Love or hate Valentine’s Day, the way I see it, it is a good excuse to make a great meal for someone you care about. Notice I said, “make a great meal.” I didn’t say, “drop a chunk of change on a pre-set or limited Valentine’s Day menu at your local fancy restaurant.”
That’s right! Save that hard-earned money for a night out on the town when:
- you’re not fighting the crowds; and
- there aren’t twice as many tables in the restaurant than usual; and
- the prices aren’t inflated; and
- the menu isn’t limited; and
- you’re being rushed through your meal; and
- insert one of a million other possible reasons why:
VALENTINE’S DAY IS PROBABLY THE WORST NIGHT TO GO OUT TO EAT.
I used to work in the restaurant business…take it from me, so often, people end up leaving the restaurant disappointed. [Disclaimer: Sometimes, for whatever reason, it’s unavoidable and you have to go out to eat on Valentine’s Day. In those cases, I think creativity is better than fancy…have fun with it. fancy is not always better. But you know your sweetheart better, so you know what’s going to be best.]
With that said, even if you’re working a full-time job and Valentine’s Day is during the week—like it is this year—you can still make an amazing meal that will really impress your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife.
Part of why it will impress is that you took the time to make something special for him or her.
I know, for me, there is no better way to show that you care than when you take the time to do something for me. Call it acts of service, if you must, but even if that’s not your sweetheart’s love language, it’s still an opportunity to give them “quality time” or “words of affirmation.” So, you really can’t go wrong.
The Key Is a Little Planning
Plan in advance. Know what you’re capable of based on the time that you have and go from there. If work won’t allow you to get home with a lot of time to prepare a meal, pick something that you can make in advance and you just have to warm up or that you can cook up in no time flat, like:
Make in advance:
Cook up in no-time flat:
- Spaghetti and Clams
- Brown-Butter Kissed Grilled Shrimp
- Vegetarian Stir Fry
- Pan-Seared Scallops in a Lemon White Wine Sauce
- Spaghetti Carbonara
Make Dessert Easy
It’s Valentine’s Day. You can’t not have dessert. But you don’t have to go bananas (as my dad used to say). You can make a solid dessert that is perfect for Valentine’s Day without having to time the perfectly challenging Souffle or whip up a decadently difficult Mousse. That’s where these Mini Ice Cream Pies come in. On Valentine’s Day, you can put it on your “already done list” because you can make it in advance and just plate it up after dinner on the 14th. (Note to guys: the 14th is Valentine’s Day.)
Make it Your OwnWhile I used Strawberry Ice Cream for this dessert, it did so mainly because of the color and because it’s a solid choice to mix with Chocolate and fresh berries. You could also do Raspberry, Vanilla, Cookies and Cream, Black Cherry, Pralines and Cream, Chocolate Mint…Basically…any type of ice cream will work.
Don’t feel obligated to use chocolate either. I can see a Pralines and Cream, topped with Pecans (or Candied Pecans) and Caramel being a great option.
Whatever flavors you choose, it will be great!
Now is “Go” Time
Valentine’s Day is coming up. Now is go time! You can make these one to a few days in advance. If you choose to let them sit in the freezer more than overnight, I recommend storing them in a Ziploc bag to help prevent any freezer burn. If overnight, just cover them with plastic wrap.
Then pick out a main course, perhaps pick up some bubbly and you’ve got your perfect homemade Valentine’s Day meal ready to go for your sweets. You can send all wedding invitations to me in care of Tiny Kitchen Big Taste…haha! In all seriousness, I hope it is a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable night for you both!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Mini Ice Cream Love Pies
SO WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED IS:
- Using a Mini Food Processor or Ziploc bag, crush Oreo Cookies into fine crumbs.
- Add about 1 Tablespoon Chocolate Shell Topping to the Cookie crumbs and blend or mix until thoroughly combined (NOTE: the cookie crumbs should stick together and form a solid crust when pressed together.)
- Let Ice Cream soften or stir it until softened to a soft-serve consistency.
- Line Muffin Pan with Silicone Cupcake Liner
- Spoon Ice Cream into Cupcake Liners until it is about 3/4 of the way up.
- Top with Cookie crumbs, pressing down to make sure the crust will be solid.
- Freeze at least 30 minutes until hardened or until you are ready to use them. (Note: this is why I love this recipe for Valentine’s Day. You can make it the day or two in advance)
- Remove the Ice Cream from the Silicone Baking Cup by placing it crust-side down onto a plate and peeling the Silicone Baking Cup away from the Ice Cream. If that method doesn’t work, dip the Silicone Baking Cup into warm water for a few second. Dry and place it crust-side down onto a plate and removing the Silicone Baking Cup.
- Starting in the center of the Ice Cream, drizzle with Chocolate Shell to fully coat the top, moving toward the perimeter of the Ice Cream Pie until the Chocolate Shell starts to drip down the side.
- 10. Garnish with chopped Fresh Strawberries and a fancy back-and-forth drizzle of Chocolate Shell.