Keep the romance at home with a Valentine's Day dinner for two
It's not news that crowded restaurants, waiting in endless lines, and not being able to hear your partner over the din of other patrons does not make for a very romantic Valentine's Day dinner. Plus, restaurants do not always offer the healthiest choices. What is a savvy, health-conscious girl to do? Simply, deliciously, follow this mouthwatering meal plan! Not only will you have a scintillating dinner for two, you will also have leftovers to enjoy while reminiscing your romantic meal.
Healthy Valentine's Day menu
Roasted Red Pepper Soup With Pesto And Garlic Croutons
Cornish Game Hens
Quinoa Pilaf With Cherries
Chocolate Mousse Raspberry Parfaits
Roasted Red Pepper Soup With Pesto And Garlic CroutonsServes 4 to 6
This roasted red pepper soup recipe, provided by nutritionist and cookbook author Robyn Webb (http://www.robynwebb.com
), is a healthy alternative to high-fat cream laden soups and chowders.
3 large red bell peppers
1 large onion
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups low-fat reduced-sodium chicken broth
1-1/2 cups 1% milk
1-1/2 cups basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoon pecorino Romano cheese
2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3 slices French bread
3 teaspoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Salt to taste
1. To prepare the soup: Roast peppers whole on an open flame until all sides are charred. Place peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for about 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, saute onion in olive oil for 5 to 6 minutes or until onion is very soft. Add crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and saute for 1 minute.
3. Peel peppers, cut into four pieces, and discard seeds, core and membranes.
4. Add peppers and onion mixture to a food processor and process until smooth.
5. Heat broth in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add red pepper puree and simmer for 10 minutes. Add milk and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper. Turn off heat while you prepare the pesto and croutons.
6. To prepare the pesto, place basil leaves, pine nuts, cheeses and garlic in a blender or food processor and puree. With the motor running add olive oil in a slow stream until pesto is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
7. To prepare the croutons: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush each piece of French bread with olive oil. Cut each slice into 1/2-inch cubes. Sprinkle each cube with garlic and some salt. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes or until lightly toasted.
8. Serve the soup with a swirl of pesto and topped with a few croutons. Reserve remaining pesto for another use or freeze.
Lemon Pepper Cornish Game HensServes 2 to 4
This is a recipe adapted from The Fitness Kitchen: Recipes for a fad-free lifestyle by Shelly Sinton, MS. Cornish game hens are delectably pint-sized poultry that lend themselves to be eaten with your fingers.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 lemons, cut into wedges
2 Cornish game hens
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Make a paste with olive oil, pepper, cayenne, salt, and rosemary. Remove and discard the giblets from hens. Rinse inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Use your fingers to separate the skin from the flesh, taking care to not tear it. Rub spice paste under the skin. Insert lemon wedges under the skin and in the cavity.
2. Place hens in a roasting pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook until skin is browned. Hens are done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the leg reads 180 degrees F. and the legs are wobbly. Remove from oven and tent with foil to keep warm. Serve warm.
Quinoa Pilaf With CherriesServes 4
Quinoa is an ancient grain with a high protein content. It has a beadlike shape and a mild flavor that partners well with sweet and savory ingredients. Quinoa is a nutritionally stellar side-dish as compared to white rice or pasta.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
3 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, peeled, diced
1 cup quinoa, rinsed, drained
2 cups boiling chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried, rubbed sage
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, scallions, celery and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, for about 7 minutes.
2. Add quinoa, broth, salt, pepper, thyme and sage. Return to a boil, cover and gently simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the cherries and walnuts. Garnish with parsley.
Chocolate Mousse Raspberry ParfaitsServes 4
What is a Valentine's Day meal without chocolate? This light dessert combines dreamy sweet chocolate mousse with raspberries in a fabulous treat that will not leave you feeling stuffed and sluggish. Although prep time for the mousse is an hour, it can also be made ahead of time.
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto (optional)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen, thawed raspberries
1/2 cup fat-free whipped topping
1. In 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan, stir together gelatin, water, sugar and 1/4 cup of the cocoa. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Pour into a deep 2-quart metal bowl and stir in milk. Cover and freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.
2. Beat frozen mixture with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy and thick enough to hold peaks, about 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla and amaretto, if desired. Divide mousse among four 1/2-cup ramekins or bowls and use the back of a spoon to smooth tops. If made ahead, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
3. To serve, spoon mousse into parfait glasses. Add a layer of raspberries. Alternate layers until glass is filled. Top with a dollop of fat-free whipped topping, dust with remaining cocoa and add a raspberry.