Your special Valentine's Day with your loved one doesn't necessarily have to be shared with strangers in an overcrowded, noisy restaurant where the servers are rushed, the food comes out cold, the orders are often taken incorrectly, and the prices are jacked up. Why not stay in the comfort and privacy of your own home and enjoy each other's company with a romantic dinner? Not only is it a way to share an intimate and relaxing evening together, but it is usually much more practical. The one trick to making a romantic dinner at home go off without a hitch is to plan ahead.
The difference between this and any other dinner at home is that this one will be done sparing no expense. That's right--it's time to pull out the nice things from storage: the fancy table linens, candelabras, silver cutlery, the good china dishes, and the crystal champagne flutes. So you might not have all these items, but that's okay. You can always invest in a few pieces now, especially since you'll be saving money by not going out to eat.The point is to give this night extra special consideration. Turn an otherwise mundane meal into a memorable evening with a few extra touches.
* '''Use your best judgment'''
* '''Go gourmet'''
Basing dinner on a theme makes it easier to come up with a shopping list and a cooking plan. It also creates a nice flow from the start of the meal to the end.
Keeping to an Italian menu is ideal especially when you are first getting to know someone. They're easy meals to stomach for even the most finicky eaters. Pair the dinner with some Italian music playing in the background and bold accents of red and white in your decorating. For recipe ideas, check out The Food Network's Everyday Italian.
Perfect for a sumptuous yet simple evening. French meals aren't hard to make, but they are usually rich and flavorful, the essence of a gourmet experience. Throw on some classical music in the background to help set a romantic mood.
* Prepare as much of the meal in advance as you can. When your dinner mate arrives, you want everything to be in place so that you can spend time together instead of cooking.
* Clean as you go! Not only will it show that you have a handle on things, but you'll have guilt-free time to enjoy yourself during and after the meal.
* Leave the dishes! Spend time with your guy or gal and don't worry about tending to the dirty dishes. You can take care of that in the morning.
* Use unscented candles. Having a scent will distract from the smell of the food and can irritate sensitive sinuses after prolonged exposure. Runny noses aren't sexy.
* Go easy on the vino or whatever type of liquor you might be drinking. You want to remember the night!
* Take your time to eat. Enjoy the flavors and the aromas. Even try feeding each other. This works especially well for dessert!
* Dress up!. Just because you're not going out doesn't mean that you can't look nice.