While eating dinner at a fancy restaurant is nice, anybody can make a reservation. If you truly want to impress your sweetheart, why not make a home cooked meal? Whether you have a small galley or large open concept kitchen, you can show how much you care with a romantic evening at home. Here are a few tips for planning and preparing the perfect Valentine’s Day dinner — made with love.
Tip 1: Search Your Heart
You know your Valentine better than anyone. Before you begin, search your heart to determine what he or she would love. What are her favorite foods? Even if it’s something as simple as burgers, incorporate that into the menu — with a gourmet twist. Does he love spending quality time with you? If so, plan a meal you can cook together. Does she love surprises? Have a romantic dinner for two waiting when she gets home from work.
Tip 2: Set The Mood
Valentine’s Day is a special occasion; so bring a bit of romantic ambiance to your dining room or open concept kitchen. Now is the perfect time to pull out the good China dishes and crystal wine glasses you received as a wedding gift. Show you care by setting the table properly, complete with cloth napkins, tapered candles, and a vase of fresh flowers. For a detailed guide on table setting etiquette from Emily Post, click here.
Tip 3: Plan The Menu
If you cook dinner on a nightly basis, steer clear of the meals in your regular rotation, and whip up something new and exciting for Valentine’s Day. Start with your significant other’s favorite meal, and make it fancy. For example, simple spaghetti and meatballs can become spicy Pappardelle with Bolognese Sauce, while steak can become surf and turf, with filet mignon and broiled lobster tails. Even a traditional cheeseburger can be made special with unique toppings. Swap raw white onions for pickled red onions, iceberg lettuce for arugula, and American cheese for Gouda or Gorgonzola.
Tip 4: Don’t Forget Dessert
A Valentine’s Day dinner isn’t complete without a decadent dessert for two. Don’t cheat by buying a store-bought confection. Baking a homemade sweet for your sweetheart is the icing on the cake — the perfect happy ending to the lovey meal you have prepared. If you’re not a natural baker, keep things simple. Search online for easy and traditional Valentine’s Day dessert recipes, such as Chocolate Mousse or heart shaped Strawberry Shortcake. You may also want to consider stocking your bar cabinets for a special nightcap cocktail.
Planning and preparing a Valentine’s Day dinner is a thoughtful gesture that takes time and effort. When you follow these helpful tips, your Valentine will surely be impressed — and feel loved.
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