Happy week of love, dear readers! I love Valentine’s day so much, and not only because of all the candy 😉 No, I especially love the reminder it provides for how we should treat each other every day of the year: with love. It’s also a great time to look inward and see how I can work on loving myself.
But Valentine’s Day can be a tough day (or week) to be healthy, too. Like every holiday, Valentine’s day has traditions, and those traditions are, unfortunately, copious amounts of chocolate and candy. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate as much as the next chick (and maybe even more), and that’s exactly the problem. It can be hard to put down the heart-shaped box of truffles and pick up some almonds instead. (OOH, unless they’re chocolate covered almonds…)
So how about taking control over your Valentine’s Day to keep things healthy and exciting? I’ve wrangled up some of my favorite Martha Stewart recipes and a new favorite dessert recipe. Instead of going out to eat this year, opt for a romantic night in, complete with a bottle of wine and a romantic movie, maybe a little candlelight, and these delicious dishes:
Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze from Martha Stewart
Time: 20 minutes // Recipe here has been halved from the original
Heat up the broiler. While you do, sauté 1/2 large, minced shallot over medium-high for 3 minutes with a dash of olive oil. Remember to stir frequently. Add 1/8 cup red wine vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Add 1/8 cup each whole grain mustard and dark brown sugar, and cook for another minute. Add salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.
Place 2 servings of salmon on some foil on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush with the glaze (should use about 1/2). Broil until cooked all the way through and glaze is bubbling. Remove from oven and pour over rest of glaze, brushing lightly.
Brown Butter Butternut Squash from Martha Stewart
Time: 25 minutes // Recipe here has been halved from the original
Brown a tablespoon of butter over medium-high and add 1/2 of a peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash. Sauté about 16 minutes until tender and pierce-able with a fork. Add 1/4 cup chicken broth, 1/8 cup water, and a tablespoon dark brown sugar, and cook about 6 minutes, or until liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Sautéed Asparagus with Dijon Vinaigrette from Martha Stewart
Time: 15 minutes // Recipe here has been halved from the original
Whisk together 2 tsp dijon mustard, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, and 1 tbsp olive oil with salt and pepper to taste. Sauté 1/2 lb asparagus (cut into 2.5-inch pieces) with a dash of salt and pepper over medium-low heat for about 10-12 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent browning, lowering heat if necessary. Remove from heat and toss with 1/2 the vinaigrette (save the rest for a salad later).
Mmmm, what a delicious dinner! Pair it with a nice Zinfandel, where the fruity notes will pair well with the earthy taste of the asparagus and squash. But be careful if you choose a full-bodied Zinf — the alcohol and tannin levels are higher than most wines.
And now for everyone’s favorite part of Valentine’s Day dinner: dessert. Yes, it’s alright to indulge in a delicious and savory dessert, especially if you watch the portions and eat a nutritious dinner like this one. Here’s a fun recipe I found from My Baking Addiction that calls for girl scout cookies, but if you’re like me and haven’t received yours yet, crushed-up peanut butter cups should work perfectly fine, so that’s what we’ve included below:
Mini Peanut Butter Trifles from My Baking Addiction
Time: only ten minutes!! // Serves 4, so save one for a treat tomorrow, or give some to the kids!
Put 4 oz cream cheese, 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, 1/2 cup plus one tbsp confectioner’s sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, and 2 tbsp heavy cream into the stand mixer and beat until well combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes. You can apply the mousse via icing bag or simply by spooning it into the glasses. In small glasses (these look great in a stemless wine glass or an old fashioned glass), alternate layers of crushed peanut butter cups, peanut butter mousse, and chocolate fudge sauce however your heart deems proper. Top with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips if desired.
What’s your tradition as far as Valentine’s Day dinner is concerned? Do you prefer to stay in or go out? Comment below to tell us!