There are two weeks until Valentine’s Day and you’re maybe doing one of three things: feverishly swiping on Tinder to find a date, comfortably planning a night-in for you and your dog, or you’re oh so discreetly sending your significant other the Pandora webpage linked to the ring you want. Maybe not the last one, but you have a significant other.
So no matter your stance, you are probably seeking comfort; comfort in every match on Tinder, comfort in your favorite leggings, or comfort looking at your S.O. snort at her own jokes.
What is the pivotal expression of comfort in American culture? Food. It serves us as both mental and physical nourishment…and sometimes as cures for boredom…just me?
To celebrate your holiday, no matter in what capacity, I wanted to design a night compatible with your comforts. You can make Single servings or servings Coupled with your own flame!
1. Mini Heart-y Potpies and Sweetie Heart Pies:
Potpies are basically a hug. Growing up I used to hate chicken potpie. Now I find them to be one of my favorite dishes for comfort, warmth, and also pretty ideal to share with my dog because of all those veggies.
In fact, my Thanksgiving this year was very low-key because much of my family was out of town. My solution? A personal chicken potpie and apple pie. Two of my favorite foods that I refused to feel guilty about on Thanksgiving.
So why not recreate that rustic style dinner for Valentine’s Day with some heart-y flare?
What you’ll need for your Heart-y Pies:
- -Pulled barbecue (pork, beef, or chicken) -Store bought pie crusts (or homemade if you’re feeling ambitious)
- -Any veggies you like with your barbeque (onions, corn, jalapenos, etc.-Heart-shaped cookie cutter (I recommend a good size, about 4- 5 inches in width)
- -Egg wash (whisked egg with a bit of water)-Flour
Directions for your Heart-y Pies:
You can choose to buy your pulled meat from the store or make it on your own. An easy route (though allow yourself enough time) is to use a crockpot. Throw the meat of choice in the crockpot with your favorite BBQ sauce and wait until you can shred it with a fork. Additionally season to your liking.
Flour your cooking surface to lay out your pie crust. Roll it out if needed but keep it relatively thick. Start cutting out your hearts. Make sure every heart is a pair.Take your filling (BBQ meat and selected veggies) and lay some in the middle of half of your heart cutouts. Make sure to put it in the middle of the heart and not too close to the hearts’ edges.
Lay the other half of your hearts atop of the filled hearts. Pinch the corners of your heart “sandwiches” with a fork. They will start resembling little heart pies. Once they are all pressed, brush some egg wash over the tops and edges of your hearts. Poke a few holes in the top heart as well for venting. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes or until your crusts are a golden. Times may vary.
For a Sweetie Heart Pie: Pick any of your favorite pie filling (apple, caramel, raspberry, pumpkin, etc.) and repeat the same process.
2. Vegan Sloppy-Kiss Janes
She has been trying to convince you how much better your body feels on a plant-based, vegan diet. You love her, so want to appease both her health concerns and ethics, but giving up your pulled pork is harder than you thought. This recipe will make both of you happy…so happy you may not even have to get her a Valentine’s gift. (Just kidding, get her one, you love her! Come on, man!).
Have your Valentine’s Day in a simultaneously comforting and healthy meal…that’s almost something that never goes together in comfort foods. While you’ll have to wait until April for its release, The 40- Year- Old Vegan: 75 Recipes to Get You Leaner, Cleaner, and Greener in the Second Half of Life cookbook might be the perfect gift for your vegan love.
What you’ll need for your Sloppy Janes:
- -1 tsp. olive oil -1½ cups red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed and discarded, diced small
- -1½ cups leek, minced, white part only -4 cups Beefy Crumbles by Beyond Meat (available at Target)
- -¼ tsp. garlic powder -3 tbsp. organic brown sugar
- -1 cup organic catsup -2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- -¾ tbsp. salt -Fresh ground black pepper, to taste -5 vegan rolls of your choice
- -Skinny Slaw (Go to 40-Year-Old Vegan for the full recipe)
Directions for your Sloppy Janes:
Heat oil in frying pan. Add red pepper and leek, and sauté until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook on low to medium heat until fully incorporated and warm. Place the mixture on top of the rolls. Top with a generous portion of the Skinny Slaw.
