Guest Blog: Quarantine Date Night Tips by First Bite Catering.

We are so excited to have Chef Kelli Mckoy, Owner of First Bite Catering, as a Guest Blogger this week! First Bite Catering specializes in American cuisine with a West Indian flare, appetizers, hors d'oeuvres and more. Besides catering, First Bite Catering also offers healthy options that can be delivered, cooking classes and meal planning as well. Being quarantined has given a lot of us the blues. Usually a good day out would quickly fix that, but since that's not totally possible right now, we wanted some advice on how to make staying in fun. We asked Chef Kelli to share her best advice on creating a fun date night in! Here's what she shared with us! Quarantine Date Night Tips written by Chef Kelli Mckoy of First Bite Catering Before you begin, it is important to visualize what you want your date night to feel and look like. Do you want to conquer this meal on your own or would you rather enlist the help of an expert like a caterer or personal chef. Hiring help will eliminate the stress that comes along with planning. Most chefs will help with not only the cooking, but they will also help create the menu, do the shopping, prepping and even the setup. Whatever you decide, you and your date are on the right track to enjoying a low maintenance night in! Decide on a theme Choose appetizers that are easy to execute and easy to share.. Prep ahead It is best to prep at least the day before. It will make the day of less stressful. Be ready Have an appetizer ready to eat for when your date arrives. It is better to let them have something to munch on while you finish cooking the rest of the food. This will avoid anyone from getting hangry! TIP: A charcuterie board or tomato mozzarella basil skewers w/ a balsamic nectar is one of my favorite goto appetizers. Get the drinks ready Beverages should be easy to grab and ready to drink on ice, in the fridge or out on the table. Whatever you choose to drink. it should pair nicely with what you're having for dinner. Some of my favorite drinks are: A nice Red wine: Kaiken Malbec ($12) A delicious White wine: Frisk Prickly Riesling ($10) Craft beer/ beer: Sixpoint The Crisp Pilsner Golden Road Brewing Mango Cart Sam Adams Porch Rocker Keep it easy and attainable The best appetizer would be one that you can make ahead and easy enough that you can carry on a conversation with your date. Stick to 3-4 appetizers You don't want to go overboard with the appetizers, but you do want to have a few options. You don't want to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that you have to do, this is supposed to be a fun night for you and your honey. Some of my favorite appetizers to make are: (Please visit the First Bite Catering website for more delicious and easy to make recipes!) Charcuterie Board Tomato Mozzarella Basil Skewers w/ a Balsamic Nectar Coconut Shrimp w/ a Sweet Chili Apricot Sauce (recipe at the end of this blog!) Spinach and Artichoke dip Homemade Crostinis Maple BBQ Chicken Wings w/ Ranch or Jerk Chicken Skewers with a Mango Glaze Remember to take it easy on yourself! If you make a mistake on the recipe, it's ok! Things happen, just remember to breathe and go on with the flow. Spending time and enjoying each other's company is the most important part of your date night, eating a delicious home cooked meal is an added bonus! Coconut Shrimp with a Sweet Chili Apricot Sauce Prep time: 20 mins Cook time: 10 mins Total time: 30 mins Yields: 4 Servings Ingredients 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp ground black pepper 2 large eggs, beaten 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut 1 pound raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails attached vegetable oil or coconut oil* 1 tsp Potlatch Seasoning (sold at Williams Sonoma) or Old Bay's Thai Sweet Chili Sauce works as well. 8-15 oz jar Apricot Preserves Preparation Start with 3 medium bowls. Combine flour, salt, and pepper in one. Beat the eggs in the second bowl. Combine Panko and coconut in the third bowl. Sprinkle shrimp with pot latch or old bay seasoning, then dip the shrimp into the flour, then the eggs, and then dredge the shrimp into the coconut mixing, pressing lightly to make sure to coat the shrimp. You want a lot of coconut on each shrimp. Set the coated shrimp aside on a plate as you coat the remaining shrimp. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet, turn on medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Prep a plate lined with a paper towel, set aside. Fry the coconut shrimp in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan. About 6-7 at a time. Fry each side for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Place the finished coconut shrimp on a plate lined with a paper towel as you fry the rest. Serve with a sweet chili apricot sauce (which is 1 part Thai sweet sauce chili sauce to 2 parts apricot preserves). Enjoy Thank you so much to Chef Kelli Mckoy for sharing her date night tips and tricks! Please be sure to follow First Bite Catering on Facebook and Instagram, visit her website for more awesome recipes, or send her an email, kellimckoy@firstbite-catering.com, to book her for your next event! Always remember, Keep Calm, Stay Lovely and Party On! XOXO, Von Marie Von Marie Moniz is the Owner and DIY Wedding Planning Guru of Lovely Events by Von and Co-Founder of The DIY Blushing Bride. Lovely Events by Von is all about empowering couples throughout their wedding planning journey by providing a fun, straight-forward and stress free approach to the wedding planning process while helping couples navigate through the overwhelming chaos that is DIY, Pinterest and YouTube videos so that when their day comes, they'll be able to keep calm, stay lovely, party on and enjoy THEIR wedding day!

Guest Blog: Quarantine Date Night Tips by First Bite Catering.