• Pretty Plate by Michelle

A 3 Course Meal at Home that is Perfect For a Date Night in or Dinner Party for Your Family

There is nothing better than a home cooked meal. Especially one that is made by you!


Skip the fuss of going out, instead stay home and create this three course meal for the ones you love. It is perfect for a date night in or hosting a dinner party for your family that everyone will enjoy. You will feel like you are dining at a restaurant even though you will actually be in the comfort of your own home. To me, that is a double win! This meal is colorful, flavorful and on the healthier side. Oh, and in addition, make sure you have enough wine to go around! In this post, I am going to break down and guide you through the three courses with ingredients and recipes, plus all the pretty plates I used to create this meal. After reading this, I have no doubt that you will be able to execute this too!


There is a lot of debate on whether staying in or going out is the way to go. Both options have pros and cons. But, these days I personally find that it can be more beneficial and more comfortable to stay in. With these recipes you can be fuss free, turn it into a bonding experience with your loved ones by cooking each recipe together and you can use this an opportunity to showcase your great kitchen skills!


So grab your apron and let’s dive in!

The Starter: 3 Ingredient Homemade Garlic Bread


When dining at a restaurant one of the best parts is receiving the complimentary bread baskets as you order or before your meal, am I right!? You show up, sit down and you are so excited and hungry all at the same time. So, starting out with bread and butter is essential to kicking this meal off right and lowering your chances of anyone at the table becoming hangry. Another essential thing is to have right in the beginning is a glass of wine or cocktail in hand.


So, imagine yourself at the restaurant sipping on your favorite drink and munching on soft yet crispy bread at the same time while conversing with others, it's the perfect start. When you are at home, my homemade garlic bread with just 3 ingredients will do just that, be the perfect starter to kick your at home dinner off right. It is beyond easy and takes 20 minutes or less! This is the point where I would pour myself a glass of wine or make myself a cocktail and get to work. I begin cutting the bread, warming the butter and mixing it with garlic all while sip on my drink of choice... I am one happy gal!

Serves 4+, INGREDIENTS:

1 French bread loaf

2 Sticks of plant based butter OR regular butter, unsalted

2 Large spoonfuls of minced garlic, you want lots of garlic

Coarse salt flakes or fine sea salt, sprinkled to your liking

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

  2. Cut bread into rectangle pieces, depending on how big the loaf is and how big you cut them you could make 10+ pieces total.

  3. Melt 2 sticks of butter in the microwave. Once melted, mix with a spoon.

  4. Add 2 large spoonfuls of minced garlic to the melted butter. Mix. Add a two pinches of salt.

  5. Take your spoon and scoop up spoonful of the garlic butter mixture and ladel it over each garlic bread piece. Continue the process until all bread pieces have been covered in the garlic butter mixture.

  6. Sprinkle salt over the tops of the bread pieces.

  7. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. The key to making these extra delicious is ensuring the middle is soft and the edges are crispy.

  8. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to your serving plate.

First Course: Mixed Berry and Black Pepper Salad with a Fig Balsamic Dressing


Having a great colorful, leafy, fresh salad for your first course is the ideal first course. It is light enough to where you do not get full, but it is also just enough so you aren’t left completely starving before your main meal arrives. My mixed berry and black pepper salad is a menu item that you must have as your first course and you will see why!


This salad is best fit for your first course because it is a take on a traditional garden salad, but enhanced. It is also so light and crisp. It is the right amount of berries mixed with nuts and black pepper, tossed with leafy greens and crispy chunks of iceberg lettuce and served with a tangy yet sweet fig balsamic dressing. It satisfies your hunger without getting you too full before your entree. You can serve this with your starter as well, they make a great pair!



Serves 4-5, INGREDIENTS: For the Salad

2-3 Cups mixed greens

Half of a iceberg round, chopped in thick pieces

6 strawberries, sliced

1/2 cup blueberries

1/4 of a red onion, sliced in horseshoes (U shape)

2 TBSP walnuts

2 TBSP feta cheese

1 TSP black pepper + more to taste

Makes about 1 and 1/4 Cup, INGREDIENTS: For the Salad Dressing

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup savory fig balsamic vinegar, I used this one from whole foods

3 garlic cloves, peeled

1 TBSP dried oregano

1/2 TBSP dried parsley

1/2 TSP salt

1/4 TSP black pepper

1 TBSP brown sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. To make the dressing, add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Place in your serving vessel of choice and place in the fridge to cool until ready to use.

