With the exception of last year, Ben and I have spent all of our Valentine’s snuggled home together with a home cooked meal and plenty of sparkling cider. Our first year of marriage I can’t remember what we ate, but year two I had a long day at school and didn’t get home till around eight. I walked in to a full love themed meal complete with heart shaped chicken parm, pink mashed potatoes, and a fabulous attempt at a three layered chocolate heart cake.
This year, with a newborn at home, we’re slated for another quiet evening in and I’m looking forward to a little time just the two of us (until the baby wakes up and I wish we had the grandparents here still). As much as I enjoy getting dressed up for a fancy dinner out, there is something wonderfully intimate about a home cooked meal, romantic tunes playing softly in the background, and dancing in the kitchen as you cook together. Plus, you skip the crowds and probably save a penny or two.
Hunt’s sent over a fun little Valentine’s kit and Ben and I had fun putting together a little Valentine’s inspiration spread, perfect for a romantic dinner in. If you’re searching for great dinner ideas, there is always the classic romantic Italian but we opted for something a bit more laid back and cozy with my old family Chili and cornbread recipe. You can scroll down to the bottom for the recipes but here are a few pictures from our fun evening in:
^Every year I love this man more and more, but something about watching him become a dad this past month makes this year an even greater jump
^How darling are these chalkboard placemats? I have a feeling these will be lots of fun to have around 🙂
^With all this snow we’re having we’re a tad bit jealous of these Hunt’s® tomatoes that come from sunny California (they’re canned within hours of being picked)… we’re thinking next year we should plan our California trip for February instead of November as a necessary reprieve from this Ohio winter.
^This little guy is getting so alert and it’s so fun (except when its 4 am, he’s been up for two hours, and those wide eyes indicate sleep is nowhere on the horizon).
^ps. I looked for these Alexia® Foods Facebook (a line of premium, all-natural frozen potatoes, breads and side dishes) sweet potato fries forever and finally found them in the natural/organic freezer section of our Kroger (they’re 98% fat free, 0 grams of trans fats/ 100 calories per serving … who knew?).
^this family cornbread recipe is always a crowd pleaser – growing up I didn’t like Chili but I looked forward to the dinner because I knew we’d get Mom’s cornbread too 🙂
One Pot Chili
What You’ll Need:
- 2 lbs ground beef or ground chicken
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 can Hunt’s diced tomatoes
- 1 can Hunt’s tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp chili powder (more to taste)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 can kidney beans
- 2 cups frozen corn (or 1 can of corn)
What You’ll Do:
- Cook meat over medium high heat
- Combine all ingredients except beans in crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Stir in beans and cook an additional 10-20 minutes.
- Serve warm and garnish with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and chopped peppers (optional).
Mom’s Best Corn Bread:
**I usually half this recipe and bake it in a 9 x 13 pan
What You’ll Need:
- 1 C melted butter
- 2 C buttermilk
- 1 1/4 C corn meal
- 2 3/4 C flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/3 C sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
What You’ll Do:
- Mix all ingredients.
- Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until fully cooked (a fork comes out clean)
Looking for more Valentine’s inspiration? Join @ModerndayMom and @_Penelope for a twitter party today from 1-2 PM EST to win up to $500 in gift cards or check out . Laura in the Kitchen’s YouTube Page for simple, #Vdayin recipes