Chocolate and flowers, yes. But Valentine’s Day is also a perfect opportunity to make a sumptuous meal for your sweetheart—and still eat your vegetable—(potatoes!). Think: multi-course, flavor-filled and delicious… on a table set for romance. As they say, the way to the heart is through the stomach.

Kick it up a few notches this year and elevate your plate with these Valentine’s dining favorites.

Sizzle with steak.

Some believe spice sparks the libido. Smashed Potatoes with Peppered Steak delivers. It also pairs beautifully with a nicely tannic red wine, a California cabernet sauvignon or French Bordeaux. This dish is simple, but elegant and interesting—an upscale twist on the down-home classic.

First, select a quality steak. (The pros prefer a bone-in rib eye.) Brush with olive oil, S&P, grill and rest. For the potatoes, simmer sweet, earthy Blushing Belles, then gently squash with a masher and toss in sliced, sautéed almonds. Sprinkle with fresh chopped chives. Serve with a hearty winter salad of bitter greens spiked with tart dried cranberries, goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. Don’t forget the mood music.

Set an exotic ambiance.

Let’s say you’re working up until date night, but you still want to pull out all the culinary stops. Try Roasted Chicken with Potatoes and fruit. Not only can you make it in advance, it roasts in one dish and looks delectable. Chicken, Boomer Gold Creamers, garlic, oregano, red wine vinegar, prunes, green olives, capers, dried apricots, bay leaves and white wine all marinate in one bowl over night.

When you’re ready, you just sprinkle with a little brown sugar and roast til tender and juices meld. The result is an aromatic, brightly-hued, Middle Eastern-inspired Tagine-type entrée. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve in pretty, bold-patterned ceramic bowls. Enhance the flavors with an un-oaked Chilean chardonnay on the side and boost the ambiance with some seductive red votives. Alluring!

Celebrate South American-style.

Argentines have long understood the magic of zesty chimichurri sauce paired with beef. You can now, too, but try it with poultry. Chimichurri Roasted Potato & Chicken is not only tantalizing, it’s low-cal, fast to assemble and a breeze to clean up.

First, purée the chimichurri in a blender: a winning blend of garlic, red wine vinegar, flat-leaf parsley, olive oil and two kinds of pepper. Then you toss with chicken and Dynamic Duo Creamers and roast. Drizzle with a little reserved sauce and serve with sautéed green beans or roasted cauliflower florets.

If you like, accompany with a dry Chilean sauvignon blanc, partially oaked California chardonnay or Italian Barbaresco (red) from Piedmont. Bueno!


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