The Perfect Valentine’s Day Menu: The Have Her Over for Dinner Cookbook Giveaway

by A Manly Guest Contributor on February 8, 2010 · 173 comments

in Dating, Relationships & Family

Image from Ellynkocher

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Matt Moore, author of Have Her Over for Dinner. See below for details on how to win a signed copy of Matt’s cookbook.

Amber Jones, 6th Grade, and Valentine’s Day. I can remember it like it was just yesterday. You see, up to this point in my life, Valentine’s Day was an exciting holiday that meant cards, and most importantly, candy from friends and loved ones. In grade school, our teachers required us to write notes to the entire class, ensuring that everyone was equally appreciated. The stresses of defining relationships, expressing mutual admiration, and confessing love to one another had yet to enter our innocent minds. That was, of course, until she came along.

Most of us remember our first crush. Deep blue eyes, long blonde hair, and a mutual interest in Nirvana was all it took to make me smitten with Amber. However, 6th grade just so happened to be the year where equal appreciation was not required.

The annual carnation drive was a Valentine’s Day rite of passage in junior high. The rules were simple: specify a recipient, pony up $1.50 for each carnation, and have a volunteer deliver each flower on your behalf. Make no mistake: this was not an affair for secret admirers. Recipients would be notified of the sender by a small tag denoting the admirers name on each flower. Viewing this as a great opportunity, I decided it was best to seek advice from my elders. I rattled off questions like a .38 Special revolver. How many is too many? What if I don’t like her, but I might like her? I don’t want to upset her, so how many flowers should she receive? You get the idea.

When the big day came around, I made sure I had all of my options covered. Ashley, the cute girl from the 7th grade, received one carnation. Jamie, the quasi-grunge rock chick I sat next to in chemistry, obtained one carnation. Julie, the head cheerleader, received two carnations (always shoot for the stars). I, like Lloyd Christmas from Dumb & Dumber, was putting out the vibe. Amber was a different priority. Mutual consensus had arrived at one conclusion. Twelve bright red carnations would be sent to the object of my desire and true love would commence. Remember, I was in 6th grade.

When the moment finally came, Amber received my dozen flowers, along with about 200 others. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had Dreamweaver playing in my mind when she entered the room. My good intentions were lost amongst a sea of other suitors. Looking back, I should have avoided the pomp and circumstance altogether and stated my feelings (it’s never too early to man up). It seems that simple strategy would have gotten me further than most. Lesson learned.

At this point, you should be drawing parallels from this childhood experience to the adult dating scene. Sure, we’re now sending roses instead of carnations, but our anxiety and uncertainties remain the same. We scrutinize every detail, word, and action. Scenarios are played out in our minds a thousand times until we finally seek the advice and counsel of friends and family. In essence, there’s often too much to do about nothing.

It’s hard not to get caught up in the holiday hoopla that is Valentine’s Day. Society tells us that we must court our dates off to the trendiest restaurants in town to enjoy a prix-fixe menu that has been specifically created for this special occasion. We rely on objects: cards, chocolates, flowers, etc to express our love and appreciation for one another. I know there’s a historical significance to Valentine’s Day, but it’s hard not to think that the service industry didn’t blow this thing out of proportion. I realize not all of you fall into this trap, but the majority of us must admit to some level of guilt.

As we approach this Valentine’s Day, I challenge you to get back to the basics. The cards, flowers, and chocolates may be tradition; however, they should not replace genuine feelings and action. A heartfelt statement, note, or act of appreciation goes quite a long way, especially when compared to so many material things.

Make this holiday special. Instead of taking her out, have her over for dinner. After all, the fastest way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach. She’ll be more likely to appreciate your hard work behind the stove than the pricey tab at any restaurant. For those lacking experience in the kitchen, I’ve laid out a full course meal that allows you to cater towards her preferences.

Keep it simple, genuine, and intimate: the romance will follow.

The Menu

The key to pulling off any special meal is preparation. Rather than spend your entire evening in the kitchen, it’s best to have everything prepped and ready to go in advance, thereby spending more time and attention on your date rather than the food. I’ve put together a menu that can be partially prepared several hours before she arrives. It’s best to find out in advance if she’s not particularly fond of certain food items so you can adjust accordingly. With that in mind, I’ve created a versatile entrée that allows for substitutions based on her preferences.

