21 Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas That Feel Fancy but Not Cheesy
You and your valentine decided to stay in this year to celebrate, and you want to whip up something that feels special…but definitely not schmoopy. (Naked angels and conversation hearts? No thanks.) No worries: These 21 Valentine’s Day dinner ideas are fancy yet easy to pull off, with no cheesiness in sight. Well, unless you count actual cheese.
1. Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms and Bacon
Pop the mushrooms in the oven while you cook the polenta and dinner is halfway done. Just pretend you spent all evening stirring.
2. Mac and Cheese with Crispy Parmesan-Phyllo Crust
Pop quiz: A bouquet of phyllo dough rosettes or a bouquet of long-stem roses? (FYI, there’s a right answer.)
3. Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Leeks
Risotto feels sophisticated and chic, but it’s actually just as easy as making regular rice. This one gets jazzed up with a frizzled leek topping that’s *chef’s kiss.*
4. Pan-Seared Scallops with Citrusy Corn Succotash
Intimidated by the thought of cooking shellfish at home? Don’t be. These scallops require just two minutes of cooking per side.
5. Cheater’s White Wine Coq au Vin
Don’t tell Julia Child, but we took some shortcuts with this elegant dish to make it doable in under an hour. We think she’d give us a pass for Valentine’s Day.
6. Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Herbed White Wine Sauce
The key to our heart is homemade gnocchi. Luckily, the pasta in this dish needs just five ingredients and nine minutes from start to finish.
7. Alison Roman’s Swordfish with Crushed Olives and Oregano
It tastes like chicken and is just as easy to make but has a certain je ne sais quoi that’s ideal for a cozy night in with bae.
8. Lobster Risotto
When you’re planning to pull out all the stops, is there a better way to do it than with lobster?
9. Skillet Steak with Asparagus and Potatoes
Cooking steak at home doesn’t have to strike fear into your heart. Just look to your trusty cast-iron skillet for guidance.
10. Whole Roasted Chipotle Chicken
Nothing says “I love you” like an impeccably cooked bird. Just ask Ina Garten.
11. Dorie Greenspan’s Sheet-Pan Balsamic Chicken with Baby Potatoes and Mushrooms
When you pull this beautifully burnished chicken out of the oven, you won’t be able to stop yourself from swooning.
12. Greek Chicken and Rice Skillet
Easy? Check. Gorgeous? Double check. And don’t even get us started on how it tastes.
13. Pomegranate-Maple Glazed Lamb Chops
With an effortless five-ingredient glaze, these chops are ready for their Instagram closeup.
14. Cacio e Pepe
A six-ingredient, 20-minute bowl of pasta is better than a box of chocolates if you ask us. (But we’ll take the chocolates too.)
15. 30-Minute One-Pot Cheater’s Bouillabaisse
You don’t have to hop a flight to Provence to be romantic. Just make this rustic seafood stew and serve it with lots of crusty bread.
16. Foolproof Cheater’s Confit
Impossibly juicy, fall-apart-tender meat and crispy skin? We didn’t think it was possible to have a crush on a dinner, but here we are.
17. 30-Minute Cheater’s Beef Stroganoff
Craving warm and fuzzy feelings? Look no further than this buttery, melt-in-your-mouth bowl. The only thing it needs is a glass of red wine.
18. Cheater’s Skillet Paella
Traditionally, this hearty Spanish rice dish isn’t exactly easy to cook at home…but we made a few tweaks so dinner can be foolproof.
19. Pan-Fried Cod with Orange and Swiss Chard
The whole thing goes from fridge to plate in less time than you would have to wait for a table at your favorite restaurant.
20. Pasta Alla Norma
Roses are red, tomato sauce too…if you’re eating this pasta, we’re jealous of you.
21. Potato and Burrata Pizza
If pizza is our first love, potatoes and burrata are both tied for second. This holiday is all about love, after all.