Introduction: Date Night Meal on a College Budget

In search of a high-end restaurant quality meal on a college budget? Look no further! New York strip steak with a variety of sides is a classic upscale meal that intermediate to highly experienced foodies will find simple to make and delicious. This is a great meal to impress a special someone or just to treat yourself. You'll find yourself late night in the kitchen resisting the urge to finish any remaining leftovers. All ingredients and cookware will be listed, as well as tips to make sure your date night meal turns out delightful. A glossary of common cooking and food terms is included at the end of the instructions.

Main course

New York Strip Steak ($7-10 per person)


Crispy Salt and Pepper Potatoes ($1-2 per person)

Roasted Sweet Onions and Tomatoes ($1-2 per person)

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash ($1-2 per person)

Sautéed Garlic Spinach ($1-2 per person)

Step 1: Ingredient List and Cookware

Fresh Ingredients

  • New York Strip Steak (8-16oz per individual)
  • Russet potatoes (3lb.)
  • Spinach (1lb)
  • Tomatoes (8oz)
  • Sweet Onion (1lb.)
  • Spaghetti Squash (1-2lb.)
  • Olive Oil (2-4oz)
  • Colby Jack cheese (4-6oz)

Herbs and Spices (fresh or dried)

  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Red Pepper Flake
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Scallions


  • 8-10in Wide Skillet
  • 6-8in Wide Saucepan
  • Two 18in x 10in Baking Pan or Cookie Sheet
  • Tinfoil
  • Chef's Knife
  • Medium Sized Cutting Board
  • Tongs
  • Tablespoon (TBSP)

Step 2: Preparing Herbs

Fresh Rosemary and Thyme

1. Remove Herbs from packaging and rinse under cold water.

2. With both hands, place fingers (thumb and pointer) at top of herb sprig.

3. Slide fingers down with one hand to base of stem to strip leaves.

4. Chop the herb leaves.

Tip: Chopping the herbs will allow for faster flavor infusion into the meat.


1. Remove scallions from bundle and rinse under cold water.

2. Slice roots off at the base of the bulb.

Step 3: Preparing the New York Strip

1. Remove New York strip steak from packaging and lay down on cutting board. Wipe excess moisture from the surface of the steak with a paper towel.

2. Prepare seasoning (per 16oz Steak)

· 1 TBSP salt

· 1 TBSP black pepper

· 1 TBSP Paprika

· 1/2 TBSP parsley

· 1/2 TBSP red pepper flake

· 1 TBSP chopped thyme

· 1 TBSP chopped rosemary

3. Coat steak with olive oil and rub seasoning into the meat. Allow to seasoning to marinate for 15-20 minutes.

4. Place Skillet of stove top and set to high heat (approx. 400-degree F).

5. When skillet is heated, fully coat interior with olive oil.

6. Quickly take NY strip and place gently into center of pan.

7. Place whole scallions beside steak in the skillet to allow for infusion into the oil.

8. Allow steak to cook for 3-5 minutes on each side or when a deep crust begins to form on the exterior.

Tip: Lift a corner of the steak to check cooking progression every ~2 mins.

9. Remove steak and scallions from skillet and let sit on plate to allow residual heat to cook steak.

Tips: Do not overcook steak, the texture will if cooking time is exceeded. The goal is to cook the steak medium-rare or medium using rule of thumb. This a link for rule of thumb This allows for the best texture and flavor of the meat to be expressed.

It is advised that the steak be cooked last so that it can be served immediately with sides after cooling.

Warnings: Pan may smoke when heating to high temperatures. Use of the stovetop fan or opening a window is recommended. To avoid oil from splattering when cooking, place steak slowly from the side closest to you to the opposite side.

