Happy Friday! In honor of date night and with Valentines Day being a mere 8 days away I thought I would help all of those Happy Planners out there design the perfect Valentines day Menu for that special someone.
Rule Number One:
Really simple know your guest. Do they have certain dietary restrictions or preferences? If so be sure to keep this in mind when planning the menu.
Rule Number Two:
Know your limits. This includes culinary skill as well as time. If you have only 30 minutes to prepare the dish then don’t set your heart on a 2 hour long pot roast (unless of course your planning to slow cook it all day for 8 hours while your at work). In addition, don’t attempt to make something that you know exceeds your capabilities as a cook. For instance if you know baking isn’t really within your realm of first time successes then avoid such recipe’s as muffins, yeast rolls, or any other pastry type foods.
Rule Number three:
Pick a dish you love and enjoy eating. After all if you love it, the easier it will be to make sure the other person loves it too.
Finally, if even after considering all of the rules noted above your still not sure what to serve at your Valentines day dinner allow me to provide you with a few options.
Vegetarian/Vegan Valentines Day
For a simple yet fabulous Valentines day dinner make a vegan stuffed Bell Pepper. There are plenty of different ways you can do this, but just in case here is my favorite.
2 – 4 Red Bell Peppers (make sure they are of a good shape to stand on their own).
Spanish rice mix (choose your favorite stove top brand)
If the Rice mix doesn’t already call for it 1 can of diced tomatoes and jalapenos
1 can Black beans unsalted
1/2 cup chopped portabello mushrooms
2-3 cups Cheddar Cheese (they also have vegan options for this)
Follow instructions for the Spanish rice mix on the stove top
If not already included in the stove top recipe add 1 can chopped tomatoes and jalapenos
Drain the Black Beans and rinse
Combine Rice, Black Beans, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese in a bowl and mix
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Take between 2 and 4 Red Bell Peppers (make sure they are of a good shape to stand on their own).
Cut the tops of the bell peppers off removing the seeds, but without ruining the shape of the pepper.
Fill with rice mixture and if desired top with cheese
Place the peppers in a glass baking dish
Place in oven cook for 15 -20 minutes until cheese on the top has melted and peppers are soft.
Plate and enjoy.
If you would like an appetizer or side dish option my go to is always
Asparagus lightly oiled with olive oil add sea salt as desired before placing in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10-15 minutes (until slightly crispy).
*BONUS Asparagus is an aphrodisiac.
As for desert pick out a delicious sorbet or your favorite chocolate treat.
Remember to keep plating in mind when serving up a beautiful dish, you don’t want to just dump food on the plate.
Gluten Free Option:
My experience with a Gluten free diet back in the days before it became so popular involved a lot of fish, however today its easy to find thousands of every day cooking products that are 100% gluten free everything from pasta to lunch meat can now be found in a gluten free variety so keep this in mind when trying to make a gluten free dinner.
Still not sure what to make check out this great Salmon Recipe from allrecipes.com
Make a deliciously fresh stir fry (Little hint, if running short on funds and you have a number of ingredients on the verge of being over ripe making a tasty fried rice is an excellent option as well).
Here is my favorite way of making stir fry.
2 Chicken Breast (De-boned)
1/2 a Broccoli head
1-2 full sized Carrots about 1 cup chopped (to save on chopping try and buy a package of the chipped variety)
1/2-1 cup Yellow Squash
Yellow, Orange, and/or Red Bell Peppers (1/2 to 1/4 of each if you plan to use all three if only using one then use entire pepper)
1/2 small Red Onion
1 cup White or Brown Rice (I prefer white)
Optional Ingredients include:
water chestnuts (you can buy these in a can check the canned vegetables isle at your local grocery store)
Cook the rice
Chop the chicken breast into cubes
In a large skillet or wok if you have one add about one TBSP of Butter for oiling then add cubed chicken saute until cooked through about 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the cubes. (Heat should be on Medium)
Put chicken in a separate bowl to the side
Chop the following vegetables into even strips:
Bell peppers, Yellow squash, red onion
Chop the broccoli into bite sized pieces
Chop the carrots into thin rounds
saute the carrots for about 5 minutes with a TBLSP of butter
Add the rest of the vegetables to the mix and saute with 2 TBLSP of butter for about 5 minutes until slightly soft
Add the chicken
1/8 cup soy sauce
2 Tsps of sesame oil
1 Tblsp black pepper
1 Tblsp Garlic Powder
Saute cook for about 10 minutes
Serve over Rice
This has to be my favorite recipe to serve for valentines day, its just so classic and every time I eat it with a special someone I can’t help, but think of that memorable scene from Disneys’ Lady and the Tramp.
