The Perfect Valentine’s Day Dinner For 2
We love when love is in the air – don’t you?

This Valentine’s Day, what if you and your loved one cozy up at home and both get in the kitchen? This menu* is easy to follow and will be fun to work together as two chefs, and you will build up that appetite no doubt! Maybe even surprise each other with a special bottle of wine rather than a gift… celebrate your love!

Roast Chicken and Mushrooms
Roast Chicken and Mushrooms with Red Wine Sauce
Reserve a glass of the dry red wine you’ll be drinking with dinner to make the simple sauce for this roast chicken dish that’s meant for two.

Ingredients
2 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (12 to 14 ounces each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound oyster and/or cremini  mushrooms, trimmed ,sliced or torn into pieces
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat; add 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil, then add the chicken, skin-side down, and cook until the skin is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, skin-side up; reserve the skillet.
2. Toss the mushrooms with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper; scatter around the chicken on the baking sheet. Bake until the mushrooms are tender, and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 160 degrees F, about 25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in the reserved skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer, whisking. Add the wine, sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon some of the red wine sauce onto each plate; top with the chicken and mushrooms.

 

Caramelized Pancetta and Fennel Salad
Caramelized Pancetta and Fennel Salad
Salad is always a great place to start; plus, it’s easy, which is exactly what you need when you’re cooking at home. Crispy pancetta gives this salad a pleasant unctuous quality, and a tart red wine vinaigrette balances out the richness with acidity.

Ingredients
1 bulb fennel, halved and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
5 slices pancetta
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces (about 6 to 7 cups) mixed salad greens
Red Wine Vinagrette, recipe follows

Red Wine Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running gradually blend in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, toss together fennel, pancetta, garlic, brown sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the ingredients on the baking sheet in a single layer. Cook until the pancetta is crisp and the fennel is caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, place the salad greens, crumbled pancetta, and caramelized fennel. Toss the salad with the Red Wine Vinaigrette and serve immediately.

 

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Valentine’s Day calls for multiple desserts, preferably with chocolate. End the meal with these chocolate-dipped classics; pretzels add salty nuance and satisfying crunch.

Ingredients
1 cup pretzel rods
1 cup almonds
3 (4-ounce) bars semisweet chocolate, melted (recommended: Valrhona chocolate)
8 long-stemmed strawberries

Directions
Chop pretzels and nuts and place in 2 separate bowls. Chop chocolate.
In a double boiler, melt chocolate until smooth and velvety.
Dip strawberries in chocolate and then in pretzels or nuts.
Place covered strawberries on a 1/2 sheet tray lined with waxed paper. Allow to set at room temperature and serve.

 

*Recipes reprinted from: www.foodnetwork.com