Valentine’s Day is a tricky situation for single adults.
On one hand, it’s not nearly as big of a deal now as it was 30 or 40 years ago. On the other hand, there are still frustrating reminders all around us weeks before the holiday, and it’s especially true in the foodie world. From romantic candy advertisements to dinner-for-two events, the food world loves to play up romance for Valentine’s Day.
The truth is, Valentine’s Day should be a good excuse to get pampered, no matter what your relationship status. Below are some fun dinner and dessert ideas to spice up a night with “me, myself, and I.”
Crème brûlées are easy to turn into single servings. All you need are individual sized ramekins instead of one wider one. After it’s poured into the ramekins, the custard needs to set in the refrigerator for at least two hours before put on the sugar topping and brown it.
However, these can be made up to two days ahead of time, so it’s perfect if you want to make more than one and enjoy them over the course of a couple days. And making extra crème brûlée for yourself means you don’t have to shrink down the recipe – that’s a win-win!
Investing in a kitchen torch can help you better control the golden sugar top (and it might be a good kitchen tool investment if you like a good toasted meringue topping on other desserts), but the same effect can be accomplished under the broiler. The trick is you want to make sure the custard itself doesn’t get reheated and overcooked, so after you sprinkle on the sugar, put the ramekins in a cold oven and then turn on your broiler.
Individual pot pies
Since Punxsutawney Phil has decreed there will be six more weeks of winter in 2017, you might as well settle in with some comfort food classics. Pot pies are right at the top of that list, with their savory, satisfying fillings and flaky, golden brown crusts. Beef and chicken are some favorite choices for filling, but vegetarians will have their own recipes and mix of savory delights as well. No matter what fillings you pick, it’s easy to take the larger pot pie recipe and make it into a single serving.
Fish en papillote
Literally translating to “in paper,” en papillote is a French technique, perfect when cooking for one, because each package is a single, elegant serving. Layer a good serving of the cooked grains, a vegetable (sometimes cooked beforehand, depending on your veggie of choice), and the fish onto one side of a piece of parchment paper. You then fold the parchment paper over and seal the sides.
Fish en papillote is super versatile. You can pick from a wide array of grains and vegetables, flavors and cuisines, and pair it with your favorite fish to bake (although a white fish like cod is a reliably good choice).
Another tip: to avoid the paper getting soggy during baking, try to use vegetables with lower water content. If you go with a leafy green like spinach, make sure to cook before baking and then squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible before assembling your papillote.
If you’re craving something sweet that you can make in a snap this Valentine’s Day, why not treat yourself to your own personal mug cake?
Like the name implies, mug cakes are single serving cakes made entirely in coffee mugs. You don’t even have to turn on your oven because it’s baked in the microwave! The entire mixing and baking process takes only a few minutes (and cleaning up is so easy), meaning this makes a perfect mid-week dessert.
Mug cake is another dish where you have so many choices when it comes to flavors and variations, but the ooey, gooey chocolate mug cake is always a good choice. Enjoy with a big glass of ice cold milk, or maybe an Irish coffee.
Speaking of booze, this boozy punch — traditionally made with red wine and pieces of fruit — is refreshing and delicious.
Now, are we really telling you a whole pitcher of sangria should be made just for you? No, this one is to share with friends! If you’re planning a get together for Galentine’s Day (February 13th), then make your own pitcher of sangria and enjoy with the favorite women in your life.
Don’t want to make your own Valentine’s dishes? Why not dine out at our 10,000+ participating restaurants across the country?