Friday, February 4, 2011

Valentine's Day Candlelight Menu for Less Than $10

Valentine's Day Candlelight Menu for Less Than $10
by Jill Cooper

It's almost Valentine's Day! Today we're including a menu for a romantic candlelight dinner for two (or if you can't find a babysitter, for 4, 5, or 6).

On Valentine's Day our thoughts always turn to love, of course. Here is a verse I have always liked:
Proverbs 15:16-17. "Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil. Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred." (For those of you who might be a little confused today, that isn't saying that the only way to find true love is to become a vegetarian!)

We live in a society where we put too much importance on having wealth, even if it comes at the cost of our relationships at home. Sadly, this is true in Christian homes too. Just this weekend my 9 year old granddaughter asked me, "Why do those people talk so mean to each other if they go to church?" Out of the mouths of babes. It's something to think about.

You may not be able to serve the most expensive meal or go to an expensive restaurant but, even so, you can make any meal special. Fill the room with yummy smells coming from the kitchen. Add some candles, a nice tablecloth and your best dishes (for some of us, that is anything other than paper plates HA! HA!) and you're all set.

We often get so focused on the things "to buy" to make ourselves happy that we forget the little things we can do that cost nothing. One of those things is looking our very best for our spouse.

We dress to the nines for others, whether we're going to church, work or a party but half the time we look like "something the cat dragged in" at home. Keep the romance alive every day -- not just on Valentine's Day. Get up, comb your hair, put on your makeup and get out of your sweats. You thought nothing of getting dressed every day when you went to work or school, so surely you can do it for your spouse, too.

I know it's work, but marriage doesn't just happen. A good marriage takes as much effort as you would put into any other job and even more because this is one job that you don't want to lose.

Even though you'll hopefully be looking good enough to eat, here is a mouthwatering menu to start off a lovely, special evening.

Mushroom Chicken
Baked Potato
Tossed Salad
Herbed Tomatoes
Crusty French Bread
French Cherry Pie

Mushroom Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
Flatten chicken to 1/4 inch thickness. Coat chicken with flour by placing both chicken and flour in a plastic bag and shaking. In a skillet, brown chicken on both sides in 2 Tbsp. of the butter. Place in a greased baking dish (about 11 x 7 x 2 inches). In the same skillet, add remaining butter and saute the mushrooms. When tender, add broth, salt and pepper. Boil for 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup. Pour over chicken and bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheeses and onions and bake 5 minutes longer or until chicken juices run clear.

Herbed Tomatoes
3 large firm tomatoes, halved
sugar, salt and pepper
1 1/2 tsp. sweet basil
About an hour before serving, sprinkle tomatoes with sugar, salt, pepper and basil.
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
3 Tbsp. bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, crushed
Crush garlic into butter and cook 2 minutes. Sprinkle bread crumbs over tomatoes. Add 1 tsp. of melted garlic butter on top of those. Broil until tops are brown, watching carefully.

French Cherry Pie
1 cup cold milk
1 (3 3/4 oz.) package instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked and cooled (You could use a graham cracker crust.)
1 can cherry pie filling
Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl and beat about 1 minute. Pour into pie shell and chill for 2 hours. Serve, spooning pie filling over each serving.

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt, by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit


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