Date Night In


When planning for a “date night in” the menu is the most important part if you ask me, besides your actual date of course. Since I make dinner 5+ nights a week I want to make my menus special and way different than my typical meals at home. With Valentines Day this week I am planning a date night in with the following menu.

Roasted garlic, sun-dried tomato, and peppered goat cheese with crostini. (recipe to follow) 
Beets with goat cheese mousse and micro-greens. 
Seared scallops with creamy garlic sauce. 
Creamy mushroom risotto and roasted asparagus. 
Mixed berry pie with crumble topping. 

Roasted Garlic & Goat Cheese Appetizer

  • 6 oz goat cheese

  • Freshly cracked pepper

  • Two heads of roasted garlic (recipe found here)

  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • About 10 pitted kalamata olives

  • Balsamic reduction (I use it already made from Trader Joes)

  • Sliced and toasted baguette or warm pita

    Roll your goat cheese into a ball and then in the fresh ground pepper to form a light coating. Place in a bowl and top with roasted garlic cloves, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes or just until warm. Drizzle with balsamic reduction. Serve with warm bread spices or pita.

For the scallops I am going to try this recipe since i’ve never actually cooked scallops before and it seems to give really good instructions on how to do so. Also, creamy butter and garlic sauce… doesn’t take much more convincing for me. I usually make up my risotto recipe but this one is really close to how I make it. I just add a little cream in the end and some fresh herbs.


  • 2-4 days ahead decide on your menu and do your shopping (except for scallops in this case)

  • Day before

    • Make appetizer but do not bake, store in the refrigerator

    • Make your dessert if possible. Day before

  • Morning/day of:

    • Set the table

    • Make the salad and refrigerate

    • Slice and oil your baguette for the appetizer, place on a cookie sheet, cover and set aside.

  • Right before dinner:

    • Bake the baguette and goat cheese appetizer

    • Make the risotto, except for the last bit of stock. You can then turn off the heat and leave it on the stove until you are ready for cook the scallops.

  • Fiishing Dinner:

    • I am planning on serving the appetizer earlier to hold us over until after our kids go to bed since we will be eating later than usual.

    • Once our kids go to bed I will serve the salad and then finish making the main course.

    • Once you begin the scallops you can finish off the risotto with he remaining stock and grated cheese, so everything is ready at the same time. Since scallops cook so quickly this should only take about 10 minutes.

    • While eating dinner I am going to place the pie back in the oven to warm. Then serve with ice cream right after dinner.

Typing this all out makes it seem like it is a lot of work, but it’s about spending time together right? You can drink wine and cook the last minute parts together. Don’t get me wrong, I love date night out, but not on Valentines Day. It is also not always possible to arrange a babysitter, so sometimes date night in is a must. After dinner we will be watching the latest episode of This Is Us since I guarantee we wouldn’t make it through an entire movie past 7pm. Now, if you are not the cooking type this still works, maybe just make an appetizer and dessert but pick dinner up from one of your favorite restaurants. You can still set a nice table, light candles, and drink wine but without the cooking and clean up!