Valentine’s Day Time Line

Whether you’re cooking for two or a few, a little planning will let you relax and enjoy the time with the ones you love.

2 weeks before
  • Make lists for everything – guests, menu, shopping, and prep.
  • Finalize your guest list, thinking about how many people you can host, seat, and serve comfortably.
  • Extend invitations and ask for RSVPs.
  • Plan your menu and choose recipes, including appetizers and cocktails, and items for garnishes.
  • Check to see that you have all of the cookware, serving pieces, place settings, and glasses that you’ll need, including an instant-read thermometer and a kitchen torch for White Chocolate Crème Brûlée.
  • Order flowers from Dierbergs florist.


1 week before
  • Make room in your refrigerator and freezer.
  • Shop for non-perishables and popular items, like olives, cheeses, potatoes, frozen items, butter, heavy cream, chocolate, and candles.
  • Don’t forget beverages – champagne and wine, liquor and liqueurs, soda, coffee, tea, creamer, and sweeteners.
  • Make a cooking schedule, working backwards from the time you plan to serve dinner.
  • Iron tablecloths and napkins. Gather candles and candle holders for the table.
  • Chop chocolate for Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fondue and White Chocolate Crème Brûlée. Store at room temperature.
  • Make Simple Syrup for Blushing 75 and other cocktails; refrigerate.


2 to 3 days before (Saturday & Sunday)
  • Buy perishable ingredients like meat, seafood, produce, bread, and Deli Chocolate Covered Strawberries.
  • Chill champagne and wine.


2 days before (Sunday)


1 day before (Monday)
  • Check to see if frozen items are thawed, if necessary.
  • Set the table, including salt and pepper shakers and candles. (You’ll be glad you did this now.)
  • Have cooking and serving dishes and utensils ready.
  • Gather room temperature ingredients (vermouth, olive oil, seasonings, etc.) and place on counter along with measuring utensils.
  • Make olive mixture for Greek Beef with Kalamata Olives; cover and refrigerate.
  • Trim beef, if necessary. Wrap and refrigerate.
  • Chop shallot and garlic for Scallops with Wilted Spinach; cover and refrigerate.
  • Rinse and drain spinach. Loosely roll up in paper towels and place in plastic bag. Refrigerate.
  • Gather room temperature ingredients.
  • Prepare dippers for Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fondue.


Valentine’s Day (Tuesday, February 14, 2017)

1 hour before dinner
45 minutes before dinner
  • Place beef in oven and roast according to recipe directions.
30 minutes before dinner 10 minutes before dinner Right after dinner 2 hours after dinner (or sooner)
  • Wrap leftovers separately and refrigerate.
After guests leave
  • Load the dishwasher.
  • Find a spot on the couch.
  • Finish the champagne. Cheers to you and your sweetie!