Splurging on Valentines Day (on a budget)...

February 06, 2014
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Does love have a price?  Well, on Valentine's Day it does!  On average, people spend around $125 per person on this day of love, for a grand total of $250 a couple!  A large part of that cost is for dinner.  So what is this Valentine's Day, you stay home, curl up on the couch with a  blanket and candles and enjoy a wonderfully (and simple) homemade dinner!  Here is a Valentine's dinner that will make your love grow, without shrinking our wallet!

Valentine's Day Menu

  • Sweet and Salty Salad
  • Pan Seared Beef tenderloin with Mushroom Sauce
  • Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
  • Roasted Asparagus
  • Chocolate Mousse
  • Fruity, Sparkling Sangria

Sounds good?  Here are the recipes (and a shopping list at the bottom of the post)

Sweet and Salty Salad

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Crumbled Feta
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Candied Nuts*
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette (Recipe below)

Toss together all ingredients.  Use as much or as little as you want!  Dress with Vinaigrette before serving

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoon brown sugar (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional, to taste)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves (minced, to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil (more or less to preference

In a medium bowl, whisk together first 6 ingredients until everything is dissolved.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while continuing to whisk.  This can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge.  Just make sure to shake before using.

* Use your favorite kind of nut.  These can either be purchased, or you can candy them yourself.  Just sauté them in a pan with sugar over medium heat.  Stir frequently.  They are done when the sugar has completely melted.  Set aside to cool before using on salad.

Pan Seared Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 beef tenderloin's
  • 2 Teaspoons butter
  • 6 ounces mushrooms
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup Port or sweet Red Wine (or use additional beef broth)
  • 1 Teaspoon Cornstarch
  • 1 Teaspoon Water

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small baking dish.  Add steaks to marinade, turning to coat.  Cover and marinate steaks at room temperature for 1 hour, turning occasionally.  Heat a skill over medium-high heat.  Remove steaks from dish: discard marinade.  Place steaks in pan and cook, without disturbing, for 2 minutes.  Turn steaks over and cook 2 minutes.  Continue to flip in two minute increments until steak is the desired degree of doneness.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Meanwhile, melt butter in small skillet over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add broth and wine and simmer for 8 minutes.  Combine cornstarch and water, mixing well.  Stir into sauce and simmer an additional 2 minutes, or until slightly thick.

** If you want to save even more money, you can substitute the tenderloins for your favorite cut of beef, chicken or pork!**

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees for the following two recipes.  They can be cooked together.

Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

  • 1/2 lb Fingerling potatoes - washed, dried, halved lengthwise
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Place potatoes on a baking sheet (cover in aluminum foil for easy clean up!) Drizzle with oil, season with sale and pepper.  Sprinkle rosemary over the top and toss to evenly coat.  Roast until tender, about 20 minutes (tossing halfway through cooking time)

Roasted Asparagus

  • Bunch of asparagus
  • olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Toss all ingredients together and spread, single layer, on a baking sheet (cover in aluminum foil for easy clean up!) Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until tender.

Chocolate Mousse

  • 9 oz Dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 8 oz whipped cream
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate until melted.  Stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth.  Stir marshmallows into hot chocolate until melted. Set aside. Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Stir egg yolks into slightly cooled chocolate mixture.  Fold in egg whites and whipped cream.  Stir in vanilla extract.  Chill 2 to 3 hours before serving.  You can top with additional whipped cream or raspberries.

Fruity, Sparkling Sangria

  • Raspberries
  • 1 Peach
  • 1 Kiwi
  • Sparkling Wine, Champagne or Sparkling Grape Juice

Mix all ingredients together and let sit at least one hour in fridge.  Then enjoy!


There you go, a 3 course valentine's meal that will create lasting memories, without breaking the bank! 

        Shopping List

  • romaine lettuce
  • crumbled feta
  • dried cranberries
  • candied nuts*
  • balsamic vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • Dijon mustard
  • garlic cloves
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • fresh rosemary
  • beef tenderloin
  • butter
  • mushrooms
  • beef broth
  • Port or sweet Red Wine
  • Cornstarch
  • Fingerling potatoes
  • Bunch of asparagus
  • dark chocolate
  • miniature marshmallows
  • eggs
  • whipped cream
  • vanilla extract
  • Raspberries
  • Peach
  • Kiwi
  • Sparkling Wine, Champagne or Sparkling Grape Juice