This is an actual photo of Neil’s and my first dinner date at home. We lived three hours apart and only saw each other on the weekends, so every weekend was compressed to include everything we thought normal couples would do or would be doing during the week in a new relationship. I was a total non-foodie at the time, and Neil made me Chicken Parmesan that was to die for. We’ve done our fair share of eating out, but I will never be able to forget this meal and the feeling of knowing he was it for me. Don’t get me wrong, he has a lot of great qualities, and I didn’t base my decision solely off his Chicken Parmesan, …although I easily still could have.
Although we still do our fair share of eating at restaurants, we tend to get more excited about staying in these days. Our home is a sanctuary to us. A place we are totally our weird selves, and can let loose and kick back. It’s also a laboratory where we experiment with food, projects, and hobbies. Those reasons are ambiance for why we’re the couple I feel we are, and why, frugality aside, I think home is the most romantic place to spend Valentine’s Day.
Aside from the romantic ambiance of eating where you live, frugality is a very practical reason to eat at home this Valentine’s Day. Not only can you make a yummy meal, but you can build fun and memorable experiences into your night.
Here are a few practical and frugal “themes” we’ve tried over the years:
1. Try a New Recipe: If you don’t have a lot of experience, try something out of the ordinary or just new to you. It doesn’t have to be super complex, or involve tons of ingredients, just make something you’ve never made before.
2. An Ethnic Flare: Are you as mesmerized by the Travel Network as we are? Create a themed meal from another country or even region of the country. You can even inexpensively theme table settings or decorations to accompany your meal.
3. A Unique Technique: Plan a meal that involves teamwork or a technique that requires you to work together. One of our favorite special date nights are sushi nights. It’s definitely a two-person job and it makes the reward all the more yummy.
4. A New or Special Ingredient: Experiment with an ingredient you’ve never worked with before. Maybe it’s scallops, or artichokes, or even just something you don’t treat yourself to that often. Going frugal doesn’t mean you can’t buy something special.
5. Finger Foods: One of our favorite at-home dates was a night we made only appetizers. It was so fun to create several tiny meals that we enjoyed all night as we did other things to celebrate.
What are ways you’ve celebrated Valentine’s Day or a romantic evening at home? Have a recipe to share? We’d love to hear from you!