Q: I want to impress my new girlfriend by cooking her a nice meal at home – you know, show her I know more about a kitchen than how to throw out old cartons of milk. The problem is I really don’t know much more than that. I don’t want to cheat to put to-go food in real pots or platters. Any ideas?

A: First, kudos to you for wanting to show your girl how much you care, even if you’ve waited until the 11th hour to figure out how to accomplish that goal! I know there are people who will tell you there is a cooking gene, but I disagree. With the right motivation (and you’ve got it) and a little attention, you can cook anything. I’m going to give you one of my favorite recipes, which just happens to be featured in my book, What a Texas Girl Dreams.

It’s simple, but it will definitely impress: Spaghetti Bolognese.

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
1 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground beef
2-3 tablespoons cream cheese
3-4 cups Angel Hair pasta, cooked

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain and then return it to the pan and set it aside. In a medium sauce pan combine tomato sauce and paste, water and garlic. Heat to boiling and then cover, simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn the burner under the large skillet (with the ground beef) to medium. Add the sauce and the cream cheese and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Once the cream cheese is melted and mixed through the sauce, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Fill a large sauce pan 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil; once boiling, add the angel hair and cook for 7-8 minutes. Drain the pasta and you’re ready to serve

Serve this with a green salad (just grab a bag of prepared salad and a nice Italian dressing), some garlic bread and a nice Zinfandel wine and your girlfriend will swoon!

~ Kristina Knight, author of What a Texas Girl Wants, What a Texas Girl Needs, and What a Texas Girl Dreams