Do you have a go-to recipe for date night in with your honey? Maybe it's something easy that never fails to wow. Perhaps it's something that can be made the night before, so when date night rolls around, you can spend more time canoodling. Or maybe you like to mix things up and experiment with your best sous chef by your side.
We asked five couples to share their best dishes for date night in — and we're also throwing the question out to you: What do you make for a romantic evening chez vous?
Maya and Dustin: Eggplant Parmesan
Jewelry designer Maya Brenner and restaurateur Dustin Lancaster (pictured above) have lived in their Silver Lake home for just about one year. In that time, they've managed to build a chicken coop and plant a successful edible garden, one that is currently overflowing with eggplant and tomatoes. This abundance makes eggplant Parmesan a no-brainer date-night dish for the two.
"My favorite things to cook are from our very own urban farm that we've got going on here," says Maya. "We have tons of tomatoes and eggplant right now. We also rescued two adorable chickens (Biscuit & Buddy) that give us daily eggs. I use all of the above to make eggplant Parmesan, which we of course pair with a bottle of wine 'borrowed' from one of Dustin's spots."
Remy and Peter: Bachelor Pasta
Remy Ortiz and Peter have been dating for one year, and they couldn't be happier. But there was one good thing that came out of their bachelorhood: Peter's "Bachelor Pasta" or, as Remy likes to call it, "The Pasta Formerly Known as Bachelor Pasta."
What is this pasta, you ask? "The Pasta Formerly Known as Bachelor Pasta calls for one box of bowtie pasta, a can of Campbell's tomato soup, a small container of heavy whipping cream, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion," explains Peter. "Beyond that you can add as much or as little as you want to it. It's simple and easy and can be fun to add whatever other ingredients you like or have on hand in the fridge."
Get a similar recipe: Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Tomato-Cream Sauce
Farra and Juan: Overnight Braised Chicken
With two businesses, one adorable 2-year-old, and another child on the way, San Diego residents Farra and Juan Miron have their hands full. So when they do get a chance for date night, they don't take it lightly.
Lately, the couple has taken to braising a chicken the night before so they have time to enjoy each other's company. Their go-to recipe involves braising a chicken in meat stock in a 375°F oven, uncovered for 45 minutes, then covered for six to eight hours on 225°F. (Farra also recommends investing in Molly Steven's All About Braising, which she refers to as, "the gateway to wanting to braise everything in your life.")
For sides, they like to serve a simple arugula salad from their home garden and a vegetable option. A recent favorite? "Squash or cauliflower purée with loads of ghee, Parmesan, and crème fraîche, and maybe some toasted nuts and dates in brown butter for the top," says Farra. Then, they use the extra crème fraîche to make ice cream. (Yes, we're dying for an invitation, too.)
Is this the best chicken recipe of all time? Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk
Kyle and Michelle: Vegan Pizza
Kyle Deven is a man of simple pleasures. He cites pizza and grilled cheese as his two main specialties. The only problem? Fifty percent of his go-to ingredients (i.e., bread and cheese) are off-limits for his girlfriend, Michelle Juergen.
Since they started dating two years ago, he's adapted to include vegan options for Michelle's dairy-free diet, selflessly swapping his beloved cow's milk fresh mozzarella for Trader Joe's almond cheese. Michelle says her beau used to "half-and-half" the pie, but lately it's been all vegan. Now that's amore.
Erica and Tony: Stuffed Chicken Breast
Erica Brown and Tony Essa are an urban couple with a newfound love for staying in. "Cooking is something that we both don't really know very much about," says Erica. "We've been really enjoying learning how to make delicious meals together and, so far, we have not failed — knock on wood!"
The two like to explore meal ideas throughout the week, and Erica will print out the recipes and file them away. When they both have a night off, they pick out a new dish from the folder to conquer for dinner. So far, Erica's favorite is this spinach, artichoke, and feta stuffed chicken breast recipe from Barbells and Bellinis.
Get a similar recipe: Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Grapes, Hazelnuts, and Parmesan
Your turn: What's the dish you lean on for date night in?