Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Celebrating Valentine's Day + Valentine's Day Recipes


Breakfast on the days when Sophia and Olivia have some classes at a homeschool co-op are a bit rushed. So, I wanted to make something that was easy for them to pick up and take with them; or to eat at home quickly before they left.

I had intended to make heart-shaped fruit on a skewer - pineapple, watermelon, and cantaloupe - after seeing a pin for it on Pinterest. The pin just led to an image, rather than a blog.

However, the smallest heart-shaped cookie cutter I had on hand was too big for the cantaloupe. So instead I cut heart shapes out of watermelon and pineapple; and did balls with the cantaloupe.

Also wanted to see if I could make bacon in a heart shape. Found a pin for it to see how it was shaped prior to baking it in the oven (which was recommended).

I used two slices of bacon for each heart - one for each side of heart.

The bacon hearts baked in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until they were done.


I wanted Sophia and Olivia to have something special for their lunches at the homeschool co-op so I found this pin that led to Baked Perfection for Brown Sugar Blondies.


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (instead of a tablespoon, I used a teaspoon)
1 cup to 1 1/3 cup M&M's (red, white, and pink)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Melt 1/3 cup butter. Add 1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar and mix well. Cool slightly. Add egg and vanilla. Blend well.

Add flour mixture, a little at a time, mixing well. Mix in 2/3 cup M&M's.

Spread in 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Sprinkle 1/3 to 2/3 cup M&M's on top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

* Note: I made 1 1/2 batches of the dough since I didn't have a 9x9x2 inch pan. By doing this, I was able to use a 9x13 inch pan. The baking time was about 25 minutes or so. The bars are a bit dark because the center wasn't getting done. They taste great, though!


For dinner, I made lasagna.

The recipe is from my mom. She got it from my Aunt Arlene. We went to dinner at her and my Uncle Paul's home when we were kids. The lasagna was amazing. Thankfully, my mom asked for the recipe. She made it many times throughout the years. Wanted to make it for Valentine's Day - partly to enjoy it with my family...and partly to remember my parents who I've been missing a lot.

1 pound ground beef
1 cup onion (I use one onion)
1/2 cup green pepper  (I use one green pepper)
3 1/2 cups tomato sauce (1 pound 12 ounces)
1 small can tomato paste
12/ cup mushrooms drained (I use one 8 ounce can)
1 crushed garlic clove
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper (I use 1/2 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon accent (I don't use this)
8 ounces lasagna noodles, prepared according to package directions
2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella

Note: I use a big container of cottage cheese, 1 container of ricotta cheese, as much Parmesan cheese needed to cover an entire layer, and enough mozzarella to cover an entire layer. For the oregano leaves, basil leaves, and rosemary, I used Italian seasoning instead.


Brown in a skillet the hamburger, onion, and green pepper. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and mushroom. Next add the garlic clove, oregano, salt, pepper, basil, rosemary, and accent.

Simmer the sauce uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook the lasagna noodles. Rinse and drain.

Layer the following in a 9x13 pan (I use a 10x15 pan):
1/3 sauce
1/2 noodles
1 cup cottage cheese (I add ricotta cheese to this layer)
1/2 remaining sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
remaining noodles
1 cup cottage cheese (I add ricotta cheese to this layer)
remaining sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. If you let the lasagna sit for about 10 minutes, it will firm up a  bit. It reheats and freezes well.

Also made Poppy Seed Cheese Bread. The recipe came from the February-March 2017 issue of Taste of Home. My mom gave me a subscription to this magazine many years ago. I've tried many recipes from Taste of Home. The majority have tasted delicious and use items that often times are in the cupboard, refrigerator, or freezer.

1 package active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
3/4 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees)
2 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cup to 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 large egg
1/3 cup whole milk (I used skim milk)
1 teaspoon finely-chopped onion (I used onion flakes)
poppy seeds


Dissolve yeast and sugar in water. Combine milk, shortening and salt; stir into yeast mixture. Add enough flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down dough; press into a greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine cheese, egg, milk, and onion. Spread over dough. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake 15-20 minutes. Cut into squares.

Sophia made the dessert which was called Valentine Berries and Cream. It's basically a chocolate mousse in a melted/hardened chocolate crust. She put whipped cream in the center and topped it with fresh strawberries.

The dessert was delicious! The recipe was from the February-March 2000 issue of Taste of Home.

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon shortening
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup baking cocoa
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped, divided
1-1/2 cups fresh strawberries, halved


Line a 9-in. heart-shaped or square pan with foil; set aside. In a large heavy saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth. Pour into prepared pan, swirling to coat the bottom and 1-1/2 in. up the sides.

Refrigerate for 1 minute, then swirl the chocolate to reinforce sides of heart or box. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. Using foil, lift from pan; remove foil and place chocolate heart on a serving plate.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Combine confectioners' sugar and cocoa; add to creamed mixture with milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Gently fold two-thirds of the whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Spoon into heart. Insert star tip #32 into a pastry or plastic bag; fill with the remaining whipped cream. Pipe around the edge of heart. Garnish with strawberries. Yield: 8-10 servings.

She's never made a chocolate crust before, so that was a fun learning experience for her.

After dinner, we opened cards and gifts. We all had a very nice Valentine's Day.

1 comment:

Carrie B. said...

Happy belated Valentines to you and your family, Ann! All of your recipes look and sound absolutely delicious!! Thanks for sharing the recipes. Looks like some good keepers and several I can't wait to try. ;)

Blessings on your weekend ahead. xoxo