Ahh, February, the month of love! So, do you have big plans for Valentine’s Day with your sweetie? A fancy dinner out or perhaps a quiet dinner for two at home? No matter what your plans are, chances are quite good that food will be involved!
Creating the perfect romantic evening doesn’t need to be fancy (unless you want it to be!). For those of us that lead very hectic lives, just staying home eating pizza by candle light can be a wonderful treat. Food can be the star of the evening or a supporting character, but it shouldn’t be a cause for stress! The adage of less is more can really come in to play here.
For those of you that enjoy doing a little creative cooking, why not try making a “heart of cacciatore.” Bake (at 350*) two boneless, skinless chicken breast until internal temp is 165* and juices run clear. Let them rest for a few minutes and then cut each breast almost all the way through the middle sideways (so it opens like a book and looks like a heart). Top with warm marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes (until cheese is melted). Gently transfer to plates, add baked potatoes, salad and veggies and you have a simple, yet delicious meal to serve your sweetie.
When we think Valentine’s Day, usually one of our first thoughts is chocolate, but today that flavor isn’t just for candy. A look around the super market aisles will lead you to everything from coffee, cereal and bread, to beer and wine. There are several wonderful chocolate infused wines available from local wineries, and a few of the breweries in WNY offer chocolate beers…not my favorite, but what an interesting combination!
I love all holidays, but Valentine’s day is such a sweet event…sweet tasting, that is! The sales of candy, from tiny conversation hearts to large heart shaped boxes of chocolate will soar this week. As a chocolate lover, I have always looked forward to Valentine’s Day (as well as Easter and Halloween…you get the picture!) because I can feel a little less guilty about consuming my “guilty pleasure”. It is tradition, after all! Another bonus… while chocolate has always been a popular treat, of late the healthy aspects of dark chocolate have really hit the headlines and made us feel less guilty about the occasional sweet treat!
Cupid’s Cordon Bleu
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 slices deli sliced ham
4 slices sliced Swiss cheese
Using a meat mallet, gently pound each breast until they are ½ inch thick. Layer one slice of cheese and two slices of ham on each breast. Roll each breast and place seam side down in baking pan. Cover with bread crumbs.
Bake at 350* for 45-55 minutes, until 165* internally and juices run clear.
To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.