Happy bellies equal happy hearts. We are dishing up some love in the kitchen with delish Valentine’s Day dinner recipes and warmhearted tips to help make your February 14th one for the books.

What are the benefits of cooking at home? 

Whether you are whipping up a full course meal for your partner, preparing your Valentine’s Day dinner as a couple or even, cooking with the entire family, the benefits abound. Designing and cooking a meal for your Valentine helps to learn more about your special someone’s likes and dislikes, but also boosts confidence and relieves stress. Working in the kitchen aids in focus and taking your mind off things, a really great bonus as you head into a big date night. Creating Valentine’s Day dinner as a couple is the perfect recipe for strengthening your bond and communication by working as a partnership. Still early in the relationship? Preparing a meal or working on a project serves up great conversation starters and allows you two to get to know each other a little bit more. Make it a family affair and you’ll really be overflowing with connection and love, building positive memories to last a lifetime.

What should I cook for Valentine’s Day dinner? 

From sweet strawberry, pomegranate, honey and chocolate to savory oysters, asparagus, artichokes and chili peppers, there are a variety of foods that can help to heat things up this Valentine’s Day, both in and out of the kitchen. As you build your Valentine’s Day dinner recipes and menu, keeping these ingredients in mind will work in your flavor… or favor.

Embark on your Valentine’s Day dinner experience with beautiful steamed artichokes with an aioli dipping sauce or butter herb baked oysters. The ingredients and steps are simple, and the results are dreamy and delightful. Worried you might not have enough time to do it all for your Valentine’s Day dinner? Let ProFlowers take the appetizer course off your plate and have a gorgeous Charcuterie Gift Crate delivered in for the big night. You can set it out earlier in the day and enjoy while the two of you cook up the main dish. Add in romance-boosting honey, figs or pomegranates to compliment the delicious meats and cheeses.

For the main course, honey garlic steak bites paired with fresh, crisp asparagus are sure to impress. The bright green vegetable will bring life to your plates while the tender steak bights will brighten your smiles.  Do you need to consider special dietary needs for your Valentine’s Day dinner recipes? Not only flavorful, but also colorful, try a rich gluten-free artichoke, chicken and spinach pasta or mouth-watering rainbow vegetarian pad thai with peanuts and basil. MMMMMM…indeed.

Top off your Valentine’s Day dinner with a buried strawberry cheesecake or go all out, putting together a decadent dessert board with chocolate-covered strawberries, donuts and oreos and a mix of festive candies from ProFlowers.

How to make takeout or delivery feel special for Valentine’s Day 

If you’re not comfortable in the kitchen or cooking is just not your thing, but you still want to plan a beautiful Valentine’s Day meal, don’t fret! You can still have a meaningful experience without spending hours in the kitchen. Takeout or delivery, especially from sweetheart’s favorite restaurant, are wonderful options that take the pressure off the meal itself and let you focus on other elements of your Valentine’s Day that are maybe more in your wheelhouse.

A quick way to enhance your takeout Valentine’s Day dinner is to simply get the food out of the containers and onto plates or into serving dishes. If you’re up for it, try plating your entrees. Arranging the food to add dimension, texture and personality helps to make your Valentine’s Day meal feel higher-end. Use garnishes to your advantage as well to elevate and dress up the plates. If you lean more baker than chef, focus on dessert for your added wow-factor with a chocolate lava cake or raspberry chia pudding. Are you the go-to mixologist at all family parties? Make an intoxicating memory and whip up a one-of-a-kind cocktail to uniquely complement your Valentine’s Day dinner.

Either way, whether cooking at home or ordering delivery, take the time outside the kitchen to set the scene and create a special and engaging Valentine’s Day atmosphere for your partner. Go beyond the ingredients on the plate to show them how much you care and put together an unforgettable night. A picnic in the backyard is an intimate, yet casual option that allows for a more relaxed romantic vibe. Trim fence lines with soft twinkle lights and pepper the yard or patio with candles and her favorite roses or tulips. Lay out a soft blanket and add in a few bright pillows for more comfy seating or cozying up for some after-dinner stargazing. If a table and chairs are more your speed, send the kiddos upstairs for a movie night and popcorn and set the mood downstairs. A crisp white tablecloth and a striking black or red rose centerpiece produce an easy at-home formal affair. And don’t forget to dress to impress. When you look good, you feel good, which makes all the difference on Valentine’s Day. Small details, such as a printed menu and cloth napkins, go a long way to make your Valentine’s Day dinner feel like an exciting night on the town.