Lauren Conrad's Perfect Date Night Dinner Recipe

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pizzaPhoto: Courtesy of Lauren Conrad.
While going out to dinner or catching a movie are fun ways to spend date night, sometimes the most romantic evenings are the ones spent at home together. All of us at Team LC have found that cooking together with your significant other makes for an excellent date night. And, we also love the idea of surprising your special someone by having dinner prepared for them right when they walk in the door — which is just what we did recently! That way, your time together can be spent hearing about each other’s days…and deciding what movie to queue up later that night, of course.

With the idea of a surprise date night in mind, we recently learned about Blue Apron, a food delivery service that allows you to choose healthy, chef-designed meals and have all the farm-fresh ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Each ingredient comes in exactly the right portion in its own little package. So, unlike making a big trip to the grocery store and having leftover ingredients, there is no wasted food when the meal has been made. All of us at Team LC pretty much fell in love with this whole idea and put in our first delivery order for our Blue Apron meals.

We requested three different meals to have a variety, and we each took one home: vegetarian, fish, and poultry. Each dish is created with seasonal ingredients and ranges between 500-700 calories. When our box came, it was refrigerated and packed perfectly, so all of our items were fresh. And, did we mention shipping is free? Bonus!

We took a peek at our options and began with the Caramelized Onion & Heirloom Tomato Crostata for our date night menu. The final result was a healthy pizza, ideal for a cozy summer night at home with your love. And, while the menu is of course one of the most important aspects of a great date night, it doesn’t hurt to keep some expert entertaining tips in mind, either. Take a peek below to see how we created our crostata with some of our favorite tips for perfecting a romantic night at home.

Plan ahead.
As with any kind of occasion that involves entertaining, planning ahead is key. You want to make sure you have your menu set, your kitchen ready for cooking, and your ingredients fresh and ready to go. If you are cooking something that you buy frozen in the store, make sure you give it enough time to defrost. If you’re making something that needs time to marinate, brine, or rise (for baking), start the process with more than enough time to have it completed for your guest. Planning ahead also gives you the flexibility of going to pick up extra things you may have forgotten at the store. (Luckily, with Blue Apron everything comes ready to use in one box!) No extra trips to the market necessary.

Add some tunes.
Sure, cooking can be a busy activity, especially when you’re moving quickly and constantly from one end of the kitchen to the other to get everything cooked right on time. But, having some nice music on in the background while you prepare your meal is a nice way to create a cozy atmosphere. Turn on the music while you cook and keep it on when your date begins, too. A little mood music, candles, and dim lighting will go a long way. It can completely change the vibe of your date night, making it romantic and special.

Presentation is everything.
If you’re just cooking for yourself, the presentation aspect of your meal might fall lower on the priority list. But, if you’re cooking for your love, it’s nice to make the end result look appetizing and well-executed. It doesn’t have to look Food Network-worthy, necessarily, but a few nice touches like serving your meal on a pretty platter or adding some garnish goes a long way. We chose to present our crostata on a special cutting board that was an engagement gift. It truly made our pizza feel like it was baked with love!

When you sign up for Blue Apron, you receive three meals per week and each meal is $9.99 per person. And, there’s no commitment — you can skip or cancel the service at any time, which is great for us busy girls who travel and eat out a lot. Each meal can be prepared in 40 minutes or less, so it’s a quick and easy dinner solution if you feel like you get stuck cooking the same old grilled chicken and veggies each night (yep, we know how that goes).

Next: 3 Delicious, Busy Girl Dinners
From her laid-back, effortless style to a fresh, ahead-of-the-trend beauty aesthetic, Lauren Conrad is a girl after our own heart. So, each week, the born-and-bred California girl and editor-in-chief of LaurenConrad.com will share with us her insider secrets and personal musings. Plus, check out her visually stunning guest pinning here!