For my parents anniversary, I wanted to make spaghetti and meatballs. This decision inspired a Date Night with Lady and the Tramp with dinner and movie.
As kids my sister and I would put on these elaborate themed surprise date nights for our parents. And now that I am grown, I have kept up with this tradition.
We transformed the house into a bed n breakfast, with numbers on the door and breakfast in bed. A dinner and movie night, with an intimate restaurant and movie theater complete with concessions. These childhood moments are some of my favorite memories.
- MENU: Spaghetti, Italian Arrabbiata Sauce and Meatballs with Romano Herb Bread on the side
- FEATURE FILM: Lady and the Tramp, circa 1955
- CONCESSIONS: Buttered Popcorn with Reese pieces, Red Vines, and Root beer Floats
Lady and the Tramp Anniversary Dinner
Meatballs – Adapted from thecozycook.com
Makes 18-24 meatballs
- 1 lb beef and 1 lb pork
- 1/2 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese, grated fine
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley (1 tbsp dried parsley)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsps olive oil
Gently combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl, except for the oil. Try not to overwork the meat. You want tender meatballs.
Roll the meat into 1 to 1 1/2-inch sized balls and set them aside.
Prepare 2-3 meatballs for each person.
Freeze any unused meatballs (see directions below).
Pre-heat the instant pot with olive oil.
Give each meatball a final roll and add them to the pot.
In batches, brown the meatballs for a few minutes on each side.
Remove and set aside.
Note: meatballs are not fully cooked.
Italian Arrabbiata Sauce in the Instant Pot
6 servings, 3/4 cup per
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 14.5 cans Diced or Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to the desired level of spice)
- 1/2 teaspoon (each) salt & black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (for dried basil, 2 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Drizzle the olive oil into the instant pot. Set to Saute for 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Stir until combined, then place the lid on the instant pot.
Set to Pressure Cook for 30 minutes. Then quick release. Use a dish towel to cover the spout as it releases steam. Remove the lid and stir the sauce.
Add the browned meatballs. Place the lid on the instant pot and set to pressure cook for 30 minutes.
Plate noodles, top with sauce and meatballs. Add 1-2 slices of bread. Garnish with fresh basil and grated parmesan or Romano cheese.
Romano Cheese and Herb Bread
8 Servings per loaf – Adapted from unsophisticook.com
- 1 large loaf of French or Italian bread
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese or Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a small mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the butter, garlic, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese.
Slice the French bread in half horizontally. Spread each cut side liberally with the garlic butter mixture. Lay each half cut side up on a large rimmed baking sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Then broil on high for 2-3 minutes, until the outside edges of the bread are toasty and the top is starting to brown. Let cool for a minute, then cut into 1-inch slices. Serve immediately.
Spaghetti Noodles: Follow the directions on the package. Drain and return to the pot. Drizzle with olive oil and toss the noodles (2 oz. dry noodles per serving).
TO FREEZE: Place the uncooked meatballs onto a baking sheet and flash freeze for 30 minutes. This will prevent them from sticking together.
Store them in a freezer bag or airtight container in the freezer for 3-4 months.
When you’re ready defrost them before browning, then continue with the next steps in the recipe.
Date Night Feature Film
Go old school with DVD or stream on Disney+
Stocked with buttered popcorn, candy and bottle or can drinks.
My parents like to mix their popcorn and candy. Their candy of choice is Reeses pieces, mixed-in and sprinkled on top.
Spiked Root Beer Floats for Two
Adapted from ofbatteranddough.com
- 4 scoops vanilla ice cream
- 4 ounces rum
- 12 ounces root beer
- Ground nutmeg, to taste
Add a scoop of ice cream to each pint glass and sprinkle with a bit of nutmeg. Add your rum and root. Top with another scoop of ice cream and sprinkle with additional nutmeg. Enjoy!
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