If you're celebrating Valentine's Day at home this year, our romantic dinner ideas will help make your night feel extra special. After months of fabulous festivities that kick off the winter season, from Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa gatherings to New Year’s Eve dinner parties complete with pretty appetizers and outfits, these celebrations inch towards another sweet holiday: Valentine’s Day.
This mid-winter celebration of love is famed for its decadent desserts, store-bought candy hearts, gourmet chocolate boxes and fancy dinners. The central theme to many rom-coms' sweet and tragic love stories, Valentine’s Day (also coined “Galentine’s Day”) has been known to put a bit of extra pressure on singles and couples alike.
But let's face it: Expressing love is a wonderful thing and, whether romantic or not, nothing quite says, “I love you” like a homemade dinner. We believe that the best way to express a little love for a friend, a partner, your kids or anyone who is special to you (including yourself!) is to show off your skills in the kitchen.
From baked strawberries with goat cheese to shrimp cocktail to lobster mac and cheese, these decidedly decadent dinners are made for a special occasion. Let's say, "Happy Valentine's Day" like we mean it, no matter who’s coming to dinner, with beautiful starters and a sensational entrées. This year is all about the love … and of course the food.
This salad is full of color with a variety of textures that's visually pleasing on the plate. Grilling the romaine takes the flavor from refreshing to complex.
These blissful bites are the perfect easy yet elegant appetizer. No one will suspect they only took five minutes to make!
Is there anything better than queso fundido? It's such a simple yet satisfying delight. In this recipe, Ford Fry maximizes every ingredient, creating something really special.
Roasting veggies to the point of charring them works beautifully with heartier varieties like broccoli and Brussels. Serve this simple salad warm with a vinaigrette that’s bright, acidic and onion-y. With crispy pancetta and Dijon, it all balances out to a forkful of heaven.
This is the ultimate sweet and salty combo! Enjoy tanginess from the cheese and sticky sweetness from the dates, all wrapped in a crispy, salty bacon blanket.
This gorgeous grilled steak, which is sliced thin and served on top of sushi rice, is a wonderful way to show you care. The rich savory favors of the beef are a perfect base for the bright garlic and onion favors in the toppings.
Deep-fried shrimp toasts are one of those dishes that appear like they took hours to make but they're really quite simple. The spread has a lively flavor with fresh ginger and garlic, topped with a snappy salad of Granny Smith apples, avocado and tart lime.
Take advantage of the heat-retaining powers of cast iron to make a beer and cheddar fondue that stays creamy without constant attention. This dip is served right in the skillet; the residual heat of the cast-iron helps the fondue stay warm and melty, which is ideal for a wintry starter.
While this recipe is ideal for entertaining when you're short on time and don’t want to make a huge mess, it really looks like a gourmet production. It comes together in one pan and it is sure to please.
Ina Garten said the fig preserves recipe for this surprisingly simple bruschetta may be one of the best things she's ever made. And when the Barefoot Contessa gives a dish that stamp of approval, we make it!
This tart is fast, easy and sure to impress. The bright flavors from the lemon and herbs complement the tanginess from the goat cheese, making the tart light but satisfying.
Siri Daly recreated one of her and Carson's favorite date-night appetizers from a restaurant in LA, and this hearty salad is it. So if you're feeling like sourcing a little romantic energy from the Dalys, this is your dish.
The irresistible combination of sweet, salty and briny make it impossible to have just one of these delicious skewers.
Transform an ordinary container of average grocery store ricotta cheese into a creamy and elegant whipped lemon ricotta dip to serve with crackers or crostini.
Slightly charring cauliflower gives it a wonderful flavor. You can make this exact recipe with so many different vegetables: Substitute the cauliflower for broccoli, Brussels sprouts, fennel and more. These sauces are so delicious, they will turn any veggie in the main attraction.
In this recipe, Molly Baz dishes out all the tips on what takes an OK shrimp cocktail to an exquisite shrimp cocktail. Finished with her herbaceous, spicy cream for dipping, it's hard to beat.
This whipped feta dip is a mouthful of tangy, salty flavors that, when combined with colorful, quick-pickled veggies, becomes a serious showstopper before dinner.
The most popular fondue at The Melting Pot, here, aged Gruyère, raclette and fontina cheeses are blended with white wine and fresh garlic and finished with a dash of nutmeg.
Talk about an easy way to impress a date! These tarts are great on their own, or as part of a larger charcuterie board.
Oysters are an elegant way to kick off any date night. They are simple yet impressive, and completely delicious — especially when topped with hot horseradish, spicy cocktail sauce and savory mignonette.
This is a moist meatloaf, light in texture but big in flavor. It is basted during the cooking process with a savory, tangy glaze that keeps the meatloaf tender while giving it a sweet crust. Oh, and if you didn't notice, it's also shaped like a heart.
Nobody said Valentine's Day dinner had to be time consuming or difficult. This easy dinner is part of the Mediterranean diet and it's absolutely delicious. Oregano, mint and feta round out the veggies, along with Greek olives and shrimp.
These innovative meatballs are packed with flavor and texture, but only take about 35 minutes to pull off. They're perfect for weeknight dinners (seeing as Valentine's Day falls on a Tuesday this year) but can just as easily hold their own at a formal dinner party. Plus, they're pretty, and as we all know, we eat with our eyes first.
