Dining by the Numbers- Table for Two: Three Appetizer Board Meal Ideas for an At-Home Date Night

Remember that time I announced a new series, did a post, and then never posted a follow-up? Well, the holidays are behind us and Dining by the Numbers is back! Since it’s been a while, I think a refresher is in order. I share a lot of dinner party-esque tables but what about those times where you have a couple of girlfriends over? Or you’re dining alone? Or you are looking for something more casual? In this series, I share different themed dining situations based on the number of guests you are entertaining (or as in the first of the series, aren’t entertaining). You can check out the first post, Flying SoloHERE. Each installment will advance in numerical order which means today’s feature is Table for Two. Be sure to stick around to the end of the post where I’m sharing my favorite part- three appetizer board meal ideas for an at-home date night.

*Posts on KelleyNan.com may contain affiliate links. See full disclosure HERE*

Easy Dinner Date night ideas at home

Dave and I are total homebodies and our date of preference, 100%, is relaxing together without leaving the house. Especially on Friday nights, after a long week of working, we don’t want to head back out into the world; it’s also our night off from cooking. Sometimes we lean on oven pizza but our typical go-to is pulling together leftovers or assembling a bunch of snacks in (you probably guessed it) a “snack around the plate”.

date night picnic at home with cheese and wine by the fire

For dinners, we only buy what we need for the week but with me being home the majority of the time, we always keep light snacks and all the fixin’s for weekday lunch salads on hand. I’ll be sharing an updated post on meal planning soon 😉 You don’t have to go overboard on keeping things in-stock (that let’s face it, will lead to a lot of waste) to whip up easy tapas-style meals on the weekends. But on those nights that you actually declare “date night at home”, it’s fun to pull together an easy-prep spread that’s a little more than last night’s leftovers.

appetizer board with elaborate cheese spread

We aren’t talking slaving in the kitchen all day, friends. We’re all about sticking to that no-cook post-work-week celebration. An easy, but beautiful board of bite-sized favs is totally where it’s at. Presentation isn’t just for company to enjoy; it helps elevate your own experiences, too. Friends, it may seem silly but this can totally make or break date night. Don’t believe me? Think of yourself at home, watching a movie, and eating a fast food burger out of the wrapper. (Hey, these nights totally have their place, too!) Now imagine sitting down and sharing something that’s been put together and is as pretty as it is yummy. See what I mean?

Perfect date night without leaving the house


The most important thing is to just come up with a plan and be intentional about your time together. Nothing will zap the special-ness out of your night like getting lazy, scrolling through Netflix for an hour, and ultimately doing nothing except browsing Facebook on your phones. (FYI, we have totally been guilty of this!) Whether you want to start a puzzle, break out the games, or watch a movie, decide before you’re in the middle of your date. Plan for it… look forward to it.

Indoor winter picnics are my definition of the double high five emoji.

faux fur throw pillows and cozy throws for living room picnic

If you caught my Instagram stories on NYE, you probably saw that we actually had a casualty during our countdown date. We were on hour two of the same stack of jumbo jenga (see one similar to ours HEREwhen the tower toppled onto our mirrored coffee table. You. Guys. Totalled. In the meantime, I’m thankful for this oversized tray which helps disguise the result of our questionable judgement.

Cheese and wine with card game for date night at home

I’m not sure whose idea it was to construct a tower of wooden blocks next to an expensive piece of glass, with the goal of ultimately toppling them over. Can we blame this one on Dave? haha

Tuscan / mediterranean cheese board display

Inexpensive ideas for date night at home

When you’re deciding what to pull together, you can absolutely look to your fridge and pantry for inspiration and base your menu off of some things you already have on hand. If you’re stumped, here are three favorite appetizer board meal ideas.


This classic cheese board is always a winner. Dave doesn’t care much for wine but one afternoon a few years ago, I took him to a few wineries and he loved it. It was all about the experience… snacking on cheese and cocktail apps as we paired and tasted our way through the north Georgia mountains. It even made him love wine during the experience. Since then, he is all about appetizer-style tasting dinners over drinks. (You can absolutely turn this cheese board into a charcuterie board but I don’t eat smoked/deli meats).

