Valentine’s Day Dinner – No Reservations? No Problem.

Veronica Cavazos

Just like grandma says, “there is no better way to a man’s heart than through his stomach!” On the menu for Valentine’s day is Caesar Salad, Pizza Fondue and Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I hope you enjoy my recipes!

Caesar Salad with homemade croutons

Caesar Dressing recipe:

2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of oil
1/3 cup of parmesan cheese
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp of Worcestershire Sauce
1 egg (Can be substituted for ½ cup of mayo)
1 tsp salt
Juice of one lemon
Mash garlic and salt add part of oil and egg and beat until thick. Add rest of oil intermittent with lemon juice. Mix in rest of ingredients

Croutons:
½ loaf of Italian or French bread (10 ounces or 6 cups), cut into cubes
½ stick butter
¼ cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, smashed

Place the bread in a large bowl and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the butter and oil with the garlic clove until sizzling. Be careful not to burn the garlic because it will taste bitter. Remove the garlic. Pour oil mixture over bread cubes, toss, and then return to pan. Heat over medium heat and, turning as they brown, cook them until evenly toasted. Serve immediately.

Salad construction:

You’ll need 1 head of romaine lettuce. With the romaine leaves, you can tear them into bite-sized pieces, chop them up, or leave them whole, depending on your preference. Toss the romaine in the dressing or drizzle some over a plate of lettuce. Top with croutons and more parmesan cheese.

Pizza Fondue

(I would start this before the salad)

2 jars of your favorite pasta sauce (You can make your own but that would take forever!)
1-2 big bag(s) of shredded mozzarella cheese
Handful parmesan cheese
Garlic powder to taste
Italian seasoning to taste (or basil, oregano, parsley mixed)
Fixings for dipping (bread sticks, mozzarella sticks, toasted ravioli, garlic bread, etc.)

Dump everything into a crock pot.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Cook on high for 2 hours or until everything is hot and melty.  Dip whatever goodies you want in the fondue!  Leftovers work great as a pasta sauce over tortellini or ravioli!

Pineapple upside down cake

1 heart shaped cake pan
1 box of your favorite yellow cake mix, and the ingredients listed on the box. (My favorite is Betty Crocker “Moist”)
1 stick of butter (room temperature)
2 cups of brown sugar
1 can of pineapple rounds
1 small jar of maraschino cherries
1 small can of sweetened condensed milk
Whipped cream

Make the cake mix according to the instructions on the box, but add the can of sweetened condensed milk to it. Please note that if the mix calls for water use the water from the pineapple can instead (it will add more flavor than just plain water). You might end up with more batter than the pan can hold; you can save it of up to 3 days n the refrigerator. Or do as I do and make 2! Using the entire stick of butter coat the bottom and side of the cake pan, then coat the bottom of the pan with brown sugar. Take the pineapple rounds and neatly arrange them on the bottom of the cake pan, adding a maraschino cherry to the center of every pineapple. Add the cake batter to the pan, but do not fill all the way, leave about an inch because the cake will rise. Bake according to cake box (because you added the additional condensed milk the cake will appear to be a bit undercooked in the center but it’s not. NOTE: add a sheet pan lined with parchment paper to the bottom of the oven to catch any drippings. Once out of the oven let cool for 5 min. Place a serving platter (larger than the cake pan) over the pan. Using oven gloves grip the pan and platter tightly together and in one fast motion turn the pan onto the platter. Wipe way any excess dripping. Serve with whipped cream!