Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to have an extra fancy dinner with your honey, but it’s safe to say that waiting hours for a restaurant table does not set the mood for love. If you’d rather spend your time on Valentine’s Day relaxing at home, but you still want to share a nice meal with your loved one, check out these easy Valentine’s Day dinner and desserts you can make at home. Whip them up before your loved one arrives for a romantic, relaxed evening or spice the night up by cooking together.
Well and Done
Skip the fancy restaurant and bring the gourmet meal to your own dining room – it’s easier than you might think! This simple recipe for beef wellington will be love at first sight and have your sweetie swooning.
Begin by leaving two sheets of puff pastry out to thaw. Next, heat a pan to medium and add one tablespoon of butter to coat the bottom. Season two one-inch thick filet mignons with salt and pepper (be sure to season both sides!) and sear both sides for a minute or two, then set them on a plate to cool.
While the beef cools, you’ll need to make a mixture called mushroom duxelles. (Already feeling fancy, huh?) For this, you’ll need to melt two tablespoon of butter in a pan and add two tablespoons of minced shallots and one tablespoon of minced garlic. Stir those around and add ten ounces of finely chopped morel mushrooms, plus a dash of salt and a sprinkling of pepper. Cook until the mushrooms begin to caramelize. Finally, add two or three tablespoons of dry white wine and stir for a few minutes so al the flavors can combine and the wine can lose its sharp alcoholic edge. Set this fancy mushroom mixture aside to cool.
Now heat your oven to 400 degrees. While the oven’s warming up, mix one egg with a teaspoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash over the puff pastry sheets. Take the mushroom duxelle and spread it across the top of each fillet. Next, top the mixture with one slice of liver pate (this is pronounced pa-tay, in case you need to ask the butcher at your local grocery store).
Carefully place each loaded mignon on one puff pastry sheet. Gently fold the pastry sheet around the mignon as though you are wrapping a present, using the egg wash to help you stick the sides the together. Give each beef wellington a final egg wash brush, and then cook them in the oven for about 30 minutes. Make the presentation of your dish extra special by adding a pop of vegetable color on the side, like carrots or green beans. And don’t forget to be modest when you receive oohs and aahs.
Pizza Pie Love You
While it’s true that pizza often features more prominently at football tailgates or sleepover parties, we can all fall in love with a pizza that adds pizzazz to our romantic night. You can make this fun, romantic dinner as a surprise or heat up the kitchen by preparing it together.
Start by preheating your oven to 500 degrees. Next, roll out and flatten a ball of store-bought pizza dough. Place the dough on a pizza stone or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Next, brush the edges of the dough with olive oil and spread your favorite tomato sauce all around the middle, coming about two inches away from the edges of the dough. Sprinkle one and half cups of shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce. Here comes the fancy part. Cut up strips of prosciutto and spread the pieces generously on top of the sauce. Next, sprinkle a layer of crumbled goat cheese. (Is your mouth watering yet?) Now, place the whole delicious thing in the oven and let it cook for only about 5 to 7 minutes. After you remove it from the oven, put a heaping handful of fresh arugula on top. This spicy green adds an unexpected sense of freshness to any pizza. Use a pizza cutter to slice and serve immediately, but not before pouring you and your sweetie a nice glass of red wine and sharing a little amore.
Cash-You and Me Forever
This classic Asian dish is sure to impress your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day. Start by mixing one pound of boneless, skinless chick breast cut into strips with one tablespoon of soy sauce, one tablespoon of corn starch, and one and half tablespoons of rice wine vinegar. In a separate bowl, mix one tablespoon of hoisin sauce, one teaspoon of grated ginger, two tablespoons of water, and one tablespoon of rice wine vinegar.
In a large skillet, warm up three teaspoons of sesame oil and then add one cup of chopped sweet yellow onion and one chopped red bell pepper. After three minutes, add the chicken and cook for another three or four minutes. Next, add three cups of chopped broccoli and one cup of sliced mushrooms. Add the delicious sauce you just whipped up and stir fry the mixture for another three minutes or so. Remove from heat and sprinkle chopped cashews and sliced green onions over the entire dish. Serve with white rice and a smile.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
What’s sweet and chocolatey and delicious all over? This wonderfully simple recipe. Before beginning, line a baking sheet with wax paper and rinse your strawberries in cold water. One that’s done, you’ll want to melt about six ounces of semi-sweet milk chocolate. One way of doing so is to warm it slowly in a bowl that you place over a pot of water brought to a simmer. Another way is to use the microwave, and still another way is to use a fondue pot. Once your chocolate is melted, take a strawberry and dip it about three-quarters of the way into the chocolate. Allow the excess chocolate to drip into your mouth – wait, we mean a bowl – and then place the strawberry on the wax paper to cool. Repeat for all your berries.
For an extra fancy touch, melt a few ounces of white chocolate and then use a fork to drizzle the white chocolate onto the chocolate coated strawberries. If you’re looking for presentation points, arrange your little beauties on a white plate in the shape of a heart. So sweet!
You Melt My Heart
If you and your sweetie like cookies and ice cream, there’s no need to fight about which to have for dessert – just have both! You can make your own special Valentine’s ice cream sandwiches right at home. First, decide on your favorite kind of cookie. Can’t decide? Make two batches! Next, pick your favorite kind of ice cream. (If you want to play up the Valentine’s theme, pick a pink-colored flavor like cherry or strawberry.
Make the cookies and allow them to cool. Extra points if you use a heart-shaped cookie cutter! Each of you can select a few cookies to decorate with special romantic messages by using colored icing and a small icing tip. Select an undecorated cookie for the bottom of your sandwich and (when you’re ready to eat them), add the ice cream and top it with a decorated cookie. Present your romantic sweet treat to your significant other and receive one in return.