Love Feast

A home-cooked meal with a lot of heart.
Love Feast
This Valentine’s, skip the overpriced, overcrowded restaurants (any foodie will tell you it’s the worst night of the year to eat out) and whip up this romantic dinner for two right in your own kitchen. Set the mood with a heart-shaped swirl of sour cream in a smooth red pepper soup. A make-ahead strata and quick, crisp-tender broccoli raab let you spend more time over candlelight and less over a hot stove. Cap off the evening with creamy individual cheesecakes (and why not a glass or tow of bubbly?), and you’ve got a five-star dining experience—minus the wait for a table.

MINI CHEESECAKES WITH MANGO-RASPBERRY SAUCE
Serves 2

These individual cheesecakes wowed us with their simplicity and their flavor. Have both the egg and cream cheese at room temperature before you use them to ensure a smooth texture.

Mango-Raspberry Sauce
1/2 cup frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks, thawed
1/4 cup mango-apricot nectar or orange juice
1 Tbs. sugar

Mini Cheesecakes
6 oz. fat-free or low-fat cream cheese, softened
3 Tbs. fat-free condensed milk
2 Tbs. mango-apricot nectar or orange juice
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 round sugar cookies, such as Pepperidge Farm Sugar Cookies

  1. To make Mango-Raspberry Sauce: Purée all ingredients in blender until smooth,. Strain, and set aside.
  2. To make Mini Cheesecakes: Preheat oven to 325F. Coat 2 6-oz. ramekins with cooking spray. Beat cream cheese with electric beater until smooth. Add condensed milk, and blend until smooth. Add nectar, egg and vanilla, and beat just until smooth.
  3. Set 1 cookie in bottom of each ramekin. Fill ramekins with cream cheese mixture. Place ramekins in 9-inch square ovenproof dish, and add hot water to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Place dish in oven, and bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until just set.
  4. Remove from water bath, and set on cooling rack for 30 minutes. Transfer to refrigerator, and chill 4 hours, or up to 2 days. Serve cheesecakes with Mango-Raspberry Sauce.

PER SERVING: 338 CAL; 19G PROT; 6G TOTAL FAT (2G SAT. FAT); 53G CARB; 122MG CHOL; 560MG SOD; 4G FIBER; 42G SUGARS

ROASTED RED PEPPER AND TOMATO SOUP
Serves 2 – Vegan

Your sweetie will never guess this soup was made with ingredients you already had in your pantry.

1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
12-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup canned, diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 tsp. light brown sugar
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. vegan sour cream

  1. Heat oil in pot over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 minutes, or until softened. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Stir in peppers, tomatoes, sugar and 1 cup water. Simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar. Transfer mixture to blender, and purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Whisk sour cream with 1 tsp. water until smooth. Transfer to small plastic bag. Close bag, and snip small hole in one corner. Ladle soup into bowls. Squeeze sour cream mixture into heart shape in soup, and serve.

PER SERVING: 101 CAL; 2G PROT; 3.5G TOTAL FAT (1G SAT. FAT); 17G CARB; 5MG CHOL; 530MG SOD; 2G FIBER; 11G SUGARS

SPINACH-MUSHROOM STRATA
Serves 2

This entrée can be put together a day ahead and refrigerated—just let it stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.

1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for brushing
8 oz. sliced mushrooms (about 3 cups)
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
1 tsp. chopped thyme
2 Tbs. sherry
5 oz. spinach (about 4 cups)
2 1/2 cups cubed French bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 large egg
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 12-oz. soufflé dishes or 1 9-inch glass pie plate. Heat oil in nonstick skillet over high heat, and add mushrooms. Sauté 5 minutes, or until browned. Add garlic and thyme, and cook 1 minute. Stir in sherry, and cook 1 minute more, or until liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper, and transfer to bowl.
  2. Return pan to high heat. Add spinach and 1 Tbs. water, and cook 1 minute, or until spinach wilts. Season with salt and pepper, and place in colander. Press out all liquid, and chop. Toss spinach and bread with mushrooms.
  3. Whisk broth and egg in small bowl. Pour over bread mixture, and add cheese, stirring until bread has absorbed all liquid. Spoon into prepared baking dishes, and press down lightly. Bake 40 minutes, or until browned and bubbling. Let stand 10 minutes so strata will set, then serve.

PER SERVING: 321 CAL; 18G PROT; 14.5G TOTAL FAT (5G SAT. FAT); 31G CARB; 126MG CHOL; 700MG SOD; 4G FIBER; 3G SUGARS

BROCCOLI RAAB WITH PINE NUTS AND GOLDEN RAISINS
Serves 2 – Vegan

The bitter taste and crunchy texture of broccoli raab—a leafy green that’s a favorite in southern Italy—are the perfect complement to rich, cheesy entrées like Spinach-Mushroom Strata.

3/4 lb. broccoli raab, tough ends and large leaves removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. pine nuts
1 Tbs. golden raisins

  1. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add broccoli raab, and cook 2 minutes, or until bright green. Drain.
  2. Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add broccoli raab to pan, and sauté 2 to 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Stir in pine nuts and raisins, and season with salt.

PER SERVING: 140 CAL; 5G PROT; 10G TOTAL FAT (1G SAT. FAT); 10G CARB; 0MG CHOL; 326MG SOD; 1G FIBER; 5G SUGARS

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comments

I made the roasted red pepper and tomato soup and the mini cheesecakes! Both recipes were a HIT! Thank you so much for posting these fabulous recipes.

Jai C. - 2014-02-18 18:31:18

lots of typos in thus recipe. But looks great...

Lizzy - 2013-02-11 20:04:38