Cooking dinner at home on Valentine’s Day? Here are some tips

I’m of the mindset that staying in for dinner for Valentine’s Day is way better than going out, especially if you have a kick-ass, simple menu! Eating out requires a lot of forethought to make the reservation (if you can even get in), usually includes a fixed price menu with little to no choice of menu, and then there’s the matter of spending your romantic Valentine’s day with 80-100 other diners surrounding you. Doesn’t that sound romantic?? Nope!

Cooking at home doesn’t mean you can’t get dressed up, light some candles, put on some mood music, and enjoy the night–just the two of you! And if you’re single invite some friends over and have a great dinner all together. Valentine’s Day is not only about romantic love, even if that’s what the greeting card industry wants you to think.

I’ve come up with some tips to minimize your stress level and maximize the enjoyment of staying in and cooking for your special someone.

Keep it simple. Really this is always my motto. If you’re not too comfortable in the kitchen, please don’t plan a 7 course menu from Bon Appetit. If you don’t even know what Bon Appetit is, well, my point, exactly. You don’t want to overdo it and spend the entire night in the kitchen while leaving your partner sitting alone sipping wine. This is not the time to try out complicated, new recipes.

Know your skill level. We all want to think that we could put together a meal like Heston Blumenthal but try to be realistic as to your skill level in the kitchen. If you’re a novice, then stick with an easy to follow recipe. Remember, it’s the thought that counts. This is supposed to be less stressful than going out so refer back to the tip above, keep it simple.

Plan ahead. Do all your prep work the day before or earlier in the day. Dishes that are cooked in one pan or even baked are easy and allow you spend more time with your dining partner. Chill your champagne or wine the day before(sounds obvious but I’ve forgotten to do this plenty of times). Most everyone likes steak and it can be cooked easily with simple flavors such as olive oil, rosemary or thyme with some nice pan roasted root vegetables. You can even make a dessert the day before and keep it refrigerated until it’s time to serve. Vanilla, bourbon whipped cream on top of warm, gooey fudge brownies is always a winner.

Set a romantic atmosphere. Turn the TV off, get a sitter for the kids or put them to bed early, and put your phones away. This night is about celebrating the love between you and your partner so really tune into that. Throw on some jazz via Pandora or iTunes radio, light a few candles, set a nice table with some fresh-cut flowers, get dressed up, and enjoy your date night at home.

Another nice thing about cooking at home is that…..you’re already home!! Open another bottle of wine, kick off your shoes when they start hurting, loosen that belt another notch, and enjoy the privacy of your own home! 😉

Whatever your Valentine’s Day plans include, I hope that it’s spectacular and filled with love!

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  1. Cooking dinner at home on Valentine’s Day? Here are some tips | Ad Free Stuff - February 12, 2014

    […] Recette de Valentine par The Foodie Teacher : I’m of the mindset that staying in for dinner for Valentine’s Day …read more […]

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