Be sure to clean up your place and put away any unnecessary clutter. Set the mood with background music, a white tablecloth, and a few tea light candles. You don’t need to go overboard with atmosphere, but put forth some effort to set this evening apart. If you live together, surprise her with a gift card to her favorite clothing store, and tell her to pick up something special to wear for the evening. This will give you time to prepare, and it will also heighten her anticipation for what’s to follow later.

House Salad – a versatile salad with great color and texture contrasts. Prepare the salad in advance, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Avoid adding the dressing until just before serving, as the greens will become soggy. Serve alongside a toasted baguette if desired.

2 Cups Chopped Romaine Lettuce, loosely packed
½ Cup Shredded Red Cabbage
¼ Cup Shredded Carrots
¼ Cup Diced Tomatoes
¼ Cup Blue Cheese (optional)
6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 Pinch Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper, to taste

Layer the first five ingredients, starting with the romaine lettuce and topping with the blue cheese (if using) into a serving bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready for service, up to 2 hours in advance. When ready to serve, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Drizzle the dressing over the entire salad and toss to coat. Serve.

Grilled (Chicken, Salmon, or Portabella Mushroom Caps) over Pesto Linguine and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes – depending on her preferences, this dish will work quite well to satisfy any palate. Because this meal emphasizes using minimal ingredients, focus on buying fresh, quality items. Pay special attention to the substitutions and varying cooking times depending on your selection. Pair with Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, or a crisp Pilsner/Lager.

Linguine Pesto

2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
¼ Cup Pine Nuts or Walnuts
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ Cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese or Natural Yeast (Vegan)
8 oz Dry Linguine Pasta

Chicken or Portabella Mushroom Caps (Vegan)

2 6-8 oz Chicken Breasts (pounded thin) or 2 Large Portabella Mushroom Caps (stem removed, and cleaned)
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

Salmon

2 6-8 oz Salmon Filets (skin removed)
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Lemon, juiced
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

Roasted Tomatoes

1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

Method

#1. Prepare Pesto: Combine the first five ingredients into a food processor/blender and pulse a few times until ingredients begin to break down. With the processor running, slowly add the oil in a constant stream, scraping the sides with a spatula to ensure all ingredients are combined. Add cheese (or yeast) and pulse until well blended. Cover and set aside at room temperature, up to 2 hours.

#2. Marinate: Based on your selection, add the Chicken, Salmon, or Mushrooms into a sealable bag with the remaining ingredients. Season lightly with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper; place item in the refrigerator until ready for use, 1 hour.

#3. Roast Tomatoes: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. On a baking sheet, drizzle tomatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place tomatoes in the oven and roast, uncovered for 20-25 minutes.

#4. Cook Pasta: Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling. Add linguine pasta and cook 9-11 minutes, or al dente. Drain pasta into a colander and return to the same pot. Add pesto sauce to pasta, mix thoroughly, cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

#5. Grill: Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill; Chicken (5-6 minutes per side), Salmon (4-5 Minutes per side), Mushroom Caps (3-4 Minutes per side). Remove from heat and set aside to rest, 1 minute. If using mushrooms, thinly slice mushrooms every ½ inch before serving.

#6. Plate: Add a generous portion of the pesto linguine in the center of the plate, followed by the roasted tomatoes on one side. Rest the (Chicken, Salmon, or Mushroom Slices) at the opposing side. Serve.

Dessert

Roasted Berries and Cream – a simple, yet elegant dessert that’s the perfect finish to a great evening. It’s a good idea to wash and remove the stems in advance, as you can place this into the oven while eating dinner to have dessert out quickly. Many grocery stores sell prepared mixed berries by the pint for convenience. For vegans, substitute a prepared Soy Whip or Coconut Whipped Cream if necessary. Serve in martini glasses.

2 Pints Mixed Berries (Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries)
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Vanilla Bean, split and seeds removed
Whipped Cream
Mint Leaves, as garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a baking sheet, lay out berries into a single layer and toss with sugar and vanilla bean seeds to coat. Place in the oven and roast, uncovered 18 – 22 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. When ready, scoop a generous portion of roasted berries into the bottom of a martini glass. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream, and garnish with a few mint leaves. Serve.

