By Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine
Since Valentine's Day is on a Tuesday this year, what better way to spend it than by staying in and cooking up dinner together? Plus, I think dinners in can be even more romantic than going out- especially on a busy holiday.
In fact, when Joe and I were dating, for our first Valentine's Day, I secretly got a hold of his Mom's email address and emailed her and asked her if she would send me the recipes for some of Joe's favorite foods. She said that aside from cheeseburgers, his favorite food was her homemade lasagna, and...
...she sent me the recipe. I surprised Joe with it on Valentine's Day, and it was a big hit with him. I guess it really is true that a way to a man's heart is through his stomach!
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So I thinking cooking a dinner at home can be a great option for Valentine's Day, although it can seem a little less than romantic if one person is doing all the work. I've created these two special two-person recipes for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner that you can make with your sweetheart (or with your best friends)!
· 15 ounces whole-grain lasagna noodles
· 5 ounces extra-lean ground beef (such as Laura's Lean Beef)
· 5 ounces reduced fat chicken or pork sausage, casings removed (I used Johnsonville)
· 2 teaspoons olive oil
· 8 ounces sliced baby portabella mushrooms
· 1 medium onion, diced
· 1 teaspoon salt, divided
· 1 (30 oz. ) can of tomato sauce (preferably no salt added)
· 1 (8oz.) can of tomato paste
· 1 teaspoon dried oregano
· 1 teaspoon dried basil
· 2 garlic cloves, minced
· 1 (16oz.) container of low-fat cottage cheese
· 1 (10oz.) package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
· 1 large egg, beaten
· 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
· 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
· 2/3 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
One person cook the noodles until al dente, according to package directions. When finished cooking, drain and set aside on wax paper to prevent sticking.
While one person cooks the noodles, the other person should heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and then cook the mushrooms and onions until they begin to brown slightly. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute more, until fragrant. Then add the ground beef and sausage to the pan and cook until no longer pink and cooked through. Season with a half teaspoon of the salt and stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, and basil. Let simmer for at least one hour. Stirring occasionally.
Next, the person who was working on the noodles can combine the cottage cheese, spinach, egg, other half teaspoon of salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.
While waiting for the meat sauce to finish simmering, both people can work together on the "Heart-y Salad." See below.
Then working together, layer the lasagna ingredients in a 9x13 inch baking dish, beginning with a layer of the meat sauce, then a layer of noodles (let the noodles touch, but not overlap), then the cottage cheese and spinach mixture, and then repeat each layer another time saving a little meat sauce for the final layer. To finish, top the last layer (which should be meat sauce) with the grated cheeses.
Cover loosely with foil and bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour until bubbly and cooked through, uncovering for the last 10-15 minutes to brown the top layer of cheese slightly. Makes 8 servings.
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· 2 cups of chopped hearts of romaine
· 1/2 cup finely diced cucumber
· 2 medium tomatoes, diced
· 1/2 cup jarred artichoke hearts, drained
· 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
· 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
· 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
· 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
· 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
· Greek-Italian Herb Seasoning Blend
· Salt and Pepper
Toss the first six ingredients together in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard. Add salt, pepper, and herb blend to taste and whisk again to combine. Just before serving, pour dressing over the salad and toss to coat evenly. Makes 4 servings.
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For dessert, I suggest buying some chocolate-covered strawberries so that you can sit back and relax the rest of the night! I hope you and your special someone will enjoy these recipes that take two to do this Valentine's Day!