Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is approaching at an alarming speed. And let’s face it—gift-giving can be hard even under the best circumstances. Add the need to find the perfect way to express your love and this holiday can become a pressure cooker!
But don’t worry, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to strike fear in your heart. There is one gift that speaks everyone’s love language: food. What better way to let your partner know how much you care than cooking them a delicious meal?
What’s that you say? You don’t cook? Or maybe you do cook but don’t feel confident preparing something for a special holiday. Or maybe you really don’t cook.
But you can cook, and you can cook something special. We’re going to give you some ideas for easy-to-make dishes that look beautiful and taste fantastic. Food doesn’t have to be complicated to be loving and thoughtful!
A 3-course meal is the way to go. More courses and you might get overwhelmed, fewer and there might not be enough to eat. Three courses hit, shall we say, the sweet spot.
You’re going to run into some disagreement as to what your first course should be. Some will insist that it must be an appetizer. Others will say it absolutely has to be soup or a salad. Don’t listen to anyone who insists that there’s only one right way to make a meal.
Your first course should be what you choose. It is generally something fairly light so you don’t fill up before the main course. This is why soup and salad are such popular choices.
If you’d like to make soup, keep it simple. Some soups take hours to prepare so we’re going to stay away from those. Many soups can be prepared in advance and heated before serving. We will not tell the kitchen police if you use the microwave.
Your soup can be light or rich. If you choose a heavier soup, simply serve a smaller portion. Since Valentine’s Day is a winter holiday for the Northern Hemisphere, you can feature seasonal flavors in your soup starter.
Try this super simple pureed butternut squash soup from the Food Network. It only has a few ingredients and you can definitely make it beforehand.
If you prefer something heartier, try this barley vegetable soup from Taste of Home. The list of ingredients looks long if you’re a beginner, but you make it in a slow cooker and the actual recipe only has two steps.
We’ve chosen vegetable soups because they are delicious, healthy, and much easier than dealing with meat.
You can put together a simple tossed green salad using only a knife and our gorgeous black walnut cutting board. Just make sure your veggies are fresh and washed before you start. Add your favorite dressing (yes, it can come from a bottle) and you’re set.
If you’d like to try a classic, mix up a Caesar salad. A basic Caesar salad is Romaine lettuce, crunchy croutons, creamy Caesar dressing, and parmesan cheese.
You can certainly buy the dressing, but if you’d like to make your own, try this recipe from Britt Brouwer at Allrecipes. It has all the traditional ingredients including Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, and Dijon mustard.
If you’d like a little different version of a Caesar salad, try this Convenience Caesar from Ree Drummond at the Food Network. It’s full of flavor and super easy to make.
Leave out the raw egg, which in the traditional salad is cracked over the top. No one wants Salmonella for Valentine’s Day.
Would you rather serve an appetizer than soup or a salad? Go right ahead! Use your black walnut cutting board to arrange a nice charcuterie board.
Choose your favorite sliced cured meats, cheeses, olives, and other goodies and arrange. Check out our detailed post for more information on this simple and elegant appetizer.
Also called an entrée, the main course is the heart and soul of your meal. To make it special for your sweetheart (or yourself, to be honest) choose something you know they (or you) like.
There are no rules that say you must serve filet mignon or lobster for a special meal. You can, but don’t feel like it’s somehow required. We’re talking about an easy meal here, after all, and those don’t usually involve boiling crustaceans.
Instead, try this Sirloin with Baked Potatoes from the Food Network. It looks beautiful on the plate and the whole thing can be done in half an hour.
Taste of Home has a collection of 75 Valentine’s Day Dinners that includes beef, pork, poultry, seafood, and vegetarian options. Some are certainly easier than others, but you should be able to find something that fits your skill level, taste, and budget.
Remember, this is your Valentine’s Day meal. If your partner or family loves burgers, grill burgers! You can fancy anything up with a pretty table setting, good lighting, and high-quality ingredients.
You can have a Valentine’s Day meal without dessert, but why would you want to? Like all parts of your special meal, you can choose to be traditional or do something different.
Traditional, of course, is something with chocolate. One of the most romantic desserts out there is chocolate-dipped strawberries and it can be as simple or elaborate as you like.
A fun option to take this simple dessert up a notch is to add a few additional ingredients. You can dip the strawberries in crushed nuts or sprinkles, or add a swirly design in white chocolate.
This is a dish that can be made ahead, and that’s always a plus! Try this Chocolate Covered Strawberries recipe from Aaron McCargo Jr. at the Food Network. This one uses a double boiler.
If you don’t have a double boiler, or have never heard of a double boiler, head over to Delish. This article gives you a recipe and the lowdown on everything you need to know to get great, easy results.
There are simple desserts out there that are both delicious and simple. For those of you looking for something without chocolate, try a dessert pizza. Made with sugar cookie dough crust with a creamy topping covered with strawberries and other red fruits, this is a super easy treat.
Five Heart Home breaks it all down in their Fruit Pizza recipe, giving you hints and tips to make this the easiest, most delicious dessert to end your meal. You can also make individually sized fruit pizzas. Cut them out with cookie cutters and you can personalize each one with specific fruit combinations.
If you’re just tired of cooking altogether by the time you get to dessert, never fear. Try a parfait! You can buy every single ingredient for this pretty treat at the grocery store and assemble it in minutes.
A parfait is layered into a tall glass. You can use only whipped cream and the berries of your choice and have a beautiful dessert. The easiest way to layer whipped cream is to use the kind in a can. No worrying about sloppy layers!
You can also use pudding, custard, or mousse, add nuts or toffee bits, or add a cookie layer or two. No time to chop strawberries? Use frozen—they usually have a sweet syrup so factor that into your choice of layers.
The parfait is easy to customize for individual preferences, fast to create, and looks and tastes great. That’s a powerful combination for the end of your Valentine’s Day meal.
Three Courses of Love
Now that you have some ideas for your romantic 3-course Valentine’s Day meal, you just need to set the stage. Use your fancy dishes, get out an actual table cloth, and enjoy the fruits of your labor by candlelight.
And, of course, make good use of your Rossie Home cutting boards.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be filled with anxiety and pressure. You can make a meal everyone will love even if you aren’t a master chef. Don’t fret if something doesn’t turn out perfectly. Believe it or not, even on Valentine’s Day, it really is the thought that counts.