Candy hearts. Red roses. Boxes of chocolates.
Love it or hate it, Valentine's Day is right around the corner.
With two boys and 12 years of marriage between us, my husband and I keep it pretty simple every year. In fact, instead of buying overly romantic or sentimental cards, we try to find the best/worst puns possible.
I'm still the all-time winner, thanks to a greeting card with an old-fashioned paper punch on the cover. Inside, it simply read, "I love you a hole punch." Last year, he came close with a lawnmower card that said, "I love you mower." (Clearly there's someone for everyone, right?)
Anyway, here's my point: sometimes it's the little things. And you don't have to spend a fortune to show somebody how much you care. As a matter of fact, making a home-cooked dinner is much less expensive than dining out at a fancy restaurant – and it can be a whole lot sweeter, too.
So what's on the menu today? Aged Balsamic Caprese Pizza and Red Velvet Swirl Bundt Cake ... perfect for date night!
No Reservations Required
To make your romantic dinner for two, check out the step-by-step tips and photos below. See the full pizza recipe here.
Step 1: Prep Your Pizza
Preheat your oven to 425°F. Grab a 12” round pre-baked pizza crust. (In honor of Valentine's Day, I trimmed mine into a heart shape with a small knife.) Brush it with 1 tablespoon Roasted Garlic Infused Oil.
Next, thinly slice 8 oz. fresh mozzarella and 1 ripe tomato. Grab a handful of fresh basil, and slice it into thin ribbons.
Step 2: Add Your Toppings
Layer fresh mozzarella slices on top of crust.
Then pile on those beautiful tomato slices ...
Sprinkle your pizza with ½ teaspoon Garlic Pepper Seasoning and fresh basil.
CULINARY TIP: Before you bake your pizza, make a balsamic reduction to drizzle over the top once it's out of the oven. It's a fun (and slightly fancy!) touch! Simply heat ¼ cup Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling; reduce heat and simmer 2-3 minutes. Remove, and let it cool for a gloriously rich, thick sauce.
Step 3: Bake to Perfection
Now back to your pizza ... bake 12-14 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown.
Drizzle with the balsamic reduction, and serve with a couple glasses of wine for the perfect dinner for two.
P.S. Save Room for Dessert
Make something special (but surprisingly simple!) for your sweetheart like this gorgeous Red Velvet Swirl Bundt Cake.
In case you need more convincing, here's a closer look:
Whether you're a romantic at heart or you like to keep it simple, it's the perfect recipe for date night. I mean, come on. Pizza. Cake. Wine. What's not to love?
Tips & Hints:
- To "chiffonade" your basil (aka slice it into ribbons), stack the leaves, roll them together tightly and then narrowly slice them crosswise. You'll get lovely long, thin strips.
- Since most pre-baked pizza crusts come in 2-packs and a bunch of basil goes a long way, the caprese pizza recipe is really easy to double. Just grab an extra tomato and mozzarella to make two pizzas!
- If you have a little leftover balsamic, keep it handy for drizzling over chicken, steak or flatbread.
- Want to make homemade cream cheese icing for your bundt cake? Simply combine ¼ cup (½ stick) softened butter and 4 oz. softened cream cheese. Stir in 1 cup powdered sugar. Add 3 tablespoons milk or enough to reach your preferred consistency.