30 Date Night Dinners for Two
Beef Tenderloin With Balsamic Asparagus
Beef tenderloin steaks are often considered a special-occasion cut, but when they go on sale (or you're ready for a splurge), this classic preparation is foolproof. Use a timer rather than turning, prodding, or overcooking the steaks, and set the timer again while they rest so you don't slice too soon.
Creamy Linguine with Peas, Carrots, and Prosciutto
Cream cheese makes this sauce impossibly creamy, coating the noodles with all kinds of silky goodness. The microwave technique we use for the prosciutto crisps it beautifully in less than 2 minutes, with less cleanup than stovetop or oven methods. If you’d rather skip that step, you could tear it into pieces or strips and toss with the pasta. A shower of shaved Parmesan echoes the salty notes of the prosciutto and makes a big impact with every bite; for the biggest flavor boost, go with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Garlic-and-Herb Pasta With Broccoli Rabe
Boursin is the key to the quick and easy sauce; the triple-cream cheese comes in a box and is found in most grocery stores with the specialty cheeses or in the deli. After blanching and cooling the broccoli rabe, it’s important to lightly squeeze out the water. That way, you won’t dilute the flavors in the sauce.
Dijon-Herb Crusted Salmon With Creamy Dill Sauce
This elegant meal comes together in just 30 minutes, which gives you plenty of time to eat, clean, and settle in for catching up with the family. Salmon is a rich, dense fish, so it takes longer to cook through than white flaked fish like trout or tilapia. Rather than bread the fillets first, add the panko topping to the salmon when it's almost done and broil just until toasted so that the crust doesn't burn before the fish is done. Panko has an incredibly light, crisp texture that's ideal for breading. You could also use regular coarse-ground breadcrumbs or finely-chopped nuts. Dill adds a fresh, vibrant note to the yogurt mixture. Serve with our Warm Buttered Radish and Edamame Salad for a quick side.
Quick Chicken Marsala
Marsala cooking wine is a worthy addition to your pantry; it’s dry and sweet without being overpowering, and can cut through the richness of cream or stock. The alcohol will cook off as the sauce simmers. Adding butter at the end, a classic technique, gives the sauce its body and gloss. Serve this skillet main over polenta, mashed potatoes, or hot cooked brown rice. If you have leftover thyme, try steeping in chicken stock before making a risotto, tossing with roasted vegetables, or adding to a frittata.
Red Wine-Marinated Steak With Balsamic Onions and Slaw
Cook this with either hanger or flank steak, whichever you prefer. The onions add a hit of umami, but feel free to omit them.
Pesto Shrimp and Broccoli Fettuccine
Put your knife away—store-bought pesto and precut broccoli florets mean no chopping required. Your Dutch oven pulls triple duty in this recipe by cooking the pasta, blanching the broccoli, and bringing the whole dish together, all in one pot.
Rosemary-Crusted Pork With Mushrooms
Feeding a crowd this season? This recipe’s a cinch to double—simply brown the pork in batches, then proceed as directed. If you can’t find instant polenta, regular is fine; start cooking it before you prep the pork so it’s ready on time.
Creamy Four-Cheese Pasta With Spinach
Pasta night perfection. Four cheeses team up with gluten-free pasta to deliver a wholesome indulgence.
Steak and Carrots with Parsley Pesto
Grass-fed beef can be tough, so we use an overnight salt-and-sugar rub to tenderize it.
Cauliflower Risotto With Mushrooms
This vegan cauliflower risotto recipe is incredibly satisfying thanks to a few key tricks we employed: riced cauliflower perfectly mimics rice, then using a cauliflower puree instead of cream delivers the creaminess you’d expect in risotto. Sauteed mushrooms add a satisfying, savory, rich bite, and help to tone down cauliflower’s cruciferous-ness.
Seared Scallops With Shallot-Herb Sauce
There are few foods so naturally balanced in flavor as scallops, and they pair beautifully with all sorts of seasoning. Salmoriglio—a Southern Italian condiment—serves as both marinade and finishing sauce. Be sure to reserve half of it prior to marinating the scallops for drizzling at the end.
Whole-Wheat Pasta Carbonara
Our double-boiler technique guarantees smooth success with this curdle-prone egg sauce for pasta.
Maple-Miso Salmon With Acorn Squash
Look for smaller acorn squash; they tend to be less fibrous than larger ones. Red miso is the most potent variety of miso and is a worthy investment for this recipe. In a pinch, lower-sodium soy sauce is a good substitute.
Nutty Fried Rice
This hearty vegetarian dish is a fun twist on the usual takeout version of fried rice, incorporating lots of nutty flavor from toasted sesame oil, roasted cashews, peanut butter, and sesame seeds. The rice is drizzled with a savory, creamy peanut sauce that takes the whole thing right into indulgence territory. If you have a peanut allergy, opt for cashew, almond, or sunflower butter instead of peanut butter. Look for toasted sesame seeds on the spice aisle of your supermarket; it’s a great ingredient to keep on hand for busy nights because it saves a step.
