Ina Garten's New Favorite Date Night In With Jeffrey Is Breakfast for Dinner—Here Are 3 Meals They Adore

Slide on your coziest pair of slippers, mix up a batch of mimosas and prepare to channel your inner Ina.

A photo of Ina Garten with her husband Jeffrey looking and smiling at each other
Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

In 2021 around Valentine's Day, culinary queen Ina Garten clued us in about her best date night tips to keep the spark ablaze with her husband of nearly 54 years, Jeffrey. (We'll be raising a glass in honor of this swoon-worthy duo's anniversary on December 22!)

In addition to peppering the evening with romantic touches and nostalgic moments, Garten suggested keeping the menu simple and unfussy. "You really connect over a really nice, simple dinner rather than a fancy dinner that's meant to impress people," Garten said at the time. This became even more true during the pandemic, when Garten quickly realized she had an overwhelming amount on her (figurative) plate.

On the latest episode of the podcast Radio Cherry Bombe, host Kerry Diamond shares a 30-minute virtual conversation with Ina Garten who streams in from a closet in her New York City apartment. Diamond and Garten dive into topics ranging from her feelings about butter boards ("I'm not a big fan…but I haven't tried it, so I shouldn't knock it!"), her recent book tour stop with Nigella Lawson and her inspiration behind the breakfast for dinner chapter in her newest cookbook, Go-To Dinners.

"I started working on [the book] during the pandemic; the beginning of the pandemic actually. I found that I was working on recipes for a book, for Instagram (to explain to people what to do with those white beans and ramen noodles that they bought)…and at some point, I needed to make lunch and dinner for Jeffrey and me. It was such a crazy cook-a-thon," Garten confesses. "At some point between March and May, I just got into bed, pulled the covers under my chin and thought, 'I have to do this differently. I just can't keep cooking this much.' I was exhausted, because on top of everything else, we were really stressed." (We were right there with you, Ina, and are still bouncing back—which is why we created this guide to how to eat healthy When Mental Health Makes Doing Things Feel ~Hard~!)

To ease up on the prep time and effort, and since "dinner doesn't always have to be 'dinner,' you know, a classic meat, vegetable, starch kind of thing," Garten began simplifying and leaning into more casual one-pot meals like Chicken in a Pot with Orzo, snack dinners and breakfast-inspired spreads.

Here are three greatest hits that Garten says in the interview that she has enjoyed sharing with Jeffrey—and even dinner guests:

  • Eggs in purgatory, which Garten describes as "tomato sauce with poached eggs on top," with "a big shard of crusty bread." Try our Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Kale for a similar skillet recipe that can be yours in a mere 30 minutes.
  • A Gruyère omelet, "which is ready in like 5 minutes," with a salad and more of that crusty bread. Next time we get cracking, we'll be trying her five-star Fine Herbs Omelet with Gruyère instead of goat cheese.
  • Waffles and bacon. We're already huge fans of Garten's 5-ingredient Waffle Iron Hash Browns are already one of our favorites, and we now have our sights set on trying her Overnight Belgian Waffles and serving those with Caramelized Bacon and a fresh fruit salad on the side.

Beyond being quick and easy, Garten's new go-to dinner strategy of savoring morning meals at night is a brilliant trick to beat inflation. Breakfast ingredient MVPs like eggs, bread, baking staples (for waffles, pancakes and biscuits) and leftovers (to fold into scrambles or frittatas) are far more affordable than many dinner features like steak, seafood and all the fixings for multiple side dishes and a dessert. We'll take that as the perfect excuse to pop open a bottle of budget-friendly bubbly to share in bellinis or mimosas!

For more menu inspiration, check out our 33 best breakfast for dinner ideas, and tune into the rest of the Ina Garten interview on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

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