There is no better way to spend Valentine’s Day than with your favourite loved ones! Here are some great simple recipes to make up and enjoy with one another that are quick to prepare and will leave you being able to enjoy the evening!
Cranberry Ricotta Crostini
The perfect bite to the start of your meal! This little appetizer is sure to set the mood with the creamy ricotta along with sweet and sour cranberries reserve. You’ll be glad you made a little extra too have the next day as breakfast or as a snack!
- 1 Cup Frozen or Fresh Cranberries
- 1 Cup 100% Orange Juice
- 1 Tbsp Rosemary
- 1, small Whole Grain baguette
- ¾ Cup Ricotta
- Preheat the oven to 350o
- In a small saucepan, over medium high heat, add the cranberries, orange juice, and rosemary. Bring to a boil.
- Once at a boil, lower to a light simmer for about 8-10 minutes, until the cranberries all pop. You may need to smash them with the back of a wooden spoon. Allow the mixture to reduce down until it forms a jam-like consistency.
- Meanwhile, cut your baguette into small pieces (squares or rounds), and place on a baking sheet. Once the oven is heated, add the bread and allow to toast (or broil) for 5 minutes, checking in to ensure it doesn’t burn.
- Once toasted, remove from the oven and place on a plate, leaving aside to slightly cool.
- Just before you’re ready to eat, spread about one tablespoon of ricotta cheese on top of the toast and top it with the cranberry-orange reserve. Place on a plate and enjoy with yours truly.
Mini Greek-town Meatballs
It’s all about finger-foods and bite-sized items you can display on your plate or share with your loved one this Valentine’s Day – and hey, who doesn’t love to be fed sometimes! Enjoy these savoury meatballs with some Tzaziki or BBQ sauce – whichever suits your palate.
Makes 30 mini meatballs
- 450 g, each Ground Turkey and Ground Chicken
- ¼ Cup Chopped Parsley
- 2 Garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- ½ Cup Chopped Sundried Tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp Oregano
- 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Fresh Cracked Salt and Pepper
- Tzaziki sauce for dipping
- Preheat the oven to 350o Fahrenheit.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, add the ingredients: ground turkey and chicken, shopped parsley, minced garlic cloves, shopped sundried tomatoes, oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Use your hands to mix all of the ingredients together – about 2 minutes– until you are sure all ingredients are well combined.
- Form the mixture into small meatballs, about the size of a golf ball or slightly smaller.
- Place in a preheated oven for 20 minutes, turning the pan at the half way point.
- Meanwhile grab your favourite Tzaziki sauce for dipping
- You can broil the meatballs for about 2-3 minutes to achieve a golden brown colour on top.
- Plate and serve along with a simple Greek Vegetable Salad and Cheesy Baked Rice Balls.
Cheesy Baked Arancini (aka: Rice Balls)
I have eaten my fair share of rice balls in my life – often homemade passed down for generations, and some within restaurants too! They seem taunting to make, but oh-my-goodness, once you try these puppies you’ll be enjoying them with your loved ones, and keeping a few reserved in the freezer for a quick thaw and go-to meal accompaniment or appetizer.
Makes 35 small rice balls
- 1 Cup White Rice
- 1, 400 mL can Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 Small onion, chopped
- 2 Cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- ½ Cup Parsley
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- ¾ Cup Shredded Asiago Cheese (*or any other sharp white cheese)
- 1 Cup Flour
- 3 Eggs, beaten
- 1½ Cups Breadcrumbs (Seasoned if you prefer)
- Preheat the oven to 350o Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Prepare your tomato sauce. In a saucepan, add the chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and using a hand mixer or immersion blender, mix the ingredients to remove the majority of the chunks. Place back on the stove and keep at a low temperature to keep warm. Reserve 1 Cup of the tomato sauce for dipping.
- Cook the rice – in a saucepan, place the rice along with 2 Cups of water. I often add 1 Tbsp of butter or olive oil to the water as well. Bring the rice to a boil over medium-high heat. Once at a boil, lower the heat and simmer to soak up all of the water, allowing the rice to cook. You may need to add more water if you find the rice is drying up and not fully cooked.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add the grated cheeses.
- Add the rice and tomato sauce (ensuring you reserve about 1 Cup for dipping) to the grated cheese and stir well to incorporate all ingredients. The cheese will melt and appear stringy. Leave aside to slightly cool and make it tolerable to handle with your hands.
- Place three separate dishes out on your counter, one for the flour, one for the beaten eggs, and one for the breadcrumbs to set up your assembly line.
- Here’s where things will get a little messy – but oh-so-worth-it! I recommend to make all of your rice balls first, then roll them into the flour, egg and finally the breadcrumbs.
- To make the rice balls: Place about 1½ Tbsp of the rice mixture into your hands. Roll the rice mixture around so that it forms a ball. Place on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Once all rice balls are formed, dip, each one into the flour, then coat with egg and finally roll in the breadcrumbs. Place them back on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet, maintaining the integrity of the ball shape as best as possible.
- Once all rice balls have been dipped, place the pan into the preheated oven for 20 minutes, turning in between.
- Once cooked, remove from the oven and place on a serving dish. Add the reserved tomato sauce in a small bowl for dipping or to pour on top if you desire.
Simple Greek Vegetable Salad
C-O-L-O-U-R! That’s what I like to see in my plate and share with all of you! This is the simplest way to get a good load of veggies into any meal, and can be served up the next day with a can of tuna, chick peas, or left-over chicken, for a great meal! And while things are getting ready in the oven, this one will come together in no time.
Serves: 4 people
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, washed and cubed
- ½ English Cucumber, washed and quartered
- 1, small Pint, Heirloom tomatoes, washed and cut in half
- 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Fresh Oregano
- 1 tsp Fresh cracked Sea salt
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss evenly and allow to marinade until ready to serve!
- If you’re making this ahead of time, you can place in the refrigerator to ensure the vegetables stay fresh and crisp.
New Level Dipped Strawberries
Dipped strawberries are a classic when it comes to Valentine’s Day or even just giving to that special person you know who loves them! Here are three new ways to fancy up your dipped strawberries that will undoubtedly leave the meal complete!
Serves: 2-4 people (Depending on how hungry you are at the end of the meal)
- 1 Pint, Fresh Strawberries (about 15 strawberries)
- 50 g Dark chocolate
- 80 g White Chocolate, divided
- ⅓ Cup Natural Peanut Butter
- Wash strawberries and allow to completely dry. You’ll need to ensure all moisture is dried up to make the perfect dipped strawberry.
- Prepare your three dips:
White chocolate: Place 50 g of white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for about 65 seconds. If the chocolate comes out with a few chunks, you can stir to allow the rest to melt. If the chocolate needs more time to melt, place back into the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds.
Dark chocolate: Place 50 g of dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for about 55 seconds. If the chocolate comes out with a few chunks, you can stir to allow the rest to melt. If the chocolate needs more time to melt, place back into the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds.
White Chocolate Peanut Butter: Place ⅓ Cup of Peanut butter and 30 g of white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for about 45 seconds. Remove and mix the ingredients to combine the white chocolate and the peanut butter. If the mixture needs more time to melt, place back into the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds.
- Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.
- Dip each strawberry into the preferred melted chocolate or peanut butter mixture and place on the baking sheet. If you’d like, you can drizzle some of the left over sauces on top of the dipped strawberries.
- Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for at least 20 to 30 minutes (or freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes) to allow the chocolate/peanut butter chocolate mixture to harden. The peanut butter mixture may require a long period of time to harden onto the strawberries.
- Remove from the refrigerator at least 10 minutes before serving to bring to room temperature.