I don’t need no vacation, no fancy destination. Baby, you’re my great escape. We could stay at home, listen to the radio, or dance around the fireplace.Thomas Rhett, “Die a Happy Man.”
One of the biggest challenges of self-isolating is the lack of variety in our days. Before COVID, many of us lived full and busy (sometimes too busy) lives. We had places to go, people to see, and now many of us only travel the distances from our bedrooms to our kitchens to our home offices and back again.
In times like these, it can be easy for our relationships to take a back seat. After all, you’re spending more time with your significant other in the same room, so you don’t have to put in any extra effort. Right?!
Experts disagree, citing that spouses who commit consistent time for date nights, even just once a week have better overall perceptions of the quality of their relationships and are less likely to get divorced. In other words, quarantine can be boring, but investing intentional time into your marriage or relationship should be one of the fun aspects of this time. And it’s equally important to keep relationships healthy, just like wearing a mask and social distancing.
At home date nights may seem restrictive, but there are plenty of opportunities to get creative! Here are some great meals and music for the perfect at home date night with the one you love. You’re sure to have a night-in to remember.
Keep reading for meal and playlist ideas.
On your mark, get set — go!
Sushi may seem like an incredibly luxurious meal, attainable only by shelling out hundreds for a few good rolls, just to be hungry again a few hours later. However, most ingredients for homemade sushi can be found at your local grocery store for pennies on the sushi restaurant dollar. The process of preparing the ingredients and learning to roll is a fun way to spend quality time with your spouse before you sit down to dinner.
Check out this step-by-step guide to homemade sushi making: it’s customizable with great tips and tricks for beginners.
Looking for the perfect playlist to accompany your salmon skin rolls? We’ve got you covered.
- By Your Side by Sade
- Crazy Love by Van Morrison
- Cissy Strut by the Meters
- Raspberry Jam by Allah-Las
- Burning Desire by Lana del Rey
- Bolero by Ravel (conducted by Gustavo Dudamel)
- Come a Little Closer by Dierks Bentley
- Like a Wrecking Ball by Eric Church
Wine & Pizza Night
Maybe the complete opposite to sushi in reputation, pizza is sorely overlooked as a layman’s food rather than the culinary opportunity it really is! Okay, so maybe I’m a biased self-admitted pizza-obsessed (gluten free, of course) Italian, however, I stand by my earlier claim. Much like making sushi, creating a custom pizza with your partner is such a playful way to learn something new and connect on a different level.
Here’s a fun list from Food & Wine of 31 different pizzas along with wine pairings you can easily try at home. You can even indulge in an extra glass — after all, no one’s driving. If you’re a vegetarian, simply substitute with your favorite sausage replacement, and if you don’t have one, sample mine! The Lightlife Chorizo Sausage has just the right amount of heat and flavor to spice up your next date night. Likewise, if you’re gluten free, try this cauliflower crust from Trader Joe’s, and create a pizza topped with your favorite vegetable toppings. It’s quite possibly the best thing cauliflower has ever done, no kidding!
Don’t forget to turn up the music while you cook with this pizza-perfect playlist. So many of these were played in my home during my youth, and they continue to be favorites. Try them, and have some fun! (NOTE: All the links below are vintage videos of the performers.)
- That’s Amore by Dean Martin
- Papa Loves Mambo by Perry Como
- Just a Gigolo by Louis Prima
- Che Cosse’ L’Amor by Vinicio Capossela
- Lazy Mary by Lou Monte
- Strangers in the Night by Frank Sinatra
- Somewhere My Love by Al Martino
- Because of You by Tony Bennett & kd lang
BBQ & Craft Cocktail Night
One of the best things to do before winter blasts in is enjoy the warm sunshine with some good food and your significant other. A steak and paired playlist is one of those meals and music for the perfect at home date night. It’s also one of those “dates” where you can do it indoors or outside, in the evening or in the afternoon with the one you love. And if winter has already arrived in your parts, be romantic and bring the “fire” inside with a lot of lighted candles and/or laying out a blanket in the living room in front of a roaring fire.
Try a classic steak preparation in the oven or on the stove instead of the BBQ, or try a recipe with a fun twist you may never have tried before for a simple, yet delicious way to make this easy meal feel special and fun. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, this list is full of 21 great steak recipes that will definitely get your fill. My votes are 1, 16 or 19. Or if you’re avoiding the red meat these days, try a couple of these or these vegetarian grill recipes.
Have some fun experimenting with a couple of classic or craft cocktails and you’ve got yourself a date!
For more fun, put on our playlist below as you assemble your sandwiches and while you enjoy your meal.
- You know I’m No Good by Amy Winehouse
- Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake
- Rising Water by James Vincent McMorrow
- Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding
- Stay with Me by Sam Hunt
- The Weekend – Funk Wav Remix by SZA, Calvin Harris, Funk Wav
- 1234 by Feist
- Feel Like Making Love by Bad Company
Cheese, Charcuterie & Wine Night
Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that mean the most.
Surprise your spouse with an array of their favorite cheeses, spreads, crackers and fruit pairings for an effortless romantic night in. Some crowd-pleasing platter necessities are cheeses from the soft, aged and firm families, a jam or compote, and a fruit offering.
Some ideas include:
- Cowgirl Creamery’s Triple Cream Mt. Tam, paired with some prosciutto, fig jam and sea salt crackers.
- Aged Gouda from Murray’s Cheese, paired with some chutney and your favorite Chardonnay.
- Point Reyes Blue made into an amazing wedge salad or as a dip with some fresh veggies.
For spreads, stick with the season. It’s fall, so something with warm spices, like this Apple Cider Fruit Spread from Trader Joe’s would pair nicely with most cheese choices and strawberries are an easy match for any slice of the good stuff. Murray’s Cheeses also has a vast array of delectable spreads and jams to take your cheese spread up a few notches.
Light some candles, pour some wine, and turn on this playlist for the cheesiest date night ever.
- Weathered by Jack Garratt
- And I Love Her by Passenger
- Wicked Game by Chris Isaak
- Sexy Love by Ne-Yo
- Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars
- Face to Face by Ruel
- Free (feat. Emeli Sande’) by Rudimental and Emeli Sande’
- Let Me Touch You For Awhile by Alison Krauss & Union Station
After years of marriage or partnership, dating is often the first thing to go. Mounting responsibilities often times make us take those closest to us for granted, and romance can fall by the wayside.
Whatever you choose to bring to the table, always remember it’s truly the thought that counts the most. If cooking isn’t your forte’, or you’re feeling too stressed to dress up, take a breath and remember that it’s all about spending time with the one you love — reconnecting with your relationship and yourself.
So go ahead. Order takeout if it makes you feel more comfortable. Or show up to your date night in your PJ’s; but show up and you and your partner will be grateful for it. Choosing to put time and effort into your relationship will not only strengthen your collective bond, but will rejuvenate your quality of life. These meals and music for the perfect at home date night are sure to light a fire!