A Night In

My husband and I have only been married for a little over a year, we don’t have any kids and I am an undying romantic, so I love to spend hours making a fancy meal for us to eat on Friday or Saturday night with music playing and candles lite. I realize this scenario is far from realistic for most couples and going out to eat is a much easier option!  Although I do love to eat out at our favorite local spot, the Globe and Laurel, if we’re not going to the Globe,  I’d rather eat at home.  Eating at home allows me to control where my food comes from and what goes into it, it is also much less expensive!

So, today, I am going to lay out a simple, healthy, and semi-fancy (looking) meal for you to enjoy as a family or a couple that will cost a fraction of the price of your local spot and keep you in control of the contents of your plate.

The Menu:

Roast Chicken with Citrus and Garlic

Sauteed Spinach with Mushrooms and Onions

Roasted Potatoes with Herbs

Apple Almond Crisp

Step #1: Pick a night.

Step #2: Go to the grocery.

Grocery List:

  • 3 boxes frozen spinach
  • 4 apples
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 onions
  • 1 head garlic
  • fresh thyme
  • 8 oz. pkg. sliced mushrooms
  • 15-20 russet potatoes
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 bag almonds
  • 1 pint milk or cream
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Step#3: They morning of:

  • Get chicken and spinach out of freezer (if frozen).

Step#4: The night of:

  • Pre-heat oven to 425.
  • Take giblets out of the chicken and feed them to the dog.
  • In the cavity the giblets came out of, place 1 halved lemon, 1 halved onion, a few sprigs of thyme and 1 halved head of garlic (minus 1 clove reserved for later).
  • Drizzle bird with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place the chicken in the oven for 90 minutes.

While the chicken is roasting…

  • Wash russet potatoes and cut them in half.
  • Toss potatoes in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme (the leaves of 3 sprigs).
  • Place potatoes on baking sheet and set aside.


  • Wash, peel, and dice 4 apples.
  • Beat 1 egg and 1 c. milk or cream in bowl.
  • Combine apples, 2 T. honey, and 2 t. cinnamon in a bowl, stir until cinnamon and honey cover apples and add to egg mixture.
  • In separate bowl, combine 2 c. pulverized almonds, 1/4 c. butter butter, and 1 egg until you have a crumbly, sticky mixture.
  • Place apple mixture in a greased 9 x 13 dish.
  • Spread almond mixture onto apples and cover as evenly as possible. Set aside.
  • Mince 1 clove garlic, Dice 1 onion, and get sliced mushrooms out of fridge, set aside.


  • You should have about 45 minutes here, that’s enough time to do a 10 minute workout and take a shower!  Woo hoo for multi-tasking!
  • As many rounds as possible in 10 minutes of: 10 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, 10 lunges

Now that you’ve worked out and cleaned up…

  • After 90 minutes, take chicken out of the oven, cut by the thigh and the leg, if juices run clear, then cover with aluminum foil and let sit, if juices are not clear (as in they are bloody) put back in oven and check again after 10 minutes.
  • Put pan of potatoes in the oven and set timer for 20 minutes.

While potatoes are roasting…

  • Get out boxes of thawed spinach and place in colander, using your hands, squeeze all of the excess water.
  • Put 3 T. olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
  • Place 1 clove garlic, 1 diced onion, and 1 c. mushrooms in pan and let cook for 2 minutes.
  • Place spinach in the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until heated through, take off heat and cover.


  • After 20 minutes, remove potatoes from oven and let cool.
  • Turn oven down to 350 degrees.
  • Just before serving dinner, put apple crisp in the oven to cook while you eat!  Allow it to cook for 25-30 minutes, until apples are soft and the almond crust is golden brown!

The candle light, music, and place setting are up to you, but I would highly suggest it!  This can be a romantic evening with your spouse, or a great time to practice etiquette with your children!

If this meal is still more difficult than you’d like it to be; stop at the grocery, get a rotisserie chicken, a bag of steamable vegetables, a bag of salad, and some fancy fruit and head home to your spouse or family!  Whichever meal you chose to prepare, enjoy it.  Be proud of yourself for providing a healthy, intimate meal for your spouse or family!

Today’s challenge:  SET A DATE!


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