Have Her Over For Dinner Cookbook Giveaway

Want more of Matt’s simple, delicious, lady-impressing recipes? Then enter to win a signed copy of his cookbook Have Her Over for Dinner.

How to Enter

Entering is easy. Just leave a comment sharing your plans for Valentine’s Day.

Deadline to enter the contest is Sunday, February 13, 2010 at 10 PM CST. We’ll randomly select a comment in order to pick our winner.

{ 173 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shaun February 8, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Don’t tell my wife, but this year it’s a gourmet picnic dinner at a park overlooking the city and harbour…plus a couple of nice gifts :)

2 Graham February 8, 2010 at 11:44 pm

My girlfriend and I are, incidentally, going on a picnic together. Restaurants are always so crowded on Valentine’s Day, so it makes sense to just avoid them! I’ll do the cooking while she works that day. =)

3 A True Golfer February 8, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Thank you! Thank you! Thank You! You just save me hours trying to figure out what to cook for the lady friend.

4 Brian February 8, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Like most couples with a lot of time invested in the relationship, Valentine’s becomes less about the pomp and circumstance and more about the understated expressions of affection. Flowers. Dinner. Dessert. Snuggles. All in the comfort of our home.

5 Daniel February 9, 2010 at 12:04 am

My Girlfriend and I are going on a road trip that weekend. We are going to take the chance to visit my Grandmother and Parents, whom she hasn’t met before, and spend Saturday night in an old restored bank/ court house that is now a restaurant and bed and breakfast.

6 Hiroki Yanagihara February 9, 2010 at 12:08 am

Valentine’s day is also my birthday. And it’s Chinese New Year this year. And it’s Tibetan New Years. I’m also turning 25.

I’ll will make a nice dinner at home for me and my gf. I love making Chinese food which usually includes a nice soup, lots of leafy green stir fry and rice. Probably cap the evening off with a drink at our favorite bar, which is a Pre-Prohibition style speakeasy (no vodka, no redbull, bartenders wear waistcoats and flat caps, they apparently also serve absinthe which I’ve been meaning to try out).

Cheers for a happy V-day to you too Brett.

7 Hopeful February 9, 2010 at 12:09 am

Picnic in the park.

8 Phil February 9, 2010 at 12:13 am

Last year we both got dressed up and had an indoor picnic by the fireside. I made small sandwiches, bought wine, hard cider, and she made chocolate covered strawberries. It was excellent.

9 David xvx February 9, 2010 at 12:15 am

Just wanted to drop a line to say how much I appreciated a vegan alternative being listed here. All too often, refraining from eating meat is described as somehow unmanly, which is silly.

So I definitely plan to try the mushroom recipe!

10 Avid February 9, 2010 at 12:20 am

Going to Hawaii :)

11 Chikashige February 9, 2010 at 12:22 am

Sadly she works the night of so I’ll be bringing dinner to her. GIft-wise instead of buying flowers I whittled her some. l like to keep it simple.

12 Greg s February 9, 2010 at 12:30 am

After finding a girl who is just as adventurous as me in the food department I am stuggling on coming up with something. Right now I’m thinking of grass fed beef or buffalo. Fish is also an option because it’s far to cold out to grill in Colorado right now. The whole meal will be as home made as possible with participation from both parties. Home made rolls, veggies, meat of some kind, mashed garlic and cheese potatoes, and home made Oreos. Now, I just need to figure out the meat, and a good way to cook beef or buffalo without the outside grill.

13 Matthew February 9, 2010 at 12:31 am

We’ll stay in and cook a meal together. Probably watch a movie. We pretty much agree that the forced holiday is a waste.

14 Shea February 9, 2010 at 12:38 am

Making dinner together and simply enjoying the time spent together

15 Nathan Thorp February 9, 2010 at 12:40 am

I’ll be working all night and sleeping all day. :(

16 Mike Lewis February 9, 2010 at 1:21 am

We’ll be going out. Possibly sharing in a birthday dinner for my good friend and his wife.

17 Brendan February 9, 2010 at 1:40 am

I’m going to make a late breakfast and then we’re going to take a tour of the love letter murals on the EL in Philly followed by a champagne reception.

