This recipe and photography was provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder. Learn more about Carla and discover her recipes at Ravenouskitchen.com.
It’s Valentine’s Day with cupids, hearts and chocolate galore. But, uh-oh. You forgot to make reservations at your sweeties’ favorite restaurant.
Date night just got a lot easier and less expensive. You can skip the crowded restaurant and make your very own cozy, fast and fresh Valentine’s Day dinner at home.
But if you’re too busy to make a reservation, how can you find the time to make a fabulous meal?
For the time pressed and over-stressed, the trick to feeding your sweetheart a romantic dinner lies in keeping it simple but elegant. Luckily, there’s more than one way to express your love on a dinner plate. Check out the following menus and recipes for three different but delectable meals for two. Only you know how much time you have to cook up romance so choose accordingly.
From the Gourmet Foods case choose a few slices of Beef Filet with Horseradish Sauce, Lemony Risotto Cakes and Fried Garlic Broccolini. A great bottle of wine makes a great meal even more of an occasion. Pair the beef with a bottle of Smoke and Mirrors, a claret blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot grapes. It’s smooth, rich and seductive. Sounds like Valentine’s Day to me.
It wouldn’t be a special dinner without dessert. Stop by the Heinen’s bakery and pick up a couple of Two Brothers chocolate brownies. The caramel ones are my favorite. Cut the brownies into pieces so you can just pop them in your mouth. They’ll go great with the last few sips of wine.
Once home, arrange it all artfully on a plate, microwave until hot as directed below and serve with your best flatware and a cloth napkin. Flowers, fire and music are optional.
Dinner #2: If You Have a Little More Time to Devote to Wining and Dining your Sweetie, I Have the Perfect Celebratory Dinner For Two; Rib-Eye Steaks.
Rib-eyes are a lush cut of steak thanks to the generous marbling that runs through a steer’s juicy ribs. Combine with meaty mushrooms and Sautéed Mixed Vegetables from the Gourmet Foods case and top with a few shavings of Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of lemon for a taste of the fertile valleys of Tuscany.
All of this can be done in less than 20 minutes and with one pan clean-up. You can’t forget the wine, and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Liparita is the perfect match for this steak. Have a glass while you cook. It’s a holiday, right? For dessert, offer a plate of Two Brothers Chocolate Truffles.
Dinner #3: If You Have 30 Minutes to Make a Meal, You Can’t Go Wrong Whipping Up a Fresh Pasta Carbonara.
First, make a salad from Heinen’s salad bar. Choose from a wide assortment of add-ins like strawberries, oranges, cheeses, nuts and croutons. Once home, you can arrange it all on salad plates and drizzle with the dressing of your choice. My favorite is Two Brothers Raspberry Blush Vinaigrette.
Then pick up the few items you’ll need for the pasta. Pasta Carbonara is rich, smoky, salty and cheesy…the epitome of comfort food. The eggy sauce thickens just enough when tossed with the hot pasta, crispy bacon and nutty Parmesan. Though carbonara isn’t exactly health food, I believe that everyone could use a heaping helping of carbohydrate comfort on a regular basis… especially on a luxurious Valentine’s Day.
It’s a good idea to drink Italian wine with Italian food, and this classic pasta would taste great with a medium bodied Chianti. Look for Riserva on the label as it generally denotes a higher quality. My pick is Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico. Aged for two years, this wine always satisfies.
On your way out of the store pick up a carton of Two Brothers Gelato for dessert. Pick from chocolate, salted caramel, bananas Foster, or indulge in a few flavors. Now, that’s amore!
Remember, it never hurts to plan ahead. Decide on your menu and pick up supplies the day before so you aren’t rushed on the big day. And don’t forget the flowers!
Note: The availability of prepared food items is subject to change by day and store.