The Easy Yet Luxurious Family Dinner I Make Every Year for Valentine’s Day

published Feb 11, 2021
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I used to think Valentine’s was a cheesy Hallmark holiday for saps. And then I had kids. Falling in love with my family gave me so much excitement to celebrate love in its many, nuanced, and complex forms. Where I once scoffed at Valentine’s Days cards, I’m now buying one for my husband from our new dog (truly) and planning out family Valentine’s Day activities.

No Valentine’s Day tradition holds my heart more than our family dinner: steak frites has been on repeat since my daughter was an infant. On our first Valentine’s Day as parents, our daughter was 6 weeks old, and we couldn’t make it out for date night at the last minute. My husband made a quick grocery run for cheese, Champagne, and steak and our Valentine’s tradition was born. These days we’re making Valentine’s dinner with two kids, wrestling a new puppy and an old hound, but sheet pan steak frites is still on the menu.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

Why Sheet Pan Steak Frites is The Ultimate Family Valentine’s Dinner

If a fancy steak dinner is the epitome of romance, sheet pan steak frites is its homey counterpart. The steak, topped with shallot and herb butter, feels incredibly luxe and doesn’t require a dinner reservation. And because the dinner is made with just a handful of ingredients and there are plenty of ways to customize it to suit your taste and budget, it works for whatever night of the week Valentine’s Day happens to fall on.

The sheet pan version of this classic brasserie dinner allows you to make juicy seared steaks and thin, crisp fries in about 45 minutes , which is the perfect amount of time to share a glass of wine and exchange Valentine’s day gifts between parents.

My favorite thing about serving steak frites for Valentine’s dinner is that it feels fancy to our two kids, but it’s easy on my husband or me to cook it. We don’t typically serve a salad or any other vegetables (like we would every other night) and it makes dinner feel relaxed and special at the same time. Plus, minimal dishes to wash means we can tuck into bedtime stories early and not worry about paying a babysitter for a sappy night out.

Get the recipe: Sheet Pan Steak Frites

Here’s How to Make Steak Frites for Valentine’s Day

Start by buying a steak that suits your family and your budget. When our kids were younger we could get away with one really big steak; when our budget was tight we’d grab a flank steak instead of the sirloin or boneless rib-eye steaks called for. Whatever cut you choose, season your steaks well and let them sit while you heat the oven and maybe cut up some veggies for snacking or make a cheese plate.

You can open a bottle of wine, tell the kids to stop fighting over the Uno cards, and cut up the potatoes. Personally, I skip soaking the potatoes in water because I don’t want to dirty a bowl or strainer and I’m in a hurry to get the fries going in a hot oven. While the fries bake, exchange Valentine’s as a family, snack on veggies, and make the shallot butter. It takes no time and, if you forget to make it, there is always steak sauce.

Lastly, you’ll broil the steaks for about 12 minutes total for two medium-rare rib-eye steaks. When the steaks are done, dot them with butter and let them rest while you crisp the fries and pour sparkling apple cider for the kids. Slice the steaks and serve the best slices to your partner and give the kids the slightly more well done ends.

Get the recipe: Sheet Pan Steak Frites at Kitchn

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: The Family Dinner I Make Every Single Year on Valentine’s Day