  2. Place mixed greens in a bowl. Chop iceberg lettuce in thick pieces. Place in a bowl with mixed greens and toss to combine so greens and iceberg lettuce are mixed.

  3. Slice strawberries and add. Add blueberries right after.

  4. Slice red onion and add. Scatter throughout.

  5. Add walnuts, feta and top with black pepper. Place in the fridge until ready to eat. (You can wait until the last minute to add these right before serving if you would like as well)

  6. When ready to eat serve with fig balsamic dressing on the side.

Entree: Mahi Mahi with a Champagne Lemon Dill Sauce and Served with Black Forbidden Rice and Rainbow Carrots



I hope you are at least 2-3 cocktails in at this point and having the best date night or dinner party. If so, that's great!But, get ready because it is about to get even better! That’s right, it‘s entree time! The great thing about this entree is that you can completely customize your protein. I seared flaky mahi mahi on both sides, then tossed it in a champagne lemon dill sauce. But, you could easily change the protein to be a different type of fish or even chicken If you wanted. I served it with a healthier black forbidden rice and some colorful rainbow honey carrots.


Black forbidden rice is so unique and pretty to me. It is well known for is dark black and purple color and its high ranking nutritional value. I cooked it in water and when finished sprinkled it with some sea salt and even the slightest addition of salt added so much flavor. The rainbow carrots are the easiest to make when tossed with olive oil, salt and some honey. These two items can be made in 20 minutes or less. Making cooking your entree so effortless, yet providing upscale restaurant like quality.



Serves 4, INGREDIENTS: For the Mahi Mahi in a Champagne Lemon Dill Sauce

4 Mahi mahi fillets, washed and patted dry. Sprinkled with onion salt from Trader Joe’s and black pepper. NOTE: You can use regular salt. The Onion salt from Trader Joe’s just enhances the flavor.

Half of a sweet onion, minced

1 TBSP minced garlic

Half of a lemon juice fresh squeezed

2 TBSP olive oil

1/4 cup fresh dill sprigs + more for garnish

1 cup brut champagne

1 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth (I used chicken)

Living Microgreens, for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare mahi mahi fillets. Rinse them, pat them dry and season. Set aside.

  2. Mince your onion. Cut lemon in half. Prepare dill sprigs.

  3. In a pan over medium to low heat, add 2 TBSP olive oil. Once heated add mahi mahi fillets. Sear on one side for about 3-4 minutes, flip and sear on the other side for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

  4. In the same pan, add onions and garlic and cook until fragrant and onion become translucent. About 2-3 minutes.

  5. Add 1 cup champagne and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes until half has reduced.

  6. Add lemon juice, chicken broth and dill. Simmer another 5 minutes.

  7. Add fish back to the pan and marinate it in the sauce for another 2 minutes.

  8. Remove from heat and place fish and sauce in a serving dish. Garnish with living microgreens. If you are serving on an individual plate, place one fish fillet with some sauce on the plate and garnish. NOTE: I plate the rice down first then the fish over the rice.

Serves 4, INGREDIENTS: For the Honey Rainbow Carrots

1 Bunch tri-color carrots, I got them from Whole Foods

2 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP raw honey + more to garnish

1 TSP sea salt + more to garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut the long leafy stems off the top of the carrots. Peel them, wash them and pat them dry.

  2. Add 2 TBSP olive oil to a pan.

  3. Add carrots and sauté for 3 minutes. Add honey and sea salt.

  4. Marinate in the mixture and cook for another 3-5 minutes until carrots become tender.

  5. Transfer the your serving dish of choice. Drizzle with extra honey on top and garnish with extra sea salt. Serve right away. If you are serving on an individual plate, the carrots go on last and place them off to the side So they hug the rice and fish together.

Serves 4-5, INGREDIENTS: For the Black Forbidden Rice

1 Cup forbidden black rice (I used lotus food brand)

1-3/4 Cup water

Pinch of sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook rice according to package. Add all ingredients into a pot. Heat on high and bring to a boil. Once boiling cover with a lid, lower heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until liquid has dissolved.

  2. Once done, remove from heat, transfer to serving bowl or plate and garnish with sea salt. Serve right away.

PRETTY PLATE KITCHEN ITEMS USED:

  1. White Serving Bowl with Blue Rim

  2. Salad Bowl with Wood Top

  3. White Plate with Blue Rim

  4. Blue Oval Serving Dishes

  5. Glass Prep Bowls

  6. Salad Dressing Vessel

  7. Floral Kitchen Knives

  8. Sheet Pans Set

  9. Blue Bowl

  10. Salt Serving Bowl

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