Don’t get me wrong, I like going out for dinner just as much as the next girl. But when it comes to Valentine’s Day, heading out to a busy restaurant isn’t my idea of a good time. Not only are they usually expensive, the atmosphere can be a little stressful with the crowds.

This Valentine’s Day why not do something a little different – stay in, prepare a good meal, and enjoy the peace and quiet. And guys, if you’re doing the cooking, you’ll score major points with your Valentine this year.

Here is a full Valentine’s Day menu you can easily prepare for your special someone:

Appetizer

Avocado Salsa

Avocado is one of those things that just tastes good with everything. Start your Valentine’s Day meal with an appetizer of Avocado Salsa and a bowl of tortilla chips.

Ingredients:

1 (16 ounce) package frozen corn

kernels, thawed

2 (2.25 ounce) cans sliced ripe olives,

drained

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 avocados – peeled, pitted and diced

 

Directions

In a large bowl, mix corn, olives, red bell pepper and onion.

 In a small bowl, mix garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cider vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour into the corn mixture and toss to coat. Cover and chill in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight.

 Stir avocados into the mixture before serving.

Main Course

Cajun Chicken Pasta

I’ve done this dish many times and it’s one of those recipes that’s no-fail. If you don’t want it to be extra spicy, leave out the red pepper flakes.

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

flakes

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 cup chopped green onions

1 cup chopped parsley

1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 pound scallops

1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound dry fettuccine pasta

 

Directions

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.

Meanwhile, pour cream into large skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until just about boiling. Reduce heat, and add herbs, salt, peppers, onions, and parsley. Simmer 7 to 8 minutes, or until thickened.

Stir in seafood, cooking until shrimp is no longer transparent. Stir in cheeses, blending well.

Drain pasta. Serve sauce over noodles.

Mid-meal treat

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

A Valentine’s Day staple, you can serve these before or after dessert. This recipe makes it easy to create this treat.

Ingredients:

16 ounces milk chocolate chips

2 tablespoons shortening

1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves

 

Directions

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding them by the toothpicks, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.

Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries.

Turn the strawberries upside down and insert the toothpick into styrofoam for the chocolate to cool.

Dessert

Coconut Cream Pie

Absolutely the most amazing dessert around, this Coconut Cream Pie is easy and delicious. I use real whip cream instead of frozen whip topping and it makes it that much better. You can make individual pies with mini-pie pans too.

Ingredients:

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

3 cups half-and-half

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked

1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake it, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, combine the half-and-half, eggs, sugar, flour and salt and mix well. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in 3/4 cup of the toasted coconut and the vanilla extract. Reserve the remaining coconut to top the pie.

Pour the filling into the pie shell and chill until firm, about 4 hours.

Top with whipped topping and with the reserved coconut.

Getting busy in the kitchen takes all the stress out of Valentine’s Day, and sometimes the meal itself is more than enough for the people you love.

What is your favourite Valentine’s Day dish?