Date Night at Home

It’s easier than you think to put together date night at home for you and your significant other! Reconnect over a delicious meal with these simple steps and a delicious menu.

A fork sticks a sliced piece of steak before lifting it from the plate

We’re living in some wild times, friends, and I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to connect with your significant other when the world around you feels out of control.

My husband and I see each other more than normal during any given time during a week since he’s working from home right now, but our routines are different. Our kids are around all the time, too.

Because of this, I wanted to put together a guide of how each and every one of us can make date night happen… even if it’s at home instead of at our favorite restaurant.

In fact, this is something we should do more regularly because it’s fun to share a meal with a person you love. I’ve even put together a simple menu to make it as easy as pie.

This is no different than doing a Valentine’s Day dinner at home or a fancier dinner for the two of you.

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    Here’s what I recommend:

    A large spoon holds a scoop of baked Spinach Madeline

    Choose a time and date for your date night at home.

    Whether or not you’re both working from home with kids (or one of you is working while the other is tending to the kids), it’s important to put this date on your calendar. Commit to a time and day.

    It’s easy to push this aside since life becomes busy and your family has needs… but it’s really important to carve out this time!

    Also, if you have children, decide if you want the kids involved or not. Our girls have eaten with us for our Valentine’s Day dinners before, but family date nights tend to be more harried with children involved. For example, we oftentimes won’t find ourselves sitting for long and just chatting because we have a bedtime routine to follow.

    We’ve also waited to serve ourselves dinner until they’re in bed, which is what I recommend because dinner and dessert are less hurried. It also gives you more time to put together the food. The downside is that you have to make a separate meal for the kids to eat before you eat. 

    This is your call, obviously.

    Some thoughts on including kids for a family date night at home

    If you want your kids to be involved in date night, that’s amazing! I find it fun to involve my girls in date night occasionally because date night is synonymous with food that we normally don’t make regularly at our home (like steak, “fancy” fish, more involved pastas, etc.), and it’s exciting to introduce them to something new.

    Kids are great kitchen helpers, and I bet you can ask for yours to assist you in the preparations for date night.

    Depending on their ages and skill levels, kids can…

    • Prep and help cooking portions of the recipes you are making
    • Set the table (or assist in setting it.)
    • Clean up in and around the area where you plan to eat your date night meal.

    You might also consider changing the menu a bit because your kids’ tastebuds aren’t the same as yours. Create a menu that works for them and you while still letting it feel special.

    A yellow container holds Wild Rice Salad, surrounded by other dishes on a holiday table

    Decide your menu.

    This, obviously, will depend on your tastebuds, diets and what you have available to cook with. 

    Some things to consider:

    • Are you able to run to the store to get ingredients if you don’t have those at home? Or do you need to make date night happen from pantry/freezer/fridge ingredients you have on hand?
    • Is date night happening on a weeknight or a weekend? (This might change your menu, depending on the amount of time you have to prepare the food.)
    • What do you like to eat? 

    Another thing to consider: Are you willing to go grab takeout from your favorite restaurant? If so, I cover some date night at home ideas pertaining to takeout here.

    Recently, my husband and I have been supporting our favorite local businesses via takeout to make our date night at home feel fancier (and also give us a reprieve from cooking.)

    However, if you’re planning to get takeout, there are a few things to consider, too.

    • What kind of food travels well (and potentially keeps well if you can’t eat it immediately)? While we love Dallas-based steakhouses, we’ve been hesitant to order takeout from them because of this.
    • How will you pick up your food? A delivery app? In-person? Curbside? No matter what you decide, it is courteous and kind (and in my opinion, necessary) to leave a GOOD tip.

    Some thoughts on cooking together for a special date night

    I’ve made date night at home by myself before, but there’s something fun about cooking together.

    If you want to cook together, divide the work so that the two of you can work together efficiently to get dinner on the table without stepping on each others’ toes. (Alternately, you can work together on all of the steps, but this will probably take a lot longer and miiiiiiiight lead to some frustrations.)

    For example, if you’re a whiz with the knife, you do all the chopping while your significant other prepares the meat (or pasta or something else.)

    A woman writes a list with papers spread out before her

    Make a cooking timeline.

    This is one of my favorite things to do when it comes to any event, whether it’s a dinner party or a date night at home with my husband.

    A cooking timeline is something you write out that will help keep you organized. It plots out the cooking and helps to get your dishes on the table around the same time.

    Here are some tips for staying organized and prepping your timeline:

    • Print out your recipes so you can see each of them as you make your timeline and grocery list. This will also help when you’re actually cooking, too. Why? In my opinion, it’s annoying to have to click back and forth on your phone.
    • Look at each recipe to determine the amount of time it takes (and include extra time for prep work!)
    • Work backwards to put the timing elements onto a piece of paper. So, if you want to eat at 7:30 p.m., you need to figure out when to start your dishes. 
    Three Dark Chocolate Soufflés sit on a baking sheet, straight out of the oven

    On the day of your date, get everything in order and cook!

    When it’s your date night day, make sure you’ve got everything you need on hand. You don’t want to throw off your timeline with a last minute store trip.

    Get started on your timeline, and remember: your timeline may go askew. That’s OK. 

    Don’t sweat it if your timeline gets thrown off. The worst thing that will happen is dinner will be served later than expected, and that’s OK.

    Also, don’t forget that this is supposed to be fun. Don’t stress yourself out trying to make a perfect date night happen. Because I bet you and your significant other will just be so happy to be together and eating together 

    Close up of sliced steak on a plate, with Pinterest text

    Feeling confident in how to make date night at home happen? Here’s a steakhouse-inspired menu for you to make!

    Steakhouse Inspired Menu for an At Home Date Night

    Celebrate date night at home with your significant other by making a delightful STEAKHOUSE-inspired dinner! Complete with steak, sides and a decadent (yet easy-to-make) dessert, this date night menu is sure to wow and make your tastebuds happy.

    A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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    One Comment

    1. This is such an excellent guideline for date night in. We have been trying to do this every weekend since all of this craziness began in March. Some weekends are easier than others, and let’s be honest, sometimes it seems more fun than others. LOL. Anything we can do to try and give our lives a sense of normalcy right now is key, I think. Stay positive and stay safe, my friend!

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