the perfect recipe for an in house date night

posted on: Sunday, February 24, 2008

The first and most important ingredient for a perfect in house date night is a very bad day. Yesterday I woke up and knew right away it was going to be one of those days. It was rainy and very windy which in our family translates into no playing outside for Enzo and no surf for daddy. I had two grumpy boys on my hands. We all kind of lost it at around 6:30pm when Enzo spilled ALL the wheat on the kitchen floor and living room carpet. By 7:00pm we were ready to have Enzo asleep. He wasn't, of course, but we were. So Chris started his night time routine and I decided to make a nice dinner for just the two of us. I had already made chocolate mousse in the afternoon to keep Enzo busy and thought a nice quiet dinner would be perfect to accompany the fancy dessert. We could of just gone out on a date and not have the stress of making dinner but we actually couldn't because we're too cheap and because our trusty babysitter/neighbor wasn't home.

So after having your first ingredient you need to also convince yourself that this is a good idea and will not add to the extra stress of the day. Here are some ways to convince yourself
  • you're saving money
  • you can stay barefoot and you can wear your pajamas
  • you don't have to leave the house
  • you can bust out your fancy napkins, plates, silverwares, etc etc
of course all these pros can quickly turn out to be cons. The saving money part is fine but in house dates can also mean that you don't get to leave the house and that you don't get to dress up. Technically you could dress up at home but seriously who does? You especially don't want to dress up if you're going to be cleaning up all the extra gadgets you pulled out to make it seem somewhat dateish.

The other major thing to think about is your time frame. Since Christian started putting Enzo to sleep at 7:00pm and Enzo was totally not ready to be asleep I knew I had a good hour maybe even hour and a half to prepare dinner. This can also be a catch 22 because if it takes your spouse this long to put your kid to sleep you know s/he's going to be coming out of that room in an even worse mood. Hence the need for a very delicious dinner. I don't want to brag but dinner was very delicious. It was also very easy to make. Notice in the picture below how everything is set so that we face the wall and not the messy living room. A key component of in house dating.

the menu
  • grape and brie fritters
  • green salad with carrots
  • pasta with broccolis, sun dried tomatoes and fresh grated Romano cheese
  • chocolate mousse
I'll post a recipe for all 3 things (I'm omitting the salad - green salad and carrots- there) and you'll see what I mean about easy. The mousse took the longest because it needs to chill for 2 hours but with a little planning it's no problem, or ditch the mousse and make something quicker.

The winner for the night was definitely the fritters. I was totally skeptical about the grapes being deep fried but it's actually the perfect combination. I stole this recipe from the Chicago sun times. I'll add the link here just to be a bit more honest but here's the exact same thing below.

Grape and brie fritters

MAKES 40 (They are not exaggerating. I cut the recipe by 1/3 and we still had way more than we could eat)

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces Brie, diced
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups halved red seedless grapes
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  1. Place the water and diced butter in a saucepan over medium heat; cook gently until the butter has melted, then bring to a rolling boil. Remove the pan from the heat and pour all of the flour in at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and comes away from the sides of the pan. Let cool slightly.
  2. Place the warm flour mixture in the bowl of a mixer. Add the diced Brie and mix with the paddle attachment until well combined. Mix together the eggs and salt, and gradually add to the dough, beating well between each addition. Stir in the grapes.
  3. Deep fry 5 to 6 spoonfuls of batter in 350-degree oil, turning the fritters occasionally as they cook. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the fritters are completely puffed and a dark golden brown. Drain well and continue with remaining fritter batter.
  4. Serve warm as appetizers.


I just threw it together so I don't have the right measurements I'm totally guesstimating.

  • 1/2 package pasta (use whatever kind you like)
  • 2 cups cooked broccoli
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Romano cheese
  1. cook the pasta
  2. after the pasta is cooked and drained add it back to the sauce pan with the garlic and olive oil. warm it up in the pan for about 5 minutes stirring constantly. You'll really start smelling the garlic.
  3. add the broccoli and the sun dried tomatoes
  4. serve warm with cheese on top.

Chocolate Mousse

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • 1 package (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
  • 1 1/2cups whipping (heavy) cream
  1. Beat egg yolks in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed about 3 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in sugar.
  2. Heat 1 cup whipping cream in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until hot. Gradually stir at least half of the hot whipping cream into egg yolk mixture; stir back into hot cream in saucepan. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (do not boil). Stir in chocolate chips until melted. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, just until chilled.
  3. Beat 1 1/2 cups whipping cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Fold chocolate mixture into whipped cream. Pipe or spoon mixture into serving bowls. Immediately refrigerate any remaining dessert after serving.
post date reflection......
It was a great dinner and really nice to just be the two of us. Christian even kept saying how everything was delicious and he is NOT one to complement my cooking. Christian, I know you'll eventually read this and disagree but it's true. I've come to good terms with this fact because when he DOES complement I know he really means it. He complemented so I knew it was a success.


  1. Ok, I so need cooking lessons from you. Richie's seriously lucky if he gets a can of slimfast for lunch and a frozen pizza for dinner.

  2. damaris! YOu rock! My mouth is watering just looking at your page. I have to make that pasta. I will probably try it this week. Thanks for the great recipe!


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