Valentine’s Day Recipes Your Budget Will Fall in Love With

Valentine's Day“Let’s go out for Valentine’s Day.”

Famous last words.

Dining out on the day of romance is likely to make you and your beloved victims of overpriced, ordinary food, tied up in the rip-off ribbon of a prix fixe.

That's why we thrifty lovebirds prefer to stay home and make our own romantic feast. And, rather than try to spend as much on homemade aphrodisiacs as we would have at the overpriced French bistro, we’ve decided to stick with heartwarming, stomach-filling favorites from the ultimate cuisine of frugal amore: Italian.

First, billowy ricotta is dressed with truffles and sweet honey. Simple grilled radicchio follows; it can easily be arranged on the plate in the shape of the heart ... should you please. Then, a tasty version of everyone’s Italian-American favorite, penne alla vodka (which, appropriately, is pink) is perfect for slurping romantically side by side.

Accompany dinner with a light red wine. Oh, and did we mention there's also dessert? It's a Valentine's surprise!

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  • Shannon

    This involves a lot of ingredients, I don’t know how it could stay under $30. You are assuming everyone already has a lot of these ingredients. My husband and I are staying in and “splurging” on langres cheese, that is best served after pouring champagne over it. The cheese is about $12, the champagne can be substituted by Trader Joe’s prosecco for about $5, add a $2 baguette and some sauteed veggies and splurge on a $4 fancy chocolate bar and you have a romantic dinner that is truly less than $30!

    • Anonymous

      Hi Shannon! Thanks so much for commenting. We are assuming that many home cooks do have some of these basic ingredients at home, so they don’t have to go out and buy them to make these recipes. Please keep in mind that grocery store prices vary from state to state and from city to city, so prices may vary, but our writers are very careful in ensuring that yes, this meal could be made for under $30. 

      Your idea for Valentine’s Day dinner sounds fantastic, though! Trader Joe’s prosecco is delicious. We hope you have a great holiday with your husband! 

  • julia

    I agree with Shannon. I had a majority of the ingredients but found the pricing to be somewhat unrealistic – and I used coupons and shopped at a normal grocery store (not an overpriced specialty store/Whole Foods) in Chicago.

    For the amuse bouche, I only had to buy the bread ($2.29), the white truffle oil ($18.65), & made the ricotta according to the linked recipe ($12). That came out to approx $32 for the amuse  bouche alone! 

    For the radicchio, I purchased the cheese ($3.83) and radichio ($2.79) so that totaled to about $7, which wasn’t too bad. 

    For the pasta course, I purchased the marinara ($2.69), cream ($3.19), basil ($2), and penne ($2), so that was nearly what your site suggested ($9) total but I assume many people would have to purchase the parmesan, which would have made that more expensive too. 

    That means that without the dessert, the meal ended up costing $48! The recipes look great and I am still looking forward to making everything but would appreciate more realistic menu pricing in the future. 

  • Seafood is usually quick to cook and looks elegant – perfect for a romantic dinner!

  • Guest

    Gee, how romantic; I get to cook 365 days a year instead of 364! Then, I have to wash the dishes, and do the clean-up, because my boyfriend doesn’t think a dishwasher is necessary since HE doesn’t do the dishes!  And after slaving over a hot stove (oh, we don’t need a “hood” over the stove because HE’s not the one standing there working up a sweat while grease splatters in HIS face), for 2 hours and THEN I get to serve the dessert that I “whipped” up earlier in the day! Then I have to get a quick shower, dress in uncomfortable lingerie and proceed to give him the best sex he gets all year! ARE YOU PEOPLE IDIOTS or what? Valentine’s Day is supposed to be for men to show appreciation for all WE do year ’round. (And yes, I will reciprocate with the best sex that HE will get in the entire year in return!).  And if you think for one moment that I’m not going to get my ONCE- A- YEAR Ruth’s Chris’  Pittsburgh-rare filet mignon accompanied with bearnaise sauce, side dishes and hot rolls with REAL butter, you’re all nuts!  While the writer’s of this article try to find the energy to have a hot, passionate night of mind-boggling sex after all the work they put into making dinner and dessert , I will be ready, willing and ” waiting” for him (as he needs time to digest a large dinner) to give him my best! THERE IS NO BETTER APHRODISIAC  than getting dressed up and FEELING PRETTY (which I rarely get to do), being escorted to a fancy  restaurant and throwing all caution to the wind (including calories) and ordering a decadent dinner, whether it be filet mignon , lobster, etc. Enjoy loading-up the dishwasher, ladies, at least you have one! 

    • Guest2

       Maybe you should get a new boyfriend then.