Staying in for Valentine’s Day can be the best thing going! All you need to do is set the mood, set the food, and all is good! Sometimes, the intimacy of staying in can be the most romantic thing you can do. Who needs the noise and crowds of multitudes of other couples also trying to do the “Valentine’s Day” thing? The chance that you might meet friends who might distract you from the one you love?
Stay in, and make a super supper! Set the mood by setting the table, adding candles, a great playlist of romantic music, and let romance and love do the rest!
You can find many recipes online, but here’s a great easy to make gourmet Valentine’s menu:
APPETIZER – Shredded Brussel Sprouts and Ricotta Toast
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
- 30 (1/2″) slices baguette or rustic country-style bread, or 15 slices Pullman bread, cut in half diagonally
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
- 1 pound brussel sprouts, trimmed, halved lengthwise through root
- 2 cups high-quality whole-milk ricotta
- Flaky sea salt
- Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 375°F. Arrange bread on 2 rimmed baking sheets and brush with 1/4 cup oil. Toast until lightly browned, 8–10 minutes.
- Cover raisins with very hot water in a small bowl and let sit until ready to use, at least 5 minutes.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium-high. Toast pine nuts, stirring often, until browned, 4–6 minutes. Transfer to a small plate; let cool.
- Whisk shallot, lemon juice, honey, mustard, kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a large bowl. While whisking, stream in remaining 1/4 cup oil.
- Thinly slice Brussels sprouts with a sharp knife or shred with shredding blade of a food processor. Transfer to bowl with dressing and stir in raisins. Toss to coat and let sit 15 minutes.
- Spread toasts with ricotta (about 1 Tbsp. each). Fold pine nuts into Brussels sprout mixture just before serving and divide among toasts. Top with lemon zest, pepper, and sea salt.
MAIN COURSE – Chicken, Mushrooms and Squash with Lemon Cream over Orzo
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
- 4-5 boneless chicken thighs
- 3-4 cups of white mushrooms – washed, stem removed, and sliced
- 2 medium squash – washed and either julienned, long thin strips, or chopped
- 1 small shallot – finely chopped
- 1 lb orzo
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 lemon
- chopped chives for garnish
- seasoning – salt, pepper, paprika
- Start by prepping mushrooms, squash and shallots per ingredient list, set aside.
- Boil water for pasta per box directions. Season the water with salt (3-4 pinches) (Add 1 lb of orzo once water comes to a boil. Cook per package instructions, remove, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking – set aside)
- While water is coming up to boil, Season chicken with salt, pepper and paprika – light coat of each on both sides. Note: go light on the paprika
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of canola or vegetable oil to heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) for 5 minutes on medium heat. Watch closely, once oil starts to lightly smoke you are ready to add chicken
- Carefully add seasoned chicken to skillet (be careful as oil may splatter)
- Cook chicken approximately 4-5 minutes per side until well browned. Given stovetop temps will vary, check every 2 minutes to ensure chicken is not burning. If you have food thermometer, cook until internal temp reaches 185
- Remove chicken from skillet
- Add Shallots, Mushrooms and Squash to skillet. Season lightly with salt and pepper and stir to coat with oil. Stir fry for 4-5 minutes until squash is tender. Taste and add salt if needed.
- Remove vegetables from skillet and lower heat to medium low
- Add heavy cream, juice from half a lemon, pinch of salt and pepper. Stir heavy cream frequently for 5-7 minutes until sauce thickens (stir frequently to keep it from burning, cook until sauce thickens). Taste and add salt, pepper, lemon juice if needed
- Add orzo to a bowl and add ¾ of the heavy cream and stir.
- Plate Orzo and top with desired amount of vegetables
- Top with chicken pieces and add sauce to chicken
- Top chicken and sauce with chopped chives as a garnish
DESSERT – Berry and Pound Cake Trifle
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
- 2 cups of raspberries – washed
- 2 cups of blueberries – washed
- 2 cups of strawberries – washed and sliced
- 1 pound cake (you can pre-buy this or find a recipe)
- vanilla pudding
- Cool Whip
- 1 lemon
- fresh mint for garnish
- Trifle will be constructed with alternating layers of Pound Cake, Berries, Pudding and Whipped Cream. Use your judgment on how much to add for each layer, ideally thickness should allow for 2 complete layers of each to top the cup.
- Start by tossing berries with 1-2 teaspoons of sugar and juice from half a lemon. Let sit for 10 minutes, taste, and add sugar/lemon to desired taste
- Crumble pound cake and layer in bottom of glass
- Add layer of berries
- Top with layer pudding then whipped cream
- Repeat layers – pound cake, berries, pudding
- Topped with whipped cream and garnish with a few berries and fresh mint