Wednesday, February 15, 2012

... every day should be "hearts" day :)

... although - - the amount of sweets that I consumed yesterday would certainly be a downfall!

I double-love Valentine's Day! I know that some say it's just for kids ... or that it is a "Hallmark-created and commercialized" event ... but I simply adore it :) It's a day that I put all other commitments or chores to the back burner and completely focus on my loved ones. Decorating the house ...

cooking and baking, and even a planned game to celebrate this gift called, "LOVE."

Our dinner menu was ...

Lovey Dovey Meatloaf, Tuxedo Mac & "You're Sweet" Sugar Snap Peas

Lovey Dovey Meatloaf

1 1/2 lbs. ground venison (or beef)

1/2 packet of Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix (dry)

1 egg

1/2 sleeve of Ritz crackers

1 dash of soy sauce

3 T. Heinz ketchup

A smidge of EVOO to coat pan if using stainless steel.

Mix together above-listed ingredients in bowl. Gather mixture together and make into a ball, tossing it a few times to firm form. Press down on wax paper to 1 inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to create hearts. Set aside.

Heat a smidge of olive oil in pan on med. heat until a sprinkle of water sizzles. Place hearts in pan and brown on both sides.

Meanwhile, mix sauce together and set aside.


1 can Campbell's tomato soup

1/2 can water

1/4 c. brown sugar

Once hearts are browned on both sides, pour sauce over and cook on low for 25 minutes.

Recipe makes approx. 10-12 hearts

Tuxedo Mac

1 lb. box of bow tie pasta, boiled in salted water/drained

1 lb. Land O' Lakes American Cheese, divided in half

1/4 c. butter

2. c. milk (I use super skim)

2 T. flour

1 t. ground mustard

1/4 t. ground pepper

1 c. bread crumbs or crushed croutons

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Boil pasta for 1 minute less than package directs. Drain, cover with dish towel and set aside.

In medium saucepan, melt butter fully, then add flour, mustard and pepper. Whisk together, cooking for approx. 2 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking as you are pouring. Allow mixture to heat for a few minutes. Slowly add 1/2 cheese by breaking slices into smaller pieces and whisking together.

Once mixture is creamy and smooth, place one layer of pasta in a 9x13 pan. Place four slices of cheese on top of pasta, and pour 1/2 cheese sauce over entire dish. Create another layer by placing the remaining pasta and cheese on top, and covering it with remaining sauce. Sprinkle bread crumbs/croutons on top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and broil on high a few minutes until top turns golden brown. Serve immediately.

After dinner, I had a surprise for everyone ... even my hubby! Beneath their plates were clues that began their hunt for Valentine's treats :)After five rounds of clues each ... treats & cards were found :) My son was the first to find his Valentines ... and then helped his sister and dad! Who knew he was so clever?! If you are ever planning a scavenger hunt and need ideas for riddles, click on this site!! It was a life savor! You can tweek the riddles depending upon the age of your players.

Finally, our evening ended (the same way my day began - only in the form of a cupcake!) ... with something sweet :)I call it ...

Luscious Hugs & Berry Kisses

Betty Crocker Brownie Mix (doubled for 9x13)
Turkey Hill French Vanilla Ice Cream
and ...
"Berry Hearts of Mine" Compote

2 c. sliced strawberries

1/4 granulated sugar

2 T. corn starch

Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

Mix ingredients in medium saucepan over low/medium heat until sauce thickens. It's that simple! :)

I hope that you all enjoyed time with those you love and hold dear, as well as a little something sweet to toast to the day.

Life in abundance comes only through great love.

~Elbert Hubbard