Valentines Day Recipes
Ah, love is the air. After a long day of classes, meetings, and homework, you slow down as you stop to think about your plans, or lack thereof, to celebrate this special time of year. You reach into your wallet and realize you have no cash. You look outside your window and watch the snowfall, listening to the wind howl mercilessly. Or maybe you’re outside and you’re really cold and really hungry. What you want is an affordable, cozy, and enjoyable experience this year, whether it’s with a special someone or just yourself. Why not treat your sweetheart (or yourself) to an intimate dinner? We have a simple yet decedent three-course meal that will satisfy your stomach while being kind to your wallet (and busy schedule).
Appetizer: Stuffed Mushrooms
1/8 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs
1/8 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1/2 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1/2 tablespoon (tbs) of chopped fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/12 cup extra-virgin olive oil
7 large (2 1/2-inch-diameter) white mushrooms, stemmed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Clean off mushrooms with a damp paper towel, carefully break off mushroom stems. Chop the stems into itsy-bitsy, eensy-weensy pieces.
- Stir the bread crumbs, Pecorino Romano, garlic, parsley, chopped mushroom stems, salt and pepper to taste, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl. This will be the filling. Remember to taste the mixture to make sure it's delicious!
- Drizzle a heavy large baking sheet with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, to coat. Or you can just use parchment paper.
- Spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities and arrange on the baking sheet, cavity side up. Drizzle remaining oil over the filling in each mushroom. Sprinkle more breadcrumbs over each mushroom if you're feeling fancy. Place the sheet in the oven and bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through and golden on top, about 25 minutes.
Entree: Creamy Fettuccine Pasta
3 quarts water
1 tbs butter
2 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 1/2 cups (2-inch) diagonally cut asparagus
6 ounces uncooked fettuccine
2 teaspoons (tsp) olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 tbs all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup packed)
3 ounces of less-fat cream cheese
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs chopped fresh tarragon
- Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a pot.
- Add asparagus to boiling water; cook for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove cooked asparagus from the pot with a slotted spoon. Rinse them under cold water and drain.
- Add pasta to boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and keep warm, drizzle olive oil onto it to prevent the noodles from sticking.
- Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and the 2 garlic cloves, and cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Place the flour in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the chicken broth. Add broth mixture and milk to the pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat. Cook for an additional minute or until it thickens. Remove the sauce from heat, and add the cheeses, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir until cheeses melt, then stir in the juice of ½ a lemon. Add pasta and asparagus, tossing well. Sprinkle with tarragon and serve.
Dessert: Spiced Drinking Chocolate
2 cups milk (any kind of milk will do, though whole milk would be insanely rich. I use a mix of coconut and almond milk.)
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp of whatever other spices you want! The joy of this dish is that it's easy to personalize.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 can coconut milk
- Pop that can of coconut milk in the fridge to chill so the cream and liquid separate. Use the freezer if you're in a time crunch.
- Pour the milk in a medium or large pot and bring to a simmer.
- Add the chocolate and spices and whisk briskly till everything is combined. Add more chocolate if you'd like the drink thicker or more milk if it seems too rich.
- Once combined, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
- Just before serving, scoop the cream from the top of the coconut milk into a chilled bowl and whip into whipped cream with an electric mixer (don't try to do this by hand no matter how buff you are). Top your drinks with the cream and serve. Yum!