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Reservations for Two: Date Night at Home

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Date night ideas to rekindle your relationship with easy-to-prepare romantic dinners for two chez vous

Even if you cook a lot of weeknight meals at home, you can still host date night and make it a special evening. Going out for dinner can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a hassle—and expensive when you add in multiple courses, beverages, dessert, a tip and, sometimes, paid parking.

Date Night Alleviates Stress

At-home date nights are an essential part of stress management, stabilizing relationships and keeping open communication. Taking the time and effort to reaffirm relationships is important to long-term partnership success. Whether stress is due to work or parenting issues, fostering a bond over a special dinner can help communications for close and extended relationships. Bottom line, date night is good for your mental health.

Spark romance in your own home while indulging in all the things you’d order at a restaurant while saving money and time. Food blogger Ashley Rodriguez, who authors the blog Not Without Salt, recently published a new cookbook entitled Date Night In: More Than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship. The cookbook was inspired by several blog posts Rodriguez wrote called “Dating My Husband,” which was the young mother’s way to renew their relationship spark.

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Work Together and Try New Recipes

It’s a good idea to involve both partners in picking out the menu and preparing the meal. You can work together as well as take turns. If one person is always making the effort, that will defeat the purpose of date night! Another way to rekindle romance is to try new recipes. It’s boring to do the same routine, so break out of your comfort zone and take a chance on trying a new recipe. Studies show that couples who inject novelty into a relationship form closer bonds.

Chow.com compiled a list of easy yet impressive recipes for at-home romance.

For example, here’s a super-simple recipe for New York Strip Steaks with Caramelized Shallots that you might find at a nice restaurant but is very easy to make at home. All it takes is six ingredients: unsalted butter, shallots, salt, black pepper, New York strip steaks and olive oil.

For something different, give lamb chops a try. These loin lamb chops with garlic and rosemary and a red wine reduction sauce are excellent served with creamy garlic mashed potatoes and a simple green salad.

Another easy steak preparation is Stout-Soaked Porterhouse with Beer Butter. A porterhouse is big enough to split, which makes it more romantic!

Set the Scene

The table setting, music and even what you wear all contribute to the evening’s mood. If you have nice dinnerware that you save for special occasions, now is the time to use it! Cloth or fancy paper napkins, along with a few fresh flowers, help to brighten up the table. You can even dress up for the occasion to make it extra special. For more tips, check out this article, which also includes having a “back up plan” in case cooking doesn’t go as planned!

Wine Pairing Tips

Wine with dinner is always romantic, whether it’s a basic bottle from the grocery store, or a more special bottle found at your local wine shop. Either way, your best bet is to drink what you like.

However, if you want to expand your culinary horizons, take some advice from experts in the field, like this article from Food & Wine magazine called “15 Rules for Great Pairings.” Or even this article showcasing romantic meals with wine.

But what do you serve with surf and turf? Many classic romantic dinners feature a timeless filet mignon with a succulent lobster tail. Each of these foods typically has its own wine pairing: a medium-bodied chardonnay is recommended to balance the richness of lobster, while a California cabernet is a good match for a juicy filet mignon.

It turns out that surf and turf is best suited with a sparkling wine, such as Champagne. Why? Because experts say the bubbles go with just about anything…especially romance!

filet with wine

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