Dinner for Two: Small Meal Ideas for Valentine's Day

Thinking about staying in for Valentine's Day this year? So many of our home-cooked meals veer toward the practical and budget-friendly that can feel really special to splurge on an elegant homemade dinner for two! Here are some ideas we've been toying with making for our own Valentine's Dinner.

1. Homemade Pasta - Nothing says love like a batch of homemade pasta (at least in our opinion!). Our basic recipe makes plenty for two with a little leftover, and you can top it with any sauce that suits your fancy. We've had this Tagliatelle with Chestnuts, Proscuitto and Sage from Gourmet on our list for a while.

2. Steamed Mussels - We absolutely love mussels, but we often forget how easy and fun it is to

. They can be a simple starter for the dinner or serve them over some linguini for a full meal. We're eying this recipe for Buttery Steamed Mussels with Sake and Chilis from Epicurious.

3. Braised Short Ribs - Just buy two of the meatiest short ribs you can find and scale back the braising liquid to make this into a dinner for two. These Southwestern Braised Short Ribs from Fine Cooking sound like they'd add some spice to the evening!

4. Creamy Risotto - Risotto is another recipe that is easy to scale back to two people. Most recipes use 2 cups of rice to feed 4-6 people, so just cut the entire recipe in half. A good Mushroom Risotto like this one from Martha Stewart is a sure winner.

5. Fish in Parchment - This is a simple and elegant way to prepare fish - and get it right every time. Throw some veggies into the parchment packet along with the fish and you've got an entire meal! We like the sound of this recipe for Asian-Style Halibut in Parchment from Real Simple.

What will you be making for Valentine's Day?

Related: Good Recipes for Small-Portioned Treats for Two?

(Images: Romulo Yanes/Gourmet, Cos Poulos/Bon App├ętit, Fine Cooking, Martha Stewart, John Kernick/Real Simple)

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