Valentine’s Day at Home: Grocery List + Meal Plan
Most people find it surprising that Valentine’s Day is actually my third favorite holiday. Fourth of July is obviously #1, and actually New Year’s Eve is #2 for me (I love clean starts, goal planning, sparkles and champagne). However, I don’t love Valentine’s Day just for the #couplegoals. Valentine’s Day for me has always represented an opportunity to do kind things for ALL of the people you love in your life, not just your significant other. I’ve always enjoyed making special Valentine’s cards for my friends and family, and some of my sweetest childhood memories involve my Dad bringing home big chocolate boxes for my sister and me. Of course, this holiday is also an opportunity to decorate your house with obnoxious amounts of fresh flowers, bows and arrows, and sparkles…so there’s that obvious reason why I love it.
Actually, I really don’t go all out when it comes to my romantic relationship for Valentine’s Day – Tyler and I never have. Tyler’s birthday follows directly after Christmas, and we always feel a bit “celebrated out” by the time VDay rolls around. We tend to stick with maybe a nice dinner out, and just cards or a small gift.
Did you leave your Valentine’s Day plans until the last minute? You did? That’s OK. I got you. Personally, because I hate dealing with crowds/reservations/parking/prefixe meals/crowds/parking, I really have always been partial to a fun Valentine’s celebration at home.
To make it easy for you to execute, here’s a perfect, healthy evening for you and your sweetheart – or best friend, or family member, or kid, whatever – with an accompanying grocery list. Just print, follow the recipes, and boom. You are a thoughtful person after all. These recipes won’t leave you broke, stuffed, and bloated at the end of your Vday date, either. Win-win-win.
This is a full meal plan that is EASY to execute, especially if you choose to make the dark chocolate covered strawberries ahead of time. The person you are cooking for will have no choice but to be totally impressed!! Put on an Adele playlist, and enjoy following the steps together. To be honest, it’s my ideal Valentine’s Day, so I hope y’all will enjoy it, too.
Appetizer: Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates with Champagne
Main Course: Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce (a la Lady and the Tramp)
Side Dish: Roasted Herb Asparagus
Dessert: Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries
GROCERY LIST (organized by grocery store areas): Meat
1/2 lb. bacon
1lb ground beef
1 container dates
1 spaghetti squash
1 small yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
1 bundle asparagus
1 container of strawberries
Extra virgin olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes (I like fire roasted)
1 can tomato sauce
Red pepper flakes
Sea Salt & Pepper
1 bag dark chocolate chips
OPTIONAL: 1 bag white chocolate chips (for a white chocolate drizzle)
OPTIONAL: Parmesan cheese
Sparkling water, lemon or lime
Red wine – a few of my favorites at different price points are Meomi, Saldo, and Belle Gloss Clark & Telephone.
For the Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Slice off the very top of each date, and using your pinky finger, gently pull the seed out of the middle of the date and hollow out the center.
- Drizzle almond butter into the center of the date, being careful to not over-fill.
- Wrap 1/2 strip of bacon around each date, and secure with a toothpick, placing finished dates on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake for approximately 12 mins at 400 degrees. If you want the bacon to have a crispier finish, you can turn on the broiler at the end for 1-2 mins.
For the Spaghetti Squash + Meat Sauce:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and slice the spaghetti squash in half, length wise. Scoop out the seeds, and then brush the face of the spaghetti squash with olive oil. Sprinkle oregano, salt & pepper on the top, and bake face up for 30-40 mins, or until you can easily puncture it with a fork. Set aside to cool. Once cool, scrape the spaghetti squash out (it comes out in noodle shape) with a fork and set aside.
- In a large sauce pan, heat up 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Place 1 small yellow onion, diced, and 3 cloves of diced garlic in the pan and sauté until the onion is translucent.
- Add the 1lb of ground beef, breaking it up in the pan until it is browned and cooked through.
- Add 3tsp of dried oregano, 1tsp garlic powder, a few generous shakes of red chili pepper flakes, sea salt & pepper and stir to combine.
- Add 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz works for each, if you want your sauce a bit saucier, you can use 12 oz. cans).
- Bring the sauce to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer for 10-15 minutes. The longer you simmer the sauce, the more the flavors will marry.
- Spoon the spaghetti squash onto a plate, top with plentiful meat sauce, and add fresh basil and parmesan cheese as your garnish!
- Pair with a delicious red wine!!
For the Roasted Herb Asparagus
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees (you can leave the oven on after you pull the spaghetti squash out from above). Place the asparagus on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Pour 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on top of the asparagus. Pour 4 tablespoons (or even more) of freshly chopped rosemary, coarse sea salt, and fresh black pepper on top. Rub everything all over the asparagus with your hands to combine, right on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the asparagus is done to your liking. I tend to like mine a bit more crispy.
For the Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries: This can be done ahead of time, up to even a full day before. It’s nice to not have to worry about making a dessert after you’ve already cooked a romantic meal.
- The term “double broiler” always used to scare me, but it’s really easy. Fill a pot with about 3-4 inches of water. Then, take a mixing bowl and set it on top of the pot. You don’t want the water in the pot to touch the bottom of the mixing bowl. Turn the heat on to medium.
- Place the dark chocolate chips into the mixing bowl, and stir frequently. You want to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn, so better to be patient at a lower heat than crank it up and ruin the whole thing.
- Once the chocolate is melted, simply dip the strawberries into the dark chocolate mixture, and set on a parchment lined plate when finished. Repeat X 12.
- Once you’ve dipped all of the strawberries, you can do another double broiler with white chocolate for a drizzle. If that’s too much for you, forget it.
- Place the plate of strawberries in the fridge for at least 15 minutes for the chocolate to set.
- Pair with leftover champagne from the appetizers!!