I personally don’t love Valentine’s Day. I feel like restaurants use it as a chance to over charge for the same meal you would get any other night. Restaurants are also incredibly busy and if you are going out you have to get restaurant reservations very far in advance. Allen and I both just feel like it is an overrated holiday.
Just like New Year’s Eve, I like to cook at home for us. This meal is so good and is under $50- all from Trader Joe’s! Assuming you have butter, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil on hand- this meal requires you to purchase very few ingredients and keep your cost low.
Cheese Fondue with Granny Smith Apples & Baguette
This is super simple! I love the Melting Pot and their cheese fondue. Allen doesn’t love going there and having to cook his own food. But he does love the cheese fondue!
1 cheese fondue kit ($5.99)
1 clove of garlic
granny smith apples ($1)
Heat a saute pan for the fondue. When it is warm rub the bottom with a garlic clove cut in half (cut side down). Then follow directions on the fondue kit. Serve with sliced apples and cubed baguette!
This mashed cauliflower from Trader Joe’s is so easy and delicious. I am really picky with cauliflower- I don’t love the texture. But this is so good!
1 bag of mashed cauliflower ($2.99)
1 tbsp regular butter
truffle butter ($2.99)
salt and pepper
Melt regular butter over medium heat. Add bag of frozen mashed cauliflower. Stir constantly until cauliflower is smooth and warmed through. Add 1-2 tbsp truffle butter and salt and pepper to taste.
My sister recommended the individually packaged steaks from Trader Joe’s in the meat department. I am super picky about my steaks and wasn’t sure I would like them. But we tried them and I love them! We get them all the time now. They are also easy to freeze to keep on hand.
worcestershire sauce, red wine, garlic powder
1 package of 2 filets ($20)
1-2 tbsp butter
salt & pepper
Marinate your filets in a shallow bowl with worcestershire, red wine and garlic powder 1-2 hours before you want to start cooking them. Place them on the counter so that while marinating they can also be brought to room temperature. They will cook more evenly if you do this. Preheat oven to 475. In a cast iron melt your regular butter over high heat. When melted, place filets in pan. You should hear a loud sizzle since you are searing the steak. Sear about 2 minutes on each side. Then place cast iron skillet with steaks in the oven. Cook approximately 4-6 more minutes depending on how rare your like your meat. Pull out and let rest for a few minutes so that the filets stay juicy. Nobody likes a dry steak!
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Something I do love about Valentine’s Day is C-H-O-C-O-L-A-T-E. My mom used to make these for me and my sister every year on Valentine’s Day! Now I love making them for my kids and seeing the look on their sweet faces when they catch a glimpse of these delicious treats. They are easy to make and make a big impact.
1 package of strawberries ($3.99)
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips ($2.99)
Sprinkles or other colors of chocolate ($3.99)
Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe container (like a pyrex) in 30 second increments on a low power level. Stir each time and be sure not to burn it. Dip each strawberry in melted chocolate and place on a plate/tray covered in wax paper. At this point you can add sprinkles or other fun decorations. If you are adding another color of your chocolate wait until the first layer is dried completely. Once you are done, set strawberries in a cool part of your house to harden. Some people set them in the refrigerator but it can cause the chocolate to sweat and then there are beads of water on the outside of the strawberries. It can also cause the chocolate to have a chalky texture.
You can always add a nice bottle of wine to the meal for an extra enhancement! I would love to know your favorite Valentine’s Day meals and treats!