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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Romantic dinners at fancy restaurants are nice, but romantic dinners at home are less likely to bust the budget. Is this an area where you've cut back and are enjoying more romantic dinners at home instead? What foods do you prepare? Do you decorate the table or the room in a special way? What are your tips for creating a romantic dinner for two without breaking the bank?

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As a generalization, men enjoy food -- period. :p That being said, I don't think it's the meal as much as the accessories that make it romantic. A good bottle of wine (not some cheap crap) is an excellent way to splurge and still have the desired effect, especially if you're not in the regular habit of purchasing alcohol (i.e. you're not having a couple beers every weekend). Also, a good dessert from a bakery that is just enough to share would make it intimate. And having someone take the kids for a few hours or the evening would also increase the intimacy (especially the after-dinner intimacy).

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It's all about the presentation. Candles, dim lighting, nice table cloth (on a table or on the floor for a picnic), soft music in background (we like Sinatra if that's not TMI), the 'good' plates and glasses. The food isn't as important though if it's something you don't usually have that ups the 'special' factor. We have a couple variations
shrimp cocktails (served in wine goblets)
steak and salad
ooey, gooey chocolate something


wine, cheese, good crackers, pate or nice meats, olives or pickles and maybe chocolate truffles, this is especially nice outside with the candles, etc

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For a fancy dinner at home I will usually clean the table of all our crap... dim the lights to hide the rest of the mess... put some soft music on in the living room. I've picked up some nice strip steaks and some lamb chops on markdown, so we have something nice or unusual for dinner.

I think anything really fancy is just lost on men. I think women are more emotionally involved with decor and place settings.
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We like eating cheese fondue and a salad by candlelight. We make our own Italian bread to cube and buy the cheese & a nice bottle of wine on sale. Lots of nice conversation happens between bites.;)

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We like eating cheese fondue and a salad by candlelight. We make our own Italian bread to cube and buy the cheese & a nice bottle of wine on sale. Lots of nice conversation happens between bites.;)
Sounds great. I was thinking fondue with bread, some kind of pasta with olives, and maybe strawberries with chocolate. :)

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This is the never fail meal for date night.


Hamburger 1 pound, shaped into a rectangle, 2-3 inches thick
olive oil
1 pkg. puff pastry sheets (or pie dough if going really frugal)
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 recipe of duxelles (included)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.


½ lb. chopped mushrooms
¼ c. chopped onion
2 Tbsp. butter
¼ tsp. marjoram
dash of black pepper
1 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. beef broth
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley, or equal amount dried
1/3 c. finely chopped ham, cooked

Sauté the mushrooms and onion in the butter until the mushroom liquid evaporates. Stir in marjoram, pepper, flour, and broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat, and stir in the parsley and the ham.


Put the pastry sheets together to form one long sheet. Spread the duxelles on the pastry, leaving a space along the edges (about ¼- ½ inch). Place the hamburger on the center of the pastry and fold the pastry up over the hamburger. Place seam side down in a shallow baking pan. Pinch the edges together slightly to prevent the duxelles from cooking out. Brush the pastry with the egg yolk mixed with a few drops of cold water. Cut slits into the top of the pastry. Bake (at 425 degrees again) for about 30 minutes.

Salad Dressing

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup ketchup
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth. Store in the refrigerator.


2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups of stale bread cubes
salt and pepper to taste
paprika (optional)

Melt the butter in a skillet with the olive oil.

Add the cubes of bread and sauté, turning frequently with a spatula, until bread cubes are golden brown.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir well. Sprinkle with paprika if desired.

Remove from heat and spread croutons onto a plate lined with paper towels. Let cool.

Store in an airtight container. Reheat for a couple of minutes in a 350 degree oven to restore crispness.

Floating Islands


2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise (more frugal vanilla)
5 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar


5 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 200°. MAKE THE CRÈME ANGLAISE: In a heavy, medium saucepan, bring the milk to a boil; remove from the heat. Using a small knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into a medium stainless steel bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks and sugar, then slowly whisk in the hot milk. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, until starting to thicken, about 6 minutes; do not let it boil. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve set over another stainless steel bowl. Set the bowl in a slightly larger bowl of ice water. Whisk the sauce often until chilled, about 5 minutes. Cover and refrigerate.
MAKE THE MERINGUE: Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. In a large stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites with 2 tablespoons of the sugar at high speed until they start to turn white and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar and beat until the whites hold firm peaks, about 1 minute. Spread the meringue in the prepared dish and bake for about 30 minutes, or until just set.
Pour the crème anglaise into shallow bowls. Cut the meringue into 4 squares. Using a spatula, transfer the squares to the bowls and serve.

Make Ahead
The meringue can stand at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap, for 2 hours. The crème anglaise can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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:shake: Ya know, I just now realized how long it's been since hubby and I had a romantic dinner at home. we don't go out like we used to, so this was a very rude awakening for me! I'm just not sure how to get teenagers out of the house, all together, and all in one night..LOL

But if I do manage it, I love the idea of "food for two", like an appetizer tray, the fondue mentioned sounds yummy, and so does the shrimp cocktail. And, I really like Polly's dessert. Sounds luscious!

As far as drinks go, and if I can afford the splurge, it would be Bailey's or Amaretto, on the rocks. we BOTH like those two.

Atmoshere...Dim lights or candles, Italian music by Sinatra or Dean Martin, table cloth, and REAL napkins. Also, my hubby gets a kick out of using stem ware, and so that too.

This really sounds like so much fun...any body in Central Fl need the company of 4 teenagers next Saturday night?!

Nice thread!

Theresa :)

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I'm just not sure how to get teenagers out of the house, all together, and all in one night..LOL
Tell them ahead of time that you and the love of your life are going to be getting "busy" and they should make plans to be out of the house. They will :bolt: to their nearest friends house for the night.

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Sounds great. I was thinking fondue with bread, some kind of pasta with olives, and maybe strawberries with chocolate. :)
Sounds like a plate with some olive oil and romano cheese would be great for dipping the extra bread in.
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DH loves pork, which is lucky because he's not allowed beef *I cut him off after I realized how high the link is between beef consumption and colon cancer, which he's already HAD*
so I go with nice CHEAP bone in pork chops, coat them in a bit of AP flour
pan fry them in a mix of olive oil and butter in a cast iron skillet till golden brown, remove and set aside
throw whatever veggies I have laying around in the hot pan till they cook down
deglaze with whatever you have hanging around, but we usually get a semi-cheap bottle of merlot, shiraz, or cab for date night add the pork chops back to the pan till cooked through, then add fresh herbs
serve alongside garlic smashed potatoes and whatever roastable green veggie is on sale
pick up either some apples, pears, bananas or whatever fruit looks good and is cheap and make homemade butterscotch sauce to dip fruit in
I stole the recipe from 1/4 butter melted with 1/2cup packed dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup cream, add a pinch of salt cook till incorporated and thickened, bubbly and gorgeous
remove from heat and stir in a bit of vanilla extract
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