Italian Main Dishes
Italian dishes like an angel hair pasta with shrimp and alfredo sauce or chicken piccata set the tone for romance. Pasta is quick to make and is a great complement to chicken dishes. Both dishes can be cooked in the skillet and don't require the time commitment of an oven. A red-and-white checked tablecloth is optional.
French Main Dishes
Sumptuous French cooking also spells "romance" in the minds of many a lover. However, it also has a reputation for being extremely difficult. This does not have to be the case. Easy French main courses feature meat as the prominent ingredient, usually with a tasty wine sauce. Filet mignon in a shallot-red wine sauce is simple to make: skillet-cook the beef, and remove to make room for the butter, shallots, red wine and parsley. The sauce is finished after a few minutes of boiling and you've got a beautiful meal.
Keep in mind the need for greens. You and your sweetie may want a traditional Caesar salad with romaine, mushrooms, garlic and croutons to start the night with, or the classic mixed green salad with cherry tomatoes and a balsamic vinaigrette. For something a little more surprising, try rocket and frisee lettuce with spinach. Add pecans and blue cheese, then top with a white wine vinegar and Dijon vinaigrette.
Bread sticks, garlic bread and crusty French bread all make great sauce-soaking additions to any romantic meal. Ask your sweetie to run to the nearest local bakery to pick some up.
An integral part of any romantic meal, wine can set the mood and complement the dishes in an inspiring way. A riesling or sparkling white may be great to have while preparing and enjoying your salad. Move on to a darker red with the meat or a drier white for lemon chicken. A sweet red might complement dessert nicely, too.
Baking can take time you don't have, but that doesn't mean you have to skimp on this part of the meal. Sliced peaches on top of vanilla ice cream can satisfy any sweet tooth. Fruit cups or bakery tarts with a goat cheese or cream cheese base can also make for a sweet treat. Strawberry shortcake and various cobblers are also quick and rewarding. Simply cut the fruit and make the cobbler or shortcake biscuit with flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, heavy cream and vanilla. For a cobbler, put the biscuit on top of the fruit in a baking pan; for a shortcake, bake the biscuits separately and save the fruit to put on top. Put the dessert in the oven while you're eating the main meal.