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While expensive tasting menus and luxurious boxes of chocolate truffles are one way to express your affection on the most romantic night of the year, there’s truly no better way to show someone you care than making them a homemade feast.
Whether you’re spending your very first Valentine’s with a new boo, or have been together for too many Februaries to count, these menus are sure to impress. Even if you’re not the most experienced of chefs—or are downright terrified of the kitchen—a stunning homemade meal is well within reach. These menus are suitable for all levels of home cooks and are guaranteed to wow your significant other on February 14th and every other day of the year.
Though a night out at a swanky steakhouse is sure to please, it can also make a huge dent in your wallet. For a traditional, steakhouse inspired surf-and-turf dinner at home, stick to an easy-to-follow Strip Steak recipe, which is seared in a pan rather than grilled and requires just a few simple ingredients.
Top your steak with some uncomplicated but delicious Baked Shrimp in Lemony Garlic Sauce, which is ready in less than 20 minutes, and round out the steakhouse theme with simple and satisfying baked potatoes.
End the night with one of these easy skillet cookies, which you and your partner can spoon straight from the pan.
Pasta is one of the easiest dinners to prepare—even if you’re a complete kitchen novice—and is sure to make just about everyone happy. Make this Ultimate Quick-and-Easy Pasta Sauce recipe to serve with some store-bought spaghetti, and complete the dish with a straightforward meatball recipe.
Pick up a baguette from your go-to bakery or grocery store and make some basic Garlic Bread for scooping up extra sauce. If you’re craving greens, prepare an Italian House Salad to go along with your feast. And of course, don’t skimp on the red wine.
Don’t be surprised if by the end of the evening you’re reenacting the Lady and the Tramp pasta scene with your significant other.
If your Valentine sticks to a vegan diet, it can add another layer of stress to the homemade dinner situation—particularly if you’re not used to cooking completely animal product-free. However, your loved one will appreciate that you went the extra mile to make a menu that fits their lifestyle.
Or, if pasta is more of your jam try this Farfalle with Artichokes, Peppers, and Almonds, which is easy to make with store-bought pasta.
If you’re feeling ambitious, end the evening with a rich, dairy-free Dark Chocolate Avocado Cake, which will leave your vegan sweetie swooning.
If you’re in a new relationship and looking for a more laid back, pressure-free Valentine’s menu, a simple Mexican inspired fiesta is perfect for you. Pair these Easy Chicken Grilled Tacos with a super-simple guacamole and all of the standard taco fixings.
Add a special touch with homemade tortilla chips, which definitely earn you a few bonus points and require just flour tortillas, salt, and cooking spray.
Of course, no fiesta is complete without a boozy beverage, and these four-ingredient Classic Margaritas are sure to do the trick.
Fondue has always had a reputation for being one of the most romantic foods, given its propensity to lead to feeding each other. Though this dish might appear intimidating for first-time fondue makers, it’s actually fairly simple to make on your stovetop or hotplate.
For dessert, this simple Chocolate Bar Fondue is prepared with just two ingredients—chocolate bars and heavy cream—and a little time on the stove. Serve with strawberries and sliced store-bought angel food or pound cake, and don’t forget a bottle of cold champagne to complete the evening.
As the saying goes, sharing is caring, and there’s no type of food more inclined towards sharing than a healthy and flavorful Mediterranean spread. Warm up some store- or bakery-bought pita bread in the oven, and serve it with a variety of simple homemade dips.
This easy hummus recipe, made with canned garbanzo beans, is uncomplicated enough for any level of cook to tackle, and this zesty Tzatziki dip requires just five simple ingredients and no cooking whatsoever. For something a little more challenging, attempt a rich Baba Ganoush made with roasted eggplant.
Serve your traditional dips with a side of fresh Chopped Israeli Salad, and complete the feast with some light, minty cocktails.
Cooking together can be incredibly romantic… and insanely stressful if things get too complicated. Making homemade pizza together will not only be a fun, flirty activity, but is also simple enough to not cause any stress or strife.
Stick with store-bought crusts to make your life simpler, or if you want to go the extra mile with homemade pizza dough, be sure prep your dough ahead of time, giving it time to rise and eliminating the potential of ruining your date night outfit with a floury mess. Have your pizza sauce, cheese, meats, and veggies ready to go when your Valentine arrives. For something extra cheesy (pun intended), this heart-shaped pie is perfect for the loved-up holiday.