Are you a sucker for love and would gush over the idea of a significant other making you a 3 course dinner for date night? I get it, I do too! But let’s be honest, it’s the 21st century and nobody got time for that (including myself).
That is why I collaborated with photographer Hieu Tran, founder of Project Wonderlust to show you that with a little creativity you can assemble this easy 3 courses date night menu using pre-made food items. It’s a meal your significant other will definitely appreciate!
Course 1 : Tomato Soup
For this soup, I suggest using a thicker tomato soup as a base (not canned soup). You can typically get it in the hot food section at a grocery store. Personally I love Safeway pre-made tomato bisque – it’s creamy and has a perfect tang from the tomatoes. Plus, I just heat it in the microwave. The trick to turn this everyday- soup to a sexy amount of money is in the garnish. I placed a couple tablespoons of sour cream and a splash of milk into a ziplock bag. I snipped the end of the bag drew circle rings into the soup and using a toothpick, naturally thinned out the ring. I then added toasted corn nuts on top for additional texture. I would suggest using anything you have in your pantry, Croutons, nuts and even micro greens will instantly brighten up the soup and add texture.
Course 2: Tagliatelle Pasta
So this not entirely a pre-made meal but all your doing is combining already cooked items together with fresh pasta. Instead of your typical penne or spaghetti weekday pasta, this long ribbon noodle will impress your date. I bought the tagliatelle pasta at Trader Joe’s. So with this pasta, all you do is brown pancetta pieces in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Once caramelized add frozen peas. When the pasta is cooked, add it to the mixture. Add a handful of parmesan cheese, salt and black pepper while using a few splashes of the pasta water to keep the noodles from sticking. Add a dollop of ricotta on top of the pan and drizzle it with an extra touch of olive oil. Finally, garnish the dish with fresh basil leaves or leftover herbs.
Course 3: Lava Cake
Truth be told, when I’m in the kitchen I am lazy af. I am always try to find ways to cut corners and still try to steal the credit for presenting my food I am proud of. I bought these lava cakes also at Trader Joe’s and followed the heating instructions and let it cool. To plate the dessert: I bought a strawberry syrup topping sauce. I wanted a thinner consistency for plating so I added 1 tsp. of sour cream to the 4 T of syrup. If your worry about adding sour cream, to the syrup, I assure you it can taste great in small doses. It actually mellows the extra sweet strawberry notes and gives it a little tang to the dessert. I place the mixture in a ziplock bag. I snipped the end of the ziplock bag and squeezed random circles. I added the berries next to the circle rings. Then using two spoons, I scooped a dollop of store bought whipped cream topped the ice cream, with a flower from the tables cape. This is optional, but I didn’t have any powdered sugar so instead I lightly dusted the chocolate shavings onto the cake.
Beverage: Sparkling Cocktail
In a small plate, I added 2 T of lemon zest with 2 T of sugar. I take a citrus wedge and rimmed my cocktail glasses and then I place it upside down to rim the entire cup with zest and sugar. For the cocktail, you can add 1/3 of prosecco, 1/3 of juice (for mine I used blood orange soda) and 1/3 of sparkling water. For the cute toppers on the cocktail, I weaved two candied oranges and tucked a thyme leaf. This cocktail is truly versatile. You can switch out the alcohol and juices, add more or more less of the ingredients.
And that’s a wrap. 4 menu items for a fun date night menu. I want to be careful to acknowledge to say that these are not recipes to follow, but mainly ideas or inspiration when it comes to making an spectacular evening for your very special someone. I hope after reading this post, you feel empowered to tackle date night with a greater ease. If you have any additional inspirations or ideas comment below!
Until next meal,
Photos by: @projectwonderlust