When our kids were babies, my husband and I would hurry home on Friday afternoons to squeeze in a quick bite in a restaurant before the clock ran out to pick the boys up from day care, our only time out together in a hectic week. Even when the kids were old enough to stay home alone, the tradition continued, sometimes joined by a Saturday night date night, and maybe a Wednesday night date night when things got squirrelly.
Going out to eat is one of our favorite forms of “entertainment,” but with one son now in college and the other one going next year, we desperately needed to economize. I hatched a plan: cook at home, but make it fancy. By getting my husband on board to hang out and help, cooking at home on a Friday night transformed from an exhausting chore to a fun event.
We listened to music and had some wine while we cooked scallops with asparagus, a splurge for a home meal, but a pittance compared to if we’d eaten out. We made a few adjustments to the recipe, adding mushrooms, garlic, and spinach, and we served it over parmesan polenta. It came out a divine mix of flavors and textures, heavy on the pepper, which somehow gave it an extra special exotic zing.
We’re hermits at heart, so getting to stay home out of the cold was icing on the cake. Hmm, cake…
Even though I’m one of those people who took pictures of my food before it was a thing, I didn’t think to snap one last night. No worries, though. That meal will live on in my memory just fine.
Some ideas for future stay-at-home date nights:
- Steak Diane for Two (even sounds romantic)
- Shrimp Scampi (think I’ll go over polenta again; that was so good)
- Portuguese Stew (I’ve always wanted to make it)
- Banh Mi Sandwiches (the best sandwich in the world, but I’ve never made one myself)
Do you have stay-at-home date nights? What special dishes should I try?