Valentine’s Day On A Budget; Spend $70 On A Five Star Meal That Costs $200 At The Restaurant

It’s February and before you know it, Valentine’s Day will be here.

A ridiculous amount of people go out for this holiday, packing the restaurants and causing traffic to back up. Though, many find it important to still celebrate this day.

Last year, for the first time in the 9 years my husband and I have been together, we decided to go out for Valentine’s Day.

It. Was. A. Nightmare.

The food was sub-par despite spending a hefty $200 on the meal. The staff at the restaurant was overworked. We were seated for our table 45 minutes past our reservation time and once we finally got our food, the check was slammed down on the table to usher us out the door for the next guests. Rude, I know. But the thing is, I don’t really blame them or the restaurant. Those people were working non-stop all day trying to provide a pleasant experience for an overcrowded restaurant and things just got, overlooked.

Instead, we will be spending our Valentine’s Day meal at home, away from the craziness.

Make your own five star Valentine’s Day dinner at just $70 instead of the $200 at the packed restaurants.

So what’s on the menu? Well, I went to the website of one of my local 5 star restaurants and searched for their Valentine’s Day Special. This is what I pulled…

7 0z Filet Oscar Style with Lump Lobster -$43 per person

A Side of Mashed Potatoes- $8

Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream- $9 per person

Bottle of St. Francis Merlot of Sonoma County (2012)- $51

French Pressed Coffee for Two- $11.95

Add this all together 2($43) + $8 + 2($9) + $51 + $11.95 + tax at 7.25% + 20% tip = $206.39

Ouch. My wallet…

Deciding to replicate the same quality food, I pulled some recipes on bearnaise sauce which is topped on the lobster and asparagus when ordering the filets and an easy lava cake recipe. Then, I headed to my local Kroger grocery store and started shopping for ingredients….

A total of $68.52…Not bad compared to the $206.39 you would spend at the restaurant.

So now the questions are….how did you do it and was it worth it? Keep reading, friends.

Let’s Start Cooking!!!

First, and highly suggested, take out the steaks to rest at room temperature liberally seasoned with salt and pepper. Let them rest for about an hour.

Then, make the batter for the two lava cakes following this recipe I found on Food.com.

Click here for the lava cake recipe!

The recipe says you can make the batter ahead of time and chill them in the ramekins, covered, until ready to bake. You just have to adjust the cooking time from 10 minutes to 14 minutes when you are ready to throw them into the oven.

Now start the sides…

Wash and peel your potatoes. Cut them into 1 inch pieces and boil until soft.

Prepare the asparagus by washing them. Place each end in your hand and bend the stalk until it snaps. Discard the woody end, keeping the flower top. Fill the bottom of a pot with about 1 inch of water and place a steamer trap in the pot to hold the asparagus. Place a lid on the pot and turn on the stove to high until the water begins to boil and steam. Reduce to a simmer.

Once the potatoes are soft, drain the water and begin mashing. Add butter, salt, pepper, milk and any other seasoning you like to your mashed potatoes (I added roasted garlic). Everyone prefers their mashed potatoes differently.

Start a pot of boiling water for the lobster tail. Make sure there is enough water for the tail to be covered completely. Boil for 5 minutes until the blue color turns to a bright red. Take the tail out and slice open length wise to remove the meat.

Gotta love me some steak…time to start those filets!

Heat a cast iron skillet on high heat for several minutes and add about a tablespoon of olive oil. While that is still heating, turn on the oven to 450 degrees. Throw in a tablespoon of butter in the skillet and place the steaks on for two minutes on each side. You want it to sear the meat to lock in all those yummy juices. Once each side is seared, place the skillet in the oven for 3 minutes for rare-medium rare steaks. Keep them in the oven longer if you want them more done but remember, filets are typically more on the rare side. Once the steaks are done, take them out of the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes.

Once the asparagus are perfectly steamed to desired tenderness. Turn the heat off and drain the pot. Season with butter, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.

When the steak is resting, start the bearnaise sauce. I found a quick and easy recipe from allrecipes.com.

Click here for the Bearnaise recipe!!!

Time to plate!

Top each steak with half of the lobster tail(chopped) and béarnaise sauce. Add your sides of asparagus and mashed potatoes. Easy! Now pour that wine! (note we bought the same exact bottle of wine the restaurant serves, $30 cheaper! Yet, this bottle is still more than our normal price range for wine.)

Our finished results for the meal…not bad right? Bon Appetit!

Now, while the significant other starts the coffee and clears the table, go ahead and pop those delicious lava cakes in the oven at 425 degrees for 14 minutes. Once they rest for a minute or so, plop those suckers out upside down on a plate, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sprinkle on some powdered sugar for decoration.

Delicious chocolate heaven…

Once all said and done, I asked my husband what he thought. He said it tasted just as good as a five star restaurant and even better than some he’s had in the past! 🙂

We saved about $130 by doing the same dinner at home. I’d say that was a great deal and absolutely worth it. We even had fun cooking it together while listening to some Frank Sinatra classics. Young folks, old souls.

I hope you enjoyed this post and look into doing your favorite meal from home. As always, feel free to comment any questions or suggestions at the bottom of the page and give us a follow by subscribing to the blog via email on the right hand side. 

I’ll leave you all with an adorable photo of our baby girl, Nala, on last Valentine’s Day…

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