I’ve been trying to come up with date ideas that Nate and I can do together while Brady is sleeping, hoping that we can enjoy some date nights at home. We’ve been fairly good at getting out once a month, while my mom watches the little guy for us. But still, once a month just isn’t enough!
I tried finding some ideas online and one suggestion that kept coming up was cooking together. But of course, I had to put my own twist on it. 😉 And since I LOVE the Food network series – Chopped – I decided to create a Chopped theme date night! (For anyone unfamiliar with the show, it’s a series during which four chefs have to create an appetizer, entrée, and a dessert out of various mystery – and often unusual – items. One by one, the chefs are kicked off the show until there is one winner).
I created a shopping ‘list’ for me and Nate, and gave us both a designated amount of money. My list stated: starch, veggie, fruit, and mystery item (which is absolutely any item you feel like purchasing). Nate’s list stated: meat, veggie, sauce or marinade or broth, and mystery item. And I set the theme as ‘Autumn foods’ just to help guide us, since it was our first Chopped night ever.
Nate and I both did separate shopping trips that afternoon, and we had no idea what the other would buy! The rule was that we had to hide the food until we were ready to cook that night (that way we didn’t have time to plan our meal before hand). And then once Brady went to bed, we took out our ingredients and our date night began!
My autumn food choices were: corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, craisins, and a sun-dried tomato spread (my mystery item).
Pea pods, worcesture sauce, Caponata (which is a paste made of eggplant, green olives, and capers), and Chinese sausage.
In which state are those considered autumn staples?!?
Apparently my hubby had forgotten about the fall theme and instead focused on finding abstract foods in true Chopped fashion. 😉
Sooooo, it was time to get creative!
Because the goal was to cook together, we decided to change things up and to not compete. The goal was to cook together and to create a delicious meal… if possible. Ha! (Just like contestants on the show are able to use the pantry, any food already in our fridge or pantry were available for our use too).
We had just planned on making an entrée, but I noticed the crusty bread that we had on the counter. And I had an idea that it might be good as a bruschetta-inspired appetizer. I broiled the bread, spread on the sun-dried tomatoes, and then sprinkled on a bit of fresh mozzarella.
Oh…my…goodness! It was so unbelievably delicious, you guys!! I would definitely make this again. And I bet that it would be amazing as a sandwich with fresh mozzarella slices and basil. YUM!
Our main dish wasn’t quite as gourmet. 😉
I’ve never had Chinese sausage before, and – quite frankly – I’m not a huge fan. And I won’t be buying / making it again. But that being said, we did a pretty good job with our food items, if I do say so myself!
I pan-fried the sausage, and then Nate chopped it up into bite-sized pieces. I then made a sauce out of chicken broth, the caponata, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and the worcesture sauce, which we poured over the sautéed veggies, craisins, and meat. After it was all cooked, we served it over rice.
The stir-fry was actually quite good and tasted a lot like Chinese food. (But still, I don’t think I’ll need to eat Chinese sausage again ever. Just not my thing).
BUT you want to know what is my thing? Laughing with my hubby, eating good food, and making memories together.
A fun date night at home while your baby is sleeping? It’s definitely possible! 🙂 And we’ll be doing this again, for sure! 🙂
Chopped Date Night Suggestions
- Decide on a theme (if you want) and create a list of unspecified items that you and your date have to pick up. You can totally work off my theme but then make it personal. (It might even be fun to have to include a dessert item or two)!
- Go shopping separately. (Or go together and just make sure you don’t see what the other is buying).
- When you’re ready for your date to begin, pull out the grocery items. Have a good laugh, if necessary. Then brainstorm!
- Now get cooking!!! 🙂 Remember, you’re allowed to use food items already in your house, so you can make use of spices, flour and sugar, and other home staples.
- Last but not least, eat up!
If you try this, I hope you’ll link your blog back to this post, leave a comment, or send me an email and let me know how it went!! 🙂