Have you heard the news? It’s almost Valentine’s Day!
Time to stare into each others eye’s and write each other long sappy love letters. In most guys minds, it means its time to drop ridiculous amounts of money going out to dinner with way too many other people who are also trying to have a romantic experience and buying crazy overpriced roses. But why fight the crowds when you could easily have a much better (not to mention cheaper!) experience in your own home?
In our house, we tend to stay in for Valentine’s Day and instead of going out we go a little crazy in the gourmet food department. If you are new around our blog you may not know that we live basically in the middle of nowhere around 3000 miles away from our family. And we have a 16-month-old squirmy little boy. Which means going out to a fancy restaurant entails finding a sitter, driving 45+ minutes and usually having a subpar experience.
So we cook at home a lot for our date nights and put the baby to bed early so we can sneak in a few extra quiet minutes.
Here’s a little peek into this year’s Valentine recipes and a few other ideas to get your creative juices flowing!
Fondue For Two
This year Kevin suggested a fondue night. We love fondue….well let’s be honest….we really really love cheese. If we had an unlimited budget our house would be well stocked with wheels of expensive cheeses. But we don’t. So we buy fancy cheese mostly for special occasions and as a treat on outings and trips.
Our fondue pot, however, is still back in Oregon in storage awaiting our return or us finally getting our act together to clean out our parent’s garage of all our
prized possessions stuff we don’t know how to let go of. We do however have a triple crockpot with nice small crocks so we settled on two different cheese fondues and chocolate fondue.
Our last fondue night we fell in love with this recipe:
I also added some sauteed mushrooms to it for an additional interest which was delicious.
With a second pot available I picked something with some veggies in it so it’s “healthier” right?
Ha, my midwife is gonna have a hay day with this post at my next appointment!
And for the third pot, a wee bit of classic chocolate and fruit is sure to finish everything off nicely.
Doesn’t that chocolate look amazing?
Here are a few other menu ideas for Thursday or any date night really!
Spanish Tapa’s Night
Last year we did a Spanish Tapa’s night: kalamata olives, nuts, cured meats, fruit and ridiculous amounts of bread and cheese (are we seeing a trend here?).
One of the traditional Spanish desserts you will find on the streets of Spain is the incredibly addicting Churro. Developed centuries ago by Spanish shepherds who couldn’t bake things out and about, these pan-fried cylinders of goodness were dreamed up. I don’t think the chocolate sauce was on their menu but you really can’t go wrong with chocolate sauce, can you?
One of my favorite food bloggers makes a pretty awesome rendition:
Indian Night Valentine Menu
One of our favorite dishes (that also happens to be a cinch to prepare) is Chicken Makhani, also known as Butter Chicken.
This was one of the first dishes I cooked up that was incredibly successful as a newlywed, it also happens to have made its rounds on The Pioneer Woman’s site with wide success. It’s an absolute classic and an easy introduction to Indian food for some of those learning to be adventurous taste buds as you can easily adjust the heat.
Be sure to serve with plenty of Basmati rice and cilantro. Also.. don’t substitute anything lighter for the heavy cream or let the sauce boil, it can curdle and look nasty.
Lots of Indian food is served with a traditional Naan alongside it as well as a nice light yogurt sauce or some kind of lightly pickled cucumber salad. Here’s our favorite easy naan recipe:
I don’t particularly care for most Indian desserts personally (although Kevin enjoys many of them), they have very unusual textures and tend to not be very sweet.
If you have a favorite this is a great place to let it shine otherwise this Mango Kulfi from Passionate About Baking looks pretty amazing and is made ahead of time to make your evening more relaxing. A simple fruit ice cream or a nice sorbet would also go lovely to finish this rich tomato based dish.
Meat Lovers Valentine Recipes
Have you read this far and laughed at all my suggestions because you are married to someone who thinks that anything other than meat and potatoes is “rabbit food”? Have no fear we’ve gotcha covered.
This is one of our favorite easy rib recipes, melt in your mouth delicious. Bonus: you can use inexpensive country style ribs and they are still bomb.
Pair with homemade bread, a salad (or sauteed green beans) and some crazy good looking garlic and caramelized onion mashed potatoes for a winning combo.
Since this meal is a definite stick to your ribs winner a nice light fresh fruit tart finishes it just right.
Sweet Mascarpone Peach Tart by The Adventure Bite
Since peaches are still a ways to substitute a couple of containers of fresh strawberries for a beautiful and budget-friendly finish.
Dinner for Two
And in case none of those are up to your alley (or you just want to watch a super cool video) check out this great Valentine’s Dinner from John Craig Ross.
Wine glass photo by nImAdestiny under CC license