A Man’s Guide to Valentine’s Day Dinner

A Man’s Guide to Valentine’s Day Dinner

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you might be starting to panic. You’ve decided to skip restaurant reservations and host dinner at home this year, but you have no idea where to begin. On the one hand, you want to pamper your valentine and make her feel extra special. On the other hand, you’re concerned you’ll pick the wrong flowers, burn the cookies or forget the champagne.

Take a deep breath – we’re here to help and tell you that you can pull off Valentine’s Day and enjoy the day with your significant other. Even if you have zero cooking skills, you can make a delicious romantic dinner in the most intimate setting you can think of – home sweet home.

At home, you can make the atmosphere as romantic as you desire, and you can enjoy each other’s company however you wish. Also, you get to choose the menu and how you want to express your love and admiration. A home-cooked meal is the ultimate way to show your effort and thoughtfulness, which is what really counts on this special day.

In this Valentine’s Day dining guide, we’ll help you get started. We’ll share dinner ideas for every skill level, from easy yet impressive meals to ultra-fancy meals. Either way, we’re excited to help you plan the perfect Valentine’s Day date.

Planning the Perfect Valentine’s Day Date

Before we begin, it’s important to note that no matter how simple the meal is going to be, you must prepare. Preparation is key to a happy and romantic Valentine’s Day. Here are a few tips to help you consider the essential details.

valentine's dinner planning

1. Serve Hors D’Oeuvres

Offer your honey something to snack on while you prepare dinner. This shows you thought of her comfort level, and it sets the stage for the rest of the evening. Treat your other half to succulent Valentine’s Day scallops like our Applewood Smoked Bacon Wrapped Scallops, or our mouthwatering Lobster Cocktail Claws. Another Valentine’s day classic is oysters. You can serve oysters raw with a special rosé mignonette dressing, or you can bake them by following this Easy Butter and Herb Baked Oysters recipe.

2. Prepare as Much as You Can Ahead of Time

Something your other half will want for Valentine’s Day is your attention. Try to keep the romance going and avoid being in the kitchen all day. Dice, slice and cook what you can in advance, so you’ll have more time to cuddle with your sweetheart between courses. Also, read your recipes so you can ensure you have all the necessary ingredients, cooking tools and time to make the meals right.

3. Plan the Details

Consider how you want to create a romantic mood at your home. For example, you might decorate the dinner table with fresh flowers, candles and an elegant tablecloth. Also, think about how music can add to the experience. The small details will make your date feel adored.

4. Know What She Likes

Not every date wants roses and chocolate for Valentine’s Day, so it helps to know what your significant other likes. What foods does she love? Does she have a sweet tooth and would be disappointed if there was no dessert? Even if her favorite meal is less-than-fancy, if she loves it, that’s what counts.

If your relationship is just beginning to bloom and you’re not sure what food your date likes, don’t be afraid to ask. Talk to her about it, and you can both plan a meal you’ll love sharing together.

5. Plan to Keep It Balanced

You might imagine cooking the most extravagant appetizer, main course and dessert for your valentine. If so, you may already feel exhausted. There is no need to go overboard. Instead, focus on featuring one shining star of the meal. For example, say you want to make a romantic lobster dinner for your loved one. In such a case, the lobster will steal the show, and you won’t need to offer other magnificent dishes. You can serve a simple salad as a side for example, and keep the focus on the main event.

6. Don’t Forget the Drinks and Desserts

Make sure your romantic dinner is complete with drinks that enhance the mood and flavors of the meal. Fish and seafood pair well with white wine and champagne. For instance, you might pair riesling or pinot grigio with a lobster dinner. If you plan to serve up steak for your honey, you’ll want to go with red wine. In general, white wines go well with light-colored foods, and red wines pair best with dark-colored foods. When in doubt, go with champagne which works with a range of flavors.

If your other half prefers beer, you have plenty of options. For example, you can pair briny oysters with malty stouts, balance sweet scallops with bitter India pale ales or savor rich lobster meat with Belgian tripels.

