How to Have a Romantic Meal at Home

Bowl of creamy pasta with sun-dried tomatoes

My husband is in law school and doesn’t get the chance to cook for me very often. But when he does, Oh Man! I fall in love all over again. He is an amazing cook and knows how to make a romantic meal.

These days when we need a date we typically go out to eat because we have kids and need the alone time. If you are in the same sitch can I suggest sending your kids out for the night or at least putting them to bed early?

It really is a game changer in the romance department when you are alone. There are fewer distractions, interruptions from waiters, and opportunities to lose focus on your date. Plus, you are completely in charge of the atmosphere! Dimmed lights? Done. Specifically curated playlist? Go for it.

Also, even if the food isn’t perfect, it means so much more when somebody makes it for you instead of paying somebody else to. That’s not to say that going out to eat can’t be fun and romantic but sometimes, staying in makes things feel super special.

For an extra special night try cooking together! It’s one of my favorite things to do with Austin.

How can you make sure that your homemade meal really packs a romantic punch? Follow these guidelines and you’re halfway there.

What to make

I love food. Like really really love food. And I personally think that any food can be sexy or turned into a romantic meal. It’s more about the atmosphere and the effort than it is about what you are eating.  That being said here are a few tips to follow.

Favorite Foods

If your significant other has a favorite food or something that they have always wanted to try, then you already have a pretty good idea of what you should make.

On the other hand, if you don’t know your date very well, or at least not their food preferences, then having a few different options can be helpful. I don’t mean a few different meals, but a meal with a few different components. For example, instead of serving one-pot pasta, serve a main dish like chicken, with a couple different sides.

Don’t use ingredients that result in bad breath or flatulence

When I eat onions you can smell them on my breath for about four days. And it’s awful. At least that is what my hubby tells me. I personally think onions smell delicious! But whatever.

The night before I got married, my parents took me out to dinner. Without thinking about it, I ordered a dish with onions in it. Terrible idea. The next day I had THE WORST breath!

Surprisingly, Austin still said yes at the altar. He may have been covering his nose as he said it, but hey, I can’t fault him for that! Eight years later and I still feel guilty for ruining his wedding day.

To keep things smell free, avoid making anything that can cause bad breath or flatulence. Common culprits for bad breath are garlic, onions, spicy foods, tuna, and for some, dairy.  Some foods that cause flatulence are dairy, legumes, and dried fruit.

Nothing ruins a romantic meal like bad smells and embarrassment!  Don’t let this happen to you.

Include drinks, appetizers, and dessert.

We almost always have water with our meals. So when we decide to drink something else, it screams special. We don’t drink alcohol so I couldn’t tell you what wine goes with what food. But we love a fun mocktail or sparkling drink.

It is also fun to have a simple appetizer. This could be a fun dip, bruschetta, olives, pinwheels, you get the idea. I like having an appetizer because it keeps me from getting hangry while waiting for my dinner! I know I am not the only one. Plus if you are cooking together it is fun to have something to eat during the process.

And we can’t forget dessert. This can be as simple or as complicated as you want. It’s dessert. So really you can’t go wrong. Especially if it includes chocolate. I WILL fall in love with you if you give me chocolate. Enough said.

Avoid food that is hard to eat.

This is a suggestion mostly for a budding relationship. Some people don’t mind that kind of embarrassment but some do. If you are in a well-seasoned relationship you shouldn’t worry. Sometimes hard to eat food is also really fun and delicious!

Some foods that can be difficult to eat are shelled seafood, bruschetta, ramen soup, anything super crunchy, etc.

Don’t experiment unless you are cooking together

Part of the joy of cooking with Austin is experimenting with new foods. If you are into that go for it! It’s super romantic.

However, if you are cooking solo for your date I don’t suggest cooking something that you have never made before. Too many things can go wrong with even the simplest of meals.

Either practice once or twice before the date, make something you have made before, or find a foolproof recipe!

On the same note, read the instructions all the way through before you start! When I say before, I mean at least a day before. I have on more than one occasion, pulled all my ingredients out to make a meal only to realize that I needed to start an hour earlier, or rest dough overnight. You don’t want to keep your date hungry because of a timing issue.

Clean as you cook or make something that doesn’t require too much clean up.

It is very difficult to relax when you know that there is a mess lurking around the corner. You don’t need to have a sparkling clean kitchen to move on with your date after dinner. But you should make sure that it isn’t overwhelmingly dirty either.

The exception to this is if you are cooking dinner together and get in a flour fight. Cuz what isn’t fun and romantic about that? Am I right?

Perfect the Atmosphere

Dim the lights, turn on a fun romantic playlist and set a pretty table. Don’t overdo it or you will go from relaxed to uncomfortable. Unless extravagance is just your thing. A flower, a couple simple candles, and some fun drinking glasses should do the trick. Also, a tablecloth never hurts!

I hope these tips help you pull off a truly romantic meal with your special person! Let me know what your favorite thing to cook for a date is in the comments below.

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