This topic is a little bit more interesting because there is not a right or wrong answer. You will ultimately do the most cheesy thing you can think of because you know your girlfriend will see past the cheesiness and really appreciate what you have done. So we will discuss things you need to consider to really pull this off and look like a gentleman.
Planning a Romantic Meal
So, first things first. If you are planning a romantic meal for your girlfriend it is essential to know what her favorite dishes are. Make sure to think of a few and the reason is that you may not be experienced enough to cook lobster, but you may be able to boil noodles right? Hopefully you see the picture I am trying to paint here. It is important that you do not get over your head and you do something that is within your limits. This is not to say that you should not challenge yourself, but make sure you skim through a cookbook or a recipe online and realize the commitment needed to prepare that dish.
Now that you know what you are going to cook, it is time to plan the day. If you have an upcoming anniversary, use that. Or, if you two have a regular date night then that would be perfect as well. This is the time that you need to also decide if the event will be a surprise or not. If so, then you will need to figure out a way to get her out of the house. You will want to make sure that she will be gone long enough for you to go to the store, prep your dish, prepare the dish, and set the table and present. In my previous experience, I made fettuccine alfredo and needed about 2 hours or so. That allowed me enough time to prep the cheese, boil the noodles, fry the chicken, and make my own cheese sauce.
Preparing a Romantic Dish
If you can not manage to surprise her with the event, you can ask her to join you and help cook. This is a really great bonding tool between a couple and can make you two very close. However you decided to do it, this is really a situation where “the thought counts” and she will be happy that you did this no matter the outcome.