Love is in the air this week! While I view Valentine’s Day as a bit of a Hallmark holiday, I still like to have a little fun celebrating it. I like helping the kiddos with their cards for classroom parties, and while The Coach and I have never done any elaborate gifts for each other, we do like to at least acknowledge the holiday and use it as a chance to let each other know how crazy we are about one another. We usually just go with cards and sometimes a little something sweet.
While it would be nice to have a romantic dinner out, by the time you add up the dinner, drinks, and babysitter, that’s pretty expensive. And honestly, I would much rather budget that expense for nights we want to celebrate something special, rather than simply because the calendar says a candlelit dinner is required. But just because the budget doesn’t allow a night out, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a romantic dinner. Every so often, we feed the kids leftovers or Happy Meals, put them upstairs in our bed with a movie, and enjoy a quiet, candlelit, romantic dinner just the two of us downstairs.
So I thought I would share some of our favorite romantic dinners we’ve enjoyed in the past. Hope you’re inspired to cook up something romantic with your special someone!
Romantic Dinners You Can Make at Home
1. Fettuccine Alfredo, roasted broccoli, and garlic bread. Alfredo sauce is so simple to make at home, and if you use the right ingredients it tastes just as fabulous as the restaurant versions and way better than the stuff in a jar. I use this recipe, that’s supposed to be a knock off of the Olive Garden one. The trick is that you can’t try to healthy it up – use real butter and real heavy cream. After all, this is a romantic dinner, so if you’re worried about the calories, well, find a way to burn them off later (wink, wink)! If you like seafood, this is great with some shrimp tossed in. Roasted broccoli is just as simple – spread fresh broccoli florets on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, add a generous amount of garlic salt, and pop in the oven at about 425 degrees until the tips of the broccoli look a little roasted. Viola – dinner ready in less than thirty minutes. I like to pair a drier white wine, like a Chardonnay, with the heavy Alfredo to keep it a little lighter.
2. Steak, Linguine with a Mushroom Wine Reduction Sauce, and Dill Green Beans. I know when you hear steak, you think grill. However, I have discovered a way better way to cook a steak. I use a cast iron skillet and melt 3-4 Tablespoons of butter in it. Use whatever steak seasoning you like to season the meat – my opinion is simpler is better. Then sear the steak on each side for a couple minutes in the skillet. Then place the entire skillet in a 400 degree oven. Cook the steak for about 8 minutes for medium rare, a little longer if you want it done more. You can find the recipe for the mushroom wine reduction sauce here, and it is much easier than you would think given the fancy name. Then I steam fresh green beans and toss them with a little butter and some dill. Most people pair this with a red wine, but since I’m not a red wine fan, and steak is often a summer favorite for me, I usually pair it with a Summer Shandy beer. For this time of year, I would go with something like a Fat Tire or a Third Shift beer – nothing too fancy but nothing too light, either.
3. Cornish Hens, Wild Rice with Mushrooms, and Asparagus with a Dijon vinaigrette sauce. To be honest, I haven’t made Cornish Hens for The Coach and I since before we had kiddos. But they are far more simple than you would think, and pair well with simple sides. I don’t have my own recipes for any of these, but can share the great ones I’ve found. For Cornish Hens, see the recipe here. For wild rice with mushrooms, you can find a great recipe here. And finally, for the asparagus and Dijon vinaigrette you can use the recipe here. I like the flavors in Cornish Game Hens, so I would pair it with a light white wine, like a Pinot Grigio.
On to my menu! Pretty average week around here, so a pretty average menu. I am making frozen chicken patties one night – at the request of Roo. He has them for school lunch and raves about how they are just like chicken nuggets but bigger. He told me I had to try them. I couldn’t bear to tell him that I have tried them and they are, well, processed chicken in a patty. Sigh. The things we do for our kids. ;) I’ll be linking up on I’m an Organizing Junkie if you’re looking for more meal planning ideas! I also often link up at Feeding Big, Marvelous Mondays, and Wonderful Food Wednesday. Or check out and follow my Yummy board on Pinterest! Interested in meal planning? Check out my post on meal planning. Here’s what we’re eating this week:
Breakfasts (we don’t plan for each day – see here for why – but these are our choices along with a fruit)
Lunches (see this post for Peanut Free lunch ideas!)
• Roo: Monday – School lunch; Tuesday – Lunchable; Wednesday – School lunch; Thursday – Lunchable; Friday – School lunch
• Monkey: Monday – School lunch; Tuesday – Lunchable; Wednesday – Lunchable; Thursday – Lunchable; Friday – home with daddy
• Me: Monday – Leftovers; Tuesday – Sandwich; Wednesday – Sandwich; Thursday – Leftovers; Friday – Potluck at work
• Monday – Breakfast for dinner
• Tuesday – Mac & Cheese, sausage, peas
• Wednesday – Spaghetti, salad, garlic bread
• Thursday – Chicken patty sandwiches, mac & cheese, carrots
• Friday – Pizza
• Saturday – Sloppy Joes, fries, broccoli
• Sunday – Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta, garlic bread
What are you eating this week? Leave a comment and feel free to link back to your blog if you have your plan posted!
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