When it comes to planning a Valentine's Day celebration, it's never a bad thing to look for a little help, especially if you're thinking of cooking your special someone a nice meal.
For those who can't whip their way around a kitchen, there are creators like Monique Volz of Ambitious Kitchen to help.
Monique has been making food content for more than a decade and has a cookbook full of her original recipes coming out in the fall. Her recipes are a combination of comfort, feel-good meals, and healthy substitutions for those looking to eat better without losing out on flavor.
Ahead of the romantic holiday, Monique sat down with Distractify to talk about her go-to recipes and advice for those struggling to put together a meal for Valentine's Day.
Monique Volz shares her best Valentine's Day dinner recipes.
If you're looking for a cute little activity to do with your partner the night of Valentine's Day, why not save dessert for when you come home and make her Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies?
"It's beginner-friendly if you're willing to like take an extra step," she said, noting the most difficult part of the dessert is browning the butter before adding it to the dough. "[They're] so unique. It creates these crispy edges and a doughy middle. I think anybody who tries them is really surprised."
This recipe has been one of Monique's most popular on her site for the last 10 years — so you know it's been thoroughly vetted.
"You can absolutely make them ahead of time. If you don't have time on Valentine's Day you can make them the night before or even the dough before and then bake them [on Valentine's Day]," she said for the time-crunched couples.
Monique also has a partnership with Home Chef, a meal kit company, bringing eight of her unique recipes to the brand. If grocery shopping for a dinner for two isn't your style, then Monique has a recipe as part of the collaboration she thinks would be perfect for a Valentine's Day date night — and it's incredibly simple to throw together.
"One of the recipes that's on the menu that's available for ordering that you would get the week of Valentine's Day is my spicy Maple Glazed Salmon with garlic rice and green beans," she said. "It is honestly so easy to just throw everything on a sheet pan so you don't have to worry about cooking up a bunch of different things and dirtying a bunch of dishes, but it feels sort of restaurant quality. It feels very elevated and flavorful and it's a little spicy for Valentine's Day."
For those going with an option like this, Monique suggests adding a little appetizer to share with your partner as the dish is in the oven — something easy like a charcuterie board that can be customized to your partner's preferences.
"You don't have to go crazy, but I think just adding in those extra little steps is always fun," she said. "I like to always suggest that people find something that their partner really likes... Adding that element to it just makes it feel a little bit special."