Does anyone else have a hard time finding a babysitter on holidays? Especially Valentine's Day? For the last few years we have started a tradition on Valentine's Day, to have a romantic dinner in. Sometimes we include our kids and sometimes we eat late after they go to bed. I prefer this over trying to go out anywhere on the busy evening. It's cozy and a lot less expensive. Win-win! What I like to do is prepare a meal that is elegant; something I don't ever make that is more romantic and out of the norm for my cooking. It's fun for me to find things we would like and create them in my own way so I thought I'd share this year's ideas. It may seem a little overwhelming for some of you but I promise, you can make this too! And it will impress your significant other, your kids, anyone you're spending the day with!
My yummy wedge salad is up first. Step up your ordinary salad to one that looks like it came from a high end steakhouse. So simple, and seriously so good! And, I bet you have most of the ingredients already.
4 slices cooked bacon
1 Cup mayo
1/2 Cup buttermilk
1/2 Cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 Tsp white vinegar
1/2 Tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp pepper
1/8 Tsp cayenne pepper
1 head iceberg lettuce
1/2 Cup cheddar cheese
In a large bowl combine the mayo, buttermilk, sour cream, and garlic. Add the vinegar, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, cayenne and whisk until smooth. Cut the lettuce half way through the core, then cut each half into wedges, making 4 total. Spoon a good amount of the dressing onto each wedge, then top with chopped bacon and cheese. YUM!
Onto our entree! This is French Beef Ragu. Can you say "show stopper?!" This is soooo good and looks amazing!
Here's what you'll need:
1 small can crushed tomatoes
1/2 Cup Beef broth (or red wine)
1 Large can of San Marzano whole, peeled tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 1/2 lb. lean beef stew meat
12 oz. pappardelle pasta, or any other really wide pasta
1/2 Cup chopped parsley
1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
In your slow cooker. whisk together the crushed tomatoes, beef broth, 1/4 Tsp. salt/pepper. Add the whole tomatoes, breaking them up with your hands or a fork. Stir in the garlic, carrots, onion, and rosemary.
Add the stew meat and stir. Cook, covered until beef shreds easily. Low 6-8 hours. Or high 4-5 hours. I prefer 6-8 hours on low for best results.
Twenty minutes before serving, cook the pasta according to package directions. Remove rosemary sprigs. Skim any excess fat on top. Using a fork, break meat into small pieces and mix all together in sauce. Fold in parsley. Serve the ragu over the pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
This is a classy and elegant meal that is delicious! What I love most about this recipe, is the wide pasta. To really put this over the top, make sure you use a pasta that is big and not one you typically cook. These noodles were easy to find at my local grocery store. The beef just falls apart and the tomatoes just give it the perfect flavor. This is a spot on recipe!
To go along with my pasta, I just bought a baguette from my grocery store bakery. I left it whole, smeared olive oil all around it and popped it in a 350° oven to warm up and get toasty. About 8 minutes.
Then as soon as it came out of the oven, I rubbed a raw garlic clove all over the outside to give it a yummy garlic flavor to pair with the ragu.
Now to my favorite part of any meal.. Dessert!🤗 I'm all about easy desserts, whether they're from scratch or store bought. But my favorite thing to do is buy a dessert and just doctor it up a bit. One, it makes it look like it was made from scratch. And two, you can add anything you desire to make it perfect! What is a Valentine's Day dessert without chocolate? This is a must! All I did was use a box brownie and cheesecake mix. Baked in a cute heart silicone tray. Then whipped up a super quick raspberry compote. No one will ever guess these weren't made from scratch or how easy it was to make!
Here's what I used:
I just made the box batter according to the package directions. The cooking time can depend on what you bake them in. This heart silicone tray I found at Home Goods took the brownies only about 15 minutes to bake. Whatever you use, just use the toothpick tester to see when they're done. You can bake in a regular pan and use a heart cookie cutter. Or just serve these in the normal old squares! No matter how you serve them, adding this compote will make it unbelievable!
This is all you need for the compote:
2 Cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp water
Add all ingredients into a pot, stir and bring to a boil. Allow it to boil for about 5 minutes, stirring often to avoid scorching. Reduce heat to simmer and let it bubble for about 10 minutes, or until thick. You don't have to, but I strained the seeds out of mine to make it smooth. It's an easy step but not necessary.
Then just top the warm compote onto the cooled brownies, letting it run down the sides. It's seriously ahhh-mazing!🤤
I hope this gives you some inspo to enjoy the day of love! Again, this has been our go-to for a few years now and I honestly wouldn't want it any other way.
Have a great Valentine's Day and we can't wait to show you what's in store for our St. Patrick's Day blog!
Jessie, Blogger for SIP
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