Valentine’s Recipes – make it special, make it fun!

I was having problems with the light so my husband put up this white sheet to filter it for food photos. Then, our daughter got all excited about how it looked so we had to leave it up for dinner :)

All it takes to make Valentine’s Day special is showing your love to those you love!

With that in mind, I like to cook a special dinner. I’ve done all sorts of things over the years, from heart shaped meatloaves to cinnamon love knots, and usually chocolate cobbler or brownies for dessert. Chocolate is a must for Valentine’s in my book.

I wanted to share some fun Valentine’s recipes with you in addition to a few decorating tips. Now, keep in mind I’m no decorator. I have not within me the slightest fiber of interior decorating skill, but kids are easy to please and I lean on that!

Having issued a disclaimer as to my lack of decorating skills, here are a few suggestions to make the meal extra special.

 My simple but special Valentine’s Table

A Red Tablecloth is one of the most useful tablecloths you’ll ever have! – I got my red tablecloth for $12.99. It is washing machine and dryer safe, stain resistant, and…red! Red is important here because this is why I feel it is worth the investment. A red tablecloth can be used for: Valentine’s Day, Birthdays, 4th of July, and even Christmas! My mother and I strongly believe all you need are three tablecloth colors: Red, Green, and Ivory. The Green can be used for St Patrick’s Day, Easter, and Christmas (you can even put it cattywampus on top of the red one for a fun look). Ivory is for Thanksgiving and all other special occasions. So there you have your tablecloth wardrobe – if you’re interested in tablecloths, of course!

Decorations – Katy Rose and I went to the Dollar Tree and spent a grand total of five dollars on some decorations for our table. We got four different balloons on a stick (one for each of us) and the I trimmed the sticks to be varying heights before putting them in a vase on the table. For another dollar we bought some glitter scatter hearts to sprinkle about. Pretty, festival, and cheap! In the past we’ve just decorated with construction paper. Using pink and white, we make place mats for each person and then cut out little paper hearts to decorate them and the table.

Dishes – Back to red! My day to day dishes are Corelle Cafe Red. I love this color for the same reason as the tablecloth. They’re perfect for every day but the red also matches with Valentine’s, Birthdays, Fourth of July (and other patriotic holidays), and Christmas. I prefer these dishes for their durability and price (about $19-$25 for a 4 piece place setting at Wal Mart). I also love that they take up very little room in my cabinet. So if you were thinking of going to buy special dishes for Valentine’s dinner (hey, some people do that!), I’d go with Corelle because of their versatility.

FOOD! - Let’s face it, it’s EXPENSIVE to eat out and truly, I think most of the food you could cook at home tastes better anyway. For a family of four to go to a moderately priced restaurant is easily over $40. but even fast food can go over $20 really quick. As I mentioned before, we’ve had all sorts of Valentine’s menus over the years but this year we’ll be having:

Steak Kabobs

Rice Pilaf

You can easily feed 4-6 people (eight if you double the rice recipe) for around $20.00 with these two recipes.

Don’t Forget Dessert!

Here are some of my favorites:

Cappuccino Cake

Strawberry Pie

Symphony Brownies

Fresh Strawberry Cake

Sweet Valentine’s Cookies Heart Cookies

Milk Dunkin’ M & M Cookies

Love Knots ( or try this recipe using homemade dough)

 

Remember, Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate all those you love. Often, we center Valentine’s wishes on our spouses or significant others. I’ll never forget though, when I was five years old, walking into the kitchen Valentine’s morning and finding a vase of roses for my mother, with two smaller vases on either side that had a single rose in each one for my sister and myself. I had not expected it, and that made my heart fill even more!

In today’s rapidly expanding and changing world, we never know how much distance might be between us and our loved ones from one day to the next, so don’t miss an opportunity to show all those you love how much they mean to you. Be it a special meal you cook, a phone call, or even a note. Don’t wait.

There is a song I learned in first grade that still pops into my mind from time to time…

“Love is something if you give it away,
Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.

It’s just like a magic penny,
Hold it tight and you won’t have any. 
Lend it, spend it, and you’ll have so many
They’ll roll all over the floor.

For love is something if you give it away,
Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away, 
You end up having more.”

This is one form of currency that we can all find wealth in!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love,

Christy

I’d love to hear what you do to make Valentine’s Special at your house in the comments below! Feel free to talk amongst yourselves, too – we’re all family here. :)

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Comments

  1. Jenny says

    I went to Dollar Tree yesterday and picked up some table decorations. My kids are going to flip over the champagne flutes with hearts. We will do up the table, light candles, play music in the background. Haven’t decided for sure on the menu yet. It’s also my oldest boy’s 18th birthday. I’m having such fun planning a surprise for them!

  2. ReneaK says

    This is a great post, but my comment is really about the Mason jar icons for Twitter, FB, and Pintest at the top of you page. They are so cute and I have never ones like them on other blogs. Being a born and bred Southerner (Arkansas) I have a love for Mason jars.

