Five Great Recipes for Date Night

by Maris Callahan on May 9, 2010

Baked rigatoni with kale

For your next date night, skip restaurant reservations and cook dinner at home. Whether it’s for a casual dinner with your long term sweetheart or an intimate dining experience for a new suitor, home cooking is one of the best ways to serve up a little romance.

For a simple weeknight date or an elaborate affair on a special occasion, you can serve a meal that will take minutes – but look like its taken hours – to prepare.

1. Baked Rigatoni with Kale: Most ladies know that it isn’t always easy to get your guys to eat some greens. With this worknight dinner recipe for baked pasta with cheese and kale, you’ll both forget that you’re getting a side of nutrition with meal. Pair with a mixed green salad with bacon and gorgonzola, some crusty multigrain bread and he’ll be eating out of the palm of your hand (maybe even literally).

2. Cranberry Balsamic Pork Chops with Caramelized Shallots: In my opinion, cranberries are one of the most underused berries in the world. They pair equally well with sweets and savories and though their season is short, dried cranberries can usually be found on store shelves. In a pinch, cranberry salad dressing makes a great reduction top top skillet-seared pork chops over a bed of fresh spinach.

3. Oven Baked Fried Chicken: I made Chicken Parmesan for the first few guys I’d ever cooked for. Simple, delicious, but honesty? Boring, boring, boring. Instead, a healthier spin on fried chicken is the new way to a man’s heart. Boneless chicken thighs, crispy on the outside but moist on the inside, might be the new man’s best friend.  You’ll both be even happier if you whip up a side of bacon potato salad.

4. Spinach Ricotta Pizza with Olive Oil Dough: Make your next date night a pizza night. You can make an evening out of it by choosing your favorite toppings and taking turns working the dough before you slide your pizza into the oven. Make sure you have a pizza peel, a baking stone and of course, your favorite beer or wine to toast before the meal.

5. Orange Beef & Broccoli Stir-Fry: Channel your inner Asian chef with a simple stir-fry that will wow anyone. Use lean sirloin to cut some of the fat and calories from your restaurant favorites so you can even splurge on a decadent flourless chocolate cake for dessert.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne May 9, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Alright good. Now that I have WHAT I will cook out of the way. I just need to find SOMEONE to cook for…
These all look awesome!

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Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) May 9, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Even though it’s been a while since I’ve dated, I think these dishes would warm the heart of any guy!

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Lynn @ The Actors Diet May 10, 2010 at 3:20 pm

i should show these to my husband so he can cook them for me…

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Jenny May 10, 2010 at 8:33 pm

All I gotta say is YUM!

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Susan May 10, 2010 at 10:27 pm

You are so good at sneaking kale into recipes.

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runnerforever May 10, 2010 at 10:32 pm

I think homemade dinners can often be way more special than restaurant outings and if you enjoy cooking, then it is a win win!

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Juliana May 10, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Nice ideas :-)

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Sara January 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm

What are the nutritional numbers on this one, just curious?

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Maris Callahan January 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Which recipe?

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Madison Smith April 20, 2012 at 10:11 am

I really enjoyed reading this article. I really liked how there were many health benefits to some of the meals you mentioned. I like the idea of including healthy ingredients in the baked rigatoni. I like how you can stay healthy with the kale, but still have the same great taste of the pasta meal. I like how you gave the idea of the healthier version of fried chicken, as it is a favorite but very unhealthy. My favorite thing about your article though, is the Spinach Ricotta Pizza. I love the idea of a pizza date night, which allows you to have fun making a meal together and make a healthy meal at the same time! I also like that it is a great way to feel like a kid again! What I would have liked to see though are the recipes right in your article, so that the reader doesn’t have to go to a new page to find the recipes. I would have also liked to see the nutritional information for each of the meals!

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