Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Dinner Ideas

When you have kids, or if you aren't interested in battling the restaurant crowds this Valentine's Day, then you might want to make a more whimsical dinner for your family on the 14th! Here are two fun ideas to make with your kids.

Heart-Shaped Pizza! You can start with a refrigerated pizza crust, or make one from a mix like we did ... or even make your dough from scratch! Shape it into a large heart on your pizza pan and add sauce and toppings like usual. I love to add in "secret" veggies to the sauce... your family will never know they're eating a veggie pizza!

You can even add strips of pepper on top - red pepper would be particularly appropriate! - and lay it out to shape hearts!! If you cut it so each slice is curved, just two slices together should make a perfect heart! I actually didn't have any peppers on hand to try this, but we did cut our pepperonis into hearts! I just used my kitchen shears and cut a few at a time so it was a quick job and came out great! Molly (4) and Ben (1) both loved helping to make our pizza together, and they ate it up great!

Heart-Shaped Meatloaf! This special dinner has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember! My parents always stayed home with us kids on Valentine's Day and my mom always made her heart-shaped meatloaf. Now it is fun for me to follow in her footsteps and even my husband looks forward to this special meal instead of eating out! Use whatever recipe you want for your meatloaf... but shape it into a heart. My mom and I like to fill the middle of the meatloaf with shredded cheese that will melt into pure deliciousness as the meatloaf bakes! (I also sometimes mix in secret veggies from my food processor.) The "icing on the cake" is to add ketchup to the top of your meatloaf right before you bake it! You can draw hearts or write "I Love You" or "XOXO" for an extra special touch. You can even use food dye to create pink or red mashed potatoes to serve alongside your special meatloaf!

Finally, serve a pink drink with your meal: Cherry 7-Up with extra maraschino cherries or try strawberry milk for a super cute pink milk mustache!

Happy Valentine's Day!

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