Leave the restaurant crowds behind this Valentine’s Day, and treat your favorite sweetie to a delicious dinner in the comfort of your own home. Semi-homemade expert Sandra Lee shows us how to create a stunning romantic Valentine’s Day dinner that only looks like you spent all day in the kitchen.
A simply stunning yet easy to prepare Valentine’s Day meal
Sandra Lee makes every occasion a simple, yet impressive, endeavor. For Valentine’s Day, she recommends serving a romantic and special multi-course meal that will leave a lasting, if not delicious, impression.
“Sweep your loved one off their feet with a five-star meal that will have you skipping the dining-out crowd every year,” Sandra Lee says. “Go all red for a striking tablescape, top it with some beautiful blossoms, then roll out the courses that will make your Valentine think you have spent hours cooking.”
Sandra Lee’s Valentine’s Day recipes
These fun, fabulous and fuss-free Valentine’s Day recipes are courtesy of Sandra Lee (www.SandraLee.com).
Makes 16 pinwheels
1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed according to package directions, Pepperidge Farm
2 tablespoons apricot preserves, Smucker’s
11?2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, Grey Poupon
1?4 cup dried currants, Sun-Maid
1?4 cup shredded Asiago cheese, DiGiorno
1 (6-ounce) package thinly sliced cooked ham, Hillshire Farm
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, unfold puff pastry sheet. Using a rolling pin, roll sheet into 14×11-inch rectangle.
2. In a bowl, combine preserves and mustard. Spread mixture over puff pastry, leaving a 1?2-inch border. Sprinkle with currants and cheese. Top with ham slices.
3. Starting with a short side, roll rectangle up in a spiral. Using a pastry brush, lightly moisten edge with water, pinching to seal seam.
4. Slice pastry roll into 16 (1?2-inch) slices. Place pinwheels, cut-side down, on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm.
Arugula Peach Salad
Makes 4 servings
1 teaspoon minced garlic, Gourmet Garden
3 cups mixed salad greens, Fresh Express
1 cup arugula, Fresh Express
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1?2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups frozen peaches, thawed, Dole
1?2 small red onion, thinly sliced, rinsed in cold water, and drained
1?4 cup pitted kalamata olives, Peloponnese
12 large basil leaves
Newman’s Own Balsamic Natural Salad Mist
1. Rub the garlic inside a wooden salad bowl. Add the mixed greens and arugula and toss with the oil and salt. Set aside.
2. Add the peaches, onion and olives. To chiffonade the basil, stack the basil leaves on top of each other and roll them up lengthwise. Thinly slice the leaves. Add the basil to the greens and toss.
3. Divide salad among serving 4 plates and spray with salad mist.
Tomato Basil Capellini
Makes 4 servings
1?4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
12 cloves garlic, Christopher Ranch
1 (28-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, Hunt’s
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 fresh basil leaves, torn into dime-size pieces
1 (16-ounce) box capellini or angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions, DeCecco
1 cup part-skim ricotta, Sargento
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, McCormick
1?2 cup Parmesan cheese, Sargento
1. In a medium skillet, over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the cloves are golden brown. Add the tomatoes and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the salt and torn basil. Toss the sauce with the pasta.
2. Place ricotta cheese in a microwave safe container and stir in Italian seasoning. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 60 seconds or until heated through.
3. Place pasta on 4 individual serving plates and spoon 1?4 cup ricotta cheese in the center. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over cheese.
Black Forest Napoleons
Makes 4 servings
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed, Pepperidge Farm
1 (3.8-ounce) box instant devil’s food pudding and pie filling, Jell-O
1-1?2 cups milk
1 (10-ounce) jar maraschino cherries (reserve 1?2 cup juice), Mariana
1 (8-ounce) container whipped dessert topping, thawed, Cool Whip
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon heavy cream
1-1?2 cups powdered sugar, sifted, Domino or C&H
Chocolate syrup, Hershey’s
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Unroll puff pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Cut sheet into thirds along existing folds. Cut each third in half and then again in half for 12 total rectangles. Place rectangles 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack.
3. In a large bowl, stir together pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes. Let stand for 3 minutes to thicken. Refrigerate until ready to use.
4. Stir reserved cherry syrup into thawed whipped topping. Refrigerate until ready to use.
5. In a small bowl, stir heavy cream into powdered sugar until mixture is smooth.
6. To assemble, split pastry rectangles in half horizontally. Place pastry bottoms on dessert plates. Spoon pudding mixture over pastry bottoms. Top each with another piece of pastry. Spread whipped topping over pastry. Top each with pastry top. Spread glaze over pastry. Drizzle each with chocolate syrup and top with a maraschino cherry.
Makes 1 drink
1-1/2 ounces milk
3/4 ounce orange flavored vodka, Smirnoff
3/4 ounce white crème de cacao
In a cocktail shaker, combine milk, vodka, and crème de cacao. Add ice, cover, and shake until very cold. Strain into a chilled martini glass.
Makes 40 cherries
Considered by Sandra Lee as “absolutely addictive,” these decadent little cherry chocolate bites can be slowly eaten one at a time, used as garnish for indulgent cocktails and even packaged up as a memorable Valentine’s Day gift.
40 maraschino cherries with stems (packed in heavy syrup), drained well
1/2 cup (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels, Nestlé
1/2 cup (3 ounces) premier white morsels, Nestlé
1. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Pat cherries dry with paper towels.
2. Melt semisweet chocolate and white morsels separately in stainless- steel bowls set over pans of simmering water, stirring until smooth.
3. Holding stem of cherry, dip cherry into either melted chocolate or melted white morsels to coat. Transfer dipped cherry to prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining cherries and melted chocolate or melted white morsels.
4. Refrigerate for about 40 minutes or until set.