Remember when a special date night took all day, all night, and sometimes the next day, too? You’d spend the whole afternoon primping or leisurely relaxing for what would surely be an all night occasion.
You might hit a lounge for cocktails, then a three-course dinner at downtown’s fanciest hot spot. Afterward, perhaps you’d enjoy dancing, a movie, more drinks? Maybe even breakfast in the wee hours after all the fun was had. The next morning you would nurse each other’s hangovers and pull on comfy clothes for brunch and an afternoon wasted on TV marathons. Oh, it was delicious.
And so, so, so impossible to pull off now that there is little feet pitter pattering all over your party.
Once kiddos are in the picture, date night comes with a $40 convenience fee in the name of babysitting. That’s often enough to stop us in our tracks, but if it’s a special occasion we’ll set the money aside. What we can’t set aside are all the parenting responsibilities that get in the way of the pre-game, getting pretty time before going out. (And let’s be honest, who really wants to put on Spanx to go out to dinner? Because girl, you know I need them to get into my sexy dress these days.)
Let’s not do this. Instead, I propose – date night at home!
A date night at home must be quick and clandestine. You can’t let the kiddos find out Mom and Dad are having fun without them! You need a menu that can be prepared quickly and not be too filling in case you want to do something fun after the meal. (To which I mean watch Fixer Upper on the couch next to each other, what did you think?!)
My menu suggestion is fondue, an easy yet delicious meal.
I prefer a good cheese fondue for this type of occasion. While the hubby gets the kids ready for bed, fire up the cauldron of hot, boiling cheese. Cube a couple kinds of good bread, apples, sausage, and grapes and dinner is served! You could also make a quick salad, but why mess with a good thing?
If your hunk needs hunks of meat to call it a meal, you could do a fondue bourguignon instead. Cube a steak, a couple peppers and maybe a few mushrooms. Boil a few new potatoes or use the canned variety if you’d like a starch. Roasted garlic and fresh bread would be great with this meal.
I know, I know, it sounds like dessert for the short set (and it is!), but it also works well here. You can make it quick at naptime using ingredients you probably already have. Let it set in your elegant china and top with vanilla Greek yogurt to make it look fancy and (and this is the win/win), your kids can help you finish up the leftovers tomorrow. It’s not too foreign or luxurious so it won’t feel like you’re wasting a fancy treat on them.
And actually, all the meal leftovers would be great for lunch tomorrow. Set aside a bit of Gruyere cheese to cube and make a picnic with the cheese fondue dippers or use the meat fondue leftovers to make a stew.
Let’s recap – this delicious date night dinner will:
- Save you money.
- Save you time.
- Be delicious.
- Let your kids participate (tomorrow).
If that doesn’t say “romantic” to a mom of toddlers, I don’t know what does.
Cheers to you, friend!
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cocoa
- 1/3 cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 cups milk (whatever kind you have!)
- 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp coffee extract, optional
- 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
- Combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in heavy saucepan. Add milk and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil and stir for 1 minute, then remove from heat.
- Blend in butter, vanilla, and coffee extract. Pour into four individual dessert dishes. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface. Cool; chill until set. Top with 1/4 cup yogurt immediately before serving.