that to me is a home run. I've always dreamed of having a girl cook for me like that."

10. To impress, go with seafood.

"Is he a big foodie? Seafood is pretty much the harder but more impressive spectrum if you want to flex on the first date. Seared salmon."

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11. Lamb chops!

"Right now I feel like honey-roasted root vegetables with lamb chops (with Brie cheese or feta cheese) and garlic sauce. Don't forget the thyme sprig. It's also really easy, so hard to mess up, but very delicious ... But yeah, just first thing that popped into my mind for a weekend dinner."

12. Anything but pasta.

"Oh no! Not pasta. It's too easy to get sauce on clothes and it's one-note anyway. Make it easy to eat, ideally requiring silverwear. Steak, enchiladas, rice bowls ... stuff like that is easy on you and won't make your date a mess."

13. Show him you're a grill master.

"I'm a big-time carnivore. I'm going to want to know a girl's abilities with steaks, chops, and burgers. If she does those right, she's well on her way to 'have my babies' territory."

14. Anything you feel confident making.

"Don't overthink it, make something you know is good and you can make. I have go-to meals I can do. Chicken parm is one of my go-tos because it looks harder than it is."

15. Basics are best.

"Chicken parmesan."

16. Don't forget the capers!

"My girl made chicken piccata over mashed potatoes with grilled asparagus for me on one of first 'home dates' and I was convinced she was a chef. Capers make everything fancy."

17. Veggies show you care.

"Nothing wrong with simplicity. Add some roasted cauliflower and a spring mix salad."

18. Nothing beats a burger.

"I'd go with the burger with fries."

19. Go all out — with duck!

"I'd suggest duck, but the sauce needs a pressure cooker ... or twelve hours to kill."

20. Anything at all. It's truly the thought that counts.

"A girl could make me toast and I'd still be really excited."

21. Don't forget dessert!

"To top it off, be creative with dessert and break out the whipped cream ..."

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She's the Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, and true crime.