In my family, I do almost all of the cooking, in large part because I enjoy it. I typically cook the same 5-6 recipes every week because it’s familiar and easy. For Valentine’s Day though, I like to go outside the box and cook something different that will surprise my husband. Below are a few of my favorite Valentine’s Day recipes.
Cajun Chicken Pasta
I made this for Valentine’s Day five years ago and it quickly became my husband’s favorite meal for me to cook. He requests this on Valentine’s Day, his birthday, and virtually every other special occasion. Despite its long list of ingredients and instructions, it is pretty easy to make!
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt & pepper
2 tsp Cajun seasoning, divided
8 oz fettuccini pasta
1.5 cups skim milk, divided
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp butter
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ small onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
4 oz cream cheese, softened
If you are making this for picky eaters you can leave out any (or all) of the vegetables. You can also use more Cajun seasoning if you prefer. This recipe can also easily be doubled. I usually do double it since one box of pasta is usually 16 ounces!
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken pieces 1 tsp Cajun seasoning and add to the skillet. Cook chicken until cooked through to 165 degrees. Remove from skillet, cover and set aside to keep warm.
Cook pasta according to directions on the package, drain and set aside.
In a bowl whisk together 1/2 cup of milk and the cornstarch. Set aside.
Melt butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the bell peppers and onion. Cook about 6-8 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add garlic and remaining 1 tsp of Cajun seasoning and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Add cream cheese; cook 1 minute until mixture is smooth, stirring constantly with a whisk (I used a rubber whisk to protect the pan).
Gradually add milk and cook until thick and bubbly (about 3-4 minutes), stirring constantly. Add milk/cornstarch mixture to the pot, stirring until thickened (about 3-4 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can also add additional cajun seasoning.
Add chicken and pasta to the sauce. Stir to combine and heat until chicken is re-warmed. Serve while warm and if desired, sprinkle with additional Cajun seasoning to garnish and season.
Red Pepper Shrimp and Vegetables
This meal is super quick and easy to put together. It gets bonus points from me since it is also pretty healthy.
1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (can use frozen)
1 bunch asparagus
1 large zucchini (or 2 small)
1.5 tsp red pepper flakes, divided
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
Soy sauce to taste
Cut vegetables into bite-sized pieces. I prefer to use asparagus and zucchini, but almost any vegetable can be used!
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook thoroughly to 165 degrees. Add soy sauce to your taste (my husband loves soy sauce so I typically use 3-4 tbsp) and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes and mix. Set aside.
In a separate pan, heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add vegetables, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, and soy sauce to your taste. Stir occasionally until heated through, typically 5-7 minutes depending on vegetables used.
When vegetables are almost finished add the shrimp to reheat it. Once everything is heated to your desired temperature separate into two servings and serve. If you want a little more substance, this can be served over your favorite rice or quinoa.
Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache
I love cupcakes! This chocolate ganache is a great step up from regular icing and can fancy up your favorite boxed cupcakes in no time.
1 box of your favorite cupcakes (I prefer chocolate)
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Cook the cupcakes according to the package. Let cool.
Gently heat the heavy cream over medium heat. Pour over the bittersweet chocolate and let sit for one minute. Stir until melted and smooth. Evenly spoon onto 24 small cupcakes or 12 large cupcakes. Let sit for 30 minutes.
My favorite thing about all of these recipes is they are easy. They are perfect for everyone from a cooking beginner to someone who cooks every day. Try these out and let me know your thoughts in the comments!