Skillet Vegetable Lasagna
The best part of this vegetable lasagna—aside from the flavor—is the low-cleanup: Vegetables take turns cooking in a single cast iron skillet, not several. A stovetop simmer quickly cooks the noodles through, so there's no need for a separate pot to boil them. Then the pan shifts easily to the oven for a last-minute broil to melt and meld the cheeses. Perfection!
Sheet Pan Chicken With Roasted Baby Potatoes
A very hot oven quickly roasts the potatoes and finishes the chicken without overcooking. You can substitute fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise, for the small Yukon gold potatoes. Tarragon and mustard are a perfect pair—the herb's slightly sweet anise notes balance the mustard's pungency. Serve with Chile and Lime Roasted Carrots.
Linguine and Clam Sauce
Traditionally made with crushed red pepper, this recipe uses fresh chiles. Serrano chiles are hot; for less heat, use Fresno chiles.
Beef Tenderloin Steaks With Chipotle Butter and Bell Pepper Sauté
Make sure the cast-iron skillet is hot before adding the steaks so that they get a nicely browned crust on both sides. We like both red and orange peppers, though just one color will work. In place of tenderloin steaks, you can also use top blade steaks or petite tenders.
If you're pro-pepper, this combination of sweet and heat will tickle your tastebuds—and it takes less than half an hour to make! Look for mild Sweety Drop peppers at specialty stores, or buy them on Amazon, here. You can also use chopped pickled sweet cherry peppers instead. A baking steel works great here if you preheat it for an hour.
Almond-Crusted Trout With Dill
Smaller trout are often butterflied not separated into fillets, at the fish counter. Each butterflied fish is one serving. Trout gets an extra-crispy crust from the almonds. You could sub flounder for the trout and pecans or walnuts for the almonds. Serve with Fresh Brussels Sprouts Salad with Dijon Dressing.
Grilled Balsamic Chicken Salad With Spiced Pecans
You'll want to double the sweet and spicy sautéed pecans for snacking during the week. Sub fresh summer fruit like blueberries or nectarines for the raspberries. Grill the chicken and make the spiced pecans in advance. Change up the greens, fruit, and dressing for fast lunches.
Lemon-Herb Risotto With Shrimp and Haricots Verts
Risotto requires no special technique, just the patience to keep stirring. Use a ladle to add liquid in even amounts. Sautéed fennel adds a touch of sweetness, but you can leave it out if you prefer and sprinkle on a little dill at the end instead. We pair this staff favorite with Grilled Balsamic Radicchio with Pine Nuts. Radicchio—that bitter, crunchy, scarlet and white vegetable Italians adore, becomes entirely different when roasted or grilled. Red and white-veined radicchio, like its chicory relatives endive and frisée, is loved and sometimes feared for its bitter edge. Tossed into a salad, radicchio is bright and assertive. Sautéed, grilled, or baked, its sharp character mellows. Its color deepens and the flavor turns mellow and nutty, with just a hint of bitterness remaining.
Coriander-Thyme Lamb Chops With Yogurt Sauce
Lamb loin chops look like minature T-bone steaks and are much leaner than lamb shoulder chops. If you can't find them, you can substitute 2 (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks. Whole cumin seeds retain their flavor longer than ground cumin. Crush with a small heavy skillet. Serve with Carrot and Cumin Salad.
Baked Chicken Breasts With Dijon-White Wine Sauce and Haricots Verts
White wine and Dijon mustard are a classic bistro-style pair for chicken. Carrots add body and a touch of sweetness to the pan sauce, but you can leave them out, if you like. Slice the tomatoes horizontally to have a sturdier base and more surface area for the crispy topping.
Bistro Steak and Roasted Potatoes
This restaurant-worthy meal feels date-night special. Make sure to let the meat rest before slicing so the juices can redistribute.
Shiitake and Asparagus Sauté With Poached Eggs
Dinner need not center around meat. Here, earthy meaty shiitake mushrooms balance lemony asparagus and a rich, perfectly poached egg. Serve with Herbed Roasted New Potatoes.
Grilled Flank Steak With Cherry-Pecan Rice
With just enough for two, flank steak, grilled simply with salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika, delivers bold flavor and complements the sweetness of the rice, which stars fresh cherries, toasted pecans, and sliced carrots.
Pan-Seared Scallops on Linguine
A touch of cream gives the slightly tangy sauce a silky-smooth finish in Pan-Seared Scallops on Linguine with Tomato-Cream Sauce. Be sure to serve this dish with bread so you can savor every drop of sauce.