February 14 is just around the corner!
Valentine’s Day is the second busiest holiday of the year for restaurants, with over 25% of Americans choosing to eat dinner away in celebration. Reservations can spike up to 433% when it falls on a weeknight, with tables for two seeing a 764% increase in interest.
If fighting for a table or trying to enjoy dinner jam-packed into a corner booth doesn’t really sound like you scene, we don’t blame you. In fact, we have the perfect solution: make a restaurant-quality meal at your very own home.
Whether you are a kitchen newbie or a seasoned chef, there are lots of ways to pull together a memorable meal for the ones you love to most. Here are some of our favorite menus for celebrating a beautiful Valentine’s Day at home.
Kitchen Newbie: Brown Butter, Sage & Garlic Pasta with Roasted Carrots
Even cooking neophytes can manage our easy brown butter, sage and garlic pasta. Fresh herbs and nutty brown butter are perfectly accentuated by the light crisp of toasted breadcrumbs. Talk about yum.
Add a little more crunch with a side of roasted carrots, seasoned with just a touch of ginger for a little bit of heat. Buy small, skinny carrots, and you won’t even have to lift a knife.
Comfortable Cook: Walnut Crusted Salmon with Rosemary Roasted Root Vegetables
Salmon is just as easy to cook at home as it is to order in a restaurant. This walnut crusted recipe earned its place among our favorites with fresh ingredients that bring big flavor. Served with a side of our best roasted root vegetables, you are looking at a chef-quality meal in under an hour.
If you’re feeling extra creative, check out our guide on roasting your best vegetables of all time.
Seasoned Chef: Filet with Compound Butter or Chimichurri and Creamy Mashed Potatoes
If you’re a pro in the kitchen, express your love with a gourmet meal to remember. Grab some fresh filets from your favorite butcher, sear them to perfection, then top with rich compound butter or vibrant chimichurri. Because you can’t have steak without potatoes, whip up a batch of the creamiest, dreamiest, most wonderful mashed potatoes you’ve ever had. It’s enough to make anyone fall in love with you.
If you want to round things out with a little bit of green, our festive salad is an excellent choice.
For Dessert: Mint Chocolate Pudding with Raspberries
No meal is complete without a little something sweet, and no Valentine’s Day is complete without chocolate! This chocolate pudding recipe might look a little scary for beginners, but it is truly as easy as making a mix. Top with fresh mint, and don’t forget a few raspberries for a pop of color to keep with the V-Day theme.
Certified Mixologist: Garden-Inspired Cocktails
Since you aren’t going to be driving, we can’t forget the cocktails! You’ll want to pick one that best matches your menu (aka maybe we don’t do white wine with steak!).
Here are our recommendations:
If you are cooking pasta: Your pasta will be herby and hearty. Keep things light with an easy champagne cocktail sweetened with just a touch of sweet Saint Germain.
If you are cooking salmon: Both the salmon and the root vegetables are seasoned with rosemary, and your beverage should be, too! Our rosemary old fashioned will tie in beautifully, and it might just become your favorite cocktail of all time.
If you are cooking steak: A classic meal calls for a classic liquor. And you can’t get more classic than bourbon! Try a Queen Bee, a slightly sweet and generously fancy option flavored with honey and fresh thyme.
Are you spending Valentine’s Day in? Tell us your favorite recipes and share your beautiful meals on social media! Be sure to tag @Gardenuity for a chance to be featured on our pages.