How to make a Traditional cheese board


Chips, dips, and all the accompaniments, pull together a southwestern board to dress your own nachos.

Southwest Mexican chips and dip appetizer board


A guilt-free garden board of crudites is perfect if you are looking to keep date night on the lighter, more refreshing side. Incorporate any leftovers into your meal plan for the coming week!

The perfect vegetable tray on a wooden paddle board

Beyond date night, these are perfect to add to your menu if you are entertaining. Choose one as an app for your guests to graze on or prepare multiple boards to make up the entire spread.

Veggie display for a party or date night


What is your favorite at-home date? Let me know in the comment section below!

Date night ideas at home- inexpensive and easy with three different meal board ideas

At Home Date night ideas with easy meal board ideas for dinner

Share this:
get subscriber exclusives & never miss a post!

No spam guarantee.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to Mad Mimi ( more information )
Kelley Nan headshot



Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 1.11.18
    Kristy Wicks said:

    I absolutely love the ideas you shared for the boards Kelley! The tex-mex board has stolen my heart.. I may have to have Jeff pull this one together for me this week. 😉 Jk- I think I can manage putting those together for him. Beautiful photos too – love this post!!

    • 1.12.18

      Kristy, I think appetizer board meals were invented for you and Jeff! I love seeing your sweet dates!

  2. 1.11.18
    Gretchen Thomas (Nan) said:

    These are beautiful and look so tasty. What a great post and so perfect for now!

    • 1.12.18

      Nan, you are the inventor of the ultimate snack around the plate 😉

  3. 1.11.18
    Tiffany Bush said:

    Wow! These are beautiful!

  4. 1.12.18
    Chelly Picone said:

    Kelley, I am loving each of the beautiful boards you created and I’m so inspired. I’m having my mom (who will be 78 this year) spend the day with me for lunch and movies all day tomorrow. (It’s supposed to rain all day) I usually try to make everything so pretty and extra special when my mom comes over even if I’m only making sandwiches. I’m so excited that I have everything on hand to make a similar garden board. As for date nights with my hubby, we are so much like you and Dave. Love Friday nights at home and I love the idea of beautiful but easy snacks to make th evening special and delicious. Thank you Kelley for all the great ideas! I loved your post and your mouthwatering photos. Wishing you and Dave a lovely weekend! co

    • 1.12.18

      Chelly, I LOVE THAT! Happy birthday to your mom and it sounds like she is going to have a beautiful day with you. Love that you work to make things so special for her!

  5. 1.12.18
    Linda said:

    What a creative and helpful post! I have never seen such attractive appetizer boards. Look forward to putting this inspiration to work on a “cheese” board of my own!

    • 1.12.18

      Linda, thank you so much!! Best of luck; I bet it will turn out delicious!

  6. 1.12.18
    Tara said:

    I HAVE to know the first white sauce in the Tex-Mex board! Is that just queso? Recipe? store? THANK YOUUU!

    • 1.12.18

      Hi, Tara! Yes, it is just a queso from the grocery store 😉

  7. 1.12.18
    Page said:

    What are the ingredients for each board you pictured? Thanks!

  8. 1.12.18
    Kay said:

    Did I miss it? Where did you purchase your oversized tray?

  9. 1.12.18

    Love all of the ideas! When it’s just hubby and I, we love this sort of thing as some days we will eat a bigger lunch out then stay in for dinner.

  10. 1.13.18
    Kay said:

    Where can I purchase the extra large tray?

    • 1.13.18

      Hi, Kay! It was a ZGallerie find 3-4 years ago.

  11. 1.14.18
    Joni King said:

    Awesome ideas Kelley Nan, thanks! I have a couple of friends coming over next week and the garden tray will be perfect! And, of course there will be wine. Love all your suggestions and will look forward to creating the tex-mix board soon! Hugs!

Want Exclusives and First Peeks?

Sign up to receive your regular (but not too regular!) dose of refined comfort for practical living, subscriber-only content, and all the latest delivered straight to your inbox!

*Your information will never be shared with third parties