18 Mark Roberts February 9, 2010 at 1:46 am

I will be taking the wife out to lunch at Olive Garden and then there is a nearby state park we enjoy so we will spend the afternoon hiking.

19 Scott White February 9, 2010 at 1:47 am

Going out with a group of my single female friends, having dinner, and finding ways to get guys to notice them.

20 David N February 9, 2010 at 1:50 am

No girlfriend at the moment, so a night in studying.

21 David February 9, 2010 at 2:06 am

My Valentine’s Day is going to be rather simple, actually. A light dinner at home with my special woman, a movie at home, and there lies the night.

22 Jessel February 9, 2010 at 2:32 am

going to do exactly this :D

23 Will February 9, 2010 at 3:17 am

Our son’s first birthday party is what we will be doing. =) Don’t worry though, she is getting something special as well!

24 Tyler Logan February 9, 2010 at 3:57 am

Nice post. But this year, she’s treating me – maybe I should link and hint. :)

25 Uli February 9, 2010 at 5:35 am

Thanks a lot for this post. I like everything in it:
- The idea of avoiding superficial consumerist behaviour
- The simplicity yet deliciousness of the dishes
- And the idea of true romance in offering time and effort to the partner
Great!

26 Paul February 9, 2010 at 6:58 am

I will be alone, pining for my love.

27 Shane R February 9, 2010 at 7:13 am

I am actually surprising my wife tonight with tickects to the musical, Cabaret. As for the actual day of the 14th, I am sure we will spend it together at home…with the kids.

28 Ricardo February 9, 2010 at 7:22 am

I will definitely be going out with my girlfriend. On the date I will hand her the gift I got her from http://www.framethedate.com (it was mentioned in this blog less than a week ago – I know she will definitely like it).

29 VrySnky February 9, 2010 at 7:29 am

She (THANKFULLY) would rather have a romantic “day off” where we enjoy each others company, doing small things rather than fighting restaurants with limited menus, uptight crowds and overpriced prime rib; which means that V-Day is like most other weekends and not a “Holiday.” Of course, flowers must be sent to work and there will probably be something shiny given away during the day, but hanging out all day and being cooked for is about as good as it gets to her, and I don’t mind that one bit!
Anyway, for the plans:
~ Her FAVE b-fast: home-made omelets, hash browns, and mimosas, cooked with love
~ Taking her and the dog to the park for a few hours for exercise and a picnic, having some sammiches and a little Riesling
~ Grilling steaks, baked taters, and whatever else comes to mind for dinner; and of course a bottle of the bubbly.
~ Probably another of her chick flicks…’course the last couple of years we haven’t made it all the way through one before “retiring” for the evening…
HAPPY HALLMARK DAY TO YOU ALL!!!

30 Matthew Waugh February 9, 2010 at 7:31 am

The love of my life and I will be waking up extra early to catch a boat. As a Valentine’s Day present and reward for her finishing her Master’s degree I booked us on the same cruise we went on for our honeymoon.

31 Mike Q February 9, 2010 at 7:46 am

At this moment, I’m content with being single so I’m just going to be involved in the church Vday dinner that is in the works. A copy of that book sounds like a great tool to have in one’s belt!

32 Sir Lancelot February 9, 2010 at 7:52 am

Well, I’m a bachelor, so Valentine’s Day will be business as usual for me. That book might come handy anytime soon though!

33 Harold February 9, 2010 at 7:53 am

I am taking my girlfriend to this nearby restaurant that is located on the shore of this lake. We will watch the sunset upon the beautiful lake and then go inside and eat wonderful Italian food. This would all be the day before Valentines Day. And on the actual day, we would spend it at home just cuddled up, exchanging both gifts and the warmth of each others bodies.

34 Chandler P Creel February 9, 2010 at 7:57 am

Unfortunately, I live in Germany at the moment and the girl I am pursuing lives in Atlanta. I will give her a pleasant wake up call from in the morning and we a Skype date planned over dinner. We are both cooking pasta carbonara. Because of the time difference, I will be eating at midnight and her at 6pm. But, what she won’t expect are the roses that will be delivered to her workplace. Long distance can be rough, especially when the relationship is just beginning.

35 Stephen February 9, 2010 at 8:08 am

I’ll be making this great meal for my bride from the “Have Her Over For Dinner Cookbook” Great Post!