Lastly, make sure your meal ends on a sweet note. Dessert can be as simple as chocolate-covered strawberries, as long as it’s there waiting to be devoured. To choose dessert, determine if your valentine is a chocolate lover, or prefers lighter fruity flavors. There are endless desserts to create or buy.

Ready to make your grocery list? Let’s look at recipes for every level of chef, whether you want something simple yet scrumptious, something in the middle sure to impress or a fancy meal you’d find at a five-star restaurant.

Easy Valentine’s Dinner

Here are simple recipes that just about anyone can whip up a home. Don’t let the simplicity fool you – these dishes are sure to shine and impress your loved one.

1. Lobster Grilled Cheese

Lobster grilled cheese recipe

Grilled cheese is classic comfort food, and a great way to show your love, especially if your date adores anything cheesy. Adding lobster to this toasted favorite amplifies the flavor and makes it worthy of a Valentine’s Day meal. To make Lobster Grilled Cheese, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 8 slices country-style bread
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 8 large slices sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound cooked fresh lobster meat
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs such as parsley, tarragon and chives, chopped (optional)

To make the sandwiches, chop the lobster meat into 1/2-inch pieces and set the meat aside. Butter one side of each slice of bread with butter. Flip the bread over and layer the unbuttered sides with a slice of cheese, lobster meat, fresh herbs and another slice of cheese. Top with the remaining slices of bread with the buttered side facing up.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sandwiches in batches. Cook each sandwich until it is golden brown on both sides, for about three to five minutes on each side. Slice in half and serve immediately.

You might pair these warm, velvety sandwiches with a light, crisp arugula salad. Try this easy Arugula with Apples and Walnuts recipe to make the perfect side to this simple yet impressive meal. If you want to take the meal to extraordinary heights, serve the sandwiches with a side of heavenly soup like our creamy lobster bisque.

2. Avocado Lobster Rolls With Lime Mayo

avocado lobster roll recipe

Why not set up a romantic indoor picnic and enjoy savory Valentine’s Day lobster rolls? If your sweetheart has always wanted to try a genuine Maine lobster roll, show her you’ve been listening to her all this time. This Avocado Lobster Roll with Lime Mayo recipe only takes minutes to make, so you’ll have plenty of time left over to pamper your darling. To get started, you’ll need:

First, prepare the lime mayo. To make the lime mayo, add the mayonnaise to a mixing bowl and stir in the lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare the lobster meat, cut the lobster into smaller pieces. Slice the avocados or mash them, whichever you prefer.

Butter the outside of the lobster roll buns and brown on both sides in a frying pan heated to medium. Open the lobster rolls buns and add the lime mayo, avocado, bacon and the lobster meat. Voilà – your lobster rolls are ready to enjoy. Consider serving the lobster rolls with classic clam chowder, veggies fries or crunchy, foolproof potato chips. To simplify the process even further, consider ordering one of our lobster roll kits and save yourself a trip to the grocery store.

3. Baked Haddock

If your other half loves a satisfying piece of fresh, flaky fish, consider trying our Baked Haddock recipe. Baked Haddock is a Maine staple, and this recipe is very easy to make. You’ll need to following ingredients:

  • 1 pound haddock
  • 1 sleeve crackers, crushed
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 8 ounces crab meat (optional)

To make baked haddock, heat the oven to 350 F. Clean and dry the haddock.

Place the fish in a 9-by-11 pan. Sprinkle with garlic salt, and squeeze about 1 and a 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice over the haddock. Mix the crushed crackers and crab meat with the melted butter. Spread the mixture over the top of the haddock.

Bake the haddock for 20 to 25 minutes on the top rack or until the fish flakes easily. Remove the fish from the oven, let it sit for a minute or two, and then serve.

