It’s officially crunch time, y’all. If you haven’t sorted out your Valentine’s Day plans yet, chances are all the tables are booked and it’s time to get creative. We’ve got you covered—swing by the grocery store on the way home and pick up ingredients to prepare a romantic dinner from some of our archived “Dining In” and “Spatula Diaries” recipes.
1. Paris is the city of love, but if you can’t hop on a flight, a homemade French bistro experience will do. This three-course meal of small plates starts with a fig, onion and blue cheese tart and a salad of baby greens, followed by seared salmon over lentils. Finish with a sumptuous dark chocolate mousse.
2. Your favorite Italian spot may be full for the holiday, but a simple meal of small-batch Italian classics can be just as romantic. This menu features bite-sized melon wrapped in prosciutto, a grilled caesar salad, and spinach-stuffed shells baked in red sauce in individual casserole dishes.
3. It’s tricky to find a dinner for two with the right portion sizes that’ll fill you and your sweetheart up without leaving you feeling heavy or in a food coma. This date night menu from our February 2018 issue finds the balance with a vol-au-vent of crawfish, beet and asparagus salad with mixed greens and orange vinaigrette, and a dessert of dark chocolate shortbread cookies and strawberries steeped in port wine.
4. Tackling the challenge of making pasta from scratch can be the date night activity that bonds you and your Valentine like never before in the kitchen. This menu includes panzanella salad, fresh ribbon pasta with roasted red pepper pesto and homemade spinach ravioli.
5. If you’re just in need of dessert, something light and airy with sweet, tart, fresh berries can be the perfect goodnight kiss for your dinner. Try these miniature baked meringues—yes, more French cuisine—with strawberries.