36 MaCayn February 9, 2010 at 8:09 am

With any luck, I will be arguing all day this Sunday about why a fake country should take title to a fake island. Yay for Jessup Moot Court.

37 Frank Rider February 9, 2010 at 8:14 am

Well, I have no plans for this commercialized holiday. I never really liked Valentine’s day, though the idea was rather nice.

38 Scott February 9, 2010 at 8:25 am

Recently relocated away from my lady. We’re both driving 5 hours to meet in the middle for a nice weekend together.

39 Joshua C February 9, 2010 at 8:40 am

The plan is to come home from church, put the kids down for a nap, watch a movie together and then I’ll cook dinner!

40 Peter February 9, 2010 at 8:44 am

I’m taking her to the hockey game (she’s a rabid fan) where we went on our first date.

41 Kevin February 9, 2010 at 8:45 am

My lady-friend and I actually cancelled our reservations for the weekend in favor of me cooking for her at home, which I enjoy doing anyways. Further, she’s coming with me to a Chili Cook-off on the 13th because she knows I LOVE that kind of thing. What a gal!!!

42 Dawn February 9, 2010 at 8:46 am

I am really excited to celebrate Valentine’s day with my boyfriend, Steve. It will be our very first Valentine’s Day together. It is also special because we both have never dated anyone else prior to each other. We shared our first kiss together. :)

We were actually talking about what to do on Valentine’s day last night. We decided we wanted to cook dinner together. We were talking about how we would define Valentine’s day and I said something like ‘doing something With your significant other.’ ‘With’ is the key word. Our love languages are similar in the fact that we feel most loved by spending time together. I’d take that over chocolates and flowers any day! :) Now I could do the cooking, or he could, but doing it together would give us the most time together and of course a special valentine’s day evening.

I like the menu listed above a lot! I am excited to try a few of the recipes listed. And we are looking forward to making chocolate-covered strawberries together after dinner. Although I will have to make roasted berries and cream soon! mmmm, delish!

I have to brag about my boyfriend for a minute, because to me he is the definition of what a real man should be according to advice and blog posts on this site. I am so blessed to know such an incredible man. I don’t take it for granted. Mature, respectable, ADVENTUROUS, trustworthy, seeks out wise advice, caring – the list could go on and on. And he pursued me and a relationship with me in the right ways.

We like reading the posts on this site. I like pointing out similarities between him and what we’ve seen posted here, and also talking to him about new things I may have learned about guys from reading various posts. His brother got him the Art of Manliness book for Christmas and he was thrilled to show it off to his buddies.

43 Greg February 9, 2010 at 8:51 am

Valentines day will be a day for my wife to relax after a hectic Saturday. Breakfast in bed, a Cary Grant movie, no household chores, a late lunch of filet mignon, baked potato, salad and wine. She’s a meat and potatoes girl, is there any wonder I love her? A relaxing and rejuvenating end to one week, the start of another, and spring is in sight.

44 Kevin February 9, 2010 at 8:53 am

This year V-day falls on the week of “mid-winter break” where the kids (and wife who’s a teacher) have a week off. We’ll be arriving in Florida on Saturday night. V-day will consist of going manatee watching during the day w/ the whole family (wife, kids, bro and girlfriend, mom and dad). I’ll probably take her out away from the rest of the family that evening.

K

45 B Shields February 9, 2010 at 9:09 am

V Day Plans: At home spa treatment. Silk robe for her to wear into a scented bath, massage table, candles , oils and low sensual music for a good deep muscle rub down. A perfect end to the day for my lady after her marathon training is over.

46 Grant February 9, 2010 at 9:12 am

We’re still kind of feeling things out, so we’re making spaghetti together; she’s especially keen on showing off her spaghetti recipe. I’ll probably save this for her birthday, though, it sounds perfect!

47 Chris February 9, 2010 at 9:26 am

Snow tubing!!!

48 Bill February 9, 2010 at 9:30 am

I’m still in the planning process, trying to decide if we go out or I make dinner. The wife loves it when I cook.

