While Valentine’s Day provides a great opportunity to show your partner how much you care for them, sometimes a box of chocolates doesn’t seem like enough. Additionally, COVID has made it a little difficult to get out of the house for a fancy Valentine’s meal. Fortunately, you have options!
If you are looking for a way to make this year’s celebration unique, we recommend planning a special Valentine’s meal for two. Show your partner you love them by taking time to cook a meal for them to enjoy.
Tips for Creating the Perfect Valentine’s Day Meal
If you don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen (or planning at-home dates), don’t worry. The beauty of at-home dates lies in their simplicity. Just make sure to cover all your bases by taking the following steps of preparation.
1. Plan your menu ahead of time.
Last-minute Valentine’s Day plans rarely pan out well, especially if you want to cook a nice meal. To avoid making a thousand trips to the grocery store, plan your menu a week or two in advance. Then, read through each recipe you intend to use and make a list of the necessary ingredients. A little organization goes a long way!
2. Focus on the atmosphere.
If you want a romantic setting, you have to create a romantic setting. Turn on a relaxing playlist of your partner’s favorite love songs, and light a few candles around the home. Roses on the table make a nice touch and don’t forget to set the table with pretty plates and glassware.
3. Add unique details to the setting.
In addition to the general romantic atmosphere, try to add a few details that are unique to your partner. For example, add a framed photo of the two of you to the center of the table. Print a custom menu specifying the entree or dessert as your partner’s favorite. Decorate in your partner’s favorite colors. If you are married, try to replicate some of the details from your wedding reception. Ultimately, just have fun with it and make it personal.
4. Clean up as you go.
Keep the environment inviting by cleaning up as you go. Particularly if your partner is not scheduled to arrive until you have finished cooking the meal, it is important to keep things tidy. This saves on cleanup after the meal is finished.
5. Remember that simple is always best.
It can be tempting to get complicated with recipes and decor, but ultimately, simple is best. Try not to take too many risks unless you want to practice ahead of time. Valentine’s Day evening is not the time to discover that your entree recipe actually tastes terrible!
6. Finish the meal with a sweet activity.
Sure, dessert matters, but make sure you prepare an easy transition to something even sweeter. Think along the lines of a slow dance in the living room, a movie in your “home theater,” or a special game night.
Stuck on the Menu?
So, back to the menu. Whether you cook a lot or not, it can be difficult to get inspired. We recommend letting your partner be the inspiration! Ask yourself what they love. If they are big fans of Italian, cook a pasta dish and if you really want to go all out, bake some fresh bread. If they like fresh fruits or vegetables, try to include a salad as a side dish. Generally speaking, you should include the following items in your special Valentine’s meal for two.
- 2-3 Sides
Now, if your partner loves all food equally (or is particularly picky!), you can never go wrong with a delicious steak dinner. Steak is surprisingly easy to cook on either a grill or a stovetop, particularly with butter and a sprig of rosemary. Just make sure you use a meat thermometer to avoid giving your date a steak that’s still mooing!
If you follow the above list of items, your steak dinner menu might look something like this.
- Fresh vegetable salad
- Seared steak with butter and rosemary
- Baked potatoes, green beans with mushrooms, and rolls
- Wine or sparkling cider
- Cheesecake or ice cream
Remember, your Valentine’s Day celebration is all about the two of you, so don’t overthink it. Focus on creating an atmosphere of love, laughter, and enjoyment of one another’s company. A good meal just seals the deal!