Iron Chef at home... our new favorite date night

Like most married couples with kids, Jared and I spend most evenings relaxing in front of the TV. This is great for catching up on our shows, but it can make for a pretty lame marriage. Since we can't afford to get a babysitter every weekend, I tried to come up with ideas for creating the feel of a date night at home. And then it hit me - we love to cook, we love Iron Chef, and we love a little friendly competition... a weekly Iron Chef battle was just the thing we needed to, uh, spice up our Saturday nights. Here's what we do... earlier in the week we'll pick an ingredient, then toss around some course ideas. We prepare 3 courses, 1 each and then 1 joint course. Everything is made from scratch and we aren't allowed to use recipes (unless it's to make an ingredient that we've never made before, like pie crust.) Jared goes out during Saturday naptime to get all the ingredients, we start prepping during the day as needed, and we start the real cooking once Emma goes to bed. We don't limit ourselves to an hour because, well, that would be insane.

The first week we did Battle Blue Cheese, and it was AH-MAZING! I took a ton of photos, and then promptly accidentally deleted them when I formatted my CF card. So let's move on to Battle Bacon, shall we?

Our first course was our joint course... a romaine salad with shallot bacon balsamic dressing topped with blue cheese crumbles and bacon. It was really tasty, but the blue cheese overpowered the bacon flavor. I'd absolutely make this again, though.

bacon wrapped scallops bacon wrapped shrimp

The second course was all Jared, and the man out-did himself... bacon-wrapped shrimp and bacon wrapped scallops crusted with lemon pepper & sea salt, topped with Old Bay bacon crumbles. The shrimp were good, but the scallops were to-die-for. So juicy and tender, and perfectly complemented by the bacon.

The third course was mine, and if I do say so myself (and I do, because it's my blog), I crushed it. Maple bacon ice cream garnished with bacon brittle. Best. Ice. Cream. Ever. Okay, maybe not the best ever, but easily the best I've ever made. If you've ever been to Voodoo Donuts in Portland, you've probably had their maple bacon bar... well, this is the ice cream equivalent of that deliciousness.

Jared and I agreed that we tied on this battle... his scallops were just as delicious as my ice cream. We high fived each other and agreed that this was the best date night idea ever. Well, second to actually leaving the house. Cooking together is a blast and we get an amazing meal out of it. If you're looking for a way to jazz up your weekends with your significant other, I highly recommend trying your own Iron Chef battle.

Up next for us... Battle Lemon. Kinda unconventional, but lemons are in season so we're just going to roll with it.