Sunday, February 08, 2009

Meal Ideas To Make Your Valentine's Day Special

I am so excited to be participating in A Valentine's Exchange of Inspiration & Ideas with some fabulous women this week. I hope you'll join us as we share ideas for making this Valentine's Day one to remember! (See the schedule for the week at the bottom of this post, as well as information about the incredible giveaway being offered by JessieLeigh, who came up with this great idea!)

Valentine's day is all about sharing love with our family and making our loved ones feel special. One of the easiest ways to do this is in the kitchen. Make this day memorable with some special meals no one is soon to forget.

Breakfast Ideas

  • Use a little red food coloring to add a touch of Valentine's day magic to your morning meals. Pancake batter, waffle batter, even scrambled eggs can all be shaded a nice pink or red with just a few drops. If you do not like to use food colorings, you can process a few beets and stir them into the batter. The difference this will make in taste is nominal, but the color is pretty and natural.
  • Serve your heart on a platter. Pour pancake batter into heart shapes or use heart-shaped cookie cutters in toast,, biscuit dough or as a mold for an egg.
  • Focus on a healthy heart. Serve up big bowls of oatmeal alongside a buffet of topping choices. In honor or a richer color, you could again add some food cloloring beets.
  • Top pancakes, waffles, crepes or French toast with a homemade strawberry syrup. To make, combine 1 1/2 c. water, 1 c. sugar and 2 c. sliced strawberries in a small saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until sugar is dissolved and sauce is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 t. vanilla or almond extract. (If you want your syrup a little thicker, stir together 1 t. corn starch or arrowroot powder with 1 t. water until dissolved. Whisk into syrup while still boiling, and continue cooking until desired consistency.)
  • Think pink for toppings. Spread strawberry cream cheese on bagels or strawberry or raspberry jam on toast or English muffins.
Lunch Ideas
  • Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out hearts from a sandwich. If you do not have a cookie cutter available, hearts are surprisingly easy to cut out on your own.
  • Make pink pasta and serve with strawberries cut to resemble little hearts.
  • Make quesadillas and cut the tortillas into a heart shape. Use a little picante sauce or salsa in a squirt bottle to write a message Conversation-heart style, to your loved ones.
  • Serve up a snacking sampling platter of foods with heart. Include things such as: artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, passion fruit, celery hearts…if you run out of options of foods with already appropriate names, rename some family favorites. Have fun and ask the kids to help you rename.
  • English muffin pizzas can be created backwards for a fun Valentine's themed lunch. Add cheese and any other desired toppings, then top with sauce spread on in a heart shape. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Snack Ideas
  • Slice some fruit and arrange on a plate in the shape of hearts and arrows.
  • Cut some pepperoni and cheese slices into hearts and stack on crackers.
  • Serve some heart-shaped jello jigglers.
  • Make a yogurt banana split. Slice a banana in half length-wise, add a scoop of strawberry yogurt, then top with sliced strawberries and white sprinkles.
  • Using a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut several hearts out of a few flour tortillas. Quickly brown both sides in a hot skillet with some melted butter. Immediately sprinkle cinnamon-sugar on top. Serve with some strawberry jam for dipping or a strawberry salsa. For strawberry salsa, combine 1 c. diced strawberries with 1 T. lemon or orange juice, 1 T. sugar, 1 T. coconut, and 1/2 t. fresh mint, minced.
I'm having a tough time coming up with some creative dinner ideas, so I'd love to hear your thoughts! I'll update this post to include any of your ideas as they come in. Make sure you check out the links for lots of other great ideas too.

And then don't forget to join us all this week. Here's what you can expect to find each day.
  • Monday: I share some Valentine-y meal ideas right here.
  • Tuesday: Laura hosts a special Gratituesday about things we love to be thankful for at Heavenly Homemakers.
  • Wednesday: JessieLeigh shares fun ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with little ones at Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles.
  • Thursday: Jessica hosts a Recipe for your Sweetie Swap over at Life as MOM.
  • Friday: Amy rounds out the week with a special Finer Valentine Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life.
Be sure to visit us each day, as there is a very nice prize involved that you won’t want to miss! Be sure to share your ideas, too! We could all use a little Valentine inspiration.


Christina 12:36 AM  

Heart shaped (or pink tinted) dinner rolls. Spinach salad with berries, grated mozzerella, and raspberry vinaigrette. If you're adventurous, you could try borscht. Pink mashed potatoes. You could try slicing the meat into thin strips and tying them in knots to be "love knots". That pretty much exhausts my dinner ideas. You could try a search on Taste of Home's web site; they have a lot of recipes, some of which are quite clever.

JessieLeigh 8:45 AM  

What fantastic ideas! (You and I had a little overlap, I think... great minds and all that ;))

Love the idea of having your kids help you "rename" foods with Valentine-y names! Fun!

Laura@HeavenlyHomemakers 10:15 AM  

Ooh, I like the idea of using a squirt bottle with salsa to write a message in the quesadillas. Fun!

Allison 12:16 PM  

Great ideas! We had some that were similar, but you had a few that never crossed my mind!

I'm a little stuck on dinner as well. I put the pink pasta for dinner, since I couldn't think of anything else!

I'm interested to see what everyone else comes up with too!

Jennifer 1:40 PM  

I am just going to make my dh's favorite meal for Valentine's day dinner. Actually it is already made, I made lasagna last month and doubled it and put one in the freezer. I just have to pull it out and reheat.

Sherry 5:26 PM  

Thanks for all the great ideas! I'm so excited about this week. :D For Valentines day dinner, we're doing a cheese fondue appetizer, marinated flank steak, baked potatoes, salad, dh's favorite cheesecake and then a chocolate fondue. :D

Kim @ Forever Wherever 6:38 PM  

What a great list of ideas! I always forget about food!

Rachel 5:24 AM  

Hey there. I just found your blog because I was looking for heart shaped food ideas. Last year, I for dinner I did a homemade pizza in a heart shape. I just molded the dough on the pan myself. Also a friend of mine did a meatloaf in a heart shape. This year since V day falls on a Sunday. I'll probably do the pizza thing again since I don't want our lunch to be too time consuming in the prep.

Anonymous,  10:36 PM  

I haven't tried this yet but I thought about slicing redskin potatoes and using a heart shaped cookie cutter to make heart shaped baked potatoes. Also use the cookie cutter to make heart shaped chicken. The left over of the potatoes could be used for mashed potatoes at a later date and the left over chicken pieces could be used in chicken salads the next day. We'll see how it goes!

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