Skip the wait and hassle of a restaurant and prepare a romantic meal at home. While the idea of cooking something for your significant other might be daunting, there are plenty of romantic dishes that are simple to prepare and easy on the budget. You don’t have to be a gourmet private chef to impress that special girl – all you need is a little time and a few ideas to jumpstart your cooking creativity.
Tarts are not just for dessert – in fact savory tarts can be used as appetizers or entrees. A tart is all about the crust, which should be buttery and flaky. So, if you don’t have the time to make one, purchase a frozen or refrigerated premade pastry crust. From there it is all about adding the right combination of ingredients. Good tarts to start with are those with cheese and vegetables. Consider Gruyere, tomatoes and spinach or caramelized onion and Gruyere.
Seafood is relatively easy to prepare and can be cheap on the budget – as long as you buy what’s on sale. Shrimp kabobs are quick and don’t require a lot of additional preparation – just marinade, add a few vegetables to the skewers and grill or bake until the shrimp are pink and starting to curl. Mini crab cakes work well as appetizers, but also can be used as finger-food entrees. Purchase preshredded crab meat to cut preparation time in half.
Pasta is budget-friendly and easy to make no matter what kind of time crunch you’re in. Make a quick red tomato meat sauce and pair it with cooked fettuccine or linguine. A creamy linguine pairs well with steak and seafood. Ragu sauces – hearty meat pasta sauces – work well with penne, rigatoni and other wide, round noodle varieties. If your significant other is a vegetarian, eggplant parmesan served on a bed of buttered spaghetti or fettuccine can do the trick.
Salads aren’t just for appetizers or lunch – they make satisfying dinners, too. A salad is especially helpful if you’re preparing a romantic dinner on a summer night or you both are feeling like something light, but filling. Use hearty combinations of greens and meats. Pork paired with fruit, such as mango or apple slices, and spinach or grilled steak, marinated vegetables and romaine are also hearty salad ideas.
- Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images