Entertaining: 5 Steps to Romance

 In Food, Guide

This Valentine’s Day, skip the dinner reservation and cook up something delicious at home with your sweetheart.

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach—and the same holds true for the ladies. Who doesn’t positively swoon over a well-executed meal whipped up by a cute chef? The Schnucks Cooks have taken the guesswork out of creating a meal that looks as impressive as it tastes. As satisfied as your Valentine will be with this dish, don’t rest on your culinary laurels; take it to the next level by creating a romantic ambiance, and your beloved will be putty in your hands. You’re welcome.

1. Warm & Cozy Dinner

Asparagus Chicken Roulades (Serves 4)

What You Need:
• 1 small lemon
• 1 package (4 ounces) sun-dried tomato and basil goat cheese
• 1/2 cup packed Full Circle fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
• 1 package Schnucks Natural thin sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets (about 1 1/4 pounds)
• 3/4 pound fresh asparagus (preferably thin spears), trimmed
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon Schnucks extra virgin olive oil
• 1/2 cup less-sodium chicken broth

What To Do:
1. From lemon grate 1/2 teaspoon peel and squeeze 1 tablespoon juice. In small bowl, stir goat cheese, basil and lemon peel until well mixed.
2. Spread goat-cheese mixture on bottom (rough side) of chicken breasts. Place 2 to 3 asparagus spears across chicken breast and roll, overlapping ends of chicken slightly; secure ends with wooden pick. Sprinkle roulades with salt and pepper.
3. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add roulades and cook, covered 9 to 11 minutes until golden brown or until chicken loses its pink color throughout and internal temperature reaches 165°F, turning roulades occasionally to
brown all sides. Transfer roulades to serving platter; remove wooden picks. Cover to keep warm.
4. Into same skillet, add broth and lemon juice; heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring to loosen brown bits from bottom of pan. Boil until sauce reduces to desired thickness. Drizzle sauce over chicken to serve.

2. Perfect Pairing
Sparkling wine is for celebrating, so what better time than Valentine’s Day to pop a bottle? For this dish, we recommend Korbel Brut; it’s elegant, has a light, crisp flavor that appeals to most palates and its price won’t break the bank. Korbel Brut pairs well with many proteins, especially chicken. The bright lemon flavors in this chicken dish bring out the sparkler’s lime, strawberry and peach notes, and the wine’s yeasty, vanilla flavors give the sip substance without heaviness ($10.99 at Schnucks through February).

3. Love is in Bloom
A romantic table is incomplete without flowers, and though roses have long been a symbol of love, you’ll want to think beyond the expected. For a unique approach, we like “The Stunning Garden” arrangement from the Schnucks Floral Department. With rich texture and color, this garden-style design sets a very enchanting tone. Hot-pink Spray Roses, green Hydrangeas, Star Gazer Lilies, pink Snapdragons, white Daisies and a lush mixture of foliage are the perfect combination for your intimate interlude.

4. Cue the Music
This year, skip Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” and play a hipper, less clichéd love soundtrack during your V-day dinner. Fresh on the singer-songwriter scene, Marie Digby first found fame virally via YouTube when a live video of her covering Rihanna’s “Umbrella” received more than 5 million views. The beautiful 27-year-old Digby has said she was falling in love as she made her third album, “Breathing Underwater,” and that listeners will feel the intensity of that experience in her music. You can stream some of the album on Myspace or pick it up at Euclid Records.

5. Sweet-Heart
The three little words that can make a good moment great aren’t always “I love you;” sometimes they’re “I have chocolate.” After dinner, bring out a box of chocolate
hearts from Kakao. We adore that this local confectioner makes their treats in small batches and uses fresh cream, real butter, seasonal ingredients and the finest spices, nuts and liqueurs. These velvety, hand-dipped delights are the perfect way to end the night on a sweet note.

Photo courtesy of Schnucks and retail stores

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