A fancy night out at an elegant restaurant can be the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion. But with the reservations and wait lists and fixed menus that often come with it, Valentine’s Day is sometimes easier spent at home. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the gourmet meal, however – just do it yourself! Prepare your romantic meal alongside your special someone, and you may find the process to be as enjoyable as the results.

And if you’re looking for some menu inspiration, we’ve got you covered:

cheese-stuffed-roasted-peppers-1Source: Simple Bites

First, start off with a pretty and tasty appetizer – like these Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers from Simple Bites. They’re not as difficult to make as they look, but the presentation alone makes these little hors d’oeuvre feel fancy. The recipe here features jarred roasted red bell peppers; however, if you have the time, we actually recommend roasting your own. You’ll be happy you did!

If you’re looking for something a bit heartier, try this Farro and Orange Salad from Redbook. The vibrant colors, textures, and flavors will make you feel like you are on vacation in a romantic Mediterranean locale. Serve a smaller portion as a starter, or a larger one as a lovely vegetarian entrée.

9901-posole-turkey-gorditas-lSource: Cooking Light

20 Romantic Dinners for Two by Cooking Light has got a wide array of entrée options, from Filet Mignon with Mushroom-Wine Sauce to Roasted Lobster Tails. The Posole with Turkey pictured here is especially tempting thanks to the Heart-Shaped Chipotle Gorditas accompanying it. The thick corn tortillas are made more Valentine’s Day-appropriate with the use of heart-shaped cookie cutters – and the result could be used to replace tortillas in a variety of Mexican dishes, or to replace biscuits and served alongside your favorite stew. What a cute, unexpected way to incorporate some Valentine flair!

Delish’s Valentine’s Day Special: 12 Ideas for a Romantic Dinner for Two has also got some delicious-looking ideas. Pasta and risotto dishes are always a tasty and relatively easy main course; try this Pasta with Pumpkin-Sage Cream Sauce. And for dessert, this Cappuccino Soufflé for Two looks absolutely incredible.

13 - 1Source: The Desert Blossom

Speaking of dessert, we’re loving this sweet idea from The Desert Blossom: DIY Fondue for Two! The recipe (which includes step-by-step photo instructions) proves that you don’t even need a real fondue set to make this decadent European delicacy. It’s ideal for a romantic evening because you can make just enough for two, it involves mood-setting candlelight, and you can easily customize the fixings to suit your personal preferences (chopped fruit, marshmallows, bite-sized baked goods, pretzels – the options really are endless.) What’s more, eating fondue is a playful and interactive experience – just like the perfect date!

dried_cherry_scone_hearts1Source: Relish

And after such a wonderful evening, why not let the romance continue on into the next morning? Surprise your sweetheart with his or her favorite breakfast Saturday morning. This article from Relish has got some great tips to help you do that – along with a recipe for Heart-Shaped Dried Cherry Scones that would go great with a cup of hot tea or coffee.

How will you be celebrating this Valentine’s Day? Are you looking forward to a night on the town with friends or a loved one, or will you be hosting a romantic evening at home?

Lastly, be sure to enter our Valentine’s Day SweepstakesTell Us Your Love Story for a chance to win $250 worth of MyChelle products!

By Liana Orenstein