Whether you’ve been with your love for years or just starting to get to know someone better, preparing a meal at home
for someone special is a wonderful gesture. Having a meal at home allows you to have, and give, full attention to that special person as well as allowing yourselves to get a bit more comfortable with each other if the relationship is a newer one. Been together a long time? Taking the time to go out of your way to prepare a special meal for your love shows them they’re still very special to you and worth a bit if extra effort. No matter what stage your relationship is in, consider having your next date night in!
Many times celebratory meals end up being rich and heavy (think surf & turf, heavy pasta dishes) but they don’t have to be. Enjoying a health, light, satisfying meal together allows you both to enjoy the food and not suffer any uncomfortable consequences of a rich dish later! Creating a delicious AND healthy meal lets the person know you care about them.
Here are a few tips for creating a perfect, healthy date night at home:
- Take into consideration the other persons needs and preferences (gluten free, food allergies, vegan, etc.) Prepare a seared steak salad for a vegetarian or a traditional pasta dish for someone that is allergic to gluten and you probably won’t have a very long date. The person needs to eat too! Ask them if they have any needs for you to be aware of so you can make sure your date actually gets to eat.
- Don’t stress out about it! The meal doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. Stick with an appetizer, simple entree and a simple fruit dessert. See below for some suggestions.
- Put on some music while you make the meal. Enjoy the time you are giving to this special someone. Any meal made with love in your heart will turn out wonderful.
- Enjoy wine? Seek assistance for a great pairing. Taking a few minutes and asking for a suggestion from your wine source (if you don’t feel confident doing the pairing yourself) to go with what you are serving is an extra special touch. It also creates an interesting conversation starter later!
- Throw in a personal touch. Do you know your date has strong ties to a particular heritage? Consider creating a meal that incorporates food from the area. This will also show them you spent a bit more time thinking about them – they will appreciate it! Now, do you know your date thinks his mom’s veal dish is the best in the world? Don’t even touch it – don’t try to compete with Mama. Instead find something similar that you think they would enjoy. Or, do you remember the person mentioning they always wanted to visit or return to a specific country they love? Find some simple recipes from that region and surprise them with a fabulous meal that shows you were really thinking about them!
- Make it different! Enjoy your meal as a picnic on the floor, outside under the stars, as a brunch instead of a late night date (you may end up spending the rest of the day together!)
Here are some recipes for simple and healthy dishes that will allow you to enjoy an amazing meal without any of the stress!
4 Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/2″ dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
Pinch salt and peppe
Combine ingredients and allow the flavors to blend. Serve on sliced bread or mozzarella slices (vegetarian and gluten free when using mozzarella instead of bread.)
Healthy entree: Whole Grain Pasta Carbonara
1 cup cooked whole grain fettucine
4 slices bacon, diced
1/2 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 pinch Kosher/sea salt
Lots of fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup water leftover from pasta cooking water
1/2 cup frozen peas
While the pasta is cooking prepare the rest of the dish. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, when hot add bacon. Cook until crisp. Add the onion and bacon, saute a few minutes until the onion is tender, turn off the pan. Whisk together the eggs, parmesan, salt and pepper, set aside. As soon as the pasta is finished cooking, drain (capturing 1/4 of the pasta water before you drain it). To assemble: in a large bowl combine the hot pasta, cooking water, bacon/onion mixture, egg/parmesan mixture and peas. Toss well (the heat from the pasta will cook the eggs resulting in a creamy, delicious sauce – no cream necessary!) Serve immediately and enjoy!
Gluten Free Entree: Seared Wild Salmon over Succotash
1 Tbsp healthy oil/fat of your choice
2 salmon fillets, wild preferably
1 pinches Kosher/sea salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tsp healthy oil/fat of your choice
1/2 zucchini, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 pinch Kosher/sea salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, when hot add 1 tsp oil, swirl to coat. Add the zucchini, bell peppers, onion, corn, salt and pepper. Stir often until the vegetables are beginning to brown. Turn off the heat and stir in the juice from 1/2 the lemon and the parsley. While the succotash is cooking start the fish.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, when hot add 1 Tbsp oil, swirl to coat. Season the fish and place face down in the skillet. Don’t move the fish for several minutes until the first side is golden brown and crispy. Carefully flip and let the other side cook. The length of time will depend on the thickness of your fillets. Thin fillets will only take another minute or two to cook, thicker a bit longer. Turn off the heat when the fish is almost cooked how you like it. Squeeze the other half of the lemon over the fish, cover with foil and let rest 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness.
To serve place a bed of the succotash on the plate and top with a salmon fillet. Enjoy!
Dessert: Sweet Simplicity – Fruit
Layer fresh fruit (whatever is in season) with Greek yogurt drizzled with honey. Nothing could be more simple or more delicious! Serve in a beautiful wine or martini glass, garnished with a sprig of mint. Enjoy!
Enjoy your date night.
P.S. Have you subscribed to my blog yet? I’ll send you a free gift “Mesa de Vida’s Guide to Healthy Family Favorites” – don’t miss it! Sign up HERE! Want help reaching your goals – putting healthy meals on the family table or losing weight, once and for all? I lost over 100 pounds by transforming my life – let me help you reach your goals too! Check it out!
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