With Valentine’s Day coming up soon, I wanted to do some valentine themed posts here and on my relationship blog, Love Built To Last. I’ll have another valentine themed post here on Princess In The Kitchen after I bake for my valentine visit with David, but in the mean time I thought it would be nice to brainstorm some ideas for budget friendly valentine dinners for two you can make.
- Spaghetti: This one is quick, easy, and inexpensive with many variations. You can make spaghetti vegetarian or with meat. You can make it healthier and leaner by using whole grain pasta and ground turkey. There are rolls of sausage and even rolls of hamburger that can be purchased for very little. In my opinion, these are great for staying within your budget. There are lots of ready made sauces available for great prices, even roasted red pepper or four cheese sauces. Some of them have truly wonderful flavors.
- Chicken parmigiana: This is the same as spaghetti with meatless sauce, add fried or grilled boneless chicken on top and then either just top with a little mozzarella cheese. You can either leave it alone to let it melt after that or bake it off.
- Linguine with shrimp stir-fry: This one will be really quick! Just buy some shrimp, frozen or fresh, stir-fry vegetables, and a box of linguine. Cook the linguine. Stir-fry shrimp and vegetables with your favorite oil and seasonings maybe a marinade of your choice… Then top the linguine with it and or plate it atop the linguine.
- Grilled chicken with mixed greens salad: Grill chicken, you can do it on a grill pan or in a counter top grill… Seasonings or marinade you like. You could even buy it already prepared in the frozen food aisle. Buy a good mixed greens mix, maybe julienne some carrots. Get a good dressing, maybe a vinaigrette. Sprinkle the carrots on the salad. Slice the chicken breast in thin strips across anfan them out on top of the salad for a pretty presentation.
- Turkey breast with dressing and saffron rice: To make this inexpensive, easy, and ideal for two, buy boneless turkey breast. Rub with butter or olive oil and your choice of seasonings. Bake or even cook in a pan stove top. You may want to make a quick gravy, but don’t have to. Dressing/stuffing is very inexpensive to make and can be quick to stir up. Really doesn’t take a lot of thinking or effort. They sell saffron rice that is perfectly fine in a box in the grocery store.If you feel ambitious, steam or stir-fry some green beans.You could do them whole, bias cut, or french cut.
- Frittata: There are plenty of recipes for this everywhere. There aren’t a lot of ingredients. It can be as inexpensive or expensive as you want it to be. Basically it’s just an egg dish with lots of options for add ons.
- Parfait: This is easy, quick, and can be inexpensive. It can be very healthy or a little naughty. It all depends on what you want. My suggestion is to layer macerated fruit (Frozen fruit is a great option. Maybe try the store brand. Thaw it!!!) and vanilla pudding. You could even buy the vanilla pudding if you want, but there’s a great recipe for vanilla pudding right here on Princess In The Kitchen. For a healthier version, use fresh fruit (maybe sweetened with honey) and vanilla yogurt. If you opt for the healthier version, be careful to read on the yogurt package, not all yogurt is healthy. It can be very high in sugar. I suggest doing this in a parfait glass or even another stemmed glass. You could even do it in a shot glass if you’d like. This would be a good way to cut calories, and cute if you like miniature things, or if you need to watch your blood sugar.
- Mousse: This is an inexpensive option with many variants and a lot of recipes out there. Just do an internet search. It can even be made in pretty molds.
- Trifle: Serve this the way you’d serve a parfait. Layer pieces of cake, pudding, cool whip or whipped cream, and macerated fruit.For two, you can even do this with Twinkies, Raspberry Zingers, or Ho Hos. I use the brand names because I don’t know how to describe them otherwise. Use the off brand if you want to or can. I personally think the Twinkies or Raspberry Zingers would be great.
- Warm chocolate chip cookies: You might even buy frozen cookie dough. You could even just press the cookies into the shape of a heart with your hands, no rolling and cutting necessary. Homemade cookies are nice, but if you don’t have the ingredients already, honestly, it’s probably less expensive to buy the dough. There are some good ones out there. Everyone loves warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies.
- Ice cream sundaes: I think we all know how to make one. They can be very inexpensive and fun. You can make them look fancy with chocolate curls and other nice garnishes. You can even get gourmet flavors. You could macerate berries, you could make a fruit compote. Be creative. Maybe try something new.
- Pound cake or angel food cake and macerated fruit: You could bake the pound cake or angel food cake, but pound cake takes a lot of butter and eggs. You could buy an inexpensive one that’s pretty good. Angel food cake, I wouldn’t bother baking it. Buy it. Cut a neat slice, put it on a nice plate. Macerate some berries and pour them over the cake in sort of a strip down the center of the white part of the cake.
- Macerated berries and whipped cream: It doesn’t get much easier than this. Just buy the whipped cream in the can, it will make a pretty little swirl.
Cooking can be a wonderful thing to do as a couple, and I think it’s very good for a relationship. It’s an exercise in working together and communicating. It’s a chance to try new things together. It gives you time to talk, and unless you have a very big kitchen, there are plenty of chances to get close. You can even feed each other when you’re tasting your dish. Trust me, this can be a good date idea. Or, take the opportunity to cater to your partner, set the table, and wow them with your skills in the kitchen. It’s your choice really, but you’re both winners either way. If you like these dinner ideas you might also be interested in the list of inexpensive date ideas posted on Love Built To Last.