  3. Kathy says

    Years ago, when my girls were small we were at the mall, a famous chocolate place had chocolate covered strawberries, they were very expensive, so I decided I would make them those for Valentines in a few days, it’s now a tradition, they are simple and you can make a dozen for what two cost at the mall. Now that they are older, their friends know to ask if they can have one too, I also have to comment, being southern born and bred that to see the word cattywampus made me smile and feel just like I was home, so thank you for that, I needed that.

  4. Brenda Caldwell says

    I love your table! And the cafe red dinnerware just happens to be my favorite also! It can be festive, laid back, and country all at the same time! That is just so sweet to have a special dinner at home for your family on Valentine’s Day.

  5. Judy Anthony says

    I have 2 shelves in my house that I call my holiday shelves. Right now they are decorated with hearts, roses, bears, special valentine boxes from the past. Oh and added red and white lights.

  6. Susan says

    Sure do love all the plates you used to display everything on!!! My mom, raised in northern Nevada, always used cattywampus!! Miss her, thanks for bringing back memories! I’d love to be your neighbor…I’d volunteer to taste test everything for you!! Everything, including the strawberry pie (and I hate strawberries as much as they hate me), looks YUM!!!!!

  7. Cindy says

    Dollar Tree is the bomb! It’s my favorite store, when I get the urge to shop. I can wander around that store – spend a few dollars – get something cute – and walk out with no guilt. It’s also the best for charitable giving. Our church gives blessing bags at Christmas, and we are able to give lovely Christmas bags full of things that everyone needs that do not cost much. Shampoo – toothpaste – toothbrushes etc – it’s all quality with many brand names. You can also order in bulk online – it’s wonderful.

    P.S. The food looks as good as your decorations! I can’t wait to try Kabobs that you don’t have to grill. YAY!

  8. Steph says

    When valentine rolls around, I often think of one of our first
    Valentine days together. I had a small 2year old boy who was and is still at 38 a very busy guy. I wanted to have a candle light breakfast for my husband and I without children. So I set the alarm for 4 am. Made a huge breakfast. Set the table with my best dishes. Lit candles. Called for Harry. We just sat down and we heard the pitter patter of Drew;s little feet. My first reaction was to be disappointed, but the cute little guy pulled a chair up to the table and said ” You having a party and you dldn’t invite me? We burst out laughing and begin each Valentines day with all the kids a Candle light breakfast.

  9. Sheila Miller says

    Love it but I would have LOVED to have seen how you were posed when you were taking the picture looking down on the table and the food!!!! That would have been very photoworthy! Next time, give the kids a camera and let them take pics of you taking pics like this!!!

  10. Elizabeth says

    I plan to do the strawberry pie recipe. I love that kind of pie and generally have bought the store bought glaze mix… I bet this home made kind tastes even better though. I can’t wait to try it. My husband is recuperating from knee replacement last week and we will still be pretty home bound and be dining “in” this year for sure.. (well generally we do anyway unless it falls on a weekend!). I hope you and all of your sweetie pies have a great valentines day. And I love that little song too.. which of course is now stuck in my head but there are worse things to get stuck in your head!

  11. Pamela says

    I love a fancy meal on Valentine’s Day at home. We will broil Ribeye Steaks (since it is too cold in MN to grill), baked potatoes with toppings, and a caesar salad. For dessert we will splurge on some chocolate eclairs from the bakery! Just sitting down to a fancy meal at home with our 19 year old will be festive.

  12. Amy says

    Valentine’s day is my birthday, so it is always special! I actually bought myself a pink tinsel Christmas tree when they were on sale after the holidays. I put it up as a Valentine’s day tree. I didn’t want to take down the Christmas treee, so this was a way to keep the decorations going!

  13. Darrelyn Jean Cowan says

    I love this email!! Your decorations are so cute! It inspires me to decorate for my family too! I have a vintage red table cloth that I recently bought at an antique mall for $12.50. I think I will get it out for Valentines to let my family know they are special! I love red! I even have the Corelle bowls & dessert plates in the same pattern. I buy my dishes in sets of 4s so I’m not out so much money at once. I had previously bought a few of the dessert plates. The following week I bought four more. When I got home, I started taking the price tag off the back of the plate. My husband started laughing at me. I asked him, “Why are you laughing?” He explained to me that he would not use the dessert plates because he thought they were vintage plates I had bought at the antique mall. He wouldn’t use them because he was afraid he would break them. ha-ha!! He is so funny! For Valentines Day, I’m making my family Shrimp Scampi Linguine, Cheddar bay Biscuits, tossed salad, sweet tea & Ho Ho Cake. I just recently got the Ho Ho Cake recipe from a friend. This cake is so good! I pray you & your family have a blessed week and a wonderful Valentines Day!!

