The Good Life
with a Southern Drawl

5 Valentine’s Day Meal Ideas

By Amy Bailey — February 09, 2016

Oh Valentine’s Day, a day when we are pressed by the media and retail to spend money on flowers, dinner out, candy, and teddy bears. What if instead we opted out of the rose exchange and dinner prepared at a restaurant for a cozy evening in with the one we love. Enjoy an intimate night at home, light a fire since it is so cold, put on an apron with just high heels or snuggle up in your favorite pajamas, and try one of these 5 meals with your loved one:

oysters1. Oysters – Oh what a wonderful time to enjoy oysters, with the weather cold so are the oysters and that makes them extra yummy. Find these raw bivalves at your local seafood market. If you want to make a casual party of it, grab some beer and get cozy in the kitchen shucking oysters. If you want a more romantic night with these little aphrodisiacs shuck in advance and serve in iced trays along with horseradish, cocktail sauce, and hot sauce. Learn more about oysters and the best places to eat them in the United States click here

meatballsbacongrease2. Marinara Sauce With Meatballs Cooked in Bacon Grease – For a hearty one pot dish, do it ‘Lady and The Tramp’ style with a big pot of delicious pasta and meatballs. I’ve been cooking marinara sauce since I was 10 years old. I mostly knew my mom’s recipe which called for tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, seasonings and ground beef. I also was taught by my stepgrandfather whose marinara sauce was a favorite among the grandchildren. He only used Italian imported tomato sauce, made homemade meatballs and threw in Italian sausage. He also preferred penne pasta which would catch big pockets of sauce with each bite. When my husband and I were first married this was one dish we cooked every week, but instead of doing meatballs we kept it simple with sauteed ground beef. When my daughter was 3, I decided to start making meatballs because I thought it would be a great activity to get her involved in the kitchen. That was 3 years ago, get the recipe here

searedscallops3. Seared Scallops – Anyone who has ever cooked scallops knows there is quite a science to achieving that perfect golden brown color on the top and bottom while keeping these little creatures from over cooking. These yummy gifts from the sea are full of lean protein which means they have to be cooked quickly and not over done or they will lose their flavor. So before you bring out the saute pan and then end up with scallops that are too pale or overcooked here are some tips we have learned over the years:

panfried4. Pan Fried Filet In A Cast Iron Skillet – With the weather bitter cold, take your steak to the stove. My husband and I have discovered a delightfully easy and extremely delicious way to enjoy our filets – pan fried in a cast iron skillet. Like so many restaurants, this is the best way to get the most flavor out of your steak and to achieve that beautiful crispy outside. Let your grill take a winter vacation and move over Big Green Egg – grandma’s cast iron skillet is taking over. Recipe here

ceviche5. Ceviche – Make a delicious, light meal in advance like ceviche so you have plenty of time to relax and look into each others’ eyes. Winter is an incredible time to fish, enjoy freshly harvested scallops and inshore shrimp, and is known for the best lobsters, which means there is still plenty of peak time for enjoying ceviche. The key ingredient – fresh seafood, if you have that then you have the makings of one of the best meals of your life. And guess what you do not even have to cook it – that’s right the citrus of the lime juice does it for you. Here is my recipe for ceviche which combines fish and shrimp for an out of this world meal packed with all sorts of nutrients and goodness, get the recipe here