Destination Date Nights

Date night slumps have become way more real this past year. Forcing us to get more creative with at home activities. After a while the ideas started running low. Until destination date nights! We love travel (and food) so we’ve been traveling through our food and wine. The food and wine might just be the best part about a vacation anyways!

Italian: Bolognese & Sangiovese

Bolognese is one of my go to meals. It usually makes a ton, saves on cooking down the road, and it has so many uses. Serve it over pasta, use it as sauce on a pizza, dip some garlic bread in it, I could go on for days. If you couldn’t tell I love my carbs. I’m always trying to recreate dishes I’ve had on vacation, and it’s probably no surprise the best bolognese I’ve had was in Italy. This recipe has been the closest I’ve ever got. I think the secret is the wine, lots of wine goes into this recipe. The trick here is DON’T CHEAP OUT on the wine. It doesn’t have to be expensive but get something you enjoy drinking on its own. A good amount of wine is used in the recipe so the wine choice really impacts the outcome of the dish. Of course the best pairing would be the wine you used in the dish, any Sangiovese will work!

For the full recipe check out Half Baked Harvest.

Mexican: Fajitas & Zinfandel

Chicken Fajita’s are one of our go to make at home Mexican meals to make…. that and burritos and quesadillas 🙈 Honestly, Mexican food is a staple in our household – if we’re not making it we’re ordering it in. When in a pinch and we need a good meal we love Caitlin Covington’s (from Southern Curls & Pearls) Chicken Fajita Bake. This recipe leaves your chicken so incredibly juicy and it stays on the healthy side (depending on how much cheese you want 🤤). Hubby and I like our chicken different ways, I prefer all the veggies and he prefers the cheese so it’s still easily customizable in the bake. You can elevate the dish by making your own homemade beans or even just do canned and add some seasoning to them to make them taste more homemade. Don’t forget the sides, tortillas, sour cream, cheese and guacamole!

I love Caitlins recipe as is but I do tweak the cheese and add it the last 5 minutes of cooking instead of from the start!

Best Homemade Guacamole :
  • Avocado
  • Red Onion
  • Lemon & Lime Juice
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapeno
  • Salt

Mix the ingredients and add all to taste! The trick to guac is to always try it after the ingredients are mixed and add more of any of the ingredients until it gets to taste – you never know if the onion is running strong or the jalapeno running hot so there’s no right or wrong amount to add in just what you prefer!

Mediterranean: Falafel & Grenache Blanc

This is another Half Baked Harvest Recipe so make sure you head over to her site to see how to put it all together… We highly suggest that you try making her naan recipe while you’re there as well 🤤 And if you’re not already following her you may as well start because she has all of our go to dinner recipes! I like to eat this like a sandwich and stuff my naan with some greens, onion, tomatoes and falafel then top it with tahini sauce.

The roundness and fruitiness from the Grenache Blanc compliments the tahini sauce on your falafel so well! If you’re not finding grenache blanc in your local grocery store a sauvignon blanc would work really well with this dish as well!

We made the Harissa oil in the recipe but it wasn’t our favorite and likely wouldn’t do it again (also did not go well with the wine) but her garlicky naan bread… we’ll be dreaming about it for weeks.

Asian: Sesame Chicken & Lambrusco

We’re big Chinese take out fans at our house but there’s just something so nice about being able to re-create a take out dish at home so that you’re not having to leave the comfort of your home. I landed on making sesame chicken because it’s an easy meal to make and our pantry always has the ingredients for it! We paired a Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco with this meal and it was heaven on earth. The Lambrusco cut the tanginess of the chicken in a wonderful way. Although the Lambrusco tends to lean on the sweeter side, next to this dish the sweetness of it diminishes and it give a great balance to your meal.

Be sure to check out Dinner at the Zoo for her Honey Sesame Chicken recipe that we used to make this dish.

Japanese: Sushi & Rosé

Sushi is one of those dishes that can be intimidating to make at home, but with the right ingredients you can make some pretty tasty rolls!  Rice and the fish are the two most important components. When buying fish make sure you confirm with the fish market the fish you’re purchasing is ok to eat raw, and I always buy it the same day we plan to eat it. The rice is such a vital part of the dish, and the most difficult part to get right. There is a reason people study the making of sushi rice for years (check out the Netflix documentary – Jiro Dreams of Sushi). Chopstick Chronicles breaks down the rice making process in a very easy way, so be sure to check out her post for all the details. I used her calculations for four rolls and we got six rolls out of it.

We paired the sushi with rosé to cut through the fat in the tuna. The key with sushi is pairing the wine with the filling in the sushi. You can pretty much count on Rosé pairing well with most sushi, sparkling wine is also a great option!

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