Insider’s Viewpoint: Homemade Gourmet for Valentine’s Day
Just as you are getting back on track after the holidays or trying to stick to those New Year’s resolutions, here comes Valentine’s Day. With all of the heart-shaped candies and decadent boxes of chocolate, it can be easy to slip. This year, instead of grabbing the same old box of candy or mindlessly making that fancy dinner reservation, show your loved ones how much you care by making them a homemade gourmet meal.
- Surprise your loved one with breakfast in bed. A tasty veggie omelet and fruit salad is sure to please. If you’re looking for something fun for the kids, try your hand at heart-shaped pancakes. Top them with strawberries and blueberries for a sweet treat that is hard to resist.
- Create a gourmet dinner at home that everyone can enjoy. Whether it is a romantic dinner for two or a meal for the entire family, cooking together is a great way to spend time with those you love. It is easier than you think to make a romantic meal that is healthy, packed with veggies and also delicious. You will have your loved ones feeling the “amore” with an Italian inspired meal of ricotta-stuffed eggplant. Pair it with balsamic roasted vegetables and garlic rosemary roasted red potatoes, and you’ll have them asking for more.
- Don’t forget about dessert! With options like strawberries drizzled with chocolate or baked apples, you really can’t go wrong. Try making your own ice cream with frozen bananas and topping with berries and chopped nuts. By featuring fruit as your heavenly dessert, you really can have your cake and eat it too.
Ricotta-Stuffed Eggplant with Tomato Sauce
Yield: 4 servings
- 3 plum tomatoes, quartered
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- Coarse salt and ground black pepper
- 1 medium eggplant (about 1 lb.), cut into ¼ inch slices
- 15 oz. container part-skim ricotta cheese
- ½ cup parsley, chopped
- Preheat grill to medium. Combine tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes and 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Place a large rectangle of foil on the counter and pour the tomatoes on top. Gather and crimp the edges of the foil, sealing to form a packet.
- Season the eggplant slices with salt and pepper and brush with the remaining oil. Place tomatoes in foil packet on the grill for about 12 minutes, shaking regularly. Add eggplant slices to the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until charred and tender.
- Combine ricotta and parsley in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.
- To assemble, place ¼ cup ricotta mixture on eggplant slices. Starting with the narrower side, roll the eggplant around the filling. Transfer cooked tomatoes to a bowl and mash with the back of a spoon or a fork to make a sauce.
- Serve stuffed eggplant with tomato sauce.
Recipe adapted from: Festival Foods 20 Minute Meals blog
Lauren Lindsley, RDN, CD
Skogen’s Festival Foods