Mark your calendars: Valentine’s Day approaches. (It’s Feb. 14. It’s always Feb. 14.) If you’re not heading out to find a cozy, romantic restaurant, then you might be considering making a dinner or dessert at home. In the interest of sparing you the usual roundup of “romantic recipes for two,” we’ve come up with a series of hypothetical situations and paired a recipe with each.

Here’s what to make if . . .

You’re only in it for the chocolate: You’d probably like Chocolate-Espresso Pots de Creme (pictured above). They require a little planning — you’ll bake them for about 30 minutes and then let them cool before stashing them in your refrigerator for at least four hours (or overnight), but that just means that when chocolate calls, you’re ready to answer.



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

This is your first time celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special someone and you’re trying to impress without getting green stuff stuck in your teeth: Go for Sesame Salt and Pepper Steak. No green stuff here — just four ingredients and a lean piece of flank steak. The sauce is quite salty, so we’d suggest dipping rather than pouring it over top. Serve with a salad, if you dare.



(Renee Comet for The Washington Post; styling by Bonnie S. Benwick)

You’re in a long-standing relationship and don’t mind getting messy: It sounds like you’d be into flexing your mussels (sorry) and getting a little dirty (sorry, ugh) with a batch of Skillet Mussels With Rosemary, Lavender and Lime. It’s only four ingredients and smells so lovely, just . . . like . . . you! (Maybe don’t ask us for Valentine’s Day card writing tips.)



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick/The Washington Post)

You don’t want to worry about gastrointestinal distress for, ahem, obvious reasons: Try Mushroom Walnut ‘Meatballs’. This is obviously a very subjective choice, but some of us find vegan recipes such as this one to be easier on the stomach than a dish with lots of meat, dairy and other animal-based products. Plus this way you can still do your best Lady and the Tramp reenactment.



(Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post)

You hate Valentine’s Day, because it’s just another hyper-commercialized holiday designed to get consumers in a capitalist society to partake in overpriced restaurant meals and buy lame, sappy cards and roses grown in exploitative conditions: Make Crispy Sweet Potatoes With Tuna-Anchovy Mayonnaise. Check those tinned fish brands to make sure they’re sustainable, then whip them into a creamy condiment for crackly roasted sweet potatoes.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

You prefer Galentine’s Day: Consider what Leslie Knope would do; we’re guessing waffles. And since we don’t have a recipe for the waffles from JJ’s Diner, we recommend Chocolate Brownie Waffles With Blackberry Sauce.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

You really love your dog: Make a batch of Cheesy Dog Biscuits and prepare for extra snuggles.

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