A Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu for the Whole Family

By: Penelope Wall

Kids and grown-ups will love this easy weeknight menu featuring heart-shaped fruit, mac & cheese, salad and peanut butter chocolates.

heart fruit kebabs

Before kids, my husband, Colin, and I used Valentine's Day as a good excuse to dress up and take ourselves out to a restaurant for a fancy dinner. I'll never forget the year of the great Valentine's Day blizzard, when, undeterred by dumping snow, we donned snow pants and winter boots over our fancy clothes and trekked down to the local trattoria for a cozy, most memorable dinner on that Day of  Love.

These days, with two young kids, Amelia and Angus, we're much more inclined to save money and stress and stay in the cozy confines of our own home. Valentine's Day has become more of a family affair, celebrating our love for one another, and we make the most of it by planning and making the meal together. 

My kids helped choose the recipes for this Valentine's Day dinner menu. The recipes come together quickly for an easy (but special!) weeknight meal. We'll make the chocolates ahead of time, the weekend before, when there's a little more time to make a mess. 

Related: Healthy Valentine's Day Recipes

Starter

heart shaped watermelon and strawberries on a skewer

Heart Fruit Skewers

Kids will ❤️  these adorable fruit skewers. Cut strawberries and watermelon (or other seasonal fruits) into thick slices, then have the kids cut out heart shapes using a mini heart cookie cutter. (Save the leftover fruit scraps for smoothies the next morning.)

Main Dish

Quick Stovetop Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Quick Stovetop Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Whenever I ask my kids what they want for dinner, the answer is invariably "mac & cheese" and Valentine's Day is no different. But this recipe has a little something special hidden amongst the cheese and pasta (veggie!). Bonus: It's an easy recipe that comes together quickly on the stove. The kids can help with the measuring and stirring, while I stick to the cooking part.

And, per Amelia's request, I will refrain from sprinkling the green "plants" on top that are shown in the photo.

Salad

Balsamic Berry Vinaigrette Winter Salad

Balsamic Berry Vinaigrette Winter Salad

Jewel-like pomegranate seeds add a Valentine's Day touch to this salad. The kids can help whisk the dressing and will love learning how to de-seed a pomegranate (patiently, one by one, in a bowl of water). We'll omit the nuts and serve the blue cheese on the side to accommodate Amelia's food allergies and both kids' finicky taste preferences.

Dessert

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

This is a really fun cooking project to do with kids. They can help with prep, mixing and dipping. We'll make them ahead of time, the Sunday before, so they're ready to eat when it's time for dessert. These truffles can be made up to 4 days ahead and stored at room temp.

Related: How to Make Chocolate Truffles with Your Kids

 

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