Celebrity Chef Katie Lee on How To Pull Off a Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Meal

Let the gorgeous co-host of Food Network’s The Kitchen plan your meal for you!

No dinner plans? No problem! Gorgeous celebrity chef and co-host of Food Network’s The Kitchen Katie Lee has faith in you. Read on as she shares her tips for pulling off a last-minute, totally impressive Valentine’s Day dinner at home. Then tell your girlfriend you read it on Maxim.com so that she’ll be impressed with us, too.

It’s already lunchtime, and a guy still doesn’t have any dinner plans. Any chance he’ll still be able to pull off a romantic Valentine’s Day meal for his girl?

Absolutely! I think it’s so much more romantic to have Valentine’s Day dinner at home rather than going to a restaurant.

What are some things a guy can easily find at the supermarket on his way home to make a three-course meal?

Remember to keep it simple and don’t try to do anything too difficult. For a quick appetizer, buy fresh figs and slice in half, then wrap in prosciutto. For dinner, make a pasta, like caciopepe (grated Pecorino cheese and fresh black pepper) or spaghetti carbonara (recipe below), and for dessert, nothing beats a hot fudge sundae.

Is there any type of meat that cooks fast, but is still delicious?

Steaks cooked under the broiler are easy and cook up quickly. They only need a couple of minutes on each side.

Anything that guys should stay away from?

This is not the time for experimental or intricate recipes. You don’t need to make a soufflé to impress her!

Any tips to keep in mind while cooking and serving?

Do as much in advance as possible. You want to be cool, calm, and collected for dinner, and also, enjoy yourself instead of stressing over getting the food on the table.

What’s your stance on guys ordering takeout, but pretending it’s a home-cooked meal?

I have no problem with a man ordering takeout, as long as he is thoughtful about what he’s ordering and presents it in a romantic fashion. Order from a restaurant you know your girl likes, or a restaurant that is special to the two of you, or a meal you once shared together. Set the table and light some candles, but there is no need to tell a fib and pretend it’s home-cooked.

If something ends up going terribly awry while cooking and a guy’s got half an hour till dinner, what should he do?

If everything goes to hell, just order up some Chinese, but take it out of the to-go containers and put it on nice dishes. No paper plates here.

Any type of wine or booze he should pick up on the way home?

Bubbles always make an evening feel special, so go for Champagne or prosecco and serve with strawberries.

Finally, any quick recipes you can to share?

Spaghetti Carbonara

1 lb. spaghetti

8 Slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

3 Eggs

3/4 Cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 Cup pasta water

1/4 Teaspoon black pepper

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook spaghetti until al dente, about 8-9 minutes. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.

In a large sauté pan, cook bacon until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Drain grease from pan.

In a bowl, whisk eggs, parmesan, pasta water, and pepper. Place pasta in large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Quickly stir in egg mixture and reserved bacon and toss to coat. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Catch Katie Lee in person at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Buy tickets to the Barilla Interactive Lunch.