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Valentine Cooking Tips!

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Valentine Cooking Tips! General Mills

Fondue, a Chocolate Martini - A Month for Love & Cooking Tips! - Here are a few tips on how to make a valentines meal a bit special.

With everyone working on a budget these days the first tip would be to keep it simple. Well, that applies to a Romantic dinner for two. When it comes to things such as diamond rings this chef relies on a jeweler.

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Simple is the ticket! That's my big tip during the month for lovers. Do you want to impress your dinner partner? Great, but that does not mean picking a dish that requires you spending all of your time in the kitchen. Nothing says love like waiting for hours while food is cooking. Keep it quick and simple.

Keep it fresh. This applies on two levels, fresh foods and a fresh recipe. Avoid bland frozen items and choose a dish that is not something the two of you would eat on a regular basis. If every Tuesday and Thursday is soup night, then soup would not be the best choice.

Something Different: As mentioned above - keep it fresh! Which can mean trying something different. One dish that instanly comes to mind is Fondue. What's great about Fondue is that you can make it a meal, 

Comfort Zone! But try to stay in both of your comfort zones. This is not the time to try an exotic recipe for the first time. One, make sure you can cook the dish. Don't pick something that takes more skill than you can muster, or time than you can dedicate to it. Two, don't go crazy on something that neither one of you would really enjoy or eat even when losing a bet.

Budget: Make a budget stick to it, and enjoy the results. One, the eye on cost keeps your bank account happy and it may also limit the amount of food you chose to cook, which is good! Dishes are smaller, everything is easier, cooking time is reduced and both of you are more likely to enjoy each other's company more if you don't feel the need for a nap after dinner. And by nap, I mean catching some shut eye to sleep off over eating.

In short, make it simple, realistic and something you know you can cook but don't all of the time then try to add a twist. And even if you just whip up a regular favorite for dinner, which is fine, add something special and fun. The picture is of a quick Chocolate Lovers Martini. Hot cocoa, dash of French vanilla creamer with chocolate vodka all served warm with strawberries and chocolate dipping sauce.

Oh, save the dishes for later!

Kent & Ally's Chocolate Martini

  • 2 shot's Chocolate flavored Vodka
  • 3 Packs hot cocoa mix
  • Water or Milk as described on package
  • Marshmallows
  • Vanilla coffee creamer if desired.

Directions: Cook your hot chocolate as described on the packages - enough for THREE servings, then add vodka, stir and garnish with marshmallows. Makes four servings. Serve warm 


Chocolate Fondue

Here's the quick and easy version of a Chocolate Fondue courtesy of General Mills!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips (about 4 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • Assorted fresh fruit (strawberries, bananas, and pineapple) marshmallows, brownies, as desired

Directions - Melt milk chocolate and caramel in a double boiler until melted. Pour into a fondue pot or a serving bowl. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top. For dipping into the chocolate use cut fresh fruit (strawberries, bananas, and pineapple), marshmallows, and cubed brownies, cheesecake, and pound cake.

- This article originally appeared on Chattanoogan.com 

Kent Whitaker

Kent Whitaker, also known as "The Deck Chef," is a culinary writer and cookbook author. He's also penned Young Reader and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motorsports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill.

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