4 Dinners and 1 Dessert for Valentine’s Day

There are only a few hours left before Valentine’s Day starts, but you don’t have enough time to cook up an amazing 5-course meal, or your partner is on a diet.

Fear not, for here are 4 easy to cook, low-calorie meals that will leave your beloved wanting more.

Except for the last dish. It’s not exactly low calorie, but you gotta have some chocolate on Valentine’s Day…

1. CHICKEN, MUSHROOM AND SESAME MEATBALLS WITH GINGER DIPPING SAUCE (BUTTON)

Serves 6 – 8

Chicken, Mushroom and Sesame Meatballs

5ml oil

250g button mushrooms, minced

20ml fresh ginger, finely grated

3 spring onions, sliced

250g chicken fillets, minced

60ml white sesame seeds

flour, to coat

oil, for frying

Dipping sauce

30ml Plum sauce

15ml sweet chilli

5ml lime juice

10ml fresh ginger, finely grated

Chicken, Mushroom and Sesame Meatballs

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the mushrooms and ginger for 4 – 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool completely before mixing in the spring onions, chicken mince and sesame seeds. Using floured hands, shape spoonfuls of the mixture into cocktail-size meatballs. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the meatballs for 5 – 7 minutes, or until golden and cooked.

Dipping sauce

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and serve with the meatballs

2. TOMATO AND MUSHROOM DHAL (PORTABELLINI)

Serves 4 – 6

30ml oil

1 onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, crushed

15ml fresh ginger, finely grated

15ml curry paste

400g portabellini mushrooms, halved

1 x 410g tin chopped tomatoes

2 x 410g tins brown lentils, drained

45ml plain yoghurt or thick cream

30ml fresh coriander, chopped

To Serve (optional):

rice

naan bread

raita

toasted coconut

Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion and garlic for 5-7 minutes. Add the ginger, curry paste and mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and lentils and simmer for 5 minutes. Top with yoghurt or cream and coriander. Serve with rice or naan breads, raita and/or toasted coconut.

3. MUSHROOM AND BEEF SHORT RIB RAGU (PORTABELLINI)

Serves 4

15ml oil

400g beef short rib

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 carrot, diced

60ml red wine optional

500ml beef stock

15ml oregano leaves

45ml tomato paste

300g portabellini mushrooms, sliced

To serve:

400g tagliatelle, cooked

Parmesan cheese

a few basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat the oil in a pan and brown the short ribs in batches until browned all over. Transfer the shortribs to an ovenproof casserole. Return the pan to the stove and gently fry the onion, garlic and carrot for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the mixture to the casserole and add the red wine, beef stock, oregano and tomato paste. Cover and cook the casserole in the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature 160°C and cook for 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Stir in the mushrooms and return the casserole to the oven for 10 minutes. Allow to stand for 15 minutes and pull away the meat from the bones using 2 forks. Return the meat to the casserole, keep warm, and serve with fresh tagliatelle, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.

4. Portabellini & bocconcini flatbread

Makes 2 large flatbreads

Ingredients:

 2 flatbreads – homemade or store bought

500g Portabellini mushrooms

1 large white onion, diced

Fresh thyme sprigs

Olive oil for frying

Salt and pepper

150g Bocconcini mozzarella

Sundried tomatoes

Fresh baby herbs and leaves

 

For the pesto:

1 clove garlic

1 tsp sea salt

40g fresh basil leaves

40g fresh rocket

30g Parmesan cheese, grated

80ml extra virgin olive oil

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Method:

If you aren’t in a massive hurry to get lunch or dinner on the table then I suggest making the flatbread yourself. It’s deeply satisfying making dough with your hands and there’s something super duper rewarding about knowing you’ve made that baby from scratch. Also it really takes a couple of seconds to throw together.

I use a very simple flatbread recipe:

200g self-raising flour

250g full fat Greek yoghurt

1 pinch of salt

In a bowl mix together the yoghurt, flour and salt until it forms a dough.

Transfer dough onto a floured surface. Knead for a few minutes. Cut into 2 or 4 pieces depending on desired size. Cover with a dish cloth and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Roll out each section of dough using plenty of flour to prevent sticking or tearing.

Cook the flatbread in a dry hot griddle pan. Cook each side for 2-4 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

For the pesto:

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic clove and teaspoon of sea salt into a puree. Scrape the garlic paste into a food processor for ease; add the basil, rocket, Parmesan and olive oil. Blitz until smooth. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and set aside.

For the flatbreads:

Sauté the diced onion with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt until gently caramelised. Slice the mushrooms and fry them in batches until golden brown. And a few sprigs of thyme as you fry each batch. Season well with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 200C and move the rack to the upper shelf.

Brush flatbreads with the basil pesto. Top each one with half of the mushroom mix. Rip the bocconcini mozzarella into pieces and scatter over the mushrooms. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the flatbread is golden brown.

Top with pieces of sundried tomatoes, a few dollops of pesto and fresh baby leaves.

And now for the dessert. This particular dessert is made using a Wonderbag.

VALENTINE’S DAY CHOCOLATE DIP (serves 2 people)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup heavy cream
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chips or chopped baking chocolate)

1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

Add the heavy cream to a medium pot over medium-high heat. Once the cream begins to bubble, add the chocolate and continuously stir until melted. Add the vanilla and kosher salt, and keep stirring.

Once the chocolate is smooth and bubbling, cover the pot, place in the Wonderbag and close. Slow cook in the bag
for 1-3 hours.

Remove from the Wonderbag and dip strawberries, cookies, pretzels, or even bacon into
the chocolate dip.

PREP TIME: 10 mins

STOVE TOP TIME: 10 MINS

WONDERBAG TIME: 1HR

Recipe credit: Whitney Bond of www.littleleopardbook.com

 

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