Skip the crowded restaurants this Valentine’s Day and invite your special someone to your apartment for a romantic dinner for two. First, set the scene. Cover your dining table with a tablecloth. Add a couple of candles and a vase of fresh flowers. Put together a playlist of soulful tunes. There! Your apartment is just as inviting as any fancy, five-star restaurant.
You’ll want to have appetizers ready when your Valentine arrives to enjoy while you wait for the dinner to finish cooking. There are many easy appetizers – brie and jam wrapped in refrigerated dough and baked, asparagus wrapped in bacon, or the elegant and easy bruschetta.
Bruschetta is simple to make and it looks and tastes great. Simply chop up some cooked tomatoes (you can parboil fresh ones, use canned, or use sun-dried tomatoes) and fresh basil, mix in some minced garlic, and add a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Add a little salt and pepper. Preheat your oven to about 450 degrees and slice a French baguette on a diagonal in about half-inch-thick slices.
Brush each slice with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet. Bake until just toasted, about five minutes. Top each slice with the tomato mixture and sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese. Put them back in the oven and bake until the cheese just begins to melt. Take them out, arrange on a serving plate, and serve immediately.
Next, serve the salad. My favorite go-to salad is one my mother-in-law taught me: Slice up some fresh tomatoes and some onions. Toss in some Kalamata olives and crumbled Feta cheese. Now, add olive oil and red wine vinegar (or lemon juice) to coat. (I don’t have measurements for the olive oil and vinegar because my mother-in-law never measures anything. Just go easy on the vinegar or lemon juice and taste frequently while you mix.) That’s it – serve it just like that. It’s easy and delicious.
Prefer something a little more adventurous, classic, or impressive? Check out these salad recipes – you’ll find everything from a simple Caesar salad to a crab, mango, and avocado salad and everything in between.
The main course depends on what you like to cook and how fast – or easy – you want your dinner to be. This recipe for apple-cherry pork chops is both fast (less than 30 minutes) and easy. If you prefer to show off your cooking skills, consider this recipe for Cabernet Filet Mignon. Seafood lovers will appreciate a delicious shrimp scampi.
Top your meal off with a simple dessert such as red velvet cupcakes or strawberries dipped in chocolate.