Call me unromantic, but I’m not a big fan of going out on Valentine’s Day. Babysitters can be tough to find, and most restaurants are packed since it’s one of the most popular days of the year to go out with your significant other.
Personally, it is much more relaxing to cook a healthy romantic dinner for two at home and have a date night after the kids are in bed. With some planning and a few unique touches, a romantic dinner at home can feel as special as a night out. And you might even have some money left to spend on gifts!
If you’re an introvert like me and like the idea of date night in, scroll down for my favorite healthy romantic dinner menu and shopping list!
Reasons to Make a Romantic Dinner at Home
I’m the first to say Mom and Dad should come first and prioritize dating. I also know that the idea of cooking and washing dishes after a weeknight dinner when you already do that most days probably doesn’t sound the most appealing.
My answer is to choose very simple recipes and let the quality of the ingredients speak for themselves. We usually opt for a tasty steak dinner for the main dish, a veggie, and a bottle of red wine as our appetizer.
Staying in can still be special (and completely delicious!) and now actually is my preference for the following reasons:
- No babysitter required
- Saves money
- Anything we want can be on the menu (when you’re not paying a babysitter, you can splurge on the food!)
- We get to pick the music
- Special diets easily accommodated
- There’s an open bar (with much better wine than I could get in a restaurant)
- No stress about picking out an outfit
- Dancing is always an option
We can even watch a movie after dinner, but we get to watch it in pajamas.
My Favorite Romantic Dinner at Home for Two: Menu & Recipes
The following is our favorite menu for romantic dinner ideas for two. Even with premium ingredients, it is still much cheaper than eating out and going to a movie. We vary the menu a little each year, but in our opinion, this delicious dinner is hard to top for its deliciousness and simplicity. These are so simple they hardly even require recipes.
Healthy Romantic Dinner Menu
- Grilled Cajun Shrimp
- Porterhouse Steaks with Balsamic Reduction Sauce (or a small Prime Rib)
- Roasted Cauliflower with Butter and Cheese
- Spinach Salad with Homemade Dressing
- Fruit with Homemade Chocolate Fondue
Here’s a complete menu, shopping list, and of course, how to make it:
Romantic Dinner for Two Recipe
- 1 Platter
- 1 Saucepan
Main Course Entree
- 1 head cauliflower (or 1 bag frozen)
- 2 TBSP butter
- spices (I like garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs)
- 4 oz cheese (grated)
- 10 oz fresh spinach
- ¼ cup salad dressing
- fresh fruit (such as strawberries, pineapple, raspberries, and clementines)
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher)
- 1 TBSP Amaretto (or Frangelico, optional but highly recommended)
- 1 bottle red wine (or sparkling water with floating raspberries or pomegranate seeds if you don’t drink wine)
Things to do in advance:
- Set the table.
- Prepare the salad and put it into bowls with any additional desired salad vegetables or toppings and refrigerate until serving. Don’t add the dressing yet.
- Make the salad dressing (just put ingredients into a jar and shake until blended) and have it ready with the salad.
- Cut the fruit and arrange it on a platter for the fondue, keeping it in the refrigerator until after dinner.
To make dinner:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Cut the cauliflower into large florets.
- Melt the butter and toss it and any seasoning you’d like with the cauliflower. I like a little garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Put the cauliflower into a casserole dish and cover.
- Put in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring once.
- Top with cheese for the last 5 minutes.
- Turn off the oven and leave it to stay warm until the steak is ready.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, butter another casserole dish.
- Place the shrimp in it in a single layer.
- Drizzle with 4 tablespoons of melted butter.
- Season the shrimp with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning or cayenne.
- Place it in the oven for 8-9 minutes total, flipping once halfway through.
- Remove it from the oven when done.
- Once the cauliflower and shrimp are in the oven, season the steak on both sides with a generous amount of sea salt and cracked pepper.
- Put it onto a preheated grill pan or skillet and grill 4-6 minutes.
- Flip and repeat on the other side.
- Remove the grill pan from the heat and let the steaks rest, covered loosely, for 12-15 minutes or until they reach an internal temp of 130°F.
- Remove from pan and let rest at least another 5 minutes before serving.
- Once the steaks have been removed from the skillet or grill pan, pour balsamic vinegar onto the pan and heat on low.
- Let the vinegar reduce for a couple of minutes to deglaze the pan.
- Pour the pan sauce into two small bowls for dipping.
- Divide the steaks, cauliflower, and shrimp evenly between two plates.
- Keep balsamic reduction on the side for dipping.
- Serve with salads and wine or sparkling water with raspberries.
To Make dessert:
- Cut fresh fruit into bite-size pieces.
- After dinner, make the fondue by heating heavy cream in a small pan until simmering.
- Turn the heat off, break the chocolate bar into pieces and add it to the warmed cream.
- Let sit for 2 minutes, and whisk slowly to stir in chocolate.
- When chocolate melts completely, add Amaretto or Frangelico if desired and serve with fondue forks (or regular forks) and the cut fruit.
- Enjoy a romantic dinner with the knowledge that you are giving your love the gift of health!
Other Healthy Romantic Dinner Ideas
Over the years we’ve tried many different romantic dinner ideas, from fancy French recipes to (heart-shaped) homemade pizza. Some variety of a pasta dish used to be our favorite date night meal (my husband is Italian), but when I started having to avoid a lot of grains for health reasons, we began to think about a healthier date night menu.
Here’s proof healthy can be delicious:
- Coconut Chicken Curry over rice with Sesame Garlic Broccolini
- Slow Roasted Beef Bourguignon (like fancy French pot roast in a red wine sauce)
- Chicken Piccata with Roasted Vegetable Salad
- Smothered Pork Chops with Roasted Mushrooms and Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes
And how about one of these desserts?
Mouth watering yet?
Bonus: Most of the suggestions above are also one-pan or can be made in a slow cooker or Instant Pot ahead of time. Which means more time to spend with your loved one!
What is your ideal romantic date? Will you try this one? Talk to me below!