Sunday, February 9, 2014

Valentine's Day Meal Plan

Valentine's Day Menu Plan

My Farmer and I have always made plans to eat-in for Valentine's Day.  I know a lot of people look forward to going out and having special Valentine's Day menus at their favorite special occasion restaurant, but I guess for us, we've always enjoyed having a big meal at home, just the two of us, and away from the crowds.  This year we'll be continuing our tradition of having a big Valentine's Day supper at home, and since today is Sunday, aka weekly menu planning day for me, I thought I'd share what we'll be enjoying on Friday!

Let's go backwards and start with dessert!  We'll be having Chocolate Melting Cake.

Chocolate Melting Cake for Two

I blogged about this special dessert in January as My Farmer and I celebrated our anniversary.  We fell in love with this cake on our honeymoon and make it for special occasions.  It is easy, simple, and oh, so delicious!  Even if you are going out for supper for Valentine's Day, or if you're ordering a heart-shaped pizza, make dessert for that someone special!

Time for the main dish!  We'll be having Greek Steak and Greek Spaghetti.

Greek Steak and Spaghetti

Now we may not be going to our favorite special occasion restaurant on Friday night but we'll be eating our favorite meal from our favorite special occasion restaurant.  Debbie of Debbie's Midwestern Kitchen shares Mason City's Northwestern Steakhouse's steak and spaghetti copycat recipe that I use at my house on her blog.  We always use whatever steak we have on hand in the freezer for the meal.  As you can see from my photo, the last time I used T-Bone steaks.  Also, I use a combination of butter and olive oil to make the marinade that you bake the steaks in.  Then, once you're done baking the steaks, use the leftover juices on spaghetti and toss with parmesan cheese (or for even a little more flavor, make another batch of the marinade for the pasta).

And now for the appetizer!  We'll be having Fried Pickles!

Fried Pickles and BBQ/Ranch Dipping Sauce

Now if there was any food that is a Valentine's Day tradition for us, it is fried pickles!  During the beginning years of our marriage My Farmer and I went through a "let's fry up lots of food" time.  It didn't last long because it helped us gain our "newlywed 15"... and because we had a grease fire!  Valentine's Day four years ago I was getting ready for our special, romantic, dinner for two.  On the menu was fried pickles.  While waiting for the oil to warm up I decided to wash dishes and I guess I got caught up on cleaning.  My Farmer came into the house and saw that the oil had gotten too hot and there were little flames rolling on the top of the oil.  Looking back we wish we would have just put the lid on the pan or used baking soda or flour to stop the flames but instead My Farmer decided to take the pan off the heat.  Well, the new oxygen that hit the flames fueled the fire rather than stopping it.  All of a sudden we had flames near the ceiling, so I quickly opened our deck door so My Farmer could throw the pan out in the snow.  In the end we are all okay but it was a scary thing.  So before I share this recipe I beg of all of you, please monitor your hot oil!

Fried Pickles and BBQ/Ranch Dipping Sauce

Fried Pickles:
1 jar sandwich-sliced pickles
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp seasoning salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
2 cups panko crumbs
2 cups soybean/vegetable oil

BBQ/Ranch Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup ranch dressing

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a pie plate and mix well.  Whisk eggs and water together in second plate.  Put the panko crumbs in third plate.  Place one inch of oil in frying pan, and heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Watch oil carefully and use splatter guard.

Roll each pickle in flour, the egg wash, finished by panko crumbs.

Drop the pickles in the hot oil.  Flip and move them around as they cook for around two minutes until golden brown.

Remove pickles with slotted spoon or tongs and place on paper towels to drain.  Repeat until all pickles are fried.

Combine first five ingredients for dipping sauce together; once incorporated, add in ranch dressing.  Enjoy!

What are your plans for Valentine's Day?  Any supper traditions?

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  1. OMG I love fried pickles! I have honestly never made them myself, I will have to try your recipe.

    Sorry about the fire, glad everything was okay and no one got hurt.

    1. They are very easy to make. The key is using the sandwich sliced pickles. They're easy to flip and fry evenly.

  2. Your dinner sounds delightful and yummy! The friend pickle adventure could have turned out a lot worse! Lesson learned for sure. Hope this that your celebration this year is yummy and safe. :-)

    1. Yes - we'll pray for yummy and safe! Every year we laugh about the experience. It is nice when you can laugh about it later.

  3. Talk about YUM! Everything looks delicious! Fried pickles are a favorite in our house! I even used to make fried pickles with my kindergarten kids when I worked at a daycare center. They loooooved cooking in the kitchen!

    1. Our son loves helping in the kitchen too. His favorite thing to help with those is sweets though, that way he can lick the beaters at the end :)

  4. I think I could just make the fried pickles and the dessert and call it a night! Both sound amazing! Thanks for sharing. :-)

    1. Depending on the size of jar of pickles it could be a meal... There have been times that we haven't been very hungry for the main meal, let alone dessert, after I've made a big batch of fried pickles. But now we have one extra person who likes them, so they seem to disappear with no problem anymore :)

  5. I LOVE fried pickles! I should have went home with you last night!

    1. Maybe I'll have to make a batch the next time you come up to look for treasure!

  6. I love fried pickles and so does my mom! I'll have to try these sometime.

    1. They're delicious and easy to make! Our family can easily handle a whole batch to ourselves!