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Giada's Family Date Night Menu

Reconnect over these fun dishes the whole family can help put together!


It's so easy to get caught up in the stress of Valentine's Day - getting the perfect reservation, finding a babysitter - especially when it falls on a weekday. Instead of all that hassle, why not make plans for a family date night, an evening to reconnect together over a special meal? There's no rule that says you have to limit the love to just one special someone for the day.
First step: disconnecting from the distractions of the outside world. Collect everyone's cell phones and other noise-making devices in a bowl, and keep them out of sight for the duration of the meal. That means you, too! No sneaking a peek at work emails or breaking news. With those out of the way, you'll find it a lot easier to keep the conversation flowing and get all hands on deck for the meal preparation.
To start, enlist the kids for their help making a chopped salad featuring hearty winter greens. They can shake up the vinaigrette in a mason jar, then have fun crushing pita chips to toss in for that all-important crunch factor. Meanwhile, roast a whole chicken with leeks and potatoes on a sheet pan, an impressive main course that looks special but is a snap to put together (and clean up!). The leeks will soften and sweeten in the chicken juices while the potatoes crisp up, an irresistible combination of textures. All you need to do is carve the chicken to make sure everyone gets their favorite piece!
Finally, a make-ahead PB&J tiramisu combines a classic technique with kid-friendly flavors. You can get the little ones to give you a hand assembling it, dipping the lady fingers in espresso while you whip up the mascarpone-based filling, or let them handle the finishing touches by grating chocolate over the top before serving.
After the meal, you can release the phones - if anyone remembers them! You may just have so much fun together you'll be happy to leave the outside world behind more often.

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