3. Romantic Ribeye
Perhaps you’re feeling a little more fancy or just don’t want to clean that many dishes. You can still achieve that lowlight, Instagram-worthy, rustic meal with a ribeye on the grill.
The Aisle Planner knows not only about Instagram-worthy photos but they know what love looks like. They know what the groom’s face looks like when he catches his first glimpse of his bride; probably much like mine when I see the timer just about to off.
They suggest a “red wine (Schafer Hillside Select) and cook up a simple but a hearty Rib Eye, dusted in Hawaiian Rock Salt, pepper, crushed garlic and olive oil… Cooked hot and fast on the grill for about 6-8 minutes then let to sit for a few and then we pour a mix of melted butter, roasted garlic cloves and thyme. Slice it up nice and thin, serve with a Caprese Salad made with heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella slices drizzled with EVOO and basil vinegar reduction, dusted with sea salt and pepper.”
How to roast garlic:
- -You’ll need a whole head of garlic with the skin-like layer peeled off
- -Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- -Cut off the top of your head of garlic, leaving the tops of your cloves exposed
- -Drizzle some olive oil over your exposed cloves
- -Wrap some foil over the top of your garlic head
- -Bake for about 20-30 minutes until your garlic head is softened
- -Take out the cloves and smash them with your butter and thyme mixture
4. BBQ Pulled Pork and Waffles
When I was a kid, I never ate in bed; well, with the exception of ice cream. I think it’s from watching my best friend eat in her bed and ignorantly leaving crumbs. This is Florida! We have bugs!
While this one is seemingly not for the faint of heart, have no fear, the app SideChef not only has your instructions, but reminders, timers, and videos for support. The hardest part of this recipe will be getting back out of bed to do the dishes.
What you’ll need for your BBQ Pulled Pork Waffles:
- -1 cup Cooked BBQ Pulled Pork
- -0.9 ounce Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- -1 Extra Large Egg -1 cup All Purpose Flour
- -1 cup 2% Milk -2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- -2 Tablespoons Peanut Oil -1 Tablespoon Honey
- -2 teaspoons Baking Powder -1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- -¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
Directions for your BBQ Pulled Pork Waffles:
Sift all-purpose flour, baking powder, and sea salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Heat a saucepan over medium-low heat, pour in 2% milk, unsalted butter, peanut oil, honey, and vanilla extract. Mix until the butter and honey have fully melted, then turn off the heat.
Crack the extra-large egg and carefully separate the egg whites from the yolk. Pour the egg whites into a small mixing bowl and the egg yolk in a medium mixing bowl.Break up the yolk with a whisk, temper the yolk with a small amount of the warmed milk mixture. (You don’t want to scramble it!)
Mix well and slowly pour in the remaining warmed milk mixture as you continue to mix. Use an immersion blender with a whisk attachment to beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients along with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Fold and mix gently with a silicone spatula. Do not over mix. Gently fold in the stiff peak egg whites and let the mixture rest.
When your waffle maker is hot and ready, pour in roughly 1/3 cup of the waffle batter, place cooked BBQ pulled pork (1/3 cup) and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top. Then, pour in roughly 1/4 cup of the waffle batter to cover all the ingredients. Close the lid of your waffle maker and cook for roughly 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the pulled pork savory waffles carefully from the waffle maker and immediately flip it up in the air a few times. This will instantly develop a crisp outer layer. Then serve and enjoy!
5. Cold Brew BBQ Sauce
Most of us are cranky in the morning; even on Valentine’s Day. Wake your Valentine up with some coffee followed those BBQ Pulled Pork Waffles. Might we suggest also making the sauce?
I mean, the brownie points you will receive…or uhh, the barbeque points you’ll receive. Groundwork Coffee Co. wants to fulfill the unconventionality of your relationship and the extra mile you go to show your Valentine just that.
What you’ll need for your Groundwork Cold Brew BBQ Sauce:
- -½ cup packed brown sugar -1 cup ketchup
- -¼ cup balsamic vinegar -1 tsp garlic powered
- -3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce -2 tbsp Sriracha
- -½ tsp Italian seasoning -2/3 cup Groundwork Cold Brew
Method: Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl…that’s it! No cooking needed.
