5 Tips & 25 Recipes for Creating a Romantic Dinner
My 5 best tips for creating a romantic dinner are little ways to stop you from falling into that rut. These are things you can cook and ways you can dine so the two of you spend time together and focus on each other at dinner, which is a great place for romance to begin on an otherwise busy day.
Romance shouldn’t be hard work for a married couple. When two people know each other well it should be easy to laugh, talk, flirt, hold hands and gaze into each other’s eyes. And yet, when we’re so busy, it can be difficult to let that easy romance happen.
We fall into our ruts of talking about the kids and work and then watching television in bed instead of focusing on each other.
Romantic Dinner Tip #1: Interact with the food, interact with each other
It’s so often the case that we fall into the trap of talking about the kids, the same old work issues, etc.. If you want to get out of the rut and start some different conversations, cook up some food that makes you interact with it and with each other. It gives you something to do with your hands, it lenthens dinner giving you more time to talk and the food itself is a great conversation starter.
And it’s fun!
If you don’t know what I mean about interactive food, it’s things like Fondue and Raclette where you’re actively doing something at the table other than just eating. It can even be as simple as cheese and crackers but where the cheese is in big chunks and you need to slices wedges off with a knife as you go (pick up a cracker, spread it with some preserves, pick up the knife, cut a piece of cheese, put the cheese on top of the preserves. See, lots more to do than just lifting your fork to your mouth).
Romantic Dinner Tip #1b: Cook together (or not!)
Part of interacting with the food and with each other could mean that you cook together. But for some couples this is not an ingredient for blissful romance but instead fires up the fights and frustrations. It’s the latter for me and my husband.
So we talk while one of us does the cooking. The other person is in charge of pouring wine, keeping the music going, setting the table and complimenting the cook on how amazing everything smells and looks.
Here are some interactive dishes from around the web. These are great for sharing at the table whether or not you cook them together:
Romantic Dinner Tip #2: Make a meal of small nibbles.
A meal of small nibbles stretches your romantic evening out longer. Also, putting a plateful of little tastes in front of the two of you means that you’re sharing (and thus interacting as in #1 above).
If it’s a plateful of finger foods, all the better.
There’s something sweet and special about sharing finger foods. Often your hands touch when reaching for the food. And also, having something to do with you hands makes silences less noticeable and can even help start up a conversation (about something other than the kids).
Perhaps more importantly, a meal of small nibbles leaves room for breaks. You can stop after your first round of nibbles for a dance to a favorite song or to go sit outside and look at the stars or to…erm…go spend time together someplace more comfortable.
If you had instead sat down to a big meal, you wouldn’t get up halfway through to go and do anything.
And here are some romantic nibbles from a couple of my favorite bloggers:
Romantic Dinner Tip #3: Make sure it’s a quick and easy dinner to prepare.
If you spend half the day making your romantic meal you’re going to be exhausted by the time you finally sit down together to eat. If you’re exhausted you’re not going to be relaxed and happy. If you’re not relaxed and happy you’re not going to feel romantic.
If you’re not feeling romantic there will be no romance.
Also, I find that if I’ve worked a lot on a meal it’s hard for my husband to relax and talk with me. I think he feels pressure to really concentrate on the food and make a big deal about it.
For a romantic dinner, I want his focus on me more than on the food.
We often think that effort and hard work shows our partner how much we care. But talking with them and making time to listen shows caring just as much. If you want to put in effort and hard work, why not make a simple dinner and then afterwards offer your sweetie a massage?
A partner rubbing my shoulders is definitely more romantic than a partner who frantically ran around the kitchen trying to make an elaborately perfect meal.
One of the simplest romantic dishes is pasta, especially if it has a bit of a creamy sauce. Here are some easy creamy pasta dinners:
Romantic Dinner Tip #4: Make sure to get in the romance-type-stuff before you fill up too much.
Have you ever finished off your Valentine’s Day dozing in front of the TV instead of awake between the sheets? And then you end up wondering why romantic nights never turn out the way you’d hoped?
The reason this happens is often because we fill ourselves up with too much food and wine during our romantic dinner. At the end of the evening we’re happy but too full and tipsy to make a move.
My advice? Go to the bedroom before dinner, or, even better share your appetizers in the bedroom. That way if you find yourselves sluggish after dinner it won’t matter because your Valentine’s Day has already been a romantic success.
Romantic Dinner Tip #5 (I’ve saved the best for last!): Go on a culinary adventure together at the dinner table.
Do try something new. But make sure you go about it in the right way. Do not find some new whacky idea on pinterest, shop for it, make it and then spring it on your partner in a “Surprise! Guess what we’re trying tonight!” kind of way.
That puts pressure on both you and your partner. If your sweetie doesn’t really like the new thing, then he’ll feel awkward saying so. And if you’re unsure whether he likes it or not, you spend the meal worrying and asking, “Do you like it?”
Trust me, that uncertain questioning tone is not romantic.
What you should do is talk together about the meal beforehand and try to think of some new little twist on an old favorite that you can easily make together. Or maybe there’s a fruit or vegetable you haven’t tasted before or a spice or a type of cuisine.
Go into it together.
Then you can talk about what you expected and how it met or didn’t meet those expectations. Neither of you is caught surprised or needing to explain why you didn’t like something and nobody has hurt feelings when their partner doesn’t like the new thing that was sprung on them.
Here are some simple recipes that give you some new things to try out:
If you’ve never had sriracha before, or if you’ve never attempted to sear scallops for yourselves at home, this recipe is for you:
What happens when you try mixing up flavors that you would never think to put together? Sometimes they really work, as do the asparagus and mint combo here. And if you’ve never tried blackening a lemon to use it’s caramelized juices, you get two new things in one recipe.
Couscous is such a simple and delicate grain. If you haven’t tried it before, this is a great chance. I’m positive it will become a staple in your house after Valentine’s Day.
Have you heard people talking about how good chocolate and spicy heat go together but have been afraid to give it a try? This cake is so quick and easy to make (it’s done in 1 minute in the microwave) that if you decide that the flavor combination is a no-go for you, you can whip up another spice-free cake in minutes. A fun taste test with no risk since you still get your chocolate fix either way.
Cardamom is a spice that we in North America don’t use very often. But once you try it, you’ll fall in love. Here it has a subtle note with the chocolate. A romantic introduction indeed.
Those are all of my tips and my list of favorite romantic dinner recipes.
I hope you have a romantically delicious Valentine’s Day with your sweetie!