What’s for {Valentine’s} Dinner?

Valentine's Day dinner menus

Nearly every Sunday night, as we drive home from small group, Mark looks at me across the front seat and asks, “What are we going to do for dinner?”

And nearly every Sunday night, as we drive home from small group, I look at him across the front seat, grit my teeth, glare at him and say, “I. Don’t. Know.”

As if feeding my family and myself weren’t a difficult enough feat under normal circumstances, accomplishing this superhuman task at past bedtime o’clock on a Sunday night when I should have gotten dinner ready BEFORE small group feels absolutely impossible.

[Also? I really like to consider small group snacks an actual meal. Is that so wrong? Chips and dip, or a fruit tray and cookie plate – these things represent at least a couple of the food groups, right? Or one food group? Can we make snacks a food group? And yes, this may be why our old small group turned into a supper club…]

Which is why the bar and grill up the road that makes the good nachos recognizes our car in the pick-up spot. And why it’s possible I can tell you exactly which pizza place is running the best special on any given week.

For some reason, though I can [usually] manage meal planning during the week, Saturdays and Sundays escape me. Every weekend is different and no weekend ever goes according to plan. And, I don’t know, I guess by the time we limp into the weekend, I’m just TIRED. Tired of thinking and deciding and preparing and cleaning up and fixing and ALL OF IT.

Of course, as it turns out, Valentine’s Day falls on a weekend this year. Granted, it’s a Friday night, but since Mark works nights (including Fridays), any romantic celebration we attempt will have to wait until Saturday. But since we also have a newborn (and six-year-old), it’s unlikely our evening will be spent anywhere other than at home.

And that’s okay. But it might be nice if instead of a last-minute fast-food run or late-night take-out debate, so I actually MADE A PLAN for our Valentine’s dinner. Who knows? It might even be the beginning of a regular thing. Just imagine! Meal planning for the weekends! What a novel idea! (I’m kidding, of course. This is neither novel nor likely to happen. But a girl can dream, can’t she?)

valentine's day food

Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with for potential dinner menus:

The All-American:
Bacon Burgers
Loaded Baked Potato Salad
S’mores Rice Krispy Treats

The Fancy:
(Yes, I came up with these titles myself. How did you know?!)
Steak or Grilled Chicken
Butter Parmesan Potatoes
Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans
Banana Bread or Pound Cake (or both, if you’re feeling carb-alicious!)

The Olive Garden:
Garlic Chicken Pasta (or Stuffed Shells if you have extra time)
Parmesan Knots
Apple Cake

The Spicy One:
Tortilla Chicken with Salsa Verde
Chips and Homemade Salsa (or Sweet Chile Cornbread – yum!)
Mini Fruit Pizzas

We’ll probably go Mexican, like we usually do. Or Italian. I don’t know. [See?! Planning is HARD!] What about you? Have you thought about it yet?

What’s for YOUR Valentine’s dinner? (And tell me I’m not alone in the weekend menu planning slacking department. Anyone else? Anyone…?)

{Photo by Raymond Bryson}

11 Comments What’s for {Valentine’s} Dinner?

  1. Missy June February 11, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Because it falls in the midst of a hectic week, we’re going to order in and spend the evening at home. We have arrangements for all five our children to be elsewhere and hope to take advantage of some down time. I’ll be sure to have candles and chocolate at some point!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect February 23, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      I’m guessing that it’s quite a feat to find childcare for all five kids. I hope you got to enjoy that alone time! ;)

  2. Lina February 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Dear Sweet Mary,

    I would like to just say KUDO”S for having dinner planned DURING the week, because that is where I have always failed… Too many times it was “what are we having for dinner” at 7:00 on a week night!!! The Fast Pizza lady knows my voice and my zip code by heart. Love her!
    I also think Valentine’s day can be treacherous for the faint of heart. Talk about expectations being loaded on us…. We once had our V-night dinner at the Doggy Diner (famous for hot dogs) and it was great! Many friends made fun of us, but this was special to us because it was where one of our first dates was. It was also one of the few places that didn’t have an hour plus wait. (We did try other places first)
    The other issue is that my birthday is two days after V-day so that can cause confusion about dinners out and whatnot. We have a family tradition of cooking the b-day person’s favorite meal on the actual day. One year they made 5 different types of potatoes – because I LOVE potatoes!! It was great fun. Just one more possibility. I mean who says the meal has to make sense? =)

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect February 23, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      Dinner full of five types of potatoes??? I love that idea! How fun!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect February 23, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Yum! And…do you have a recipe for that chocolate strawberry lasagna???

  3. Jessica February 14, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    I did NOT plan ahead any Valentine’s stuff this year. I checked Facebook this morning and saw a great idea my friend had, so I ran to the store & bought one for my son after I dropped him at preschool! And I had planned to make pizza for dinner, so maybe we’ll make it in a heart shape :) I kind of feel like a loser for all the above, but part of me knows my boys won’t care anyway, so why stress?

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect February 23, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      No way – you are NOT a loser!! We had pizza and my daughter asked me why I didn’t make it in a heart shape! :)

  4. Britta February 4, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    I do the same thing on the weekends!!! I actually make a plan that I don’t follow…every week…there’s a lot of guilt in that too! I either (1) know what I need to buy for it, but forget to get the stuff or (2) (worse?) I get the stuff, but run out of steam…eat lunch too late…or do other stuff so cooking is “too hard.” I need to plan more kindly for myself. But I always want to weekend foods to be fun or special…no baked chicken or regular pork chops on a Friday night. I see now that I have set myself up to fail! Gotta’ rethink this…Thank you for shining the light on this—it is a regular stressor that I try to ignore!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect February 5, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      Haha! Britta, all your reasons for not cooking on the weekends are my EVERYDAY reasons. :)

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