Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Valentine's Day Dinner Recipes ~ Julie Lence


February is upon us, and if you’re like me and most of the country, you’re wondering what to do for Valentine’s Day this year. Many years ago, hubby and I were big on fans of the Valentine’s Day traditions; roses, cards, going out to dinner. But as we aged, our enthusiasm for Valentine’s day waned. The roses were the 1st to go. They don’t last long, so in place of the red petals, he brings home a  bouquet of mixed flowers, and usually a day or two before Valentine’s Day. Cards were nixed a few years back, too. (It was kiddo, who, when searching for a birthday card for hubby, became aggravated when he couldn’t find a nice one and did the math, showing how much we spent each year on cards for all occasions, then pointed out they all landed in the trash. Hence, we adopted a new tradition of not buying cards for any occasion and it’s worked out pretty well.) Lastly, several years back, I grew tired of the crowds and hurriedness of Valentine’s Day dinner in a restaurant and decided I’d rather cook something special at home, and when I say cook, I mean hubby cooks. (He’s a better chef than me!) So, if you’re like us and plan to have dinner at home, here are a few recipes I pulled from the internet to make your night special Enjoy!

(Please note I have not made any of these dishes, so I cannot comment on the taste.)

White Wine Coq Au Vin
Country Living 

White Wine Coq Au Vin


2 tsp. olive oil

4 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. cremini mushrooms, quartered

2 medium onions, chopped

2 leeks (white and light green parts only), halved and sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 (750-milliliter) bottle dry white wine

1/2 c. chicken stock

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

6 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

1/4 c. fresh tarragon, chopped



Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook, skin side down, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to plate. 

Increase heat to medium-high. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add onions, leeks, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown and tender, 8 to 9 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Gradually add wine, stirring constantly. Add stock, mustard, thyme, and bay leaves; bring to a simmer. 

Return pancetta and chicken (skin sides up) to pot; cover and transfer to oven. Cook until chicken is fork-tender and cooked through, 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Discard thyme and bay leaves. Serve topped with tarragon


Strip Steak w/ Lemon Mashed Potatoes
Country Living 

Strip Steak with Lemon Mashed Potatoes


1 1/2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 c. fresh or frozen peas

2 tsp. lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons juice

3 tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 (3/4-inch-thick) strip steaks (about 1 1/2 pounds total)

2 small shallots, thinly sliced

1/2 c. dry white wine

1 1/2 tbsp.

unsalted butter



Preheat oven to 425°F. Place potatoes in a large pot; cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 15 to 18 minutes, adding peas during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and return vegetables to the pot. Add lemon zest and juice and 2 tablespoons oil; mash. Season with salt and pepper. 

Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper. Cook to desired degree of doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing; reserve skillet. 

Reduce heat to medium. Add shallots to reserved skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Add wine and 1/4 cup water. Cook, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, until liquid is reduced by half, 4 to 6 minutes; remove from heat. Add butter and swirl pan to melt; stir in juices from cutting board. Season with salt and pepper. Serve steak topped with sauce and potatoes alongside.


Sweet & Smokey Salmon
Country Living 

Sweet-and-Smoky Cedar-Planked Salmon


2 tbsp. light brown sugar

2 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. grated lemon zest 

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 2 1/2-pound skin-on salmon fillet



Soak a large cedar grilling plank (about 15 inches by 7 inches) in water, 1 to 2 hours.

Heat grill to medium. Combine sugar, paprika, lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a bowl. Season salmon with salt and rub spice mixture all over flesh side. 

Place salmon on soaked plank, skin side down. Grill, covered, to desired doneness, 25 to 28 minutes for medium.


Pork Roast w/ Dried Fruits
Country Living 

Pork Roast with Dried Fruit and Fresh Herbs


1 c. dried figs

1 c. dried apricots

1 c. dried cherries

2 1/2 c. dry red wine

3 stick cinnamon

2 1/2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. Fresh ground black pepper

2 clove garlic

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3 1/2 lb. boneless pork loin roast



Heat oven to 500 degrees. Bring the dried fruit, wine, and cinnamon sticks to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Drain the fruit, discarding the cinnamon sticks. Toss the rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic together and rub 2 tablespoons of the mixture on the inside of the roast. Layer with the steeped fruit and roll the roast tightly into a log. Tie with butchers twine. Rub the outside of roast with oil and the remaining rosemary mixture and place on a rack set in a roasting pan. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and roast until temperature reaches 155 degrees, about 1 hour. Allow pork to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

*** For more recipes, here is the link to Country Living: 


Shanna Hatfield said...

Yummy recipes! Thank you for sharing!

Patti Sherry-Crews said...

I want all this food now! Looks so good. I'm especially going to want to try the lemon mashed potatoes. I agree with you on the cards. They've gotten so expensive and then you feel guilty throwing them out. I reserve cards for people I can't see in person. Thanks for the recipes and have a happy Valentines Day!

Julie Lence said...

Hi Patti & Shanna: Glad you both enjoyed. I would like to try the pork with the fruit, but hubby and kiddo are so fussy I know they wouldn't go for it. I have to ease them into new things that really aren't new slowly. Hugs!

Kristy McCaffrey said...

These all sound delicious! Thanks for sharing, Julie.