You can serve many different sides with baked haddock, but here are a few ideas to make your loved one feel like they are dining in a seaside restaurant:

  • Roasted asparagus
  • Mashed or baked potatoes
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Caesar salad

4. Mussels in White Wine and Garlic

Mussels are very easy and quick to prepare, yet make a luxurious and highly romantic dish. Our Mussels in White Wine and Garlic recipe takes minutes to make. You’ll need:

  • 4 pounds Maine mussels
  • 4 cups dry white wine
  • 8 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

To prepare the mussels, first, rinse and scrub the mussels under cold running water. Using your finger, remove and discard the beards or the strings that hang from the mussels’ shells.

In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook the shallots for two to three minutes. Turn the heat to high and add the wine, garlic and salt. Next, add the mussels and cook them for five minutes or until the mussels are open. Stir in the parsley and extra butter if desired. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with the broth.

Make sure to serve the mussels with a baguette for soaking up the yummy broth. You might also make warm, buttery biscuits using this easy Baking Powder Biscuits for Two recipe, or serve the mussels with a delicate frisee salad and Pilsner beer.

Medium Level Valentine’s Day Dinner

The following Valentine’s Day dinner ideas are slightly more involved than the above recipes but are still simple enough to tackle on your own. Most importantly, they are delicious, indulgent and sure to impress.

1. Lobster Fettuccine

lobster fettuccine

What could be more delectable than a creamy pasta dish balanced with bright lemony flavors and chunks of tender lobster meat? Imagine a table set with soft candlelight, crystal stemware and steaming plates of lobster fettuccine. If your mouth is watering, consider our Lobster Fettuccine with Lemon Crème Sauce recipe. This pasta dish looks, tastes and sounds fancy but is simple to make. You’ll need:

  • 1 pound fettuccine pasta
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, torn from a roll
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound cooked fresh lobster meat
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 stick salted butter, divided
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, from 2 lemons
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

To make this recipe, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Save a 1/2 cup of pasta water and set it aside. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and toss the pasta with 3 tablespoons of butter.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook until lightly toasted, for about eight to 10 minutes. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a bowl and set it aside.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until they are soft, for about two to three minutes. Add the heavy cream and bring it to a simmer for about three to four minutes. Whisk in the pasta water and lemon zest. Cook for about three to fourminutes until the mixture slightly thickens. Mix in the lobster meat. Cook until the meat is heated through, for about two minutes.

Add the mixture to the pot of cooked pasta. Add the lemon juice, parsley, thyme and basil and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top each serving with breadcrumbs and extra herbs if you wish. Enjoy this dish immediately.

Lobster fettuccine is a rich dish, so you might serve it with a light green salad or steamed broccoli. Try tossing mixed greens with a simple lemon vinaigrette dressing for a side dish.

2. Lobster and Scallop Scampi

Do you want to make your date fall in love? Follow our Lobster and Scallop Scampi recipe to serve up something irresistible. To get started, you’ll need:

  • 1 pound cooked fresh lobster meat
  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper oil or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 16 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Box of pasta of your choice

To make lobster and scallop scampi, cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Melt the butter and olive oil over low heat in a large pan. Add the garlic and brown slightly over medium heat. Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, paprika and wine. Simmer for five minutes.

Add the lemon juice, lobster and scallops. Cook until the meat is heated through. Serve over the cooked pasta.

You can use any pasta you wish, however, we recommend linguine or angel hair pasta. To increase the overall deliciousness, you might top each serving with shaved Parmesan cheese. Serve with a light salad or steamed veggies.

3. Lobster Mac and Cheese

best lobster mac and cheese

If your significant other’s dream date revolves around cheese, and if she loves seafood, you can’t go wrong with lobster mac and cheese. Lobster mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and bound to make any date feel truly adored. To make this Lobster Mac and Cheeserecipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 16 ounces heavy cream
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 6 ounces Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 pound cooked lobster meat, chopped
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

To get started, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta eight to 10 minutes – do not overcook.

In a double boiler, combine all the cheeses and heat until blended. Gradually add cream, and stir until smooth.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the shallots and garlic, and sauté. Mix in the lobster meat.

