If you aren't making it a habit to have a regular date night with your significant other,
I think one of the easiest date night ideas is a pizza night. It's fun to co-create your pizza masterpiece together, it pairs easily with wine, and - apart from the crust - pizza is easy to make.
If you're feeling the pressure of summer schedules or you're relating to some of the worst cooks on the Food Network, I'm going to give you permission to not make a homemade pizza. DIGIORNO® is a great option - and, on my recent date night, we had fun playing around with their new Design-a-Pizza Kit that we found at Wal-Mart.
The kit is a bit like something you'd get from one of those meal planning startups - pre-measured ingredients that you just top and bake. You can leave something out, if you like, or find something else to spice it up - it's your pizza, so make it how you want!
I think the pizza spices are a nice touch - they really complement the flavors and give the pizza a "not-so-frozen" flavor. The kits came in three flavors (Pepperoni & Sausage with Peppers; Chicken, Green Peppers and Red Onion; Spinach, Tomato and Red Onion with Pepperoni) and I think you can pair these nicely with a Bordeaux wine blend or a bold Merlot or Shiraz.
End the Night on a High Note
If you really want to impress you date, end the night on a high note - dessert. Personally, because my mom was a baker, I always spend a bit more effort on dessert, because it comes naturally for me. But if you keep your cool and go for simpler recipes, a nice dessert is easy and is perfect after pizza.
Here's something we whipped up for our date night - it's a spicy, tangy twist on a traditional apple crisp recipe. And it couldn't be easier to make.
(Timing note: this recipe needs the oven cooler than the temp for your pizza. You might want to make your crisp first, then heat your pizza. This way the crumble won't be scalding hot when you serve it - and as a bonus, if you serve it a la mode, your ice cream won't melt too fast.)
Spicy Orange Apple Crumble Recipe
- 3 large green apples
- zest of 1 large orange
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup oats
- 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, sliced into small pieces
Preheat oven to 350F.
Butter a medium/large sized baking dish; alternatively, you can use medium or large-sized ramekins to have individual crumble portions (easy to refrigerate and enjoy later).
Peel and core the apples; slice them into small pieces. Combine with the orange and lemon zests, juices, as well as the sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Put apple mixture into your dish(es).
For the topping, combine the flour, white and brown sugar, salt, oats, and butter in a mixer on low speeds. You want the mixture to be incorporated fully but still crumbly. Spread the topping evenly across the apple mix.
Bake the crumble for approximately 1 hour - the top should be brown and you'll see the apple juices bubbling up around the edges.
Serve warm, possibly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
This dish looks delicious right out of the oven, and is a great dessert for date night conversation.
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