Valentines Dinner Menu for Two to Treat Your Love
If the idea of fighting for reservations or paying through the nose to take your love out to dinner on Valentine’s Day seems detestable, why not try your hand at having a romantic dinner for two at home?
Shoot for something a little more interesting and special than what you would normally eat on a daily basis, but try to keep things simple to keep the stress level at a minimum. The perfect dinner will feature at least three courses: an appetizer, the main meal and a delightful dessert.
It goes without saying, that a great meal isn’t the only thing to consider when hosting a romantic dinner for two at home. It’s Valentine’s Day, so take the time to set a romantic mood. Start by setting a beautiful table with a short vase filled with flowers or even a few buds. Light an unscented candle (so the odor does not interfere with the aroma of your meal), uncork a bottle of wine and by all means add some music in the background. Put a letter or card that you’ve written something passionate and personal in on the dinner plate or a small wrapped gift. This will show how much you adore your Valentine, and also buy you some time to start prepping the food.
Now that you’ve set the stage, let’s get to the food. Here are three ideas for each course that will depend on your budget, time to prep and cooking ability. None of them are terribly difficult, but are designed not to disappoint.
- Caesar Salad: A delicious and simple salad is a perfect starter if you are under time constraints and most everyone loves it. Opt for a homemade dressing instead of the stuff in the bottle, as it’s much yummier and super easy to make (seen in photo 1).
- Bruschetta: Another simple appy that always garners ooh’s and ah’s is Bruschetta. This Italian delight is so easy to make, yet delivers great flavor. You can make the tomato portion several hours earlier and refrigerate, and then simply spoon it on the toasted bread a few minutes before serving.
- Sautéed Shrimp and Garlic: If you are really looking for a splashy presentation, then a shrimp starter always delivers. It’s healthy, scrumptious and deceivingly easy to make. For two people, 6-8 large shrimp each is more than sufficient as an appetizer. If you like things a tad spicy simply add red pepper flakes (or omit!).
- Penne a la Vodka Pasta: Oh so easy and crazily tasty! Penne a la Vodka will leave your sweetheart hankering for another plate. Here is a similar version with a touch of bacon for even more flavor. You can use prosciutto or pancetta in place of the bacon, too.
- Apricot Balsamic Chicken: Chicken is pretty hard to screw up and is usually something that everyone will eat without qualm. This recipe is one of my favorites because it takes less than 30 minutes to complete and has terrific flavor.
- Steak and Mushroom Sauce: No one is going to push aside a great steak meal. If your wallet can handle it, by all means splurge and really impress your love with your cooking skills. Simply put out a warm dinner roll to accompany the meal (and to soak up the scrumptious sauce with).
Here’s where you can admittedly cheat a bit and head to your local bake shop for something indulgent for your sweetie. No one is going to judge you if you do, but here are a few ideas that are simple enough to make if you want to ensure the entire meal is homemade:
- No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake: Shhhh! No one needs to know that these desserts didn’t even touch an oven. Just mix the ingredients and chill and you are good to go. Here’s a whole bunch of no bake goodies that are potential options to enthrall your darling Valentine.
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries: These are so ridiculously easy to make that there’s just no excuse not to! They are decadent, so you don’t need many to satisfy your Valentine. An easy cheat, is heating the chocolate in the microwave to eliminate the pesky need for a double-boiler.
- Rosemary and Honey Roasted Pears: Elegant, easy and flavorful, these oven roasted pears are sure to inspire a squeal of delight. It has a decidedly fancy appeal, so it will look like you’ve slaved over it, but in reality it’s a straightforward recipe. You can forgo the crème fraiche and just pop a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side instead (as seen in photo 2).
All photos courtesy of the author.