It happens to the best of us. Even with the best-laid plans, sometimes things just go wrong on Valentine's Day — whether the weather just won't cooperate, the car suddenly and inexplicably decides to die, the restaurant cancels or can't find the reservation (also inexplicably), or you just plain forgot to make one, it's always important to have a backup plan.
And here it is. Fourteen imaginative recipes from some of the best cooks and chefs across the country all in one place, so all you have to do is shop and cook. Highlights include a lovely traditional Nordic cheese fondue, grilled steak with chimichurri sauce from FoodNetwork.com, and a traditional South African dish from New York City chef Hugo Uys, lamb bobotie. Never mind about going out then. It's time to pop open a lovely bottle of sangiovese and fire up the stove. And forget the card: The meal will say it all.
Sweet Hospitality Group's 'The Artist' cocktail
One of New York City's top caterers for large events created a cocktail just for Valentine's Day, which they call "The Artist." It features a homemade hibiscus-mint syrup, Prosecco, and St. Germain elderflower liqueur.
Taylor Boudreaux's warm Brussels sprout salad
A perfect start to a perfect meal. Taylor Boudreaux serves this warm Brussels sprout salad at the Napa Valley Grille in Westwood, Calif., and it's rumored to be a favorite of Julia Roberts.
The Burrell Group's Nordic cheese fondue
What could be more romantic than sharing a traditional cheese fondue for two? This version features shredded Jarlsberg thickened with a bit of flour and flavored with white wine, garlic, brandy, and nutmeg.
FoodNetwork.com's grilled steak with green beans, tomatoes, and chimichurri sauce
No Valentine's Day roundup would be complete without a steak recipe, and this one from the Food Network kitchens is sure to please. Addictive, zingy chimichurri sauce is a wonderful counterpoint to the rich steak.
Hugo Uys' lamb bobotie
Hugo Uys, a New York City-based chef and caterer who hails from Johannesburg, shares his recipe for a South African comfort food staple: lamb bobotie.
FoodNetwork.com's grouper steamed in parchment with sour orange sauce and martini relish
Bobby Flay shares a healthy, easy steamed fish recipe that takes just 35 minutes to prepare using a classic French technique known as cooking en papillote. Try his grouper steamed in parchment with sour orange sauce tonight.
Ed Cotton's duck carbonara
Lovely, rich, and decadent, the flavor of duck is a natural match for the creaminess of the sauce in this reimagined take on an Italian comfort food classic. Ed Cotton, executive chef of Sotto 13, an Italian small plates restaurant located in New York City's West Village neighborhood, shares his recipe for duck carbonara.
FoodNetwork.com's healthy pasta with spicy crab recipe
Bobby Flay shares his healthy pasta with spicy crab recipe, tossed with finely chopped Fresno chiles, garlic, fresh herbs, and lemon zest. You can't go wrong with this easy, delicious recipe.
Cory Bahr's shrimp and grits
In the mood for a main course with a distinctive Southern flair? Cory Bahr, executive chef and owner of Restaurant Cotton in Louisiana, gives classic shrimp and grits his North Delta signature touch.
FoodNetwork.com's shrimp scampi
The Food Network kitchens share a healthier version of a classic favorite: shrimp scampi. They substitute olive oil for the butter and use multi-grain spaghetti to cut down on calories so you can indulge without feeling guilty.
Christopher Hirsheimer's gianduia recipe
This homemade version of Nutella couldn't be easier: skinned hazelnuts are roasted in the oven and ground in a food processor, then stirred into melted chocolate. That's it!
Canal House's chocolate gingerbread cake
Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, the powerhouse duo behind Canal House, share a recipe that's terribly hard to resist: chocolate gingerbread cake. Make this for your loved one, and watch the fireworks fly.
Burnt caramel pudding from Food52
Yes, it's burnt. No, it's not an accident. This popular user-submitted recipe from Amanda Hesser's food and drink website Food52 climbed to the top of the charts for one very good reason: it's simple and delicious. Try the burnt caramel pudding recipe tonight.
Mini Champagne cupcakes from Golden Blossom Honey
One can feel like the loneliest number on Valentine's Day, but there is something you can do about it. Bake a batch of these boozy mini cupcakes and throw a fun impromptu singles bash at home. Throw in a cheese platter and some chocolates, and there's a party waiting to happen.