Couple in kitchen cooking together
Date Night In: Cook, Connect & Make Memories 

A romantic dinner out with your significant other can be nice, but working together to create a gourmet meal will make memories.

Here’s a start to finish plan that will guide you both through a fun and delicious evening. This night is all about enjoying each other’s company, not stressing out. Laugh about your mistakes, help one another out, and learn something new! Perhaps about cooking, perhaps about each other.

My two most important pieces of advice are to set the table before you begin, and clean as you go. A pile of dishes at the end of your special night is no fun. Keeping up with it as the night progresses will make everything more enjoyable. 

1. The Nibbles

First things first. You’re going to need to have some snacks around while you cook. Set yourselves out an antipasti platter; olives, cut vegetables, a bit of prosciutto, a few crackers, and a bit of your favorite cheese, perhaps with a bowl of fig jam or honey. Nothing time intensive or that you need to cook. Apps should be simple. Pour yourselves a glass of wine or make a mocktail and relax. 

2. The Dessert

Chocolate Raspberry Parfait

Get the dessert done first. After you’ve enjoyed your meal, the last thing you want to do is get back in the kitchen. Dessert should be waiting for you, a perfect ending to a perfect night. I suggest this simple parfait, also known as an Eton Mess. My version is made special with a pillowy chocolate whipped cream. It’s easy to make for two, and hits all the right notes with crumbled meringue, chocolate shavings and juicy raspberries layered between the whipped cream.

Two Chocolate Raspberry Parfaits in wine glasses with spoons in foreground

3. The Salad

Baby Gem Lettuce with Artichokes, Toasted Almonds and Smoked Salmon

The main course is made up of simple ingredients, so I’ve splurged a little with the salad to make the evening feel special. Adding smoked salmon and artichoke hearts to a green salad not only elevates the dish, but keeps things easy with ready-to-use ingredients. Assemble everything in a serving bowl then set aside in the fridge until you’re ready to sit down.

Baby Gem Lettuce with Smoked Salmon, Artichoke Hearts & Fried Almonds on a white plate with a gray rim

4. The Pasta

Homemade Orecchiette with Lemon Pesto

While making pasta can seem like a daunting task, I’ve chosen a shape called orecchiette that is one of the simplest to make and easiest to execute. A bright, lemony pesto coats this perfectly al dente pasta and will be a dish you won’t soon forget.

Homemade Orecchiette with Lemon Pesto in a white bowl with two forks
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