It’s a date! Surprise your significant other any night of the week with a special international meal to enjoy together, just the two of you. The dressed-up recipes collected here will give you break from your regular routine and let you cook up a little romance in no time.
Because most of the dishes can be prepared in advance, you won’t find yourself frazzled in the kitchen trying to prep and sauté and whip all at once. You simply pull them out of the fridge and place in the oven, giving you a chance to light some candles, pour some wine and focus on your sweetie.
PLAN THE PERFECT NIGHT
- Timing is everything. Clear your schedule, shut down the computer and turn off your cell phone. This is your time together. Don’t squander it with distractions that can wait until the next day. Have kids? Consider hiring a babysitter or asking a neighbor if they’d mind hosting a playdate. Or wait until the kids go to bed so you have can some time just for the two of you.
- Cue the romantic playlist, dim the lights and don your finest ensemble (or pajamas if it’s a more casual night you’re craving). Think about pulling out the good china and crystal wine glasses, too. Little touches can turn an ordinary night into something extra special.
- Don’t worry about theming your menu. Your kitchen is your restaurant, so have fun pairing a Greek appetizer with an Italian entrée. If it sounds good, go for it!
A MAKE-AHEAD MENU
Who has the time? You do!
Carve out an evening for romance with these dishes that can be prepped ahead of the big night. Here’s what’s on the four-course menu, complete with ideas for making the most of your time.
1. Appetizer: Caprese Roll-Ups
The classic combo of fresh tomato, mozzarella and basil not only tastes great, but the vibrant colors look beautifully festive for your special night! If serving for just two people, you can easily cut this recipe in half. Tip: The 3/4-cup mozzarella would be 6 tablespoons.
- The day before: Assemble and refrigerate.
- The day of: Slice and plate them up!
2. Main Entrée: Creamy Chicken-Spinach Lasagna
That’s amore! Add extra zest to your relationship with this luscious twist on a classic Italian entrée. Although the finished dish will look like you labored over it, the make-ahead recipe is actually pretty easy. It calls for rotisserie chicken, fresh spinach, cheese and a few more ingredients that you can put together the day before, using a PYREX® Easy Grab® 3-Qt. (9” x 13”) Oblong Baking Dish.
- The day before: Assemble lasagna, cover and refrigerate.
- The day of: Take out of the fridge for 30-45 minutes before popping in the oven and baking as directed.
3. Side Dish: Rainbow Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Let your love blossom with this fresh and fabulous salad that is sure to make you swoon. The multi-hued, crunchy veggies are balanced beautifully with an easy-to-mix vinaigrette that you can make in advance. Yum!
- The day before: Cut vegetables and make vinaigrette. Refrigerate separately.
- The day of: Mix salad and vinaigrette in a PYREX Smart Essentials 2.5-Qt Glass Mixing Bowl.
4. Dessert: Flourless Chocolate Stout Cake
Dark beer and decadent chocolate—a match made in dessert heaven. You and your date will love every luscious bite!
- The day before: Prepare and bake cake.
- The day of: Cut into individual servings. Top with whipped cream and fresh berries if desired.