Karen Fratti
September 08, 2017 4:18 pm

Inviting someone over for dinner is the oldest date trick in the book. Because it’s a great idea. Having someone over for a home cooked meal is intimate, can be a real budget saver, and also sets a super romantic mood. Then again, even for the best home cook, throwing together a restaurant-worthy meal on the fly for someone you’re trying to impress can be super intimidating. Which is why having some easy date-night recipes on hand is absolutely a must — if only so you spend less time over the stove and more time swooning over a big glass of red wine.

One historically great date night recipe is “Engagement Chicken.”

The dish got its name in more overtly sexist times, when women were told that the way to get a man to propose marriage was to cook for them and show off housewife skills. But it makes a good date night recipe all these decades later — seasoning a chicken, throwing it in the oven, and whipping up a side dish or two is not *too* labor intensive. It’s also the kind of thing that always tastes good (for carnivores, of course), so it’s basically fail proof. But if you want to switch it up a bit, there are tons of great date night recipes out there that won’t break the bank or your back after hours and hours in the kitchen.

Here are a few to try out on your new crush.

1Creamy leek and almond pasta

Love & Lemons

Nothing says L-O-V-E like pasta, and nothing can be easier to make. With the addition of pine nuts, leeks in the white wine sauce, you’re really stepping up your culinary game. Grab a loaf of good bread, a bottle of wine, and you’ll never have to make a reservation again.

2Watermelon salad with fried rosemary

Urban Poser

This salad is almost too simple to make, but looks Michelin star worthy with the addition of rosemary and feta or ricotta cheese. This is a good homemade addition to a picnic-style date with pre-bought cheese and crackers, or a delish side dish for a steak. Anytime you whip out the melon baller, you’re basically Ina Garten.

3Easy Drunken Noodles

Cooking For Keeps

Sure, you could make a reservation at a Thai restaurant and split the pad kee mao, but why not show off a little bit? This is a simpler version you can make at home for two and keep on file for an easy weeknight dinner later on.

4Chocolate breakfast rolls

Humingbird High

Ya know…just in case.

5Beach pasta

Big Girl, Small Kitchen

Again, pasta is an easy way to whip something satisfying and impressive looking. Just make sure no one has any shellfish allergies before you start grocery shopping for this one.

6Za’atar roasted chicken thighs with yogurt sauce

Five & Spece

Yes, there are a few steps to this one, but it’s nothing you can’t handle.

7Poached salmon with coconut cream reduction and arugula

The Urban Poser

If you aren’t a fan of poached salmon, you can always cook it however you like and serve with the sauce and microgreen salad, too.

8Warm chard salad with bacon dressing and roasted chicken

Five & Spice

If you want to keep things light, this warm salad is the way to your boo’s heart, we promise.

9Roasted poblano & jackfruit tacos with adobo cream sauce

Hot For Food

You might have to track down some jackfruit, but once you do these are easy to throw together. Then you two can settle in on the couch and have a taco-movie party.