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Forget overpriced restaurants: 9 tasty at-home Valentine’s Day dinner plans

Whether the idea of crowded rooms, pre-fixe menus, and jacked-up prices doesn’t appeal to you, or you’re still not comfortable with the idea of dining out, why not skip the Valentine’s Day restaurant scene in favor of a safe, and still romantic, dinner at home for two? 

One of the most loving things you can do this Valentine’s Day is to make a special dinner at home for two. The menu can be fancy or casual (there are no rules), but pay careful attention to selecting foods you and your Valentine enjoy, or try out a special new recipe to really show them how much you care. 

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Looking for Valentine’s Day dinner ideas? You won’t be able to tell these delicious, savory meals weren’t made at an upscale restaurant.

1. A multicourse meal with chocolate in every course

Since chocolate is synonymous with Valentine’s Day, why not feature it in every part of your romantic meal? Start with a chocolate martini in a glass rimmed with cocoa powder. Follow with a main course of chocolatey chicken in mole, puebla style, and Mexican white rice, before finishing with an easy chocolate mousse you can whip up in just five minutes.

2. The perfect steak dinner

Restaurant-quality beef tenderloin gets a flavorful upgrade with a fresh tomato and balsamic vinegar reduction sauce. It’s so easy to make, with just five simple ingredients. Add whipped potatoes on the side, and your Valentine will think you spent your whole day in the kitchen.

3. Pasta for two

Celebrate your love — of each other and of pasta — by creating a memorable Italian meal that will put you both in the mood for amore. For a romantic night like Valentine’s Day, opt for something extra special, like homemade beet gnocchi with walnut-sage butter. Not only is it an elegant, tasty, and sufficiently special main course pasta, but it’s also Valentine-perfect in red. Serve with an arugula salad topped with shaved parmesan and lemon olive oil dressing, a side of crusty French bread, and a bottle of bold red wine — it’s perfecto!

4. Is it true what they say about oysters?

This oysters with tomato-cucumber relish recipe may be a bit of a splurge, but Valentine’s Day only comes once a year. Long considered to be an aphrodisiac, oysters are an elegant, delicious, and holiday-appropriate choice for your Valentine’s dinner for two. First course? Main course? It doesn’t matter, as long as you make oysters a part of your meal.

5. A special chicken recipe for a special night

This Tuscany stuffed chicken breast recipe boasts a stuffing comprised of Fontina cheese, fresh sage, and roasted peppers that will transform ordinary chicken breast into an elegant dinner for two. Save the bottle of white wine you’ll need as part of the recipe, and enjoy a glass or two with dinner.

6. Home served but not home-cooked

Need a night off from cooking? Arrange for takeout from your favorite local restaurant. Choose an appetizer to share, two main courses, and desserts, and then take the time to remove the food from the takeout container to plate them properly, as befits a romantic dinner at home. Note: Order well in advance, as Valentine’s Day is a very busy restaurant night. 

7. Try something different

Give your love of comfort foods a gourmet twist by trying out this mouthwatering truffled mac and cheese recipe. It’s a whole new level of goodness when you add a drizzle of sumptuous truffle oil. It’s not fancy or difficult to make, but it sure tastes that way.

8. A heart for dessert

Almost too beautiful to eat (but, of course, you will). These raspberry meringue hearts are fruity, sweet, heart-shaped, and pretty as a picture, too. 

9. Don’t forget the chocolate!

You can’t have a Valentine’s Day dinner without chocolate. If you don’t have the desire to create a homemade dessert, you can still create a sweet chocolate finish to your meal by getting some of your favorite gourmet chocolates and artfully arranging them on an elegant dish or tray. 

Table setting ideas to help set the stage for romance

Dining for two? Make your table the very picture of romance. Bring out the good china, the crystal stemware, the cloth napkins, and candlesticks to give your table all of the ambiance of the finest restaurant. Add touches of holiday color with floral centerpieces and flickering candles set in red glass votive holders. If you’re looking for inspiration, Pinterest is filled with ideas. 

Just because you’re staying in this Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean your dinner can’t be every bit as special. Try out some new recipes, take extra care in setting the table, pick up a bottle of champagne for toasting, and don’t forget the chocolate. Skip the crowds and spend a quiet Valentine’s Day at home with the one you love.

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