No Reservations: Cook a special dinner for your Valentine

Published 5:33 pm Monday, May 4, 2015

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For centuries, Valentine’s Day has been a day to honor all things romantic and to spend time with that cherished someone.
While there are still many questions surrounding the origins of the popular holiday, one thing is not in question and that is the fact we love to celebrate love.
Traditions of the holiday include exchanging cards and giving gifts of candy or flowers. And, let us not forget, having a romantic candlelight dinner for two.
Valentine’s Day is perhaps the most popular date night of the calendar year. Many couples will be heading out on Feb. 14 to enjoy a meal, take in a movie or any of a number of popular date night activities.
Whether it is spent in a restaurant or in the quiet of your own home, a romantic dinner has become a large part of love’s holiday.
While I do enjoy an evening out, to me a dinner at home can be just as special. And besides, who says you need Valentine’s Day to share a home-cooked meal with your special someone.
This week, I am sharing some recipes to create a lovely meal for two. And if you have more than one Valentine pulling up a chair to your table, these recipes can easily be doubled or even tripled so you can include your children or other loved ones in the meal.

Chicken with Cherry Sauce
The many elements of this dish combine to create a fascinating and unique flavor.
1/2 pound fresh or frozen pitted sweet cherries, divided
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 tsp minced fresh ginger root
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Set aside 1/4 cup cherries. In a blender, combine orange juice and remaining cherries. Cover and process until smooth. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, lemon juice, garlic and ginger. Mix well and set aside.
Place chicken in an lightly greased baking dish. Top with cherry sauce. Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove dish from oven. Turn chicken over and rebaste with the cherry sauce. Top with reserved cherries. Return to oven and bake, uncovered for 25-30 minutes longer or until juices run clear.

Broccoli with Orange Sauce
The orange sauce in this recipe compliments the flavor of the broccoli without overpowering it.
1 package (10 ounces) frozen broccoli spears
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel (also called orange zest)
Cook broccoli according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan melt the butter. Whisk in cornstarch until smooth. Gradually stir in orange juice. Add orange peel. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Drain broccoli. Drizzle sauce over broccoli and serve.

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Lemon Parsley Potatoes
A nice, easy spin to freshen up traditional potatoes.
1 pound small red potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain. In a small sauce pan melt the butter; stir in parsley and lemon juice. Pour over potatoes, tossing to coat.

Gingered Peach Crisp
This dessert is wonderful served hot with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
1 can (15 ounces) sliced peaches
3/4 cup coarsely crushed ginger snap cookies
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup sliced almonds or chopped walnuts, whichever you prefer
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Drain fruit and arrange in a small, greased baking dish. Mix together cookie crumbs and butter. Stir in nuts. Sprinkle evenly over fruit.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Abby was born and raised in the Stoney Creek community of Carter County. Her love of cooking grew over the years as she worked in the kitchen alongside her mother and grandmother. Reach her at