The first few years my husband and I were together, our date nights were what we looked forward to most each week. We dined at trendy restaurants, sipped on fancy cocktails, it was fabulous! Fast forward a few years later, add a baby, two crazy dogs, work schedules with long hours, and, well, date night has changed just a bit…
I’ll admit, between finding a babysitter, securing a dinner reservation, and fighting Atlanta traffic, sometimes scheduling a date night can be a bit stressful! So, what’s a busy mom to do when she wants a fun date night without all the hassle? Easy, swap “date night out” for “date night in” and enjoy a low key evening at home! Here’s how:
- It’s All About the Ambiance – You can easily transform your home into a great date night place with just a few simple steps (after you put the kids to bed, of course!). Pick up all those toys in the living room, turn on some lively music, and light some candles (this is the perfect time to pull out those candlesticks you received years ago as a wedding gift!). And, for goodness sake, turn off the TV!
- Cocktails, anyone? – Does your date night at a restaurant usually start with a glass of Prosecco or a dirty martini? Well, do the same at home! If you and your husband love Moscow Mules, learn to make them yourself and buy some copper mugs to serve them in. A great cocktail always sets the tone for a fantastic evening!
- Make it “Hands-On” – Whether it’s shucking oysters, dicing tomatoes for bruschetta, or arranging a charcuterie/antipasto platter, start “date night in” with tasty appetizers that you can make together. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be fun!
- Eat What You Like – Do you prefer fish and he likes steak? Cook both! It may sound like additional work, but you’re going to have the grill fired up anyway (be sure to keep an eye on the cooking times for each). Serve your entrees with side dishes that pair well with both meals (e.g. mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus) for a stress free dinner you’ll both enjoy.
- End on a Sweet Note – A great date night should always wrap up with stimulating conversation and something sweet! But, don’t worry about making a dessert from scratch, buy a sweet treat from your local bakery or specialty store that’s meant to be shared.
As you can see, with just a little planning you can still have a great date night without leaving the comfort of your own home! Below is my go-to recipe for Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes, a terrific side dish for “date night in” and the perfect accompaniment to any chicken, fish, steak, lamb, or vegetarian meal. Enjoy!
Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
Makes 4-6 servings
3 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled
1 ½ cups milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup sour cream
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes and place them in a large pot. Cover the potatoes with cold water and add enough salt so that the water tastes quite salty. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the potatoes fall apart easily when pierced with a fork.
Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan, making sure it doesn’t boil. Set aside until the potatoes are done.
As soon as the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander. Using a handheld mixer, break the potatoes up and, at a low speed, slowly add the hot milk/butter mixture to make the potatoes very creamy. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and the sour cream and pepper and whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning and serve hot.
Recipe and picture courtesy of Ina Garten, Food Network