This simple, yet restaurant worthy dinner is how you can do Valentine’s Day Dinner on a Budget.

My late husband and I met and were married before we even spent our first Valentine’s Day together.  So crazy! 

I had the idea to spend it at a local restaurant.  We were tight on money, but I saw they had a few apps we could share, we’d have a glass of wine and enjoy the evening.

Imagine my surprise when there was a prefix menu – no substitutions or ordering off the menu.

The meals were $150 per person, without drink or tip.  We left spending over $400 for a dinner, and because it was small portions, ended up hitting up Burger King on the way home.

It was then that we declared we would never eat out on Valentine’s Day and we never did.

How to save money at the grocery store.

Back in the day I was the queen of buying in bulk, only to realize that I am not that person.  I wish I would bring something home, divide it into portions and freeze it, but truth be told, I had so much food waste when I did that.

Now my #1 tip for saving money at the grocery store is buying only what I need.  Mariano’s Market sells small portions of bread, individual hamburger buns, and when I want to make a shrimp dish, I buy from the seafood department.  For this recipe I wanted exactly 10 shrimp, and that’s what I got and only spent $6.25 for that portion.

With the salad, entree, dessert (if you haven’t tried Mariano’s fruit tarts, they are a must!) and a small wine to be shared, I spent a total of $38.27, so for just over $16 per person, I created this gorgeous dinner.

these are ingredients needed to make a valentine's day dinner at home on a budget

this is a plate with charred romaine caesar salad

Charred Caesar Salad

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes

Charring romaine lettuce brings this caesar salad to a whole new level.


  • 1 artisan head romaine (or small romaine head)
  • 2 tablespoons light Caesar dressing
  • 2 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons croutons
  • 1/4 lemon (charred, optional)


  1. Heat skillet over medium heat. Spray the skillet with avocado oil spray.
  2. Slice romain in half, spray with avocado oil spray and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Once skillet is hot, place the romaine cut side down and char for 1-2 minutes. You can char your lemons at this time too if you want that option.
  4. To plate: drizzle with dressing, and top with parmesan cheese, croutons and a squeeze of lemon.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 146Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 281mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 7gSugar: 4gProtein: 6g

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this is a plate of garlic shrimp pasta

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

No need to spend $$$ dining out on Valentine's Day - make this restaurant worthy dish at home!


  • 2 cups cooked pasta
  • 1 cup jarred spaghetti sauce
  • 8 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Prepare Pasta: Begin by cooking 2 cups of pasta according to the package instructions until it reaches al dente texture. Once cooked, drain the pasta and set it aside. This can be done ahead of time.

Toast Bread Crumbs: In a dry skillet over medium heat, add 1/4 cup of Italian-style bread crumbs. Toast them, stirring occasionally, until they turn golden brown and become fragrant. This process usually takes around 3-5 minutes. Once toasted, remove the breadcrumbs from the skillet and set them aside for later use as a garnish.

Cook Shrimp: In the same skillet used for toasting breadcrumbs, heat a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 8 ounces of peeled and deveined shrimp to the skillet. Season the shrimp with salt, pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper for a bit of heat. Cook the shrimp until they turn pink and opaque, usually around 2-3 minutes per side. Be careful not to overcook them, as they can become rubbery.

Add Garlic: Once the shrimp are cooked, add minced garlic to the skillet. Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until the garlic becomes fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.

Combine Ingredients: Lower the heat to medium-low and add 1 cup of jarred spaghetti sauce to the skillet. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Allow the sauce to heat through for a few minutes, ensuring it coats the shrimp evenly.

Add Pasta: Once the sauce is heated through, add the cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss everything together until the pasta is well coated with the sauce and the shrimp are evenly distributed throughout.

Serve: Transfer the garlic shrimp pasta to serving plates or a large serving dish. Sprinkle the toasted bread crumbs over the top of the pasta for added texture and flavor. Finally, garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese for an extra savory touch.


As of the date of this publication, each serving is 10 WW points. Click here for the WW tracker.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 474Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 247mgSodium: 2011mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 38g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

I hope these recipes give you inspiration to not only save money, but enjoy a restaurant quality dinner at home.  Happy Valentine’s Day!