The Perfect Date Night Dinner

When I posted this picture a few months ago on Instagram of a meal I made, people went insane. I got texts, comments, and many questions on how I made this dish. While I am in NO way a chef like Paula or Sandra Lee, I am striving every day to make them proud. 

You can ask my mother, growing up I hated to cook. I refused to let her lend me her guidance (oh how I regret that now) for making the perfect fried chicken or how to properly melt chocolate (trust me, it isn't as easy as it seems).  

As I get older, a passion for cooking has quickly developed. I love nothing more than finding a recipe on Pinterest or in a cookbook and adapting it to my own. Sometimes a recipe just needs more salt or would be good with a different side dish. 

The Apple Cider Bacon Scallops was a recipe I found on Pinterest, but made it my own. With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, a home cooked meal may be the perfect date night for you. This is my favorite dish and it will definitely make the best impression possible for any holiday or date night at home!

Apple Cider Bacon Scallops 
Dinner for Two
6 Jumbo Sea Scallops
2 slices of thick cut Applewood Smoked Bacon
One pkg of mushrooms
10 oz. of baby spinach 
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper 
About 3/4 cups of unfiltered apple cider
About 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 
1 tablespoon of honey

If scallops aren't your thing or you have seafood allergies, try thin cut chicken breasts. 

Place sea scallops on paper towels and blot dry
Make sure they stay dry or they won't cook properly 
Lightly salt and pepper the scallops and set aside
(If you're doing chicken, do the same, lightly salt and pepper, put in your oven for 30 minutes on 350 degrees. Once done, turn off oven and leave inside till ready to plate.)

Cook bacon till thick and crispy
Cut into tiny cubed pieces and set aside

While bacon is cooking, chop up mushrooms in thin slices

Leave bacon grease in sauté pan
Reheat to medium - high
Add a little butter to the pan
Sauté mushrooms till lightly brown
When done, place mushrooms in bowl and set aside 

Leave grease and butter 
Add a little more butter to pan if needed
Work in batches to sauté the spinach till it's wilted
Continue till all spinach is cooked
Add mushrooms and bacon to the pan
Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper 
Put in a bowl and set aside

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the apple cider, balsamic vinegar and honey
Set aside

It's all to coming together!!

In your large sauté pan, heat till searing hot
Make sure you still have a thin layer of bacon grease and butter
Place scallops in pan to sear
Leave for 3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown
Flip scallops
Leave for 3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown
Remove scallops and put on a plate to keep warm (place in foil tent if possible to keep them warm)

Slowly pour the apple cider mixture into the pan, stirring in any leftover scallop bits
Heat for about a minute or two, till the liquid has thickened 

Time to plate your dish!

Place spinach, mushrooms and bacon mixture on plate
Place scallops on top
Pour apple cider mixture over
Clean up your plate edges and voila!! 

Happy cooking (and eating)!