Yummy Valentine’s Day Dinner at Home

— Written By and last updated by

This year Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday night imagine the crowds that will be packing restaurants everywhere!! Do yourself a favor, save the night out for later and cook at home!! Here are some tasty ideas for your sweetheart supper; there are also some delicious chocolate desserts to share!!

Pasta with Shrimp and Tomato Cream Sauce

(This is one of my favorites to cook!)

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta, preferable whole grain
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved (about 1 lb.)
  • 2/3 cup minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 garlic cloves)
  • 1 pound large peeled and deveined raw shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, melt unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add cherry tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to burst and lose their juices, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add minced onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in shrimp, and cook, stirring occasionally, just until shrimp are opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle the tomato-shrimp mixture with salt and pepper, and stir in heavy cream. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in chopped fresh tarragon and cooked pasta, and serve immediately.

Heart Healthy Chicken Orzo

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. orzo, preferably whole-wheat
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, (not oil-packed), divided
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • ½ tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp., plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (1-1¼ pounds)
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 9-oz. package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (use only half)
  • ½ cup finely shredded Romano cheese, divided

Directions

  1. Cook orzo in a large saucepan of boiling water until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
  2. Meanwhile, place 1 cup water, ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, plum tomato, garlic, vinegar and 2 tsp. oil in a blender. Blend until just a few chunks remain.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning, until golden outside and no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; tent with foil to keep warm.
  4. Pour the tomato sauce into the pan and bring to a boil. Measure out ½ cup sauce to a small bowl. Add the remaining ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes to the pan along with the orzo, artichoke hearts and 6 Tbsp. cheese. Cook, stirring, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among 4 plates.
  5. Slice the chicken. Top each portion of pasta with sliced chicken, 2 Tbsp. of the reserved tomato sauce and a sprinkling of the remaining cheese and marjoram.

 

Chicken Saltimbocca

(Also one of my favorites)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenders
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 thin slices of prosciutto (I have been know to use slices of dried beef)
  • 2-4 fresh sage leaves (I also have been known to use basil, I just like it)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup dry Marsala

Directions

  1. Put chicken breasts between pieces of plastic wrap and, using a rolling pin or the smooth side of a meat mallet, bash them to a thickness of about 1/4 inch, but don’t bash so hard that they break up. Season with pepper. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each chicken escalope and put a sage leaf or two on top. Lightly dust the chicken on both sides with flour.
  2.  Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken until no longer pink in the middle, about 3 minutes per side. To check if it’s done, stick the tip of a sharp knife into it: the juice that runs out should be clear with no trace of pink. Transfer the chicken to a warm platter and cover with foil.
  3.  Add Marsala to the pan and cook over high heat until thickened and reduced by about half, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve the sauce over the chicken.

Kirstie Alley Chicken

(I have no idea where this originated, but my friends and I have been passing it around for many years)

Ingredients

  • 2-4 chicken breasts or a similar amount of chicken tenders
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup (or more depending on amount of chicken) shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Sauté fresh garlic in butter, and melt. Once cooled, stir in sour cream.
  2. Roll chicken breast in sour cream mixture. Roll in fresh Parmesan cheese
  3. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes (or more depending on # of breasts)

 

Chocolate Baklava

(This recipe is so yummy)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup blanched toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 24 (14 x 9-inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions

  1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat; stir until honey dissolves. Increase heat to medium; cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 230°F (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat; keep warm. Discard cinnamon stick.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Place hazelnut-chocolate spread in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 30 seconds or until melted. Combine hazelnuts and next 5 ingredients (through salt). Lightly coat a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Working with 1 phyllo sheet at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), place 1 phyllo sheet lengthwise in bottom of prepared pan, allowing ends of sheet to extend over edges of dish; lightly brush with butter. Repeat procedure with 5 phyllo sheets and butter. Drizzle about 1/3 cup melted hazelnut -chocolate spread over phyllo. Sprinkle evenly with one-third of nut mixture (about 1/2 cup). Repeat procedure twice with phyllo, butter, hazelnut-chocolate spread, and nut mixture. Top last layer of nut mixture with remaining 6 sheets phyllo, each lightly brushed with butter. Press gently into pan.
  4. Make 3 lengthwise cuts and 5 crosswise cuts to form 24 portions using a sharp knife. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes or until phyllo is golden. Remove from oven. Drizzle honey mixture over baklava. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cover; store at room temperature. Because phyllo sheets are thin and delicate, handle with care so you won’t tear the sheets. Keep the sheets you are not working with covered so it won’t dry out. Yields 24 servings.

Each serving contains; Calories: 238, Fat: 13.4g, Protein: 4g, Carbohydrate: 27.8g,

Fiber: 1.6g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 148mg, Calcium: 29mg

Texas Sheet Cake

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, divided
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray; dust with 2 teaspoons flour. Set aside.
  2. Combine 2 cups flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Combine 3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/4 cup cocoa in a saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Pour into flour mixture. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add buttermilk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and eggs; beat well. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 375°F for 17 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack.
  3. Combine 6 tablespoons butter, fat-free milk, and 1/4 cup cocoa in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in powdered sugar; stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla and pecans. Spread over hot cake. Cool completely on wire rack.

Yields 20 servings.

Each serving contains; Calories: 298, Fat: 10g, Protein: 3.1g, Carbohydrate: 49.8g

Fiber: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 44mg, Sodium: 188mg, Calcium: 25mg

Chocolate Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened premium dark cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.
  2. Place sugar, butter, and oil in a medium bowl; mix with hands until combined. Add flour mixture, and mix with hands until combined; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  4. Place dough on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; press dough into an 8 x 5–inch rectangle about 3/8-inch thick. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork. Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes or just until set. Cut shortbread into 24 pieces. Cool completely.

Other Variations

Lemon Shortbread: You can also use grated orange rind in place of lemon. A little bit of cornstarch ensures a short texture in the cookies. Substitute 3 tablespoons cornstarch for the unsweetened cocoa. Add 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind to flour mixture. Knead the dough lightly 4 times or just until smooth before chilling. Bake 30 minutes or just until set and edges are golden.

Each serving contains; Calories 74; Fat 4.8g; Protein 0.6g; Carbohydrates 7.5g; Fiber 0.2g; Cholesterol 6mg; Iron 0.3mg; Sodium 42mg; Calcium 2mg

 Brown Sugar Shortbread: Using light brown sugar yields sweet treats with caramel notes. These double easily; just bake each batch separately for the best results. Use 1 1/2 all-purpose flour, and substitute 3 tablespoons cornstarch for the cocoa. Omit powdered sugar and oil, and use 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar and 7 tablespoons butter (total), softened. Sprinkle dough with 1 1/2 teaspoons ice water; knead dough lightly 4 times or just until smooth. Bake for 25 minutes or just until set and edges are golden.

Each 1 cookie serving contains; Calories 74; Fat 3.4g; Protein 0.7g; Carbohydrates 10.4g; Fiber 0.2g; Cholesterol 9mg; Iron 0.4mg; Sodium 50mg; Calcium 6mg