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My Favorite Date Night Dinners

April 14th, 2017

Making Time for Date Night at Home

One of my favorite things to do with the people I care about is to set up special date nights to make sure we’re getting our quality time together. It’s easy to get caught up in our busy day-to-day tasks and responsibilities and assume that your normal interactions with your loved ones are enough, but it’s so important, in any relationship, to set aside time devoted specifically to that relationship. Not only does it show the other person you care, but it also forces you to stop and really appreciate the people in your life.

While it can be a ton of fun to get dressed up and go out to eat for date night, it’s sometimes even more fun to make cooking part of your time together. Whether I’m setting up a date night with my husband or with a girlfriend, I have some great go-to recipes that make it feel like a special occasion.

Here are two of my favorite date night dinners. And if you want to add a dessert to your date night, go for it! Just remember, everything is okay in moderation, so don’t overdo it. Try out these recipes and let me know what you think! What desserts did you make to go with them? Enjoy…

Date Night 1: Chicken Piccata with Caprese Salad

Ingredients:

2 (6 oz) boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/8 tsp. salt

4 tsp. olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup dry white wine (or broth)

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

2 tsp. capers

2 tsp. butter

2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced

3 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

4 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced or torn

4 tsp. aged balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Butterfly the chicken breasts and pound them with a mallet or heavy saute pan. Sprinkle with the flour, pepper, and salt on both sides.
  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side (depending on the thickness). Remove the chicken from the pan; set aside and cover to keep warm.
  1. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 2 tsp. oil and the garlic to the skillet. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  1. Add the wine and lemon juice to the skillet and bring to a boil. Add the parsley and capers. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the butter and swirl until melted. Return the chicken to the skillet and coat with the sauce.
  1. Place 1 chicken breast (with sauce) on each serving plate. On each plate, arrange 1 sliced tomato with 1 1/2 ounces sliced mozzarella (alternate cheese and tomato slices). Top each salad with half the basil and drizzle each with 2 tsp. vinegar.

Nutritional Information:

Total Fat 24g

Saturated Fat 9g

Cholesterol 135mg

Sodium 460mg

Protein 48g

Total Carbohydrate 20g

Dietary Fiber 3g

Sugar 8g

Chicken Piccata with Caprese Salad

Date Night 2: Heavenly Turkey-Kale Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

1 small spaghetti squash (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)

1 egg (cage-free)

1 package (16 to 20 oz.) ground turkey breast

1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup finely chopped kale leaves (ribs removed)

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or other herbs)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 (24 oz) jar (or 2.5 cups) marinara sauce (preferably a lower-sodium brand)

2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  1. Microwave the squash for 3 to 5 minutes to soften it slightly. Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds.
  1. Place the two squash halves cut side down in a baking dish. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with a knife.
  1. While the squash is baking, prepare the meatballs. In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg.
  1. Add the turkey, ricotta, garlic, bread crumbs, kale, basil, salt and pepper to the bowl.
  1. Form the turkey mixture into approximately 20 small meatballs.
  1. Coat a large nonstick saute pan liberally with oil spray and heat over medium-high heat.
  1. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides, turning frequently.
  1. In a medium pot, bring the marinara sauce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the meatballs and simmer until the meatballs are fully cooked at the center, about 15 minutes.
  1. Use a fork to break up the spaghetti squash into long strands. Divide the squash evenly between 2 plates. Top each portion with 5 meatballs and sauce and 1 Tbsp. parmesan. Package up the leftover meatballs and save them for lunch tomorrow!

Nutritional Information:

Total Fat 14g

Saturated Fat 4.5g

Cholesterol 130mg

Sodium 595mg

Protein 42g

Total Carbohydrate 43g

Dietary Fiber 2g

Sugar 7g

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