Surprise your sweetie with a home-cooked meal – it’s a budget-conscious way to show you care, and you won’t have to compete with dining-out crowds to book a dinner reservation! We’ve outlined a complete, restaurant-quality meal below, including an appetizer, main course, salad, and dessert. While it may be a bit ambitious for a weeknight, the meal is a great choice for date night at home to serve during Sunday’s Oscars telecast. Bon appetit!
Typically a dessert, this savory take on the French dish coueur a la crème is perfect as an appetizer (the word “coueur” also means “heart,” in keeping with the date night theme!). The prep time is negligible in this make-ahead dish, but keep in mind that the cheese will need to strain for about 12 hours. Serve with crackers and fresh vegetables for an elegant appetizer. The best part? Any leftover coueur a la crème will taste delicious on a bagel the following morning.
The addition of champagne is a romantic touch to this comforting meal. We love the use of angel hair pasta: it cooks up quickly and absorbs all the flavors of the creamy sauce. Make the meal come together even faster by purchasing peeled, deveined shrimp.
Fresh fig is an aphrodisiac, and its mellow, sweet flavors are the perfect contrast to bright and peppery arugula. The salad carries on the subtly Mediterranean notes of the meal with the addition of pine nuts (toast them first to bring out the flavor) and a drizzle of honey. Parmesan cheese is an apt topping to tie the meal together – it’s also used in the main course.
Like fig, cinnamon has aphrodisiacal properties. Its floral notes also help intensify the semisweet chocolate flavors in this Mexican chocolate pound cake. Though the cake is plenty decadent on its own, we recommend serving it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.