Wednesday Blog: Mission Possible: A Romantic Dinner at Home with a House Full of Children

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to plan and carry out a romantic dinner/date-night at home. While you may think that children in the house will stand in the way of successfully completing your mission, do not concern yourself. I have provided a plan for tiring the children out so that you can enjoy your evening! (You can modify any of this to make it work for your unique situation. This blog will not self-destruct, but don’t wait too long to read it. With the quarantine, I’m sure you and your significant other (SO) are in need of some quality, adult, alone-as-a-couple time.)

Since restaurants and bars only do carryout, date night has to be at home right now, even though your home might be infested with some little ones who aren’t at all interested in giving you any peace, quiet or especially --  privacy. Between parenting responsibilities and interruptions, romance during quarantine tends to be in short supply. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With a little planning and preparation, you and your SO can have a romantic dinner at home: even though you can’t take the kids to grandma or a sitter right now.

Unfortunately, spontaneity won’t work for something like this. Instead, start planning ahead of time.

Things to do ahead of the date day:

Plan food -- Do you love to cook? Is preparing a special meal for your loved one part of the fun and romance for you? Then by all means, cook! I’ve provided an easy, convenient, romantic menu below. However, if cooking just adds stress to the event, order something to carry out or have delivered. It’s perfectly fine! Don’t get something that you order often, though. Get something special to add to the intimacy of the evening -- something you wouldn’t normally think of ordering like steaks from a special steakhouse or sushi, edamame and tempura from a Japanese restaurant. Be creative and serve something you know your SO enjoys and will find special.

Plan a romantic ambiance -- by choosing some nice dinner music, setting an elegant and intimate table, and presenting the food in an appealing manner.

Do grocery shopping or research the restaurants you're considering for takeout. Know your options ahead of time in case you need to modify your plans.

To do on date day:

Tire the children out. Do anything that you know will have the children very tired at bedtime. The zoos and amusement parks aren’t open right now, but there are things you can do like hiking or yard work. Set up a backyard obstacle course and have races for time and agility. Do a neighborhood scavenger hunt. Have them write, direct, create the set for, and act in a play performed for you and your SO right before it’s time for them to be out of your hair for the night. This tires them out not only physically, but the intellectual demands of writing and using their creativity also mentally tires them out. If they’re infants or toddlers, fill their tummies with foods they really like, give them a nice warm bath, read everyone a goodnight story, and get them off to bed at the earliest possible hour. I’ve found that older children can typically be bribed to respect your privacy with pizza and a movie on-demand.

That’s our plan for the children, but what’s our plan for dinner? While of course you want whatever it is to be delicious, and good food and wine can really help set a mood for romance, you also need it to be quick and easy because you’re already going to be eating pretty late because,! Ordering takeout is a really good option for this situation. One parent can pick up the food while the other is putting the kids to bed. But if you prefer to cook, below you’ll find a menu that is quick, easy, delicious and romantic.

Certain foods or ingredients are considered to be natural aphrodisiacs, so if you want to pump up the romance, consider adding any of these: click here. Our romantic, date-night dinner menu includes several of these foods, just in case ;-), and can mostly be made ahead, working well with our limited prep and cooking time. Also, by using our Bellisari’s products, you’ve got the gourmet flavors you desire in a convenient sauce or spread already made for you:

Appetizer -- Since dinner might be coming later than usual, I recommend that you put out some fancy “grown-up food” that you know the kids won’t be interested in so that you and your SO can have something to graze on before your late dinner. Something like a charcuterie board would be perfect. Stinky cheeses, salty olives, and spicy deli meats sound yummy to me, but not so much to the kids. (How-to instructions click here) And go ahead and crack open a bottle of wine that you both enjoy. You can start the process of relaxing and anticipating the night to come while you’re getting the children all settled in.

Date-night Menu

Salad: Make a salad of Arugula with pomegranates and diced avocado. In a separate bowl add 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 3 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp of Bellisari’s Blistered Jalapeño & Fig Spread, 1 shallot finely chopped. Whisk together lemon juice, oil, shallots and Bellisari’s Blistered Jalapeño & Fig Spread in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Entrée: Laced with honey and chili peppers, this recipe is billed as an appetizer, but it is quite filling yet light, and therefore, perfect for a romantic dinner. Double or triple the recipe as desired. Asian Shrimp & Noodles

Dessert: Punctuating a delicious meal with something sweet is a must in my opinion! These sophisticated and sexy cupcakes strike just the right note to be an exclamation point to the perfect romantic dinner. Basil Cupcakes with Strawberries, Balsamic Shallot and Black Garlic Sauce

I am confident that you can successfully complete this mission! You’ve trained for this for years now; go on and show your SO what you can do!

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