49 Mike February 9, 2010 at 9:35 am

We’ve got a just over 1 year old little girl at our house this year, which makes going out for Valentine’s tricky. She’d be happy with just grabbing lunch out quick that day, as just getting food is something we don’t do often. We’ll probably cuddle up to watch a movie that night, and now that I read this post, I’m thinking about making dinner as well. Thanks for the great idea and another awesome post!

50 Nik February 9, 2010 at 9:35 am

I’m looking forward to this year’s valentines day! My girlfriend and I are spending the day together and cooking a meal later :o). Thanks for the tips!

51 Mike February 9, 2010 at 9:35 am

Surprise her with two tickets to a musical in the theater district. Just tell her to get dressed nice and be ready at six, catch an early dinner and head to the show.

52 Andrew February 9, 2010 at 9:36 am

I am making Grilled chicken alfredo with artichokes, strawberry poppyseed salad, and lavendar infused creme brulee. She does not know what she is in for!

53 Dan February 9, 2010 at 9:37 am

My girlfriend and I do not do anything for V-Day… It’s a Hallmar holiday and the obligatoriness of everything (you HAVE to buy flower, you HAVE to buy a card, you HAVE to take her out for dinner…etc) takes all the fun out of it. I do special things for my girlfriend all the time, but Valentine’s Day I avoid out of principle.

54 Jeff Olver February 9, 2010 at 9:50 am

My wife loves to spend quality time together. So, I am taking us both to get manicures, and then it’s out to our local Zagat rated vegetarian restaurant.

55 Wayne February 9, 2010 at 9:57 am

We’re actually doing a group Valentine’s Date on Saturday. We’re all getting dressed up and preparing a meal at our house (as many of our friends have very young children, we thought it best to just hang out where they can all play together). Then, when the kids all wind down and doze off, we’ll change into comfortable clothes and watch a movie.

56 STW February 9, 2010 at 9:58 am

Nothing special on the day itself. We’ll cooperate in cooking dinner; I’ll cook the meat. Dinner out the night before and FedEx should be delivering something special here between now and then.

57 cgirl February 9, 2010 at 10:00 am

It’s true. The way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach. My husband made an amazing chili for me last night, and I really feel that his cooking food I like is one of the best ways for him to “take care of me” And I’m always bragging about him to my friends.

As far as the menu, I was disappointed in the options for the entree. I don’t like fish or chicken breast; the portabella mushrooms would be my preference, as they’re the closest to real meat.

The husband and I aren’t doing much for Vday. I was up front, and asked that he get me a card; I’ll be really disappointed if he didn’t. He offered to take me out for a nice meal, but we’re going out to the Hunter’s Feast at the local German restaurant the following weekend, so I’ll just count that as my Valentines meal.

58 Josh February 9, 2010 at 10:01 am

I’m planning on making dinner – my wife is planning dessert, so this blog entry is perfect for me since I’m still trying to decide what to make!

I love this blog too, it’s awesome.

59 Gabriel February 9, 2010 at 10:01 am

My girlfriend is away this month.

60 Kishoer February 9, 2010 at 10:07 am

We have a 3 day weekend. So we are going to celebrate each day this weekend. She wants to cook for me one day this weekend. But I am going to take over the responsible for cooking and one night we are going to her favorite resturant. We will probably just rent a bunch of movies and watch them. Breakfast in bed is a must. She is not going to be cooking breakfast. My goal is to make her feel like a princess this weekend.

61 Mike Lewis February 9, 2010 at 10:10 am

Simple meal: some pasta with mussels, a nice white wine, and probable a cheese brulee

62 Vincent February 9, 2010 at 10:14 am

I haven’t really planned it out yet! Is it too soon to ‘celebrate’ V-day if we’ve only gone out twice? It feels like putting a great deal of pressure on things! I think I will likely just plan a day where we get to spend time together without too much emphasis on gifts or expensive dinners. That’s good, right?

63 mark roberts February 9, 2010 at 10:20 am

awesome article!

64 Alex February 9, 2010 at 10:20 am

I am single, but I will try to prepare this dinner for my family.

65 Josh February 9, 2010 at 10:21 am

We’ll go to a nice restaurant in the city and maybe watch a movie together. Mainly just spend time with each other. Can’t really make her dinner as I am still living with my folks, but I do want to learn how to cook well.

66 Todd February 9, 2010 at 10:25 am

This year it’s dinner for one.

