valentine’s day inspiration ~ cooking for your sweetie

I like to tease my husband that, since our anniversary is exactly one week before Valentine’s Day, he really has only one week in the year that he HAS to be romantic! Usually we will go out for dinner on our anniversary and then I will cook a special meal just for the two of us a week later. As I was pulling out my recipes this morning, I thought it would be fun to post some of my favorites here. Usually I will feed everyone else first and then light the candles, put on some lovely music, use our best china, and serve something I know he will love.

Apricot Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Catalina salad dressing
1 cup apricot preserves
½ pkg. dry onion soup mix
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder

Place chicken in shallow dish. Mix together rest of ingredients and pour over chicken, turning meat in pan to cover. Bake about 1 hour at 350 degrees, basting with sauce several times during baking.
Serve over rice and with broccoli spears topped with lemon butter sauce.

Mushroom Pork Chops with Wild Rice

4 chops, fat trimmed off

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 TBS. minced garlic
1 lb. fresh mushrooms
Olive oil
2 pkgs. Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice Mix

In skillet on top of the stove, lightly saute garlic in olive oil. Add chops and brown on both sides. Spread the undiluted soup over the chops and top with mushrooms. Place lid on pan and simmer on medium low to low until chops are tender. Serve with a salad or steamed green beans.

Lasagna That Can Make a Grown Man Cry

One time I took this recipe to a mom in our church who had just given birth to a baby. When I received a thank you note from her and read it to the entire family, they decided they needed to change the name of this dish. She told me that when her husband ate the lasagna, he was so moved at the deliciousness of it, it actually brought him to tears. I can’t guarantee you will get the same results in your house and I can say that it has never happened in mine, either, but what a great story!

2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 TBS. garlic, minced in oil
1 TBS. coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 TBS. Italian or pizza seasoning mix or add oregano and basil
1 – 32 ounce jar Ragu sauce with garlic and onion (or use homemade)
¼ cup dried parsley
2 TBS. white sugar
1 ½ pounds mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 ½ pounds cottage cheese, drained
Parmesan cheese to taste
Olive oil
1 lb. box lasagna noodles

Brown ground beef with onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning. Drain well and add tomato sauce and sugar. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Boil pasta in large pot until al dente. DO NOT DRAIN, as this will cause noodles to stick together. Lift from pot and drain on towels individually. In large, deep lasagna pan, layer 1/3 of pasta, 1/3 sauce, 1/3 cottage cheese, drained. Sprinkle with 1/3 mozzarella cheese and 1/3 parsley. Repeat two more times. Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, removing foil last 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and allow to set up for 10 minutes before serving.

Dinner Rolls or Hamburger Buns from the King Arthur’s Cookbook but with my own suggestions

2 cups water
2 TBS. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
¼ cup butter
2 large eggs
6 ½ cups bread flour
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. salt

Dissolve yeast in very warm water. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. sugar and ginger. Allow to proof. Combine all the rest of the ingredients in mixer, reserving 1 cup of flour. Add yeast mixture and mix well. Add remaining flour a little at a time until the dough is soft and smooth. Place in greased bowl and place in warm place to rise for 1 hour. Divide the dough into either 16 hamburger buns or 24 dinner rolls or combination. Place in greased pan (rolls) or on greased cookie sheet (buns) and allow to rise for 30 to 40 minutes. They will be puffy. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 12 – 15 minutes, a little longer if the entire recipe is dinner rolls in a pan together. Cook on rack and brush with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven. Split the buns for burgers or sandwiches before serving.

Heath Bar Cheesecake

20 squares chocolate graham crackers, finely ground
4 TBS butter, melted
3 pkg. 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
1 1/4 cup Heath chips
Heath bar miniatures

Stir graham crackers into melted butter. Press into spring form pan.
Place cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract in mixer in medium until well mixed. Add eggs one at a time. Stir in 1 cup of Heath chips. Pour onto crust and bake at 325 degrees for one hour. Turn off over and open door an inch or two, leaving cheesecake inside to cool. Take out and cool in fridge until ready to serve. Cut into slices and top with Heath Bar miniatures and the ¼ cup reserved chips. Yummmmmmm. I have also made this with Reeses Peanut Butter Cups with equal success.

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  1. Lorene says

    Made your lasagna for our Thanksgiving dinner. What a hit! I doubled the batch and send servings home with each family. My grown boys said, “Mom, your lasagna is the bomb!” So thanks! Very delicious. (I used the no boiling needed noodles.)

  2. says

    Lorene, so glad the lasagna was a success for you! I just made and froze 4 pans of it for when our group is here during the holidays. I also made it for a Toastmasters dinner earlier this month and everyone seemed to love it! No men, cried, however, as far as I know!

  3. ana says

    I’m new around here. I was thinking what did you mean by “1 32 ounces” for lasagna recipe?
    Thank you!

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