You know the old adage, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?” Well men, I’ll let you in on a little secret – there’s nothing sexier than a man going to the trouble of cooking a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner for us gals too. Here are just four simple yet elegant recipes, and I’m offering you the tools to do it (FREE) just to prove you can – even if you’ve never even boiled water before!

Wine and diner her

Wine and diner her

You won’t have to do any planning – just print, shop, cook (follow instructions on the recipes). Simply spend minimal time preparing in advance, and concentrate on enjoying the evening together, because that’s what the Personal Chef Approach is all about. Note: It’s a good idea to decide on table settings, vase, candle holders, and music in advance, so you know of anything you might need to pick up for the ambience of the evening. The idea is to make just one quick but organized trip to the store. Don’t forget to add your beverage choices to the list!

The Day Before:

1). Shop, and store your food (print the grocery list from the bottom of this post).

2). Make the curried vegetable couscous, cool completely, cover and store in fridge.

3). Make the dressing for the salad, store in an airtight container in the fridge.

4). Make the curry rub and rub into lamb chops on all sides; cover and store in fridge.

Set the table with flowers and candles

Set the table with flowers and candles

On The Day:

1). An hour before, set table including flowers and candles. Get your music ready, and dim the lights to set the mood. Chill the wine or Champagne.

2). Remove lamb from fridge (you want it to come to room temperature before grilling) 45 minutes before you start dinner.

3). Half an hour before, prepare the salads and set out on the table. Prepare a hot grill.

4). Mix balsamic and brown sugar together in a small saucepan ready to heat when you need it. Clean and slice all the strawberries, and store in a dish in the fridge.

Join now or purchase more Valentine's Day Menus in the shop

Join or purchase more Valentine’s Day Menus to choose from in the shop

Valentines Day Dinner:

1). Seat your Valentine, pour the wine or bubbly, and enjoy your salads together.

2). Excuse yourself for 10 minutes (she or he can relax, savor their wine, and listen to the music), while you clear the salad plates, throw the chops on the grill, and heat to eat the curried vegetable couscous according to instructions on recipe. Remove bowl of strawberries from fridge; set aside. Turn chops after 3-4 minutes, and finish cooking as desired on the other side. Then plate the dinner and serve.

3). Excuse yourself to remove the dinner dishes, and turn balsamic sauce onto medium-high. You want to bring it to a boil for 1-2 minutes, remove from heat, and drop the berries in to macerate in the hot sauce while you scoop the ice cream into bowls. Top with balsamic sauce and serve. Now was that so hard?

Gorgonzola, Pear & Candied Pecan Salad

Gorgonzola, Pear & Candied Pecan Salad

 

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients

Pear, Candied Pecan & Gorgonzola on Mixed Greens tossed in a Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 cups salad greens
  • 2 Bosc pears peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup candied pecans (use store bought or see note below)
  • 8 ounces Gorgonzola cheese crumbled

Directions

Pear, Candied Pecan & Gorgonzola on Mixed Greens tossed in a Raspberry Vinaigrette

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and tarragon. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking continuously to emulsify the ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. Toss the salad greens with just enough dressing (do not drench), and arrange equally between the plates. Arrange pear slices around the top. Sprinkle with candied pecans and cheese.

Serving Suggestions

Serve cold as a first course.

Notes

To make candied pecans, preheat the oven to 250° F. Place some parchment paper on a sheet pan. Dip each pecan into some egg white, then roll in sugar and place in a single layer on the sheet pan. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container.

Curry Rubbed & Grilled Lamb Chops

Curry Rubbed Grilled Lamb Chops

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

Curry Rub for Grilled Lamb Chops

  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne optional
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or liquified coconut oil
  • 8 large sirloin lamb chops
  • fresh cilantro or mint chopped for garnish, optional

Directions

Curry Rub for Grilled Lamb Chops

  1. Prepare a hot grill or broiler.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the all of the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Allow chops to come to room temperature.
  3. Pour the oil into the spice mixture, using your clean fingers to mix into a paste, then rub generously all over each lamb chop. Package and store at this point, if you do not want to eat them right away.
  4. Grill chops as desired, about 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare on moderately thick chops.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Curried Vegetable Couscous.