Kataifi, made from shredded phyllo dough, provides an excellent crunchy crust for chicken cutlets. It adds so much more crispy goodness to schnitzel. The creamy, nutty, spicy schug tehina adds a hit of heat to the dish.
This Aleppo glaze is super flavorful and very versatile. While Marcus Samuelsson makes it on ham, it works wonders lightly spread on other proteins, like chicken and salmon. It adds just a touch of heat but keeps the meat moist and sweet.
Zucchini is an affordable way to make a pasta dinner shine without any protein. Half is roasted and tossed with cooked pasta, while the other half is sautéed with onions and garlic, then puréed with fresh basil, lemon juice and starchy pasta water to make a sauce.
Inspired by Ina Garten’s recipes, this whole chicken gets a blast of flavor from a combination of chili crisp, scallions and ginger. Serve it over rice or a big bed of greens.
From juicy, fresh Roma tomatoes to aromatic basil and ooey-gooey mozzarella cheese, this chicken dinner boasts gourmet pedigree and is ready in just 15 minutes. Plus, it looks beautiful plated, especially if you're opting for a red theme.
The predecessor of what we now know of as mac and cheese, this Roman dish is made with pasta, cheese and pepper. The secret is using the starchy pasta's cooking water to create a creamy sauce that coats each strand. The result is perhaps the ultimate three-ingredient dinner.
Adam Richman loves a good rib-eye because of the complexity and richness of flavor. The salad offers a nice bit of a counterpoint and the avocado adds to the luxurious mouthfeel. It's visually arresting and a great crowd-pleaser.
Byaldi is a very typical Provençal dish, like a fancy ratatouille. Each layer of the vegetables taste fresh and juicy as you eat them from the warm casserole. It's even better the next day — that is, if you manage to have leftovers.
You can never say no to white wine butter sauce, and this one is seriously the best ever. Add salty capers and sweet scallops for a little bite of seafood heaven.
What could be more romantic than making and sharing a heart-shaped pizza with your sweetheart?
Veggie-packed pasta is perfect for date night because it's healthy, delicious and comes together fast — so you can get back to spending time with each other.
Bring your special someone on a taste-scape to a fabulous Parisian bistro! This classic dish is made easier and quicker with a simple 10-minute buttery, herby sauce to serve alongside the juicy steak.
Swordfish is a great alternative to steak or other red meats. Eric Ripert serves his medium-rare with a creamy au poivre sauce.
The sweet heat of the apple purée complements the hearty richness of the tender beef in this recipe. It's easy to prepare but special enough to leave a lasting impression.
This fulfilling salad starts with an umami-rich marinade that takes its cues from Vietnamese, Thai and even Korean kitchens.
Beets are great because they are super easy to work with. For Valentine's Day, this ravioli offers a festive combination of flavors.
This creamy, rich pasta comes together in a flash — and your date will be blown away by it.
Take a classic comfort food and transform it into an elegant dish fit for royalty. The blend of sharp cheddar, nutty Parmesan, the gradual build of mild heat from the pepper jack and the sweet and briny lobster meat make this mac unforgettable.
This dish is soul-satisfying, and you're truly able to get a bite of a meatball and pasta with sauce in each bite. Plus, the maccheroni is a timeless, rustic shape.
Chicken satay is a popular Southeast Asian dish that’s best served as an appetizer. The meat is threaded onto skewers, grilled and accompanied by a spicy peanut sauce. This recipe skips the skewers and the grill and air-fries the chicken instead, which is perfect for a quick yet memorable dinner.
Fish fillets baked in parchment with a colorful assortment of vegetables make an effortless and awesome dinner. All of the juices mingle together as the ingredients cook together. Finish with fresh herbs and a drizzle of good quality olive oil.
This dish is like a fancy-pants version of beef stew: every bit as comforting but with an elevated twist that makes it perfect for a Sunday supper with family or for entertaining very important guests.
This delicate, elegant dish is surprisingly simple to make. Adding the crunchy peanuts offsets the soft nature of the sea scallops yet still echoes their buttery flavor.
"I can't tell you how many times I've made this!" says Ina Garten. She recommends having the butcher butterfly the chicken so all you do is grind the thyme, fennel seeds, salt and pepper, mix it with olive oil, and brush it on the chicken. When the lemon slices are roasted and caramelized, you can eat them with the chicken.
Sweet tomatoes, earthy eggplant and a little red pepper for spice make it a hearty dish for any night. Normally topped with ricotta salata, this version uses a whipped ricotta to balance the tomato-based sauce with a creamier texture.
This recipe looks much fancier than the amount of work required to make it. Pair it with a protein — like chicken or steak — or serve it on its own for a showstopping vegetarian main.
This eye-catching, ruby-red pasta is always the star of a party. It only takes 20 minutes, including both prep and cook time, and the noodles take on a sweet, earthy flavor from the wine.
Five ingredients come together to make this a one-pot meal. Making deep gashes into the chicken before roasting not only allows the spices to penetrate more deeply, it also speeds up the cooking. Serve it with a salad and dinner is complete.
Trust us: This luscious lobster linguine is the most decadent display of affection.