THEME WEEK | What’s for Dinner? Romantic Dinner In


IMG_0053THEME WEEK | What’s for Dinner?  Your guide to a romantic home cooked menu

We’re coming to the end of our  “What’s for Dinner?” Theme Week and we thought it would be great to bring back one of our favorite recipe posts from the SMB Archives. This is a great one from former contributor Beth Wand, who shared with us the perfect menu for her romantic dinner-in. Though it was originally posted as a “Valentine’s Menu”, it would be a great choice anytime you’re looking for a full menu that’s just a little more fancy than the average evening dinner! Enjoy!


I don’t know about you, but just thinking about the work that goes into going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day exhausts me. Finding a sitter, finding a reservation, finding something to wear, finding the kiddo’s favorite jammies, finding a time when my husband can get home early enough for dinner but late enough he can finish his work….I’m tired just writing it.

Also, I’ve always found buying Valentine’s gifts for the hubby a little difficult.  Therefore my gift to Peter this year will be a delicious dinner and a movie – in. Home made with love and topped off with cookies lovingly decorated by our daughter.

This recipe is no secret to him, in fact it’s on of his favorites. The best part is not only that it is delicious, it’s manly AND it can be made mostly during nap time, leaving only the final cooking for bed time books. Here’s the menu:

Marinated Flank Steak

A1 Sauteed Mushrooms

Twice Cooked Creamy Potatoes

Steamed Broccoli with Parmesan Cheese

Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles of Love

If you’re thinking this all sounds fabulous, however, like way too much work, skip to the end for the quick and dirty version.



Marinated Flank Steak


1 flank steak (Costco almost always has this cut)

A1 Steak Sauce

Teriyaki marinade

Soy Sauce

Grainy mustard (not sure the proper term but look for a mustard where you can see the seeds). I like the Sierra Nevada brand Stout mustard.

Salt and Pepper


At least 2 hours before cooking (the longer the better), put the steak in a dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Pour A1, teriyaki, Soy Sauce onto steak. Enough that there is some liquid in the bottom of the dish – go lighter with the A1 than with the Soy and teriyaki. Flip the steak – same salt and pepper and then spread the grainy mustard on – enough that the steak is covered (about a 1/4 cup). Add a little more liquid to this side. Cover and put in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.

Grill the steak for approximately 10 minutes on each side – or until desired done-ness. This can also be done in the broiler. Put the steak on a lower rack and then move up towards the end of cooking so that the marinade does not burn.

After the steak is done, let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Slice width wise (against the grain) into long, thin strips. Serve with A1 Sauteed Mushrooms.

A1 Sauteed Mushrooms

1 Package sliced mushrooms – baby bellas are my favorite

A1 Steak Sauce

1/4 cup Soy Sauce

1/2 tablespoon Butter

Place a 1/2 tablespoon of butter into a skillet. Add mushrooms and begin to saute. As the mushrooms begin to cook, add 1/4 cup of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of A1. Stir and continue to cook until liquid has thickened and the mushrooms are small and tender. Add more soy or A1 as needed to keep a “sauce” type texture. You can also add some beef stock if it is too thick.

Twice Cooked Creamy Potatoes

*This recipe is best done to taste and with not a lot of care as to how much butter or sour cream is being used. So use your gut and don’t calculate calories – channel your inner Paula Dean: “It needs more buttah!”*

Baby Red Potatoes – 1 bag


Minced Garlic – 1 tsp

Sour cream


Cheddar Cheese

Salt and Pepper

Wash and cut potatoes into equal sizes leaving the skin on. Boil until fork tender. Mash by hand with a spoon or masher (technical term) with a good helping of salt and pepper, sour cream, butter, minced garlic and chives. Stir in a little shredded cheddar cheese. Sample along the way and add more of whatever you like best (important for quality assurance, of course) – the dish tastes best with lots of seasoning so go nuts.

Put the mixture in a baking dish and top with cheddar cheese.  Bake for a few minutes at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted and getting bubbly.


Steamed Broccoli with Parmesan Cheese

1 Head of Broccoli

Grated Parmesan Cheese


Chop broccoli into small, bite sized pieces. Add them to a steamer basket on the stove and bring water to a boil. Cover and cook for no more than 5 minutes – the broccoli should be bright green.

Remove from steamer and pat dry (if need be). Immediately add a little butter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

If you care for a little glass (or big) of wine to go with your dinner, I like Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon. Great flavor and a great price!

Sugar Cookies  

1 Bag Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Dry Mix

Sprinkles, Frosting, Whatever!

I have tried a couple of sugar cookie recipes that vary from completely from scratch to rolling out pre-made dough. I think this is the best of both worlds; easy to make and tastes great.

Follow directions on the back of the bag for mixing and baking- my only addition is to let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least half an hour and then take it out in chunks to work with.

Once your cookies have cooled, lay out lots of tin foil. Pull up a chair, hand over the sprinkles and let your munchkins go to work! This is also a fun outside activity – just to save the vacuuming time.

Serve as is  or in a martini glass full of vanilla ice cream. Everything is better when it’s in a martini glass.


The quick and I should say sneaky version is to hit up AJ’s Fine Foods. Their tenderloin steaks and twice baked potatoes are stuff of legends. Pick up, hide all wrappings and bags, dirty a few pots and pans for good measure and serve!



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