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How to make a romantic Valentine's Day meal without actually cooking

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

A (mostly) no-cook way to treat your sweetie to a night of culinary romance

A romantic Valentine's Day meal at home that doesn't involve pizza delivery by candlelight isn't as tough as you may think. Whether you're just not a good cook or you need to balance work and play, these quick and easy ideas for Valentine's Day "cooking" will make sure Cupid visits you this Feb. 14.

Breakfast

Breakfast in bed may be one of the most romantic meals you can be served. And the great thing is it doesn't need to be elaborate, just thoughtful. And for Valentine's Day, maybe heart-shaped.

1. Heart-shaped pancakes recipe

A (mostly) no-cook way to treat your sweetie to a night of culinary romance

Image: saaleha/Flickr

Buy frozen pancakes, maple syrup, your man's favorite frozen berries, nuts and/or some whipped cream. Cook them as instructed on the box, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out little shapes, and top them with his favorite add-ons.

2. Doughnut sundae recipe

A (mostly) no-cook way to treat your sweetie to a night of culinary romance

Image: roboppy/Flickr

Part breakfast, part decadent dessert, a doughnut sundae is a sinfully sweet way to start the day. Just top a chocolate or glazed doughnut with vanilla ice cream, add a sliced banana to the mix, drizzle on some caramel, strawberry or chocolate syrup, and top it with nuts. Then hop back into bed to share it.

3. Breakfast parfait recipe

A (mostly) no-cook way to treat your sweetie to a night of culinary romance

Image: Cascadian Farm/Flickr

Sometimes showing you care is as simple as making sure they have a little something special on the run. If he's got to get O-U-T the door, make him a breakfast parfait to go by layering a healthy cereal, vanilla yogurt and berries.

Lunch

Who said a romantic dinner or breakfast in bed is the only way to celebrate Valentine's Day? If you're a busy power couple or just in a newer relationship and want to keep it casual, a romantic picnic lunch may be in order.

A (mostly) no-cook way to treat your sweetie to a night of culinary romance

Image: Bunches and Bits {Karina}/Flickr

We really love these adorable heart-themed boxes to tote your lunch in. Don't forget the blanket!

4. Heart-shaped sandwiches recipe

A (mostly) no-cook way to treat your sweetie to a night of culinary romance

Image: sweet lil' bunny/Flickr

Buy some sandwiches at the local deli, and bring along a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make little sandwiches in romantic shapes. Pack them in your lunchbox with some crudités and a little something sweet (like the Fruit Roll-Ups fortune cookies below).

5. Heart-shaped antipasto plate recipe

A (mostly) no-cook way to treat your sweetie to a night of culinary romance

Image: paige_eliz/Flickr

If you're not the sandwich type, make a festive antipasto plate by cutting out heart-shaped salami and cheese and adding your favorite pickles and olives.

6. Simple salad with heart-shaped boiled eggs recipe

Grab a bag of mixed salad greens and some raspberry or poppy seed vinaigrette, and toss them together. Throw in some sliced chicken or grilled shrimp if you want. The star of this show is the heart-shaped boiled eggs.

7. Fruit Roll-Ups fortune cookies recipe

A (mostly) no-cook way to treat your sweetie to a night of culinary romance

You're not going to be able to pack a decadent dessert for lunch, so what about these Fruit Roll-Ups fortune cookie valentines? If you're feeling saucy, you might make his fortune a prediction about how his evening will go (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

Dinner

For dinner, you can let the grocery store do the heavy lifting. Just transfer it to your nice dishes for a more home-cooked presentation.

8. Spinach dip recipe

A (mostly) no-cook way to treat your sweetie to a night of culinary romance

Image: mhaithaca/Flickr

Most of the appetizers you can buy in the freezer section are more appropriate for game day than a romantic evening. But spinach dip is perfectly appropriate (just make sure you check your teeth). Don't skimp in the freezer section, though. The more expensive brands are creamier and have more artichokes (if they're included). Cook it up according to the package directions. Serve it with bits of toast or pita chips.

To make homemade pita chips in minutes, cut pitas into eight wedges. Brush them with a mixture of olive oil, smashed garlic and a little salt and pepper, and bake them in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

9. Whole-roasted chicken recipe

A (mostly) no-cook way to treat your sweetie to a night of culinary romance

Image: I Believe I Can Fry/Flickr

Pick up a precooked rotisserie chicken. When you get home, put some balls of foil in the bottom of your slow cooker, and place the chicken on top, setting it to warm to keep your chicken toasty while you throw together some quick sides.

Dessert

You don't have to bake for hours to have a decadent dessert. Some tasty prepared ingredients combine for a perfect after-dinner treat.

10. Quick toasted strawberry shortcake

A (mostly) no-cook way to treat your sweetie to a night of culinary romance

Image: jeffreyw/Flickr

Toast pound cake slices in the oven, and top them with defrosted frozen strawberries and whipped cream.

More Valentine's Day recipes

You won't believe how easy these date night dinners are
Heart-shaped sushi
White chocolate martini

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