Okay, I am basically the worst at being romantic. I’m a terrible planner. I can barely think about what I want to do five minutes from now. Holidays like Valentine’s Day always sneak up on me, and then I realize I never bought a gift or did anything special for my husband. And he deserves something truly awesome.
I also take pride in being a cheap date. I love going out to eat, but if you try to take me somewhere chefy, we probably won’t have fun. For the past few years since we’ve been living in Hawaii, our Valentine’s Day tradition has been to order take-out from our favorite chain restaurant and take it down to the beach for a picnic. I usually make dessert to bring along, and we sneak some wine down with us and watch the sunset over the Pacific. That’s about as romantic as I get.
I also think cooking for the one you love can be really sexy. I’d say cooking together, but I’m not super awesome at cooperating in the kitchen most of the time. Sharing an intimate meal, no TV, no phones, is a beautiful thing. I’ve got 10 dishes you can easily make at home for a romantic date night in. Let’s get to it.
- You need a good cocktail to get the party started. Nothing too weak and sugary. This is serious business. Pomegranate Margaritas are full of flavor, relatively potent, and romantically red.
- If you want something to nibble on while snuggling up to watch a romantic movie (in this house it would probably be Die Hard) try this Holiday Brie. A small wheel of cheese is just right for two people to shamelessly devour.
- If you want your date to be impressed with your skills, pretend like you worked really hard on Chicken Parmesan. It looks fancy but couldn’t be simpler. It also tastes freakin’ awesome, so there’s that.
- Go Japanese style and feed each other with chopsticks. Make homemade Chicken Teriyaki. The recipe calls for sake, so you can enjoy the rest of the bottle together. Just don’t poke anyone’s eye out.
- Maybe you’re not a whiz in the kitchen, but you want your date to think you’re a domestic genius. Fool them with Fig Jam and Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese. It combines sophisticated flavors with something so easy a monkey could make it.
- Go spicy with Buffalo Chicken Tacos. The DIY element is fun, and the heat will get your blood boiling. Off to a good start.
- In case you were thinking of making your date go all night, be sure you have ingredients to make Cholesterol Sandwiches in the morning. You know each other well enough to have egg yolk dripping down your face.
- What’s Valentine’s Day without chocolate. Make up some Homemade Chocolate Pudding ahead of time. Put them in sexy martini glasses. There’s got to be some kind of romcom shenanigans involved with feeding each other chocolate pudding.
- If you have the misfortune of being with someone who’s not super into chocolate, this Salted Caramel Pudding is an excellent option. I’ve made this for Valentine’s Day before. It totally works.
- In my mind, the sexiest dessert ever created is Molten Chocolate Cake. It’s surprisingly easy to make at home. It has to be baked at the last minute, so the aroma of chocolate will be filling your house. It’s eaten warm and oozing with melted chocolaty goodness. It just gets me in the mood.
If you happen to be flying solo this Valentine’s Day, I recommend you go ahead and make yourself one of these dishes anyway. Life’s too short to wait around for some doofus to bring you chocolate. Happy Valentine’s Day, kids.