Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's Themed Feast (with recipes!)

This year, due to hubby’s college schedule, we aren’t going on a Valentine’s Day Date.  Instead, the house will be filled with cooking odors, as I prepare a special Valentine’s themed meal for our whole family to enjoy.  What is on the menu?  Heart shaped meatloaves, pink mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, salad with raspberry vinegarette(its Pink!)  pink, heart shaped cakes with homemade frosting and pink sprinkles, and sparkling white grape juice with a couple drops of red food coloring(to make it pink) will be featured at this family dinner.  The dining room is festively decorated with a red tablecloth overlayed with lace, red candles, fake rose petals, and our wedding china.   I let each of the kids pick out a Valentine’s present which will be used as a place setting, wrapped in pink tissue paper with a red bow.  Perhaps we can find a fun Valentine’s Day station on Pandora to listen to during our meal.  I’m excited to make simple, fun memories with my family.  If you would like to make a fun themed meal for Valentine’s Day, I have included the recipes and grocery list for the meal.  The fun thing about celebrating in this way is it doesn’t matter if you do it with a family, with good friends, with your significant other, or even just a fun thing to enjoy in solitude.  You can dress to the nines, or even dress down in some valentine colored pjs or sweats. 
Lil Cheddar Meat Loaves Recipe
  • Prep: 15 min. Bake: 25 min.
  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound ground beef
2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • In a large bowl, whisk egg and milk. Stir in the cheese, oats, onion and salt. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Separate into eight loaves and put each into the greased, heart shaped wells of a baking dish. My heart shaped baking dish has six heart shaped wells, so I just shape the last two into heart meat loaves and put them on a greased baking sheet.  (If you don’t have a heart pan, you can try to just shape them into hearts yourself like I do with the last two.  In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar and mustard; spoon over loaves.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until no pink remains and a meat thermometer reads 160°. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutritional Facts 1 serving (1 each) equals 254 calories, 10 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 72 mg cholesterol, 690 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 17 g protein.
Originally published as Lil Cheddar Meat Loaves in Taste of Home April/May 1999, p27
Perfect Mashed Potatoes Recipe (Pink Version)
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·         1 1/2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered length-wise
·         1/2 teaspoon salt
·         4 Tbsp heavy cream
·         2 Tbsp butter
·         1 Tbsp milk
·         Salt and Pepper
·         A few drops red food coloring to color
1 Put potatoes into a saucepan. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add water until potatoes are covered. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15-20 minutes, or until done - a fork can easily be poked through them.
2 Warm cream and melt butter, together, either in microwave or in a pan on the stove. Drain water from potatoes. Put hot potatoes into a bowl. Add cream and melted butter. Use potato masher to mash potatoes until well mashed. Add the food coloring drops.  Use a strong spoon to beat further, adding milk to achieve the consistency you desire. (Do not over-beat or your potatoes will get gluey.) Salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: Serves 4
*Note:  If you would prefer, you could always use refrigerated or instant mashed potatoes and add the red food coloring to them.
Red Tinged Maple Glazed Carrots
·         16 ounces baby carrots
·         2 tablespoons butter
·         1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
·         1 cup water
·         dash salt
·         pepper, to taste
·         couple drops red food coloring
In a medium saucepan, combine the baby carrots with remaining ingredients. Stir to blend ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling (uncovered) for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until carrots are tender and the liquid has evaporated.
Serves 4 to 6.
Raspberry Vinagarette Salad
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Bagged salad mix of your choice or head of your choice of lettuce
  • Candied walnuts (sautéed in butter and a little sugar)
  • ¼ cup to ½ cup craisins
For the vinagerette: Place the raspberries, olive oil, lemon juice, and honey in a blender. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
In a large salad bowl, mix together the salad mix, candied walnuts, and craisins. Just before serving, add the vinaigrette and toss until all the ingredients are coated.
I took this recipe from Giada, but changed a few things to suit our taste.  If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own dressing, Ken’s makes a good raspberry vinagarette.
Strawberry Heart Cake:
For the cake, there is no need to bake from scratch.  The homemade frosting is what makes it yummy.  I just bought and baked a strawberry cake and baked it in my cake molds, and then frosted it with my homemade frosting which follows.

Homemade Buttercream Frosting
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons half and half or milk
In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
Add vanilla and half and half or milk and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more half and half or milk if needed for spreading consistency.
*Don’t Forget to decorate them with pink and red sprinkles
Grocery List:
  • eggs
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • quick-cooking oats
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • 1 1/2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered length-wise
  • heavy cream
  • 16 ounces baby carrots
  • brown sugar, packed
  • red food coloring
  • frozen raspberries, thawed
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  •  lemon juice
  • honey
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Bagged salad mix of your choice or head of your choice of lettuce
  • walnuts
  • craisins
  • confectioners' sugar
  • 3 sticks butter
  • vanilla extract
  • half and half or milk

1 comment:

  1. I forgot to put strawberry cake mix on the grocery list. Sorry.