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Time to celebrate Valentine’s Day

It’s hard to beat a grilled steak and twice-baked potato when it’s time to create a special meal for two.

By Kara Kimbrough

It’s time to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the day when a special meal of some kind is required with your significant other. Even if it’s too late to make a restaurant reservation, there are still a few options left to create a special meal.

First, if you’re on a strict budget, you can always go to Sonic (yes, you read that right). Supposedly Reba McEntire’s post that Sonic’s #1 Cheeseburger would be her last meal on Earth if given the chance caused the chain to create a special Sweetheart Meal at a reduced price for this week. Included are a cheeseburger, tater tots, and strawberry shake. McEntire has even announced she and her boyfriend will celebrate Valentine’s Day at the fast-food place. I’m not sure if I believe that, but it does make for a great story.

If a fast-food burger and fried tots are not your idea of a special meal, there are still quite a few options from which to choose to create a memorable dinner, even at this late date.

If you’re newly-married, do what one of my friends did and recreate a romantic dinner enjoyed during your honeymoon. When all else fails, throw a juicy steak on the grill, bake a potato (a fancy one), and pick up a heart-shaped cake from the local bakery or supermarket. Not only it is easy to pull off a special dinner in no time, but there’s less stress and usually a significant cost savings over dining out on one of the most expensive nights (or weekends) of the year.

Here are three of my favorite “special occasion” recipes for a steak dinner that won’t disappoint…and who knows, it may become the requested meal of your special person when Valentine’s Day rolls around next year.

Kara Kimbrough is a food and travel writer and travel agent from Mississippi. Email her at kkprco@yahoo.com.


Valentine’s Night Steaks for Two

Marinate two thick cuts of sirloin (or your favorite cut) steak for several hours (or shorter if you wait until last minute) in the refrigerator with:

1 medium bottle of teriyaki steak sauce

Juice of 2-3 lemons

Salt and pepper to taste

Remove from refrigerator and top with 1-2 tablespoons of butter. Grill or broil to desired level of doneness. Let meat rest before slicing. Recipe doubles easily.


Twice-Baked Potatoes for Two

Bake two large baking potatoes. Scoop out inside, leaving a small border of potato around edges. Add to the potato filling:

Small container of French Onion Dip

1-2 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of bacon bits

1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheese

Stir well and return to potato skins; top with cheese. Place under the broiler for a few minutes until insides are heated through; don’t overcook.


Air Fryer Mini Chocolate Pudding Cakes

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons baking cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons milk

1-1/2 teaspoons butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons baking cocoa

Whipped topping, optional

Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the milk, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Spoon into 2 lightly-greased 4-ounce ramekins. Combine brown sugar and cocoa; sprinkle over batter.

Place ramekins on tray in air-fryer basket. Cook until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, with whipped topping if desired.