Dinner Ideas for a Date Night In

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When it comes to date night, more people are opting to stay in than go out these days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have an awesome time.

One requisite for a great date night? Equally great food. Whether you’re just watching Netflix, playing board games, or cooking up something together in the kitchen, you want to have something delicious to enjoy at the start or end of the evening.

A good dinner date recipe will check a few boxes. It needs to be…

  1. Easy (Because you definitely don’t want frustrations or stress mucking up your plans)
  2. Impressive (Because it’s date night, after all!)
  3. Not Too Heavy (Because when it’s time to get down to… ahem… business, you don’t want heavy, filling food weighing you down.)

Here are a few dinner ideas — from drink to dessert to dinner — for a date night in that you’ll be raving about for years to come.

Can you say fun-due?

Some of the best date night meals are the interactive ones. But if it’s not really your and your significant other’s thing to cook together, how can you still make the meal an experience? Think foods that require a bit of hands-on eating, like charcuterie, tapas or, in this case, fondue.

Fondue isn’t only delicious, it’s also impressive, with just the addition of a few gourmet ingredients (as well as fun and easy). You need very few cooking skills to whip up an excellent pot of fondue — mostly just chopping, slicing, and a bit of melting.

Chicken piccata, please

But, if you’re short on both money and time, you might not want to spend all that time chopping up cheese and meats, or all that money on specialty grocery items. So, go with something that’s quick (30 minutes or less!) and affordable, while still delicious and impressive: chicken piccata. This delicious recipe from Ina Garten requires very few ingredients and you likely already have most of them on hand. Serve the chicken piccata with a simple tossed salad (versus pasta, which can weigh you down) and you have a swoon-worthy date night meal.

Bring the steakhouse home

If your go-to date night locale is your favorite local steakhouse, then fire up the grill and enjoy cooking up these delicious steaks (served alongside peppers and green beans). Even if your spouse doesn’t care for the kitchen, many spouses can be cajoled into enjoying themselves by the grill, no matter who’s doing the cooking. Grab some drinks and enjoy the fresh air, before heading inside for the rest of your evening.

All surf, no turf

Don’t care for steak? If your tastebuds lie more toward surf than turf, you can also cook up some seared salmon for an equally impressive and elegant meal. This option is easy to make, with minimal ingredients, and is served alongside a snap pea and jalapeño slaw, for a zesty dinner that’ll wake up your tastebuds.

A pizza party for two

Sometimes the best date nights are the most casual and low-key. Every couple has at least one date memory featuring pizza, jeans, and likely either a sports game or beer or both. Create your own low-key, no-pressure, totally-stress-free date night at home, with some flatbread pizzas that will absolutely beat the pizza offered at your local delivery joint. Mix, match and swap your favorite toppings to create your own variations, and then kick back with your favorite shows or movies, drinks, and all the pizza you can eat.

Sweet, sweet endings

Of course, you have to have dessert for it to really be a date night. For something easy, but also impressive, as well as entirely scrumptious and sure to please even the pickiest partners, try out this upscale banana split recipe. A little more “adult” than your average banana split, it combines vanilla ice cream with a bread chocolate sauce, peanut and sourdough crumb topping and caramel (and, of course, bananas).

Drinks, anyone?

And lastly, you’re going to need a drink for date night. If you’re not feeling creative enough to come up with your own relationship-inspired craft cocktail, you can easily put together a mouth-watering cocktail with a twist, thanks to the folks over at The Tipsy Bartender. For example, you could literally make The Date Night, a fun cocktail that blends date syrup, pomegranate juice, and bourbon for a deliciously smooth and dark drink.

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