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Hosting Weeknight Dinner Dates at Home

Dinner Date Night: It's Not Just For Weekends

Editor's Note: This is an article written by Cooking Channel's Kelsey Nixon. Here, Kelsey debunks the idea that date night dinners are just for weekends.

This week, my husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. It almost makes me sad that we aren't considered "newlyweds" anymore; thank goodness we still feel like we fit into this category. We're far from perfect, but we're still smitten with one another. I've been told that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach countless times, and while I partially agree with that cliché, the thoughtfulness that surrounds food often gets me much further.

Scheduling meaningful date nights can feel like another thing to pile on a to-do list — not to mention it can be tough on the pocketbook if, in your eyes, this means fancy restaurants and Broadway shows.

See how she transforms Tuesdays into terrific date nights — along with her favorite date night dinner! — when you read on.

As I look back on the most memorable dates that my husband and I have had over the years, hands down the most special occasions were those that were the simplest, when we are truly being ourselves and enjoying one another's company . . . while eating copious amounts of delicious food, I might add. Because food is my "thing," I've decided to make a greater effort to pick one night each week to make it a weeknight date night at home that involves me whipping up something special in the kitchen.
Food has always been a vehicle for me to share my love for those friends and family that I care so much about, especially my better half. (He would tell you that he has put on an extra 10 pounds as a result of that love oozing from our kitchen.) If you're looking to turn a Tuesday into a terrific date night, here are some of my best tips:

  • Surprise your significant other by making their all-time favorite dish out of the blue. Maybe it's one of their mom's signature recipes that they had growing up, or, heaven forbid, it's mac 'n' cheese that comes from a blue box. Regardless, it's the thought that counts!
  • Make a meal that was inspired by your first date, engagement, or wedding menu. It's a great way to reminisce about some of your favorite experiences together. 
  • Switch up the location. Forget the dinner table: take dinnertime outside of your kitchen, and enjoy your home cooking on the back porch, in a park, or planted on your couch in front of your favorite movie. 
  • It may be cheesy, but there's a reason that candles and a little Marvin Gaye have worked for so many couples over the years. Don't skimp on setting the mood. 
  • Put a plan in place. Send your sweetheart an email, Evite, or text message during the day to let them know that you are planning a special date night. It will give them something to look forward to throughout the day!

One of the first meals I made for my husband as a newlywed was steak. He was convinced that steak was something that you only order at a restaurant until I charmed him with my serious steak skills. This week Kelsey's Essentials is completely devoted to steak: all the tips, tools, and techniques that you need to know about to pull off a five-star steak at home. Perfect for a date night, if you ask me!

Want more Kelsey? Check out her show, Kelsey's Essentials, on the Cooking Channel, airing Saturdays at 2:30 (EDT). This week, she'll share more tips on how to perfect steak at home.

Source: Thinkstock
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