67 Bobby February 9, 2010 at 10:25 am

Being short on money this year I’m giving her a hand made gift. She’ll be working out of state for the next two months so I got a large one gallon jar and decorated it with paint and stickers. I then wrote out all the things I love about her and promises I’ve made to her on fancey paper with ribbons tied to them. That way when she’s missing me she can go through it and feel better.

68 Erik February 9, 2010 at 10:31 am

Valentine’s day is also my girlfriends birthday so we will probably go out to the city for dinner. I will also be baking her favorite cake for dessert.

69 Philip Barber February 9, 2010 at 10:31 am

My girlfriend’s getting a few little gifts (she insists on some of those little candy hearts), and a carefully selected card. We’re going out to a nice dinner, I’m surprising her by serenading her with one of her favorite songs, and then we’re going to cuddle up together on the couch and watch a movie (right now the front runner is Casablanca; she hasn’t seen it yet).

70 Matt February 9, 2010 at 10:40 am

What i am doing for Valentines day, well, as Early Cuyler would say: “Jack Squattery”
Great blog.

71 Allan Brown February 9, 2010 at 10:41 am

Simple, going to the opening of a new Bistro with my new girlfriend, nice present, nice flowers. Should be wonderful.

72 Jordon February 9, 2010 at 10:59 am

My girl and I are both Physical Anthropology students, (which means we are, and will always be broke) and she left for a field school in Belize two weeks ago. She’ll be gone until the middle of March, and we’ve only been dating a month, so preemptive action would need to be taken this Valentines Day . There was no way I was going to let academic obligations take away our first V-Day together!

Unfortunately, I realized all this the day before she left.

I called her and told her that I had something special planned for the evening (I didn’t, yet), asked her if I could pick her up at 8:30, and recommended that she should dress nicely. As soon I I got off the phone, I decided that an evening picnic would be both romantic, and affordable. I scrambled to the closest gourmet deli, picked up various finger-foods like macaroni salad, olives (we love em’), fancy-schmancy cheese, water crackers, gourmet cookies, and a fine prosecco (it was 12 bucks). All-in-all, it cost me around 35 dollars, which is as much as a typical restaurant dinner would be.

We drove to the location where we had first gotten to know each other, a beautiful park along an avenue of restaurants. By the time we got there, the park was empty, there were no clouds in the sky, and the moon was directly above us. We we able to snuggle on a warm blanket, and drink champagne under a moon-lit sky, she was impressed and touched that I handled the details, and most importantly, we were able to spend our first Valentine’s Day (sorta) together. Yes!

73 Matt C. February 9, 2010 at 11:02 am

I am getting married exactly 20 days from Valentine’s; I have ordered roses to be shipped to her house, and I will (hopefully) surprise her by showing up unannounced and taking her to one of the restaurants we went to early in our courtship. I plan on writing her a letter, as well. And once we get settled down, I could really use a cookbook like this–I would love to surprise her once in a while!

74 Tarcas February 9, 2010 at 11:38 am

Visiting her in her town for a change. Church, lunch, either bowling or pool, maybe a movie, and I guess I get to meet her parents. Should be fun.

75 Greg D. February 9, 2010 at 11:41 am

With my girlfriend in the military, we’re going to see each other for the first time in a while. After a quiet dinner somewhere, we’re planning on sitting in a nice warm bath with bottles of IBC cream soda while watching old movies like Casablanca or Swing Time on my laptop.

76 Darrin Crow February 9, 2010 at 11:41 am

Well I have to say, the menu sounds great, and I think I’ll be making it for my fiancee.

77 Adam February 9, 2010 at 11:49 am

After a few Valentine’s Days spent together, we decided to keep it simple – no elaborate gifts, etc.

We’ll do flowers and small gifts, then head to a fish market to pick up sushi-grade fish, and an Asian market for sushi supplies…and then we’ll have a fun night of cooking and eating together!

78 Anthony Pienta February 9, 2010 at 11:49 am
79 Dave February 9, 2010 at 11:53 am

Nothing was really planned yet, but I think I will be making her Grilled Chicken over Pesto Linguine with Roasted with a house salad now.

80 Wesley February 9, 2010 at 11:56 am

Interesting book! And awesome story! Reminds me of my third grade crush! Good advice and great article.