Spaghetti and Meat Balls
Favorite Spaghetti Noodles
Favorite Tomatoe Sauce
1 lb ground meat
1 garlic clove
Meatball Recipe Directions:
Mince 1 clove of garlic (chop into small pieces)
Place ground meat into a bowl
Add 2 Tblsp dried basil, oregano, and parsley
Add 1 Tblsp Cumin, black pepper, salt and Garlic Powder
Add 1 Tsp powdered ginger (note this is added more for the health benefit than the flavor, ginger is known to help with arthritis so I try and add a teaspoon or so to every dish I can).
Mix ingredients together well by hand (so make sure your hands have been washed with warm water and soap before doing this).
Once mixed make about 6 to 8 balls by grabbing a portion of the meat and rolling it between your hands, and cupping with your palms.
Sit in a glass baking pan and place in an oven Preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Allow to cook for about 30-45 minutes until inside is just barely pink or if preffered cooked all the way through. (I find they taste better when cooked to the point of a small lightly pink center).
Plate the spaghetti noodles with sauce add desired number of meatballs on top.
As for sides avoid the garlic bread instead try a nice vegetable dish such as my previously mentioned asparagus or a nice salad.
For desert if you can even handle it after this hearty meal I always recommend a light sorbet or frozen yogurt.
I absolutely love the idea of doing a taco salad for valentines day its simple and there are so many ways to make it fun and delicious.
Choose your favorite taco fillings
Buy a bag of shredded ice burg lettuce or chop your own
Make a batch of my famously easy 2 ingredient 4 step salsa just click here.
Oh and don’t forget to buy Tortilla bowls (you can find them next to the hard taco shells at your local grocery store).
Cook and mix up the filling just like you would if you were making a taco.
Heat the taco bowls for about 5 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit just so they get a little warm, but keep an eye on them as they are known to burn easily
Place the taco bowls on a plate, add lettuce, and place your favorite taco ingredients on top.
Then as a dressing drizzle on the salsa and serve.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY
There are so many different options to choose from when making a valentines day meal and just to make sure I’ve covered all the basis I’m including this option.
Make Valentines Day Dinner Simple by serving up your favorite Soup and Sandwich Recipe. Its perfect for those who want to get warm as well as for those who just want to enjoy the company of the one they love without too much fuss.
My favorite Soup Recipe is a Chunky Tomato Vegetable Recipe of my own design and my favorite sandwich is a croquet-madam.
A croquet-madam is fairly simple to make and goes well with any tomato based soup recipe.
Sliced wheat bread
2 eggs (1 per sandwich)
4 slices mozzarella cheese (this is my preference, you can exchange it for your preferred cheese) (2 slices per sandwich)
Much like you would when making a grilled cheese, butter both sides of the wheat bread
Place two slices of cheese in the middle
Place in skillet on medium heat (Takes about 5 minutes per side max)
Flip when the cheese is just starting to melt
Set sandwich aside on a plate
Make the second sandwich
Lower the heat to a medium low temperature
Add about a tablespoon of butter to prevent sticking
Cook both eggs sunny side up, should take between3 and 5 minutes while cooking add a pinch of salt and pepper to each egg for flavor.
Place one egg on top of each sandwich.
Requires a fork to eat, and tastes delicious when dipped into tomato soup.
Hope you enjoyed! Sorry for missing you all on Wednesday, hope this extra long post makes up for it.