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Easy and Delicious Valentine's Dinner

A great Valentine's menu for beginning or busy cooks

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Even if you're just starting out in the kitchen (or if you're pressed for time), that doesn't mean you can't prepare a delectable Valentine's dinner for two. This menu goes together quickly and doesn't require complex cooking skills, but the delicious results will make it seem like you were working all day.

Champagne Cocktail

Couple toasting glasses of champagne, close up
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Nothing's easier than a champagne cocktail for an elegant start to a romantic evening. This twist on the classic drink includes grenadine for a touch of sweetness and a dash of bitters for balance. If you prefer, you can always opt for plain champagne or sparkling wine instead. For an extra treat, serve a few sweet and spicy nuts with your drinks.

Mixed Greens with Creamy Herb Dressing

Dave Scantland
Use your favorite bagged salad mix, add a few grape or cherry tomatoes and toss with this delicious herb dressing. It's a breeze to make fresh and turns any salad into a special first course. If you like, you can make the dressing a day ahead.

Shrimp and Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

Dave Scantland
Tender, succulent shrimp and creamy spiced tomato sauce turn pasta into a "date night" meal worthy of any bistro in town. Cook the linguine while you make the sauce, and in less than 20 minutes you'll have an amazingly delicious Valentine's dinner entree. (Buying peeled and deveined shrimp makes it even easier.)

Garlic-Cheese Toasts

Dave Scantland
What's pasta without garlic bread? Sure, you could just smear a little butter on some French bread, but with just a little more effort and time, you'll have savory rounds of crisp toasted bread topped with sauteed garlic and parmigiano. A perfect complement for the shrimp and pasta! (You can always make the garlic-cheese butter a day or two in advance, if you want a head start. Freeze the butter mixture until ready to use.)

Bittersweet Brownies

Dave Scantland
Even if you've never baked from scratch before, these brownies are so easy (and so scrumptious) you'll feel like a pro. (Plus, you can make them ahead -- they freeze well, or keep for a couple of days wrapped in foil or plastic wrap.) For an extra special Valentine's dessert, top your brownies with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and a spoonful of frozen thawed raspberries, or coffee ice cream and chocolate sauce. It's a delicious end to your dinner for two.

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