What is celebrating THE romantic holiday of the year like for you? Does spending the night in sound about as romantic as vacuuming and folding the laundry? For us, Valentine’s Day dinner is an adventure into new territory. For the past 4 years (I think) we have stayed in and cooked up a menu that is brand new to both of us. While I recently started planning our menu for next weekend, I wanted to throw together a Valentine’s menu for those of you who want to stay on track with eating foods that HEAL but still have the romantic and lavish experience of eating out.
Beyond the menu, of course remember to set the mood. Ambiance is everything when trying to make a romantic night at home. Start looking for great decorations now. First look around your home and take an inventory of what you already have that you could move around to set the mood, or maybe you can use something that usually serves one purpose for another (like using your accent pillows as seats for the floor to cozy up together while you eat). Candles are an easy way to create soft, romantic lighting. [TIP: Soy candles are the healthiest as they don't emit toxic chemicals or carcinogens into the air as they burn.] Check your local Dollar Store for cheap candles, especially if you’ll only be using them for this one night. I’ve also found candles and other cute decorations in the $1 section at Target. Definitely check there first for Valentine’s themed decor! Here’s another idea. If you like to do the cooking, have your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend do the mood setting. You can surprise each other that way! Don’t let the other see what you have been working on until they finish the room and you’re ready to serve the meal. It means even more to see how far your significant other went out of their way to do something for you.
Now to the menu:
Approx. 40 mins prep and cook time
2 organic red beets
3 Tbsp coconut oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
2 handfuls of Arugula
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash, peel and quarter the beets. In medium bowl, combine beets, coconut oil (may need to melt it down to liquid), garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Transfer to baking dish. roast for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Removed from oven and let cool about 15 minutes before serving.
2.) After beet mixture has cooled, place Arugula on plates, top with beet mixture, and finish with a sprinkle of goat cheese to each plate. A little extra salt and pepper and drizzle of olive oil may be desired. Serve immediately.
Main Course – Chicken Cacciatore
Approx. 30 minutes prep/cook time
1 Tbsp coconut oil
4 free range chicken breasts, skinless (you can use bone in or boneless, your choice)
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz sliced white mushrooms (any mushrooms will do really, whatever is in your budget, organic is best!)
3 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 15oz can diced organic tomatoes (be sure the lining of the can is BPA-Free or else get a glass jar of tomatoes)
2 Tbsp organic tomato paste
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
1.) Over medium-high heat, melt coconut oil in a medium stainless steal skillet. Rinse and dry chicken then brown lightly on both sides in the skillet, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate and set aside.
2.) In same skillet, saute onion until tender and translucent. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute til aromatic. Add mushrooms and cook, stiring often, until they release their liquid and soften up. Should take about 6 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp of parsley, the rosemary, tomatoes, tomato paste and vinegar. As you stir in the vinegar, scrap the bottom of the pan to incorporate the brown bits into the sauce — this will add a ton of flavor to the dish!
3.) Return the chicken to the pan. When sauce bubbles, reduce to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn chicken, stir sauce, then cook until chicken is cooked thru, about 5 more minutes depending on thickness of chicken.
4.) Season dish with salt and pepper as needed. Plate and top with parsley for garnish. Serve.
Dessert - Chocolate Mousse
Make this the night ahead to save time on V-day, 15 minutes to prepare then chill time
2 ripe avocados
30-40 drops pure liquid stevia OR 1 Tbsp Stevita spoonable stevia
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup organic unsweetened cocoa powder or raw carob powder
3/4 cup unsweetened almond or rice milk (additional to thin out to your preference)
1/3 cup organic full-fat coconut milk
1 Tbsp brandy or rum (optional)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1.) Blend all ingredients together and chill. To spice up the romance, top with fresh organic berries or blend berries into a puree and dollop. To take it a step further, simmer berries in a small sauce pan until they cook down into a glaze. Add stevia to taste, but will be very enjoyable plain drizzled over the mousse.
Happy Valentine’s Day every one! Hope you enjoy this menu idea! Please share any other great V-day recipes you’ve done in past years or are trying out this year!