  14. Rebecca McCoy says

    My husband and I usually splurge on a pint carton of a really good chocolate ice cream and share it. We love that ! But, this year our Thursday nite Car Care Ministry is meeting so I’m going to take some Valentine goodies to these guys. They show real love, sharing Christ’s love, by serving Him by helping others with car repairs ! It’s very inspiring and they deserve some Valentine goodies. I will also do this for the Saturday morning Car Care later this month.

  15. Chyrl says

    I always invite my family for Valentine’s dinner and it’s become a tradition that I make crab cakes. I love to celebrate this special day with my Husband and those who are so dear to my Heart!

  16. Brenda says

    My husband and i just celebrated our 41st. anniversary Feb the 7th..When we were dating he would come to my house and bring a little brown paper bag of Hershey’s kisses back then they were 2 for a penny. we would set and watch tv. So on Valentines Day i get a bag of Hershe’s Kisses been getting them over 41 years . we have truly been in love all those years. great memories

  17. Jen says

    When I was a child, I awoke one Valentine’s Day to a clue taped to my bed post. That clue lead to several others, and at the end of the hunt I found some candy and a small toy. That sweet, simple fun quickly became a tradition that I’ve carried on with my boys, who quiver in anticipation of the hunt. I make them homemade cards and spend my budgeted funds mainly on the small gift with only one special candy simply because the toy lasts and the candy doesn’t! I also make a special meal and dessert to celebrate everyone in the family.

  18. Jackie says

    Thanks for the ideas, Christy. Your goodies look as good as usual. Katy Rose did a great job helping pick out the decorations. :) Also, I’ve never heard that song before. Do you sing it to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb?”

  19. Melanie says

    About 11yrs. ago when we lived in Va. Beach it was our first Valentine’s Day together and I decided to surprise my boyfriend, so I got a dozen red heart balloons and went to where he worked and I knew he parked his truck behind the building so I drove lbehind stuffed all those balloons in the cab of his truck and I had bought this great big card board heart so I taped it to the inside of the truck window and left. A few hours later after his lunch time my phone rang and he was embarrassed one of his buddies and him decided to go to lunch together in his truck but when they got out there much to his surprise the cab of his truck was stuffed full of balloons. He got picked on by all the guys at work and he had a horrible time trying to get home that evening.

  20. Gary Croix says

    I’m not crazy about the commercialism of Valentine’s Day. BUT! On Feb 11, I asked my then girlfriend to marry me. So instead of celebrating Valentines Day, we’ve decided to celebrate ‘proposeaversary’ (say it out loud, makes more sense than reading it) each year. Working great so far!

  21. Julie B says

    I made the steak kabobs & the easy pilaf for dinner on Saturday and everyone LOVED them! Thank you for another winner that will be appearing on my menu. I always make giant heart-shaped cookies decorated with my kiddos’ names & something special for dinner. We’re having individual heart shaped pizzas this year. I have teenage boys that will be thrilled.

  22. TarainNC says

    My youngest daughter and I went to Aldi’s today to shop for our Valentines dinner. We will be having a special dinner with her dad and she will help me decorate the table and make the meal. ( salmon filets, shrimp, pasta with garlic butter sauce, zuchinni and red onion saute, cheesy garlic biscuits, green salad and an assortment of desserts- strawberry pie, valentine cookies and fresh fruit salad.) She asked to buy some roses for he teachers at the store, so they will get those tomorrow. We will be baking cookies tomorrow after school and sharing some with friends and loved ones. My hubby will most likely get me a card and some chocolate. He is sexy that way,lol!

  23. Laura Marshall says

    I have injured my leg so my husband and I both cooked. He grilled some big ol’ steaks and I made smashed/baked potatoes. I boiled unpealed little red potatoes until tender, drained and rinsed with cool water. Placed each potato on a greased cookie sheet and smashed them until they burst open and were flattened. I placed 1 to 2 pads of butter on top of each potato (depending of size of potato). Then sprinked them with salt, peper, garlic powder and shreeded cheese. Baked them for 30 minutes at 350. They were so good, everyone gobbled them up!

  24. MARSHA G says

    I know Christy this is early for 2014 Valentine’s Day but I was looking for ideas from your site to make Valentine’s for 175 nursing home patients and as usual you save the day. I will make 200 of the Sweet valentine’s Hear Cookies and type the little song onto card stock put each cookie in a clear fold top baggie (you know the old fashioned kind I get them at the Dollar tree) Tie the little song to the baggie with raffia along with a message that God’s love is good everyday not just Valentine’s. And viola a cute little gift for 175 people with 25 extras in case there’s a new person comes in and if not then give them to the staff as we all know they are very important. I do not know what we would all do without the Dollar Tree. I use it for teacher gifts, gift baskets, and even re-did an elderly gentleman’s (88 years old) kitchen that had lost everything. The Dollar Tree had everything to get him started back to independence quickly and I can add stuff as I run across them. Loved your table it was gorgeous!!!! I am so blessed to have run across your site in 2013. keep the recipes and inspiring stories coming!!!!!!

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