6. Piggy Mac & Cheese
Who are we without our better half? Just someone who openly admits they eat Spaghetti Carbonara by themselves in bed. While there is nothing wrong with that, we usually are stronger together. We complement each other and even your BBQ needs a significant other and what better complements BBQ than some macaroni and some cheese. Talk about a match made in BBQ heaven.
Middle Tennessee’s answer to good BBQ and its suitable match is their Piggy Mac & Cheese at Puckett’s Gro & Restaurant. In fact, “people across the country have had a longtime love affair with this dish.”
What you’ll need for your Piggy Mac & Cheese Dish:
- -1 iron skillet -6 ounces of prepared pulled pork BBQ
- -1 ounce of your favorite BBQ sauce -Piggy Mac ‘n’ Cheese (see recipe below)
- -1/8 cup shredded Gouda cheese -2 tablespoons of Panko or Italian breadcrumbs
- -Green onion for garnish
What you’ll need for your Piggy Mac & Cheese:
- -Elbow pasta -Shredded American cheese
- -1/4 cup of Asiago cheese -1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
- -3 cups of Whole milk -4 tablespoons of butter
- -¾ tablespoon for salt -1/2 tablespoon of white pepper
- -1/4 tablespoon of Cajun spice -1/4 tablespoon granulated garlic
Directions for your Piggy Mac & Cheese:
Cook the elbow pasta until al dente and drain them. Bring your milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Add the butter while slowly adding the American cheese to the milk saucepan. Whisk the cheese as you add it to allow it to melt.
Once the cheese is melted and well incorporated with the milk and butter, start adding your dry spices and continue to whisk. Now pour the cheese mixture over your noodles in either a large bowl or the pot you used to boil them in. Then fold in your Asiago and shredded cheddar.
Directions for Piggy Mac & Cheese Dish:
In your iron skillet, place the prepared pulled pork on the bottom. Then drizzle your barbeque sauce over the pulled pork. Scoop your mac and cheese over the pulled pork. Sprinkle the shredded Gouda over the mac and cheese and then cover it with the breadcrumbs. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 5- 7 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the macaroni begins to bubble. Remove from the oven, garnish with your green onion, and enjoy!
7. Grill-Charred Cabbage Salad
Now, most of us want to look beautiful on Valentine’s Day. Maybe you went out and bought a nice dress that will remind your Valentine just why they fell in love with you in the first place. The catch? You pretty much can’t breathe in it let alone eat some brisket and fries. The solution? Jenny Dorsey’s Grill-Charred Cabbage Salad with Parsley-Tarragon Dressing. That red dress needs a meal that will complement you without fearing any impromptu seam rips…Not to mention the aesthetics of this dish are just as unique as its refreshing flavors.
What you’ll need for your Grill-Charred Cabbage Salad:
- -Green cabbage -Mizuna Japanese greens (can be substituted with arugula for similar peppery taste)
- -Snap peas -Kumquat
- -Jasper Hill Cabot clothbound cheddar (a “savory and slightly tangy” cheddar)
- -Water chestnuts -Blood orange segments
- -Pine nuts -Scallion
- -Micro-flowers for garnish
Directions for your Grill-Charred Cabbage Salad:
Chop and then grill your cabbage until blackened on all sides. Lightly toast the pine nuts. Shave the scallions. Slice open your snap peas, leaving the peas in the pod exposed. Cut your kumquat into small slices. Shave pieces of the cheddar off the block. Finally layer your components. You may garnish your dish with a few edible flowers for added color and romance.
What you’ll need for your Parsley- Tarragon Vinaigrette:
- -59g parsley, leaves -4g garlic -10g tarragon -8g Dijon mustard
- -35g scallion -24g mayonnaise -40g olive oil -26g cilantro
- -8g champagne vinegar -2g sugar -10 grinds black pepper
- -2.5 limes, juiced -35g fish sauce
Directions for your Parsley- Tarragon Vinaigrette:
Use a food scale to accurately measure the grams of each ingredient. Once all combined, gently whisk the ingredients until all are well combined. Add your vinaigrette over your salad however you would prefer. Enjoy!
No matter what your plans are for this Valentine’s Day, there is no doubt these recipes will make the day a little sweeter, tangier and grilltastic! Rather not fire up the grill yourself? That’s ok too! Visit us at Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets, Orlando International Premium Outlets, or Treasure Coast Square Mall. We’ll be your BBQ Valentine’s!