Are you celebrating Valentine’s Day at home this year? Maybe you and your Valentine decided to avoid the crowds and just stay in this year, or maybe you just couldn’t get a sitter or reservations at your favorite restaurant. Whatever the reason, if you’ll be celebrating at home this year, you may find yourself stressing over planning and cooking a fancy holiday meal.
But guess what: you don’t have to be Julia Child or spend the entire day in the kitchen to pull of an amazing and elegant Valentine’s Day meal. This easy menu is delicious, romantic, and sure to please even the pickiest Valentine. And the best part? It’s budget-friendly and comes together in less than an hour, start-to-finish.
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
• 1 1/2 pounds turkey breast tenderloins
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
• 1/2 cup chicken broth
• 1/2 cup Marsala wine
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Mix flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cut each tenderloin crosswise in half; pound each piece with a meat mallet to 3/4-inch thickness. Toss with flour mixture; shake off excess. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add turkey; cook until a thermometer reads 165 degrees F., 6 to 8 minutes per side. Remove from pan; keep warm.
In same skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat; sauté mushrooms until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in broth and wine. Bring to a boil, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan; cook until liquid is reduced by half, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and the remaining salt and pepper. Serve with turkey. Serves 4 at about $2 per serving.
• 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Place the asparagus on an ungreased baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; turn to coat. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Serves 4 at about $1.35 per serving.
• 1/4 cup butter, cubed
• 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
• 1/2 cup uncooked fine egg noodles or broken vermicelli (1-inch pieces)
• 2 3/4 cups chicken broth
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add rice and noodles; cook and stir for 3 to 4 minutes or until noodles are lightly browned. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until broth is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in parsley. Serves 4 at about $1 per serving.
Cherry cheesecake parfaits
• 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 12 squares)
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
• 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
• 1/3 cup lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 21-ounce can cherry pie filling
In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Divide among eight dessert dishes, about 4 rounded teaspoonful’s in each. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add milk until blended. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla. Spoon 1/4 cup into each dish. Top with pie filling, about 1/4 cup in each. Serves 8 at about $1.25 per serving.
Penny Hawkins is a former Times-News Cook of the Month. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog at twodollardinners.blogspot.com. Her “$2 Dinners Cook Book: Easy Delicious Meals for $2 or Less Per Serving” is available for $14.99 at www.tatepublishing.com.