Janet's Notebook
Valentine's Day Menu for Dinner at Home


Red Velvet Pots De Creme with Poached Strawberries


While I show people I love them year around, it's nice to have a special day to show how much I care. But a prix fixe menu and an insanely expensive meal isn't something I do on Valentine's Day. I create a special meal at home. If you show your love through food, too, here are a few recipes that may make it onto a Valentine's Day menu.

"This looks intimidating at first but just remember - baby steps," explains Renee G. of her Cheese Ravioli with Tomato/Cream Sauce. "By preparing just one step at a time, it isn't so daunting." Yes, this ravioli recipe is a bit time-consuming but it is well worth the effort. Nothing beats the taste of fresh homemade pasta dough!

The creamy ravioli filling is full of cheesy goodness and the cream sauce has a nice punch of garlic, pesto flavor. The marinara sauce balances it all out with a hint of sweetness. Yum!

If you want to prepare a special steak, put Jennifer H.'s (Portland, OR) Balsamic & Bourbon Filet Mignon on your menu. "This can be a really special occasion dinner or just a weeknight dinner since it cooks fairly quickly," says Jennifer. "You'll start the steak on the stovetop and then finish in the oven while sauteing the mushrooms."

Jennifer's husband feels, "This is better than any restaurant steak I've had." I think your spouse will have the same opinion too. The steak is tender, buttery, a little tangy and sweet. But what makes this great is the mushrooms. They are like tiny sponges and soaked up all the flavor of the marinade. Simply delicious!

Prince Harry proposed to Meghan Markle over a roasted chicken, so maybe your sweetheart will propose (or ask you to marry them again) when you make Monika Rosales' (Pembroke Pines, FL) Lemon Butter Roasted Chicken.

This succulent chicken is baked to perfection. The herbs and lemon mixture permeate through the chicken while baking. As if the zing of garlic and lemon isn't enough, the small dollop of lemon flavored butter put on individual pieces of chicken just adds to the amazing flavor.

While roasting, the Test Kitchen was filled with a wonderful aroma that made it difficult to wait until this chicken was done. It's a simple recipe but your loved ones will think you labored away over this flavorful, tender chicken. This will become a go-to chicken recipe.

A sweet for your sweetie is the perfect way to end the meal.

If chocolate is something you love, try Kathleen Taylor's (Perham, MN) Chocolate Molten Cakes. Her moist, sinfully rich chocolate cakes are, well, awesome.

"They are the bomb for a chocolate lover," thinks Kathleen. "It's very easy to prepare the batter a day ahead of time when having guests over. Then just pop the cakes in the oven a half an hour before you plan to serve them."

I think there was a typo when Kathleen said a serving was 1/2 the cake. There's no way I could eat just a half of these delicious dolls! Just make sure not to overbake them. You want the center to be nice and gooey when a fork breaks into the cake.

Fruit more suited to your taste buds? Try Crystal Schlueter's (Northglenn, CO) Red Velvet Pots De Creme with Poached Strawberries. They are fancy enough to be served at a white tablecloth restaurant and easy to make at home.

"This special dessert is perfect for sharing with a loved one on Valentine's Day," shares Crystal. "The recipe may look a bit difficult, but it is really quite easy. The hardest part is waiting for the pots de creme to chill!"

Crystal's red velvet pots de creme are light and velvety smooth. Not too heavy or sweet, a dollop of whipped cream cheese topping is fantastic on top. The strawberries cooked in champagne and served on the side is a nice complement to the dessert. They're sweet with a delicious citrus undertone. This dessert is just enough for two, so perfect for Valentine's Day.

Whether you're celebrating Valentine's Day with a sweetheart this year or having a Galentine's Day with friends, cook up something special. Happy Pinching!



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