Add the lobster mixture, cheese sauce, and salt and pepper to the cooked pasta. Mix all the ingredients well. Place the mixture in a casserole dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 F for six to eight minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Do you want to cook delicious lobster mac and cheese for your valentine but feel intimidated by the process? Order our Lobster Mac and Cheese to save yourself time and trouble, and to enjoy an award-winning dish. It’s sure to bring you lots of post-dinner hugs and kisses.

Fancy Valentine’s Day Dinner

Do you want to show your sweetheart that you’d serve her the moon and the stars if you could? The following meal ideas are divine and reminiscent of a fancy restaurant. If you plan to go all out with a classy meal, make sure to remember the elegant details like candles and attractive dishware. You might even create a menu to add to the atmosphere. Are you feeling overwhelmed? These following recipes are easier than you might think. Remember, it’s not about perfection – it’s about the romance.

1. Lobster and Boursin Cheese Ravioli

Imagine your date’s face when you tell her you prepared lobster and Boursin cheese ravioli. Are her eyebrows raised with pleasant surprise? Perhaps you’ve never heard of Boursin cheese, but it’s likely you’ve passed this cheese at the supermarket a few times. In case you’re wondering, Boursin combines Gournay cheese, herbs and spices and is the secret ingredient in this romantic dish. To make our Lobster and Boursin Cheese Ravioli, you’ll need:

  • One 5.2-ounce package of Boursin cheese
  • 1 pound fresh lobster meat, cooked
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1/3 plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 64 wonton wrappers
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 vine tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 1 cup basil leaves, torn
  • Parchment paper

To make the filling, put the Boursin cheese, lobster meat, salt and pepper, parsley, lemon zest and olive oil in a food processor. Pulse in the food processor until the ingredients are well-combined and the lobster is finely chopped. Prepare a clean, flat work surface and a small bowl of water. Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the middle of a wonton wrapper. Dab water around the edge of the wrapper with your finger before covering with a second wrapper. Press firmly to create a tight seal between wrappers. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat to make 32 ravioli.

Boil a large pot of salted water and add ravioli in batches. Cook for about three minutes until the ravioli float to the top. Place the ravioli in a dish and drizzle them with olive oil to keep them from sticking to each other. Set aside a 1/2 cup of pasta water.

In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil and sliced garlic for about two minutes. Add the pasta water and the chopped tomatoes. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, for about eight minutes. Remove the pan from heat, and toss the arugula until it wilts. Top with the basil then salt and pepper to taste. Add this sauce to the ravioli and serve.

Serve the ravioli with a crisp white wine like pinot grigio, and save room for dessert.

2. Beef Wellington

beef wellington recipe

Beef Wellington is a classic, elegant dish and features a moist beef filet wrapped in a buttery pastry. If your date prefers beef over lobster and likes mushrooms, you might treat her to this exquisite dish. It takes a little more courage to conquer beef Wellington, but it isn’t out of reach. You’ll need to prepare some of the ingredients the day before, which can save you time on the big day. This Individual Beef Wellington recipe spells it out in simple steps. You’ll need the following ingredients to get started:

  • Four 4-ounce filets of beef
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 tablespoons brandy
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
  • One 4-ounce can liver pâté

For the mushroom sauce you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 6 large mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • One 10.5-ounce can beef broth, undiluted
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

For the pastry you’ll need:

  • 6 pastry shells, defrosted, or pastry dough
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Butter
  • Small heart-shaped cookie cutter (optional)

To make beef Wellington, you’ll first need to prepare the beef. Rub each filet with garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté the filets in butter three to four minutes on each side. Pour the brandy over the filets. Remove the filets and chill.

Using the same skillet, sauté the chopped mushrooms. Remove mushrooms and chill. Once the mushrooms have chilled, mix the pâté with the mushrooms. Spread the mixture over the top of the filets and refrigerate.

On Valentine’s Day, complete the recipe at dinnertime. To make the mushroom sauce, combine the onion and sliced mushrooms in the same skillet over medium heat. Stir in the flour. Gradually add the wine, bay leaf and beef broth. Stir until the sauce bubbles and thickens. Season with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.

