17 Date Night Dinners That Won’t Take All Night To Prepare

Who says quick meals can’t also be special? Certainly not anyone who’s managed to put together a date night dinner in under an hour. It’s all about working smarter, not harder. Find those go-to dishes that both of you love and can be prepared with minimal fuss. This approach keeps the night relaxed and fun, which is exactly what a date night should be.

Mediterranean cod on a rectangular platter.
Mediterranean Cod. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Chicken Tinga

Chicken tinga in a blue bowl.
Chicken Tinga. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

If you’re looking for something spicy but don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all evening, Chicken Tinga is your answer. It’s straightforward, with just enough kick to keep things interesting. For a date night dinner that’s quick to prepare, this dish checks all the boxes and leaves time for romance.
Get the Recipe: Chicken Tinga

Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs

Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs in a bowl.
Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs are a win-win when you’re aiming for a meal that’s both light and quick. They cook up in no time in the air fryer, freeing you up to focus on the evening ahead. Ideal for a date night, they’re a healthier choice that doesn’t compromise on taste or time.
Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs

Garlic Chicken Skillet

Garlic Chicken Skillet with peppers and asparagus on a white plate.
Garlic Chicken Skillet. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Who says you can’t have a delicious meal without spending all night cooking? Garlic Chicken Skillet is your go-to for a flavorful yet simple dish. It’s perfect for those evenings when you want to enjoy a special dinner without the lengthy prep. Just right for keeping date night easy and enjoyable.
Get the Recipe: Garlic Chicken Skillet

Pork Chops with Tomato & Green Onion Relish

Three pork chops with tomato and green onion on a white plate.
Pork Chops with Tomato & Green Onion Relish. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Pork Chops with Tomato & Green Onion Relish are about bringing something fresh to the table without making a big fuss. The relish adds a fresh burst that complements the pork perfectly. If you’re aiming for a dinner that’s both quick and a bit fancy, this dish makes it happen, leaving plenty of time for date night activities.
Get the Recipe: Pork Chops with Tomato & Green Onion Relish

Smoked Meatballs

Smoked meatballs in a dish with grilled bread.
Smoked Meatballs. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

For a dinner that feels special but doesn’t take forever, Smoked Meatballs are surprisingly straightforward. The smoking adds a depth of taste that’s hard to beat. They’re great for a relaxed date night where you’re looking for something a bit different but still easy to pull off.
Get the Recipe: Smoked Meatballs

Baked Feta Pasta

Baked Feta Pasta on a platter.
Baked Feta Pasta. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Baked Feta Pasta became a sensation for its ease and incredible taste. It’s the ultimate choice for a quick, romantic dinner, combining creamy feta with rich tomato in a way that’s hard to resist. On a date night when time is of the essence, this dish proves you can have it all: speed and flavor.
Get the Recipe: Baked Feta Pasta

Smoked Dry Rubbed Wings

Smoked dry rubbed chicken wings on a white plate with garlic.
Smoked Dry Rubbed Wings. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Want something casual yet delicious for your date night? Smoked Dry Rubbed Wings are your ticket. They bring a flavor punch that’s hard to match, and the smoking process is simpler than you’d think. They’re perfect for a night in, especially when you’re looking to keep things relaxed but delicious.
Get the Recipe: Smoked Dry Rubbed Wings

Garlic Shrimp Scampi

Garlic Shrimp Scampi on a bed of rice in a black oval dish.
Garlic Shrimp Scampi. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Garlic Shrimp Scampi is a classic for a reason. It’s quick to make, letting you spend less time cooking and more time enjoying the evening. The light, lemony touch makes it a perfect dish for a romantic night in. It’s all about enjoying a great meal without the hassle.
Get the Recipe: Garlic Shrimp Scampi

Smoked Pork Belly Tacos

A closeup shot of two tacos filled with smoked pork belly and vegetables.
Smoked Pork Belly Tacos. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

How about Smoked Pork Belly Tacos? This dish offers a mix of adventure and ease for your date night dinner. The pork belly is tender and flavorful, and putting the tacos together is half the fun. It’s an excellent way to have a memorable meal without spending the whole night in the kitchen.
Get the Recipe: Smoked Pork Belly Tacos

Italian Chicken

Creamy Italian Chicken on a plate.
Italian Chicken. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Want a fancy-ish dinner without the hassle? Italian Chicken has got you covered. It’s quick, delicious, and leaves you plenty of time to spend with your special someone. Ideal for when you’re looking to impress but also keep things laid-back and easy.
Get the Recipe: Italian Chicken

Garlic Braised Beef Short Ribs

Braised Beef Short Ribs with gravy and mashed potatoes.
Garlic Braised Beef Short Ribs. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

If you’re aiming for something warm and comforting, but don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all night, look no further. Garlic Braised Beef Short Ribs are your go-to. They’re tender, rich, and perfect for a chill date night dinner at home. Plus, they cook slowly in the background while you relax.
Get the Recipe: Garlic Braised Beef Short Ribs

Seafood Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed red peppers on a white plate.
Seafood Stuffed Bell Peppers. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

For a dinner that’s as special as it is easy, Seafood Stuffed Bell Peppers hit the mark. They’re fresh, delicious, and not your everyday meal, making them perfect for a memorable evening. Plus, you won’t be spending your entire date night prepping in the kitchen.
Get the Recipe: Seafood Stuffed Bell Peppers

Pork Belly Burnt Ends

A plate of smoked pork belly burnt ends with tomatoes and pickles.
Pork Belly Burnt Ends. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Pork Belly Burnt Ends are for those nights when you want something a bit indulgent but still easy to make. They’re smoky, sweet, and pretty much take care of themselves while cooking. It’s a great pick for a laid-back yet special dinner.
Get the Recipe: Pork Belly Burnt Ends

Cheez-Its Tostada

Cheez-It Tostada on a plate with hot sauce in a bottle.
Cheez-Its Tostada. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Feel like adding a fun twist to your dinner? Cheez-Its Tostada is your wildcard. It’s easy to make, unexpectedly delicious, and sure to bring some smiles. Perfect for a casual, playful date night that doesn’t require a ton of prep.
Get the Recipe: Cheez-Its Tostada

Salmon Pasta Salad

Salmon pasta salad in a black bowl with forks nearby.
Salmon Pasta Salad. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Looking for something light yet fulfilling? Salmon Pasta Salad is the answer. It’s a breeze to whip up, letting you kick back sooner rather than later. Great for those warmer evenings when you want a dinner that’s quick but still feels special.
Get the Recipe: Salmon Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Cod

Mediterranean cod on a rectangular platter.
Mediterranean Cod. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Mediterranean Cod is all about bringing a splash of freshness to your table without complicating things. It’s quick to cook and packed with fresh tastes. Ideal for a stress-free evening that still feels a bit fancy and very much focused on quality time.
Get the Recipe: Mediterranean Cod

Lobster Chowder

A bowl of lobster chowder with bread on the side.
Lobster Chowder. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Have you tried Lobster Chowder? It might sound fancy, but it’s surprisingly straightforward to make. It’s rich, comforting, and perfect for when you want to cozy up without spending hours cooking. A great choice for a warm, inviting dinner that’s a bit luxurious but totally doable.
Get the Recipe: Lobster Chowder

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