81 Lee February 9, 2010 at 11:56 am

A drive to the beach.

82 Larry February 9, 2010 at 12:04 pm

I’m going to hand write a letter to her telling how much I love her, and how thankful I am that she spent the last 10 Valentine’s Days with me, and how much I’m looking forward to spending the rest of all my Valentine’s Days with her.

83 Mike February 9, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Unfortunately my girlfriend will be almost 900 miles away. We spent this past weekend together for our anniversary together though. I surprised her by bringing her to an amazing hotel in Charleston, took her out to dinner where everyone who worked there wished us a happy anniversary, and looked out over the city at night on a rooftop bar. This Valentines Day will be spent on Skype and reading each other the cards we made for each other :-/

84 Joe February 9, 2010 at 12:08 pm

This year, my fiancee is actually going to be at the Daytona race on VDay… with her father (his tickets). YUP, can’t make this stuff up! But instead, we are doing Valentine’s Day in dribs and drabs: last weekend, I bought her chocolates and we went out for dinner. She’ll be getting flowers once she comes back from extended business travel (which she swung as part of her Daytona trip), and I would love to finish it off by having this book and make her a nice meal once she’s finally home for a while!

85 Anthony February 9, 2010 at 12:10 pm

I don’t have a gf, so I’ll probably invite a bunch of my single friends over to my place for the evening.

86 Welby February 9, 2010 at 12:25 pm

I plan to take my lovely bride of 15 years on a picnic, with crackers and goat cheeses and wine jellies for appetizers and some sandwich fixings for the meal. I think we may have our picnic at the top of a hill near our home.

87 Kevin Cox February 9, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Dinner, made by me. Cookies. Then more of me.

88 Alex February 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm

This year my Valentine’s Day will be spent skiing and thinking about my missing gf who will be road tripping with her mother.

89 Matt Cole February 9, 2010 at 12:38 pm

I am a student studying in DC for the semester while my girlfriend is back home in our native Michigan. While the distance makes Valentine’s more difficult, I still want to do something special for her. I plan to hand write and mail a personal letter for her in order to avoid the generic valentine’s card. I have also arranged for flowers and chocolates to be delivered to her work. I will call her in the evening and talk to her for as long as we can stay awake.

90 Nick February 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I’m single so probably take my dog, Elle, for a walk. She can be my valentine.

91 DJ Wetzel February 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I’m working up a chicken linguine pesto for the Mrs. Then some good ol Frank Sinatra movie classics. Should be a grand ol time.

92 Tim February 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I’m flying down to see my sister and nephew at her Army base.

93 Patrick February 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I plan to watch a movie and have dinner. I like things simple.

94 Samuel V. February 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm

I will do a kind of mass romantic dinner with all my friends and gf/bf, its kind of a tradition now, so all the guys we will cook and hope the rooms are sufficient for all.
Wish me luck!!

95 Jeff February 9, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I am cooking my lady a nice salmon dinner followed by an evening free of interruptions. That means the cell phone and computer will be turned OFF.

Music and dancing are in order as well.

96 Ben February 9, 2010 at 1:59 pm

This year Valentine’s Day will consist of a nice gift and an evening at a tiny Italian restaurant that is one of the best-kept secrets in town (and also makes you feel like you’re part of the Mafia).

97 Nathan February 9, 2010 at 1:59 pm

My sons and I will be having lunch at Winghouse (a local Hooters equivalent) and generally asking every woman we come in contact with to be our valentine.

98 Umbratikus February 9, 2010 at 2:09 pm

My wife is taking care of fixing dinner this weekend. She found some heart shaped pasta she will be fixing with homemade pesto and pan seared filet mignon. Yum!

99 Stephen Y February 9, 2010 at 2:39 pm

My wife’s a waitress, so the actual V-Day weekend means major income for us. Therefore, I just took her to a weekend B&B in wine country here in Missouri. We loved it!

100 Prazas February 9, 2010 at 3:06 pm

V-day coincides with Chinese New Year this year, so we are combining the celebration of both into one. During the day, we plan to spend together time at a nearby beach, visit an aquarium in the area and have a sumptuous meal at a romantic restaurant over looking the ocean. That night, we will be spending time with his family celebrating the Chinese New Year the traditional way!

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