Make five-ingredient gnocchi together or cuddle up on the couch with a charcuterie board.
You probably got too much of a lot of things last year: Sourdough. Tie-dye. Roller skates. One thing that we lost amid all of it? Romantic dinner ideas. Or, romance, in general.
The pandemic has not been a playground for romance. For many couples, it’s been the ultimate relationship test—some broke down while others grew stronger. For the uncoupled, it’s made modern dating even more of an inferno: In one Match study, 71% of single respondents said they didn’t have sex during the pandemic.
Fortunately, 2021 is shaping up to be a year of love: According to a recent Plenty of Fish survey, 57% of singles are confident that they’ll meet “The One” this year. Whether you’re in first-date territory or trying to get out of a “What do YOU want for dinner?” rut with a long-time partner, there’s no denying that delicious food brings people together—or that eating a home-cooked meal is more romantic than eating over an open pizza box.
Not sure where to start in the kitchen? We asked Chungah Rhee, the creator of Damn Delicious, for her best romantic dinner ideas:
Chocolate and Cheese Board
For something simple that won’t leave you feeling too stuffed to get naked or too drowsy for stimulating conversation, there’s the grazing platter. Rhee’s recipe balances the sharpness of cheddar and gorgonzola with the woodiness of rosemary crackers and sweetness of strawberries and milk chocolate.
“I love this recipe. It’s a charcuterie board with a mix of fruit, chocolates, and a few different kinds of cheese, which makes this so much more romantic than your average cheese board. Pair it with a glass of wine or bubbly and you’re bound to have a great date night snacking all night,” says Rhee. (More make-it-a-meal charcuterie boards from Damn Delicious: the Perfect Holiday Cheese Board, the Meat and Cheese Board, the Summer Cheese Board, and the Antipasto Appetizer Cheese Board.)
Here’s one way to increase participation points: make homemade pasta. “It’s such a fun, easy way to spend time together and make a delicious meal. It’s a win-win,” says Rhee.
These soft pillows are the ultimate comfort food and only require five ingredients, making them perfect for a date where you don’t have time for multiple trips to specialty food stores.
Garlic Butter Steak and Scallops
If you’d rather not get too hands-on in the kitchen, invest money rather than time. That’s correct, this is official permission to splurge. For this, garlic butter steak and scallops is Rhee’s go-to.
“It feels luxurious and special, but it’s so easy to make and will impress any date. Seriously. It’s an expensive surf-and-turf dinner but right at home, [and] of course not as expensive as eating out,” says Rhee. The secret ingredients? Butter, garlic, fresh lemon, chives, and more butter.
Other tips for a romantic dinner
If you want to be ready to make a romantic dinner on short notice, Rhee recommends keeping a few essentials on hand. “I love to have some fresh fruit and chocolate around. It’s easy to throw onto a charcuterie board or to make a quick dessert with a glass of sparkling wine or cider.”
If you’re likely to be hungry for something more substantial, there’s always carbs. “Dried pasta and a few pantry ingredients for a quick sauce are also great, paired with your favorite wine. Light a few candles and you’re good to go,” says Rhee. Two quick and easy sauces from Damn Delicious to consider: Quick Tomato Sauce and Vodka Sauce.
Chungah Rhee is the author of the Damn Delicious and Damn Delicious Meal Prep cookbooks.
This story originally appeared on: Glamour - Author:Serena Coady