According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 44 percent of Americans celebrate Valentine's Day with a date night. Unfortunately crowded restaurants and overpriced menus don't always create the aura of romance. Instead, opt to host a party at home, celebrating Valentine's Day with those you love---your significant other, family and friends. Mix Valentine-themed appetizers with comfort-food entrees and sensuous desserts to create a little romance at home.
Valentine-Themed Finger Foods
Hearts are synonymous with Valentine's Day, so offer your guests a bevy of heart-shaped appetizers. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, create finger sandwiches shaped like hearts. Simply cut the bread with the cookie cutter, and include deli meat, cheese and your favorite condiments. Use store-bought pizza dough to create mini heart-shaped pizzas. You can also offer a cheese and fruit tray featuring hearts. Use the cookie cutter to cut cheese and fruit for a lighter appetizer.
Italian restaurants are popular choices for Valentine's Day, so bring a taste of Italy to your Valentine's Day party. Italian entrees are ideal for large groups because a few casseroles can feed a crowd. Popular Italian entrees include baked ziti, lasagna and chicken Parmesan. Salad and fresh garlic bread round out the meal.
Fondue is a romantic dessert that pleases everyone's sweet tooth. Melt chocolate in a fondue pot, or use a chocolate fountain to delight your guests. Offer a variety of items to dip in the chocolate, including pound cake, fruits like strawberries, grapes and pineapple and marshmallows. Offer tasty toppings for your dipped treats like crushed nuts, shaved chocolate or colorful sprinkles. As an alternative, you can offer predipped chocolate-covered strawberries to your guests.
Cut costs by offering a signature drink rather than a fully stocked bar at your party. To stick with the Valentine's Day theme, serve a red or pink cocktail to your guests. Classic cocktails like cranberry juice and vodka or cosmopolitans fit the Valentine's Day color scheme. Alternatively, offer a punch, which makes it easy on the bartender. You can make a large batch of punch and avoid having to make individual cocktails for all of your guests. Midwest Living suggests a Hot Scarlet Wine Punch that includes white wine, cranberry juice and spices.