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Valentine's Day Dinner

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching and you may want to start planning something special for your loved one. What better way to have a romantic evening than with a home cooked meal, candle lights and great company? Check out our recipes listed below that won't disappoint on this special day!


Spinach and Goat Cheese Crostini

Photo Credit: Food Network

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Eighteen 1/2-inch-thick slices baguette

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 cloves garlic, 1 whole and 1 finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts

  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish (optional)

  • 8 ounces spinach, hard stems removed

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

  • 3 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled


Directions


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.


2. Use 2 tablespoons of the oil to brush both sides of the bread slices. Arrange on a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake until golden, flipping halfway through, about 7 minutes. While the toasts are hot, rub both sides with the whole garlic clove and return the bread to the baking sheet.


3. Toast the pine nuts in a large skillet over medium heat, swirling, until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive, minced garlic and red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook, over medium heat and stirring frequently, until the garlic is soft, about 1 minute. Add the spinach, in batches, sprinkling with salt after each new addition, until wilted and tender. Transfer to the bowl with the pine nuts, add the lemon zest and toss well. Drain the mixture in a colander and then roughly chop it.


4. Divide the spinach mixture among the toasts and top each with some crumbled goat cheese. Bake just until cheese starts to melt, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with more red pepper flakes if using and serve warm.


To view the original recipe, click here.



Lobster Bisque

Photo Credit: Food Network

Ingredients


  • Two 2-pound lobsters, steamed

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup dry sherry 

  • 1/2 cup chopped celery 

  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed 

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns 

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 cup chopped onion 

  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot 

  • 1/2 cup chopped button mushrooms 

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste 

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 

  • 3/4 cup whole milk 

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream 

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


Directions


1. Twist off the claws and tails from the lobsters. Remove the meat, discarding the green tomalley and reserving the shells. Coarsely chop the meat to measure about 2 1/2 cups, and transfer to a bowl; cover and chill.


2. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a Dutch oven over medium. Add the lobster shells, and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sherry, and cook until the liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the celery, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, 4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until reduced to about 2 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard the solids. Set aside.


3. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium. Add the onions, carrots, mushrooms, tomato paste, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the reserved lobster stock and simmer until reduced to about 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.


4. Puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Place over medium heat, stir in the milk and cream, and bring to a simmer. Add the lobster meat, reserving 1/4 cup for garnish.


5. To serve, ladle the bisque into bowls and top with the reserved lobster meat and chives.


To view the original recipe, click here.



Long Vodka Cream Pasta

Photo Credit: Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 shallots, minced

  • 1 cup vodka

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)

  • Coarse salt and pepper

  • 16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn

  • Crusty bread, for passing

Directions


1. Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.


2. While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.


3. Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.


To view the original recipe, click here.


Chocolate Pudding

Photo Credit: Food Network

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/3 cup natural cocoa powder

  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch

  • 3 large egg yolks

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 3/4 cup whipping cream


Directions


1. Put 1 1/2 cups of the milk, the sugar, and the cocoa in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a simmer, over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat.


2. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of the milk, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks, and vanilla in a bowl. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture. Return to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat whisking constantly, until the pudding comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and continue whisking until thick, about 2 or 3 minutes more.


3. Pour the pudding into 6 small cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight until set.


4. Just before serving pour the cream into a chilled bowl. Whip the cream with a whisk or a hand held mixer, and continue beating until soft peaks form. Take care not to over-beat the cream or it will be grainy. Serve each pudding with a dollop of whipped cream on top.


To view the original recipe, click here.

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