Step 4: Roasted Vegetables: Crispy Salt and Pepper Potatoes; Roasted Sweet Onions and Tomatoes


1. First, preheat oven to 410 degrees.

2. Thoroughly rinse under cold water 3lb. of potatoes and place on cutting board.

3. Slice potatoes thinly (1/8-1/4in) with chef‘s knife.

4. Fasten tinfoil to fully cover baking pan or cookie sheet and coat surface with olive oil.

5. Place sliced potatoes on baking pan or cookie sheet and over surface with olive oil.

6. Season potatoes with:

· 3 TBSP salt

· 3 TBSP black Pepper

· 1 TBSP Paprika

· 1 TBSP Parsley

7. Thoroughly coat sliced potatoes with seasoning

8. Distribute potatoes to one side of the sheet and evenly space potato slices on tinfoil.

9. Bake on middle rack for 10 mins, then another 15 mins after Tomatoes and Onions are added.


1. Rinse tomato exterior and place on cutting board.

2. Remove the petal and sepal (leafy green stem) from top of tomato with chef Knife.

3. Slice Tomato in half with Chef Knife. Then each tomato half into quarters (8 slices in total from each tomato).

Sweet Onions

1. Slice roots from base of onion with chef’s knife. Then peel exterior onion layers until the opaque interior bulb is revealed

2. Slice onion in half with Chef Knife. Then each onion half into quarters (8 slices in total from each onion).

3. Pull onion layers apart, as it will allow for more even cooking.

Warning: Eyes may tear after slicing onions.

1. Tomato and Onion Seasoning

· 1 TBSP salt

· 1 TBSP black pepper

· 1 TBSP oregano

· 1 TBSP Italian seasoning

2. Thoroughly coat sliced tomatoes and onion layers with seasoning.

3. Place sliced tomatoes and onion layers on baking pan or cookie sheet on opposite side of potatoes.

4. Bake for an additional 15 mins on middle oven rack.

Tip: Broil for another 2 minutes to obtain maximum crisp on potatoes.

Step 5: Cheesy Spaghetti Squash

1. Rinse outer surface of squash under cold water.

2. Place on cutting board and slice in half with chef’s knife. Remove guts (seeds and other internal membrane) with hand or spoon.

3. Microwave squash for 5 minutes per lb.

4. Remove squash from microwave and let sit for 3-5 minutes to allow to cool.

5. Remove the squash flesh from the exterior hull with a large spoon. Flesh will begin to take a noodle like form and texture.

6. Secure tinfoil to second baking pan or cookie sheet and coat with olive oil.

7. Place squash flesh evenly on surface then sprinkle lightly with salt, black pepper, and parsley.

8. Sprinkle 4-6oz of Colby jack cheese on top of the evenly distributed squash.

9. Pre-heat oven to broil and place on top rack for 5 minutes to allow cheese to crust and squash to finish cooking.

Step 6: Sautéed Garlic Spinach

1. Remove spinach from packaging and rinse under cold water.

2. Place saucepan on stove and set to medium heat (approx. 300 degrees F).

3. Once saucepan is heated cover bottom surface with olive oil and place spinach stem down in pan. Then cover with lid.

4. In 4-5 mins or when spinach has begun to wilt add:

· 1 TBSP minced garlic

· 1 TBSP black pepper

· 1 TBSP salt

5. Then stir to infuse into spinach and cover again with lid.

6. After one more minute of cooking place pan to the side and make sure lid remain securely on top.

Tip: spinach will continue to cook with the remaining residual heat from the pan. Avoid burning garlic as it will make the spinach bitter.

Warning: Pan will remain hot for several minutes. Place pan in a stable location out of the cooking area.

Step 7: Plating

1. Place steak on one side of plate.

2. Lay scallions overtop of steak.

3. Cut a 4in x 4in square of Cheesy Spaghetti squash and place it next to steak.

4. Using tongs place the potatoes, tomatoes, and onions next to the squash.

5. Using tongs place spinach in the remaining corner of the plate.

6. Finally, a beautiful and delicious meal.

Tip: Take a picture, you’ve earned it!

Step 8: Glossary of Cooking and Food Terms

New York Strip: A tender cut of meat from the short loin of the cow.

Chop: To cut solids into pieces with a sharp knife.

Sauté: To cook and/or brown food.

Minced: To cut or chop food into extremely small pieces.

Broil: To cook on a grill under strong, direct heat.

Sprig: A small stem bearing leaves or flowers, taken from a bush or plant.

TBSP: Tablespoon