Valentine Family Meals on a Budget: Low Cost Love Feast Ideas for Lunch or Dinner

A special lunch or dinner on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. These love feast ideas will wow the family table with a meal that is budget friendly. Low cost grocery items such as soup, pasta and gelatin can provide color and flair for a memorable Valentine family meal. Presentation is the key to serving a spread that won’t break the budget.

Floating Valentine Tomato Soup Lunch or Dinner Appetizer

White heart shaped tortillas floating in a sea of “red for love” soup will send a warm message on Valentine’s Day. A bowl of spruced up tomato soup offers a low cost vision of love for pennies and works as lunch, dinner or an appetizer. Start with either canned or fresh tomato soup plus one flour tortilla per bowl of soup. Prepare tomato soup as directed. Fold tortillas in half. Use kitchen scissors or a knife to cut a half heart shape into the folded edge of each tortilla. Open the tortilla to reveal a full sized symmetrical heart. Spoon tomato soup into bowls and gently set a tortilla heart afloat in each bowl.

Valentine Shaped Meat Loaf Topped with Red Sauce

Meatloaf topped with red sauce makes a colorful love feast entrée to serve on Valentine’s Day. Bring love to the family table by forming a favorite meat loaf recipe into a heart shape in the bottom of a wide casserole dish. Before baking, top with a red sauce made from one part mustard to two parts ketchup and a pinch of brown sugar to taste. Cook according to directions and serve a family meal with a down home feeling of love.

Valentine Shaped Pasta Family Meal

One simple substitution can turn an everyday Italian meal into a family feast of love. For this easy Valentine’s Day meal, prepare your family’s favorite pasta dish using heart shaped pasta. The only unusual purchase required is specialty pasta, keeping this meal in the everyday budget range. As well, cooks won’t be frazzled from trying a recipe that’s new and unfamiliar. Heart shaped pasta is available at specialty grocery stores and on websites such as

Red, Pink and White Valentine Gelatin Dessert

A layered gelatin dessert proves easy on the budget and easy to prepare. Red, pink and white are stacked on top of each other and add color to a Valentine’s Day meal as part of each place setting or as a centerpiece. As with any gelatin recipe, prepare hours in advance to allow the gelatin to set. This recipe is an easy part of the meal to assemble a day or two before, then loving cooks will be have less to do on Valentine’s Day.

To make a layered gelatin dessert for Valentine’s Day, you’ll need a box of red gelatin such as cherry or strawberry and a box of pink gelatin such as watermelon and a whipped topping of your choice. This recipe can be served either in one large serving or stacked in individual parfait glasses.

First prepare red gelatin according to the directions on box and pour onto the bottom of a large rectangular glass dish or spoon into parfait glasses. Refrigerate until firm. Prepare pink gelatin according to the directions on box except add only half the amount of hot water to gelatin. After gelatin is dissolved, add the remaining amount of water needed using cold water. This allows the pink gelatin to cool a bit before layering it on top of the red gelatin. Spoon pink gelatin on top of red gelatin and refrigerate until set.

If prepared in a large glass dish, cut layered gelatin into square serving sizes. Just before serving, top each red and pink serving of layered gelatin with a dollop of white whipped cream.

Valentine’s Day can be a day to gather the family around the kitchen table for a celebration of love. Children and adults will savor an edible Valentine in the form of a family meal.

For more ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a budget, read Homemade Valentine Card to Give Teens, which offers low cost yet trendy card creations that teens will love.

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