Free shipping on all orders over $85
You qualified for Free Ground Shipping!

All orders over $85 get free Fedex Ground shipping. Checkout now to take advantage of this limited-time offer.

The Man Crates Blog

Blog - Navigation Links
  • Gifts
  • DIY Projects
  • Reviews
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Tips & Tricks

I Just Called To Say I’m Hungry: Valentine’s Dinner Recipes to Make Together

Posted by Man Crates on


Anyone who’s ever been to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day knows that even some of the worst things you can think of—swimming in shark-infested waters, listening to Nickelback with no sense of irony, listening to Nickelback with a sense of irony—are better than dining out for the holiday. Even if you’re able to score a prime table for two that won’t require ponying up half of your life savings just to hold the reservation (non-refundable, of course), consider the crowds, the exhausted dining staff, the expectations. Indeed, going out to dinner for Valentine’s Day can be very stressy.

But you can simplify things by keeping it at home and, even more importantly, making it a team effort. Here are some easy Valentine’s Day recipes to make with your significant other for a romantic Valentine's dinner. They’ll help make the night more interactive, intimate and memorable, not to mention free of individual blame should the souffle flop (just kidding, no souffle recipes here—you think we’re crazy?). Read on and feel the love tonight.

APPETIZERS

Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Mascarpone and Almonds

Bacon is love. Love is bacon. Or something like that. Bacon is never wrong for any occasion, especially if you’re eating a meal with someone you love. This appy is simple to make and an excellent way to get the evening rolling on a high—and tasty—note.

What to use

  • 24 pitted Medjool dates
  • 24 roasted almonds
  • ¼ cup mascarpone
  • 12 slices of bacon, halved crosswise

How to use it

Place an almond and some cheese into each date and pinch it closed. Wrap a strip of bacon around each date and secure with a toothpick. Place in a skillet and saute, turning for about 10 mins., until the bacon is browned on all sides. Drain a bit on paper towels and serve hot.

Hearts of Palm and Parmesan Crostini

Despite their name, hearts of palm are not remotely heart shaped, which is a good sign since many edible things that are heart shaped tend to taste like chalk. Hearts of palm look a bit like asparagus and taste something like artichoke hearts, and when combined with Parmesan cheese and bread, make for a excellent Valentine’s Day starter.

What to use

  • Baguette cut into 8 slices ¼ in. thick
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • 1 jar hearts of palm, drained, rinsed and patted dry
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

How to use it

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush baguette slices on both sides with a total of 1 tbsp. oil, season with salt and pepper, place on a baking sheet and bake 5-6 mins. on each side until golden. Let cool. Meanwhile, finely chop hearts of palm and combine in a bowl with Parmesan, parsley and 1 tbsp. oil. Spoon topping evenly onto crostini and garnish with additional Parmesan if desired.

Easy Cheese and Charcuterie Plate—Freeform!

Great matches are important for both love and food. You can make this board up in any old way you like, but be sure to sure to combine items that complement each other. Pick a few cheeses (choose from different flavors and textures—maybe a Comte and Manchego, or Camembert and Parmigiano-Reggiano), some olives, nuts, meats, preserves or mustard, and bread and crackers to nosh on while preparing the rest of the meal.

PRO-TIP: The Salami Bouquet, Jerky Heart and Exotic Jerky Heart are three of the tastiest Valentine’s Day gifts for men. The Salami Bouquet will make filling out a charcuterie board easy. And it can double as your gift. You’ll be killing two birds with one meat stick (actually, five come with the bouquet, but who’s counting?). The mild Jerky Heart or wild Exotic Jerky Heart will appear as a run-of-the-mill box of chocolates...until he opens it and—surprise—there's meat in there!
Valentine's Day Gifts for Men

MAIN COURSES

Balsamic Glazed Filet Mignon

What could be better for the jewel of your heart than the jewel of beef tenderloin? This balsamic glazed version is easy to prepare and will make you both drool with delight. You’ll probably want to turn your heads, though, since drooling really isn’t romantic. Up to you.

What to use

  • 2 4 oz. filet mignon steaks
  • Salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp. honey

How to use it

Sprinkle freshly ground pepper on both sides of each steak and sprinkle with salt to taste. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place steaks in hot pan and cook for 1 min. on each side or until browned. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add balsamic vinegar and honey. Cover and cook for 4 mins. on each side, basting with sauce. Remove steaks, spoon one tablespoon of glaze over each and serve.

