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Kara’s Sights & Bites: It’s not too late to celebrate Valentine’s Day

By Kara Kimbrough
     There’s a good chance you’re reading this on Valentine’s Day or maybe the weekend following the day when a special meal of some kind is required with your significant other. Even if it’s too late to make a restaurant reservation, there are still a few options left to create a special meal.

First, if you’re on a strict budget, you can always go to Sonic (yes, you read that right). Supposedly Reba McIntire’s post that Sonic’s #1 Cheeseburger would be her last meal on earth if given the chance caused the chain to create a special Sweetheart Meal at a reduced price for this week. Included are a cheeseburger, tater tots and strawberry shake. McIntire has even announced she and her boyfriend will celebrate Valentine’s Day at the fast-food place. I’m not sure if I believe that, but it does make for a great story.

 

If a fast-food burger and fried tots is not your idea of a special meal, there are still quite a few options from which to choose to create a memorable dinner, even at this late date.

 

If you’re newly-married, do what one of my friends did and recreate a romantic dinner enjoyed during your honeymoon. When all else fails, throw a juicy steak on the grill, bake a potato (a fancy one) and pick up a heart-shaped cake from the local bakery or supermarket. Not only it is easy to pull off a special dinner in no time, but there’s less stress and usually a significant cost savings over dining out on one of the most expensive nights (or weekends) of the year.

 

Here are three of my favorite “special occasion” recipes for a steak dinner that won’t disappoint…and who knows, it may become the requested meal of your special person when Valentine’s Day rolls around next year.

 

Valentine’s Night Steaks for Two

Marinate two thick cuts of sirloin (or your favorite cut) steak for several hours (or shorter if you wait until last minute) in the refrigerator with:

1 medium bottle of teriyaki steak sauce

Juice of 2-3 lemons

Salt and pepper to taste

Remove from refrigerator and top with 1-2 tablespoons of butter. Grill or broil to desired level of doneness. Let meat rest before slicing. Recipe doubles easily.

 

Twice-Baked Potatoes for Two

Bake two large baking potatoes. Scoop out inside, leaving a small border of potato around edges. Add to the potato filling:

Small container of French Onion Dip

1-2 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of bacon bits

¼-1/2 cup shredded cheese

Stir well and return to potato skins; top with cheese. Place under the broiler for a few minutes until insides are heated through; don’t overcook.

Kara's Sights & Bites: It's not too late to celebrate Valentine's Day

It’s hard to beat a grilled steak and twice baked potato when it’s time to create a special meal for two.

Air Fryer Mini Chocolate Pudding Cakes

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons baking cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons milk

1-1/2 teaspoons butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons baking cocoa

Whipped topping, optional

Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in the milk, butter and vanilla until smooth. Spoon into 2 lightly greased 4-ounce ramekins. Combine brown sugar and cocoa; sprinkle over batter.

Place ramekins on tray in air-fryer basket. Cook until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, with whipped topping if desired.

 

Kara Kimbrough is a food and travel writer and travel agent from Mississippi.

 

Email her at kkprco@yahoo.com.

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