A romantic evening at home
We become parents, and take on the responsibility of raising and caring for our children. But, what happened to those two people who met and fell in love? Did you turn into Mama and Daddy with no hope of another romantic evening alone? Of course not! You need some time together, you don't have a reliable baby-sitter and money is tight. What can you do?
There is life alone for parents, and it happens after the children are in bed. The key to planning your romantic evening is thinking ahead and getting everything into place. Dad visits the video store earlier in the afternoon to rent a movie you both agree on. Shopping for your romantic meal (yes, just for the two of you) is done ahead of time.
Keep everything simple and the meal light. The romance comes when you are both relaxed and not putting expectations on each other. The children are in bed, and you now have first names other than Mom and Dad.
Here are recipes and tips for a light meal that you can enjoy cooking together. You will find sharing the meal preparation, even if do not you usually share the cooking, can be the beginning of your romantic evening as you accomplish something special together.
The main dish: Shrimp Scampi Noodles
1 1/2 cups wide noodles, uncooked
1/3 cup butter
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/2 pound fresh shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh lemon wedges
Cook noodles according to directions; drain. Meanwhile in a large skillet over low heat, melt butter, add garlic and basil. Cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add shrimp; cook, stirring constantly until shrimp turn pink, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper; stir in parsley. Toss hot noodles with sauce. Serve with lemon wedges. Serves 2. Note: If you wish, you can substitute boneless, skinless chicken. It will take longer to cook, perhaps 10-15 minutes if you cut into smaller chunks before adding to your skillet. The salad and bread
Remember, you want to keep your meal very light. Since it's just the two of you, a simple idea is to buy a salad kit from the produce section. Most kits come with croutons and dressing. (A Caesar salad variety would be very good with this dish.) Also, you can pick up a loaf of French bread, a baguette or two croissants from the bakery section and serve with butter.
The dessert: Pots de Creme
This is a rich dessert that can easily be made in the morning or anytime during the day. It does need to chill several hours.
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 cup light cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Whipped cream topping
Combine chocolate pieces and cream in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with wire whisk, until chocolate flecks disappear and mixture is hot. Add sugar and continue cooking and stirring until mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat; gradually add to beaten egg yolk, stirring constantly. Stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into pretty bowls or glasses, cover with plastic wrap directly on surface of chocolate, Chill several hours or until set. Garnish with whipped topping.
The rest of the evening
The key to your whole evening is remaining flexible and not putting expectations on each other or the circumstances. If one of the children wake up, even several times, take turns getting them back to sleep. If it's getting late, then eat your meal in the living room while watching your movie! Put down a nice blanket and turn your meal into a picnic. Remember to keep your sense of humor as a parent and a partner.
The extras are up to you. You may want to add candles, a nice bottle of wine or sparkling grape juice! You need to get to know each other again as romantic partners -- and in turn, it will help you become better, loving parents raising your children together as a couple.
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