02/09/2012 12:49 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

The Perfect Valentine's Day Menu

Ah, Valentine's Day! Besides your anniversary, it's the single most romantic day of the year. Although I believe affection and romance should be shown all year around, it's always smart to have a good plan up your sleeve for Valentine's Day. While my wife Maya and I enjoy eating out at times and trying new restaurants, to me the ultimate romantic dinner is the home-cooked one. Cooking dinner for your beloved not only shows way more of an effort than making a reservation or picking up take out, it also gives you the perfect opportunity to show off your skills in the kitchen.

One great way to interact with your date is to prepare the dinner with them. Making meals from scratch is a great way to bond, and when the food is ready the meal will feel even more satisfying. Have fun and experiment with your meal; even if you cook their favorite meal, jazz it up with a new ingredient or an ethnic spice to really heat things up.

If you're looking for what to cook on that perfect Valentine's Day dinner, check out the gallery I put together with Food Republic below for the best V-Day menu items. These dishes are all foolproof ways straight into your lover's heart (through their stomach of course!)

Be sure to read up on more tips for the perfect Valentine's Day dinner from Food Republic. They have tips from how to eat on Valentine's Day to terrible ideas to avoid for Valentine's Day and even a primer on aphrodisiacs.

Valentine's Day Gift Guide For Your Food Freak

Terrible Ideas for Valentine's Day

Cooking for a Date

How to Eat and Drink on Valentine's Day

Mixing Food and Sex in the Bedroom

Do Aphrodisiacs Really Work?

The Perfect Valentine%u2019s Day Menu