While you can always take your partner out to dinner again, you can impress them more when you step into the kitchen and prepare an at-home dinner date.
Everyone likes to eat at the hottest places in town or enjoy delicious meals at fancy restaurants, but whether you’re taking the next step in your relationship or haven’t cooked for your girlfriend in a while, an at-home dinner date always does trick.
Even if you’ve been dating for a long time, you can spice up your love life with meals cooked from scratch instead of getting leftovers from the freezer. Except it’s the first date, a romantic at-home dinner date never goes wrong. And we have what you need to plan the perfect one.
Clear Your Schedule in Advance
Before you start thinking about what to cook and if lighting candles are too much (they’re never too much!), you should clear your schedule in advance for the date. You need to create a romantic dinner with only the two of you and set some rules so you both can enjoy the date.
If you have a roommate, ensure you tell them the date in advance so that you can get some privacy. And if you have kids, book the babysitter in advance so there will be no last-minute planning. You should also inform your partner or love interest about the date.
To ensure you focus on each other, you can make your romantic date a no-tech evening. This can take you both away from the bustling of daily life and make you feel connected.
Plan the Menu
There’s no dinner date without food, so you should plan the menu once you’ve fixed the date. The first thing you should think about is your partner’s dietary restrictions and preferences. Is she on a diet? Do they have a nut allergy? Is he a vegetarian? If you’re unsure, you should ask subtly and prepare for it. Or make their favorite foods.
It’s also essential to check whether the ingredients you need will be in season and if you can easily purchase them. Whether it’s steak, salmon, or lobster, fresh ingredients are the key to a delicious meal. While planning food, don’t leave out dessert and drinks.
You should also keep the decor and setting of the date in mind. Will you need dinnerware, a new tablecloth, candles, fresh flowers and more? And how will you set the table – stylish or formal?
If you’re not sure what to cook, here are some beginner-friendly ideas for your at-home dinner date:
- Steak salad with champagne-shallot vinaigrette.
- Parmesan chicken with broccoli.
- Thai yellow curry with cashews, vegetables, and tofu.
- Coconut-crusted fish tacos.
- Ribeye steak.
- Skillet lasagna.
- Creamy Tuscan chicken.
Practice Your Cooking
It’s a great idea to cook exactly what you’re planning to make for the dinner date about a week before, to feel the flavors and the kitchen. Although you want to impress her, you shouldn’t end up cooking something that she has to force herself to eat.
Choose a recipe with techniques and ingredients that you’re familiar with, whether baking or steak. If you decide to try something new, practice a week before and perfect the recipe. You don’t have to be a master chef to give her something impressive and avoid stressing yourself out, or it will take all the fun out of the evening.
Another great idea is for you and your partner to cook dinner together. This is an excellent way for you and your partner to connect over delicious meals, and you can get to know each other even better.
If you’re a beginner cook, you might be feeling less confident with cooking the meal. Here are some tips that you should keep in mind:
- Good food depends on the quality of the ingredients. While you can go for frozen or canned food, fresh and local ingredients will never fail.
- Always spend enough time preparing your ingredients. When you prepare your meals ahead of time, cooking will be faster and easier.
- Research and practice the proper cooking techniques before you use them. There are various ways to cook, whether it’s grilling, boiling, searing, roasting, etc.
- The best way to cook a delicious meal for your partner is to follow the recipe, and we mean down to every little detail. This is one of the best ways to cook without feeling overwhelmed, so go for a reliable and straightforward recipe. Trying out the recipe beforehand is also a good idea.
- Practice over and over again. You can become good at anything with enough practice. If you’re unsure about your skills, start practicing about two weeks before the date.
- Have patience while you cook. Sometimes when cooking, things don’t go as you expected them to. With patience and practice, you can become good at it.
- Enjoying the cooking process will influence your mood on the dinner date, so be positive. Take your time enjoying the process with the knowledge that you’re doing it to make someone you like happy.
- Finally, clean as you cook. You don’t want to spend much time cleaning the kitchen after cooking, especially when you need to set the table and freshen up for the date.
Go Shopping Two Days Early
Now that you have your menu and have practiced your cooking, you need ingredients. Don’t wait till the day before your dinner to go shopping because this can lead to rushing and cause you to forget stuff. List out everything you need, down to the lighter for candles, the ice, or even the opener.
If you go two days early and can’t find the ingredients, it gives you more time to look for substitutes. And if you’re purchasing frozen ingredients, you can always put them in the fridge so that they thaw before you need to cook them. You might need a few hours to yourself for shopping, depending on what you’re cooking.
Two days before dinner is also a great time to prepare other parts of the date night. You can create a playlist with songs you both like and research creative ways to decorate your food. Keep in mind that early preparation will help you feel more relaxed on the night of the date.
When your stress levels are low, you can have more fun with your partner.
Prep the Meal the Day Before
Although you’ll do the main cooking on your date, preparing as much as possible the day before is a great idea. You should set up your cooking station and chop up the vegetables you will need. You can easily keep these in the fridge overnight.
Also, measure all the spices, organize the sauces, and get all the other ingredients you will need to avoid looking for them later. If you’re making chicken, meat, or any other protein, you should marinate or season it a day before, as this will enhance your flavor.
You can also take out the dishes and utensils needed, and if you’re baking, you should get it done the day before and store it in the fridge.
If you’re feeling nervous about cooking the meal, that’s also okay. You can make it easier by buying dessert or cooked scallops or shrimp to save time. You can also get most of the foods cooked and cook. Being together with your partner is what matters, and they will appreciate the effort you put in.
Set the Romantic Scene
Now, all the planning you’ve been doing for the past week will come to light on the day of the date. Wake up early to cook the main course and ensure you follow the recipe correctly to get the flavor right.
Set the table and decor, candles, silverware, wine glasses, linens, and other things you might need to make the night romantic. Ensure that you have enough time after cooking to shower and freshen up for your dinner.
Now, you can turn on the music and enjoy your meal and the company of your date.
Top Rules for an At-Home Dinner Date
Here are a few rules to keep in mind if you’re planning a dinner date, either for your partner or someone you’re interested in.
- Don’t make it your first date but save it for the third or later.
- Don’t serve anything complicated or messy to eat.
- Mind your table etiquette even if you’re in your home.
- Make dessert simple.
- Have a backup plan no matter what. You should pick two recipes rather than one if you don’t get the ingredients.
- Get almost everything done in advance.
- Ensure that you get drinks that she likes, not just what you want.
- Watch how much you drink.
- Keep it simple and fun.
Now, you can plan a romantic and enjoyable dinner date for you and your love interest. Regardless of what you’re planning, ensure that you’re relaxed and you don’t let pressure take the fun from it. As long as you enjoy each other’s company, you will enjoy the date.