My husband loves to cook, and since he gets off work a few hours earlier than I do and likes to eat at the same time the Senior Special is being served at Denny’s, he cooks most dinners in our house during the week. However, I love to cook for him when I get the opportunity, so I wanted to share some easy and romantic recipes for two that we’ve enjoyed over the past 11 years together that you can indulge in this Valentine’s Day. Whether this is your first time cooking for someone special or you’ve been married for years, I have the perfect recipe for you!
For the Relationship Newbies
Whether you’re just starting to date someone and trying to avoid packing on the happy relationship weight or want to stick to your New Year's resolution of living a healthier lifestyle, here are some light romantic recipes to share with your special someone!
Sheet Pan Sticky Ginger Soy Chicken and Broccoli – Sweet and spicy, just like you! Impress your man with this take-out style dinner (but healthier!)
Lemon Garlic Scallop Pasta – Personally, I’m a sucker for scallops whenever they’re on the menu, especially with a light pasta. This dish pairs perfectly with a light white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Chardonnay to compliment the garlic taste.
Shrimp Fajita Bowls – If I’m being honest, my favorite thing about this recipe is the zesty Chipotle-style rice. I recently tried making this, and I don’t know if I can go back to plain white rice ever again.
Easy Lemon Rosemary Chicken – I never thought I’d say this about chicken, but this dish is beautiful. The secret is to cook with the lemon the recipe calls for, and then cook a separate lemon (you can even broil it if you’re in a time crunch) and garnish the pan or plate of chicken with it.
Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce – If you’re like me, I’m not big on using our grill and prefer pan-cooking read meat, which is why I’m a huge fan of cooking skirt steaks, and a chimichurri sauce just takes it to the next level. While this recipe looks like it has a lot of ingredients, the great thing is that you probably already have most of them in your home. The chimichurri sauce can easily be blended to perfection in a food processor, blender, or even magic bullet!
For the Vets
Dating a real foodie or simply ready to indulge this Valentine’s Day with your longtime confidant? Here are a few recipes that veer on the heavier but delicious side!
Slow Cooker Beef Ragu with Pappardelle – What I love about this dish is the fact that you can prepare most of it in a slow cooker throughout the day so that it’s less labor when you’re ready to cook dinner and enjoy your evening. And if you’re looking for a fun activity to do with your man for Valentine’s, I highly recommend making the pasta from scratch. It’s easier than you’d think and requires very few ingredients. Plus, the thick pappardelle noodles are super easy to cut.
Calabrian Chili Roasted Red Pepper Pizza – The way to your man's heart? It's probably through pizza, and this one surely will not disappoint either of you. Skip the takeout and have fun making your own pizzas at home (customization welcome!)
Beef Lasagna Recipe – a.k.a. Matty Matheson’s “Guaranteed To Get You Laid” Lasagna. Silly nickname aside, this is the most labor intensive of these recipe recommendations, but I can guarantee that it’s worth it. It’s one of the best homemade meals my husband and I have ever made together and turned us into big Chef Matty fans. This is not a recipe for the faint of heart or stomach, but it is truly delicious and a total “treat yourself” recipe in this cold weather. The other great thing about lasagna is that you can make it the day before, so it’s prepared and ready to pop in the oven the day of.
Pan-Seared Steak in Butter Sauce – Again, an easy red meat dish that can be prepared on the stovetop and paired with a vegetable side or mashed potatoes if your man has an appetite!
Cast Iron Paella – After eating our way through Spain on what felt like a Paella tour a few years back, I can’t help but order this every time I see it on a menu – but only if it’s cooked and served in a cast iron skillet. This is the only recipe my husband and I haven’t tried on this list yet, but I will be cooking it for Valentine’s Day this year!
Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Creamy Polenta – Polenta sounds like such a bougie side, but it’s even easier to make than pasta and just as filling.
While cooking can sometimes be intimidating or even stressful, especially with Valentine’s Day landing in the middle of the work week this year, there are definitely ways to make it easier. Sometimes it’s just a matter of deciding on a simpler recipe and going from there. The reason I love these recipes is that most don’t require a ton of ingredients, and the ones that do tend to be ingredients you probably already have sitting in your pantry. If you’re anything like my husband and me, you love food almost as much as each other, so what better way to celebrate this romantic day than with your two loves at home? Bon appetit!
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