Heat To Eat

Prepare a hot grill or broiler, and cook chops as desired, about 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare on moderately thick chops; or vent lid of container and heat in microwave on 50% power for 3-5 minutes, turning chops midway to distribute heat evenly.

Variations

This rub is also delicious on chicken, and beef.

Notes

Dry spice rub mixture can be stored in an airtight container for at least six months.

Curried Vegetable Couscous

Curried Vegetable Couscous

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Curried Vegetable Couscous

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1 large carrot shredded
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 9 ounces frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 1/2 cup couscous uncooked
  • 8 ounces can Mexican-style corn
  • 3 tablespoons almonds slivered
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro chopped

Directions

Curried Vegetable Couscous

  1. Heat oil in Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add onion and carrot; cook until softened, 6-7 minutes. Add curry, cumin and cayenne, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add broth, peas and raisins. Bring to boil.
  3. Stir in couscous and corn, cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5-6 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Stir-in toasted almonds and cilantro, and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with slow-cooked Moroccan chicken or lamb.

Heat To Eat

Serve cold or at room temperature (remove from fridge 30-45 minutes before serving).

Balsamic Strawberry Sundae

Note: No one will fault you if you prefer to buy a ready made dessert (you’ve already impressed her with your effort over a delicious dinner), but this one  is so fast, easy, and sophisticated it’s worth making the tiny bit of effort.

Balsamic Strawberry Sundae

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

Balsamic Strawberry Sundae

  • 18 large strawberries
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch fresh Rosemary optional
  • 3 cups ice cream

Directions

Balsamic Strawberry Sundae

  1. Rinse, trim, and halve the strawberries.
  2. Heat balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves and liquid reduces slightly to a syrup like consistency, about 2-3 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and stir in strawberries while sauce is still hot (berries will soften in texture).

Serving Suggestions

Scoop ice cream into bowls and serve with warm balsamic sauce and berries over the top.

 Grocery List

These are all the ingredients you will need to make all of the recipes. Go through your pantry and fridge to see if you already have some of the ingredients and cross those off the list. Don’t forget to add flowers, candles, and wine or other beverages to your list if you do not already have them, and anything else you need to stock your fridge and home, so you make one organized trip to the store.

Pantry:

Raspberry vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
Dijon mustard
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
Curry powder
Granulated garlic
Ground cumin
Ground ginger
Cayenne pepper, optional
Dark brown sugar
Golden raisins
Candied pecans (use store bought or see note on recipe)
Slivered almonds
1 can chicken broth
1 8 ounce can Mexican-style corn
10 ounce package plain couscous

Produce:

1 red onion
Fresh tarragon
Fresh cilantro or mint
Fresh Rosemary, optional
Salad greens of choice
2 Bosc pears
1 large carrot
1 pint fresh strawberries

Meat:

4 large sirloin lamb chops

Dairy:

4 ounces Gorgonzola crumbled cheese

Frozen:

Frozen peas
Vanilla bean ice cream

Beverages:

Wine?
Champagne?
Other beverages?

Miscellaneous:

Flowers?
Candles?

Watch this video to learn more about how the Personal Chef Approach works, please do join for several other Valentines Day Menus to choices as well as weekly menu plans that will get you on track to waiting healthier while saving time and money. Cook once, enjoy homemade meals in minutes all week long.  What are your Valentine‘s Day plans?

PS. For all those someone specials who are not lucky enough to experience your Prince Charming culinary charms, try something new and unique – my friend Shana just launched her Top This chocolate company, and she is extending her generous 15% off offer to Personal Chef Approach followers! Choose the toppings and packaging to create your own custom chocolates, then enter TopThis15 when you check out. Offer expires June 30, 2015.

Pick your toppings to create your own custom chocolates

Pick your toppings to create your own custom chocolates

 

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