To prepare the pastry, roll out the pastry shells and trim into four 6-inch squares. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg.

Place each filet, pâté side down, on the pastry shells. Fold the dough completely over the filets and seal the edges with butter. Place each filet with the seam facing down on a greased, rimmed baking sheet. Brush each pastry shell with the egg again. If you want to add heart-shaped pieces of dough to the top of each filet, use a cookie cutter to form hearts from the excess dough and attach the hearts with the egg. Bake at 425 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is browned. Serve with the mushroom sauce.

Because beef Wellington is such a hearty dish in itself, you don’t need to serve it with too many sides. You might pair each filet with roasted carrots or whip up buttery pommes Anna if you want to be traditional. However, you may only need to serve beef Wellington with a bottle of red wine or pinot noir, and decadent chocolate mousse for dessert.

3. Surf and Turf for Two

surf and turf for 2

Are you torn between the surf and the turf? Why not enjoy both with your date on Valentine’s Day? Surf and turf is a classic combination where the best of both worlds get together and celebrate on your plate. It’s not too difficult to prepare either. Let this Surf and Turf Steak and Lobster Tail for Two recipe be your guide. You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Two 14-ounce rib-eye steaks
  • Two 4-ounce lobster tails
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

When you’re ready to cook, heat the oven to 425 F. Rinse the lobster tails, pat them dry and place them on a baking sheet. Pat the steaks dry, season them with salt and pepper and set them aside. In a small bowl, mix the butter, lemon juice, garlic powder, and parsley, and set it aside.

Using kitchen shears, cut the lobster shells down the center to the base, and do not cut through the base. With a spoon, separate the lobster from the shell. Slightly open the shell, grab the lobster meat and pull it up and over the shell. Squeeze the shell back together. This will form a pillowy mound of lobster meat on top of the shell for a fancy presentation. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture and brush it on the lobster meat. Place the lobster in the oven on a middle rack and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the meat is firm and opaque, but not rubbery.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium oven-safe skillet. Add the steaks and sear for two minutes on each side. Place the steaks in the oven and cook for four to five minutes for rare to medium-rare doneness. Remove the steaks from the oven and let them rest for five minutes.

When both the lobster tails and steak are done, top each with slabs of the butter mixture and serve immediately.

You might serve this romantic meal with a simple, refreshing side salad like this fennel, grapefruit and arugula salad. Or, you can choose our Surf and Turf Tail Dinner which includes everything you need to have a luxurious lobster dinner at home. Our dinner also includes two 16-ounce containers of clam chowder and two scrumptious chocolate whoopie pies for dessert. Serve surf and turf with both red and white wine to enhance all the flavors of the meal.

Romantic Valentine’s Day Dessert Ideas

After enjoying an impressive dinner with your honey, move to a room with comfortable seating to relax with a luscious dessert and a glass of champagne or port. You might present an assorted box of truffles from a chocolatier. Ask your date to close their eyes and feed them a truffle to guess what’s inside. Or, you might serve one of the following indulgent delights to win your date’s affection:

Best Drinks for a Valentine’s Day Meal

drinks for valentine's day

Besides wine or champagne, here are a few creative Valentine’s Day cocktails to add a romantic, playful ambiance to a thoughtful meal:

You could also make your own cocktail and name it after your date – what could be sweeter?

Enjoy a Valentine’s Day Celebration With Maine Lobster Now

The best Valentine’s Day gift you can give is your thought and effort. A fresh lobster dinner doesn’t hurt either. At Maine Lobster Now, we have all the components you need to romance your valentine with fresh, delicious seafood from Maine’s coast. We offer indulgent treats from tantalizing appetizers and sides to live lobsters caught wild by local suppliers. We also offer complete meal kits to save you time and ensure your Valentine’s Day dinner sails smoothly. All of our products are shipped overnight from Maine in insulated packaging and come with easy preparation instructions. To place your Valentine’s Day order, schedule a delivery today or contact us for more information!