Valentines Day. As a kid, it was fun exchanging little cards and candies at school, but the anticipation of my dad getting home from work was the real excitement. We’d run to the back door to give him a huge hug and wait, jumping up and down. And there they were. The holy grail of Valentine’s Day. White boxes that each contained heart-shaped boxes of Fannie May candy. That’s when they used real ribbons, and made each box unique. Now I sound like my dad-“back in my day…”
My mom always got the biggest box, my sister the medium box, and being the youngest, I got the smallest box. My sister and I hid our boxes on the shelf in our closet, far away from our brothers.
The days of heart-shaped boxes have passed. They’ve been replaced with a delicious meal. Not going out to eat, but a meal made at home is the best kinda Valentine’s Day. Invite your lover, friends, or family, turn up the music, uncork some vino, and make an easy, yet delicious meal together. Here’s a simple menu you can use. Try one recipe or make a night of it, cooking them all.
Let’s start with a simple appetizer.
STRAWBERRY BAKED BRIE
2 pounds of whole brie
16 ounces of strawberry preserves
1 sheet frozen pastry puff, thawed
1. Place whole Brie with rind on an oven proof serving dish with shallow sides.
2. Spread preserves over brie.
3. Stretch puff pastry to cover brie and tuck under the sides.
4. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 mins.
Serve with crackers or bread.
Here’s a tasty main dish you can’t mess up & is sure to be loved by everyone.
ANGEL HAIR PASTA W/ SHRIMP (or without)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 8 ounce package of angel hair pasta
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 pound of shrimp, peeled & deveined
2 20 ounce cans Italian style diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
3 tbsp fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil & add 1 tbsp of oil. Cook pasta until al dente. Place pasta in a colander to drain.
2. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
3. Cook garlic constantly stir & don’t allow it to burn.
4. Add shrimp and cook for 3 to 5 minutes & remove from skillet.
5. Add tomatoes, wine, parsley & basil to skillet & stir. Cook about 10 mins until liquid reduces half way.
6. Add shrimp and cook another 3 minutes.
7. Serve shrimp over pasta & spring fresh Parmesan over top.
Of course I included a dessert recipe; the most important course! I’m actually going to give you 2 dessert recipes.
MINI CHERRY CHEESECAKES
12 Nilla wafers
2-8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup cherry pie filling
Cup cake liners
12 cup cake pan
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line cup cake holders with paper liners, place one wafer in the bottom of each cup & set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese & sugar they’re until it’s light & fluffy.
4. Add 1 egg & beat mixture then add 2nd egg & beat again.
4. Spoon mixture equally into all 12 cup cake sections (on top of wafers).
5. Bake for 30 minutes.
6. Turn off oven & slightly open the oven door, leaving the cheesecakes in the oven for 30 more minutes.
7. Remove tray from oven & allow cakes to cool completely.
8. Top each cheese cake with cherry pie filling.
9. Place tray in the frig for at least an hour before serving.
10. Store leftovers in the frig.
SLOW COOKER MOLTON LAVA CAKE
*works best in a 4 quart cooker
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 cup sugar, divided
3 tbsp + 1/3 cup cacao powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup nut milk
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1.5 cups hot water
1. Coat inside of cooker with non stick spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour & baking powder.
3. In a separate bowl, melt the chocolate & butter & mix.
4. Whisk in 2/3 cup of sugar, 3 tbsp of cacao, vanilla, salt, milk & egg yolk.
5. Add flour mixture & mix completely.
6. Pour batter into slow cooker & spread evenly.
7. Whisk together remaining sugar, cacao, and hot water until sugar is dissolved. Pour over batter in slow cooker. Do not mix.
8. Cover & cook in high 1-2 hours. The cake will be very moist and floating on a layer of molten chocolate when it’s done. You’ll know it’s done when the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pot.
9. Turn off cooker and remove lid. Don’t let lid drip into cake.
10. Allow cake to cool for 25-30 minutes before cutting and spooning onto plates.
11. Make it extra tasty by adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Happy cooking and Happy Valentine’s Day!