Lemony Chicken

Raw chicken breast is not the sexiest looking ingredient. But it’s not what’s on the outside that counts. It’s what inside. Your stomach. And once cooked and eaten, this bird is sure to make you fall in love.

What to use

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup chicken broth

How to use it

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lay chicken breasts in a baking pan and sprinkle salt, pepper, paprika and oregano over chicken. Combine broth, onion and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour hot liquid around chicken and bake for 35 mins. until golden brown and liquid is clear.

Fettuccine with Veggies and Pesto

Lady and The Tramp has one of the most iconic kiss scenes in the history of movies, even though it’s dogs and also a cartoon. Sure, this recipe calls for fettuccine instead of spaghetti and you’re presumably not cartoon pooches, but it will certainly make for a memorable and romantic meal.

What to use

  • 12 oz. fettucine
  • 1 peeled and cubed sweet potato
  • 3-4 shallots, cut in half
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-in. pieces
  • 2 tbsp. plus ⅓ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups chopped chard
  • ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 oz. grated Asiago cheese
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 ½ tbsp. lemon juice

How to use it

Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine sweet potato, shallot, asparagus and 2 tbsp. oil on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and bake about 25 mins. until tender. In the meantime, add chard and parsley to a food processor and pulse about until chopped. Add Asiago, garlic and lemon juice and pulse until finely chopped. Slowly add ⅓ cup oil through the top while machine is running. Season with salt and pepper. Cook pasta and reserve ¼ cup pasta water. Toss pasta with roasted vegetables, pesto and pasta water and serve.

PRO-TIP: Add another level of cooking camaraderie by making your own pasta. The Pasta Craft Crate, one of the best cooking gifts for men, has tools and tips to help you create pasta as outstanding and authentic as your love. Awww.

Pork Chops with Red Onion Chutney

Forget what you’ve heard about the pork chop’s relationship with applesauce. That stuff is for kids. Paired with red onion chutney, the pork chop can blossom and grow into a better meal, finally able to live up to its true potential. Isn’t that something we all hope our partner helps bring out in us?

What to use

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 2 pork chops
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar

How to use it

Chutney
Heat olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion, season with salt, pepper and paprika and cook gently for about 15 mins., stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the vinegar and brown sugar reduce until the liquid evaporates, about 1 min. Remove from heat.

Pork Chops
Season pork chops with salt, pepper. Fry until golden and cooked through, about 5 mins. each side. If they lack fat, you may need to add some oil to the pan to fry them. Serve with a spoonful of chutney on top.

DESSERT

Boozy Egg Cream

Rum, chocolate, ice cream? Sounds like true love to us. This is as easy to make as it is to drink. And that’s pretty easy.

What to use

  • 2 oz. rum
  • 1.5 oz. chocolate syrup
  • 16 oz. seltzer
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream

How to use it

Add ¾ oz. chocolate syrup to each glass. Pour in a ½ cup seltzer. Pour rum into glasses and stir to combine. Add a scoop of ice cream to each glass and serve. Top with whipped cream and chocolate sauce if you like.

Mixed Berries and Champagne Custard

Bubbles are a good addition to any course. Really all the courses. This dessert requires some bubbles and a little extra time, which can be spent drinking more bubbles. Everybody wins.

What to use

  • 2 cups mixed berries of your choice
  • ½ cup Prosecco
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup whipped cream
  • 3 egg yolks

How to use it

In a heavy saucepan, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick, then gradually beat in champagne. Place saucepan over low heat and beat on low speed for 1 min. Continue beating over low heat for about 5-6 mins. Cool quickly by placing pan in a bowl of ice water and stir for 2 mins. Press plastic wrap onto surface of custard and refrigerate for a few mins. until chilled. Fold in whipped cream. Fill cup or bowl with ¾ of the champagne cream, top with berries and spoon remaining cream over it to serve.

Chocolate Dipped Everything

This Valentine recipe will turn anything you want into a delicious and tantalizing dessert. As long as it’s food, that is. You and your beloved can dip to your hearts’ desire and make a particularly personalized dessert by choosing your favorite fruits and/or snacks.

What to use

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 2 cups pretzels
  • 2 cups shortbread cookies
  • 2 cups anything else you may want to dip in chocolate
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate baking chips
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil

How to use it

In a 1 qt. saucepan, melt chocolate chips and oil over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Dip lower half of each treat into chocolate mixture and allow excess to drip back into saucepan. Either eat immediately or place on parchment-lined tray and refrigerate uncovered for about 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm. Enjoy a glass of your favorite libation while waiting for chocolate to firm up.