We’ve all been there. We’ve all done it. We love it. Dating! Dinner…Movie…Popcorn…Candy…Soda… it can seriously add up! Dating, these days, is expensive. Going on a simple date with dinner and a movie can easily run you $100, and that’s not including cocktails! With kids, cars, mortgages, and everything else that life throws at us, who can afford to continue “dating”? No, dating as we knew it in our single years may be over, but we don’t have to give up date night. We just have to be more creative with our dates.
The Fire Pit
After my husband and I bought our little house in the woods, one of the first things we bought was a fire pit, and two rusted out fire pits later, we’ve finally built a stone fire pit on a brick patio. The fire pit has been the backdrop for many date nights, and over the years, our meals around the fire have evolved beyond campfire cookout cuisine.
Wine & Cheese
We are suckers for a bottle of wine and a cheese board. However, over the years, our need to visit the wine bar has given way to evening around our fire pit with a our wine and cheese. These days, we’ve gotten a bit more creative and a bit more discerning with our wine and cheese selection, and the great part is…it costs a fraction of what the restaurant and wine bar charge!
Date Night Dinner
Cooking for two is quite different than cooking for a family of four. Aside from the quantity, I’ve found that dinner for two is where I get to have fun with recipes, where I get to try new ingredients, where I can be a bit more indulgent. Date night dinners for us are usually on Wednesdays, when the kids are at their dad’s house, and given that it’s humpday and I’m usually in my mid-week funk, its the perfect night to relax and enjoy a dinner for two.
Date night dinners don’t have to be fancy, and date night dinners don’t have to take hours to prepare. No, some of the best date night dinners are quick and easy, yet full of flavor and fun ingredients. One of my hubby’s favorite date night dinners is stir fry…any kind of stir fry with any combination of veggies. However, if pressed for specifics, he’ll always choose chicken, teriyaki, broccoli, and pasta.
Ingredients (and substitutions)
2 TBSP olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces (or 2c. shredded rotisserie chicken)
1/4 c. onion
1/4 c. chopped celery
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 can sliced water chestnuts
1 egg–scrambled (cook in the microwave for 30-45 seconds)
1 head broccoli-cut into florets (or 2 c. cauliflower or any mix of fresh veggies)
1/4 c. water
1/4 lb. spaghetti
2-3 TBSP soy sauce
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 c. chopped peanuts
green onion for garnish
In a medium size pot, bring water to a boil to prepare spaghetti according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown chicken until golden brown and completely done. Remove chicken from skillet. Add onion, celery, and red pepper flakes. Saute over medium heat until tender. Add water chestnuts, broccoli, chicken, and water. Cover and steam for 2-3 minutes. Remove cover, toss to combine. As pasta becomes al dente transfer pasta directly from cooking liquid to skillet using tongs–do not pour pasta water into the skillet. The residual water on the pasta will help thicken the stir fry. Add scrambled egg, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Use tongs to mix pasta with remaining ingredients. Cook briefly to allow sugar to melt and mixture to thicken.
Top with chopped peanuts and green onion.
Check out these other great date night dinners from our friends at Sunday Supper
- Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas by Pies and Plots
- Chicken Marsala by A Mind “Full” Mom
- Classic Coq Au Vin for Two by The Crumby Cupcake
- Creamy Parmesan Skillet Eggs by The Texan New Yorker
- Date Night Chicken Teriyaki Stir-Fry by Gourmet Every Day
- Lemon Chicken Thighs and Buttered Noodles for Two by Our Good Life
- Orange Chicken by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Saffron Chicken Tagine by Palatable Pastime
- Spicy Salsa Chicken by Simple and Savory
- Chicken and Spinach Pasta with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce by Pook’s Pantry
- One Pan Shrimp and Asparagus Linguini by Jersey Girl Cooks
- Scallop Pasta with Garlic and White Wine by Caroline’s Cooking
- Skillet Rigatoni alla Vodka for Two by Eat, Drink and be Tracy
Red Meat Recipes
- Filet Mignon with Shiitake Mushrooms by Cooking Chat
- French Onion Filet Mignon by The Chef Next Door
- Honey Lime Steak Kebabs by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Mini Mushroom Meatloaf by Cricket’s Confections
- Mushroom Topped Pepper Steak for Two by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Pan Seared Sirloin Steak Dinner for Two by Life Tastes Good
- Pan-Seared Nutella Skirt Steak by Brunch-n-Bites
- Petit Filet with Red Wine Pan Sauce & Garlic Mash by Authentically Candace
- Rack of Lamb with Strawberry Mint Glaze by Sunday Supper Movement
- Steak Au Poivre by Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
- Baked Salmon with Ginger Marinade by Feeding Big
- Crab Caesar Salad by What Smells So Good?
- Crab Imperial by Monica’s Table
- Creamy Shrimp & Sausage Skillet by Crazed Mom
- Grilled Swordfish with Husk Cherry Salsa by From the Bookshelf
- Peppadew Trout en Croûte by Food Lust People Love
- Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Cream Sauce by Soulfully Made
- Surf and Turf for Two by The Freshman Cook
- Colorful Matchstick Salad with Mint Vinaigrette by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Curried Split Peas by Wholistic Woman
- Edamame Waldorf Salad by Ninja Baker
- Saffron and Leek Risotto – Served 2 Ways by Sprinkles and Sprouts
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