Easy recipes for Valentine’s Day

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to make a big hullabaloo about Valentine’s Day (read: expensive restaurant meals and price-jacked flowers), but would rather mark the day more quietly at home…
  1. I totally hear you (I’m the same way)!
  2. Have I got a few recipes for you!
I made these recipes last weekend when we had a friend over for dinner as a pre- “thank you” for house- and dog-sitting this weekend. They were both easy and fabulous, and it occurred to me that they felt special enough for a romantic dinner at home. I served the entree with Tuscan kale braised in olive oil and minced garlic, finished with a touch of salt and balsamic vinegar, and oven-roasted purple potatoes tossed (before roasting) in olive oil, salt and granulated garlic.

Puttanesca-Style Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 5-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
freshly ground black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup sliced pitted Kalamata olives
1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

Method

  1. Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Add olive oil to skillet and swirl to coat. Add chicken breasts and cook until well browned, about 6 minutes. (If they are sticking, allow them to cook a bit longer before turning…they will release from the pan surface when they are browned enough).
  3. Flip the chicken breasts over and cook the other side until well browned, about 5 more minutes. (You can check for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the center of one breast. It should register 165 degrees F). Transfer the cooked breasts to a plate.
  4. Melt the butter in the same skillet, then add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir briefly (about 20 seconds) to release the aromas.
  5. Add the olives and capers to the skillet, then dump in the tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits.
  6. Turn the heat down to low and simmer the sauce slowly until it has thickened a little, about 3 minutes. 
  7. Return the chicken breasts to the skillet, along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Cook for about 2 minutes to allow the breasts to just warm through.

Margaret Fox’s Amazon Chocolate Cake

When I saw this recipe on FOOD52, it was do deceptively simple I at first thought it couldn’t be all that great. But the picture looked awfully yummy, and I figured they wouldn’t call it a “go-to” cake for all occasions if it wasn’t worthy, right? It was super easy, and super yummy, and vegan to boot! The best part? Odds are you have all the ingredients in your pantry right now!

You can access the recipe directly on the FOOD52 site.