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The struggle to impress your loved one this Valentine's Day can be taxing. It can be stressful for you to make sure that they are happy on this special day, or not. Regardless, you can never go wrong with these five easy and delicious recipes. Cook up a perfect day for you loved and with these items on their plate they will love you a tad bit more, I'm telling from experience:
1. Tofu Stir Fry
I learnt how to cook this one during the first week of college. Tofu can be amazingly tasty if cooked right. It works perfectly in a stir-fry and equally well in soups and stews. Stir-fries are like salads: you can put almost whatever in it and it will be a quick, healthy, delish meal. I’ve put in my favourite veggies into this recipe, but please feel free to substitute whatever hearty vegetables you have on hand.
1 (400 gram) block extra-firm tofu, fresh or frozen and defrosted
1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. cornstarch
FOR STIR FRY
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. freshly minced ginger
300-gram string beans, trimmed
2 small carrots, sliced
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 c. water
2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
In a medium pot of salted boiling water, simmer tofu for 2 minutes. If using frozen tofu, simmer until completely defrosted. Remove from heat and let drain in a colander lined with paper towels. When cool enough to handle, gently squeeze and pat dry. If using frozen tofu, use firmer pressure to squeeze out water.
Cut tofu into bite-sized pieces, then toss together with soy sauce, sesame oil, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Once liquids are absorbed, toss tofu with cornstarch.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add tofu and let cook until golden on all sides, turning occasionally, 7 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from skillet and set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil and add in garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in string beans, carrots, broccoli, red pepper, and green onions. Cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, sesame oil, water, brown sugar, and cornstarch. Return tofu to skillet and add sauce mixture to pan. Stir and cook until slightly thickened, 2 minutes.
2. White Chilli Chicken
This chicken recipe is for the hearty ones. You can replace the protein with other options if you want. This easy to cook chicken recipe will make your dinner table smell like pure love cooked into a dish. The beans balance out the chilli to make this dinner everyone's favourite.
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 (500 gram) cans green chillies
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thirds
5 c. chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper
2 (500 gram) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
1/2 c. sour cream
Freshly chopped cilantro or coriander leaves, for garnish
1/4 c. shredded Monterey jack (optional)
1/4 c. crushed tortilla chips
In a large pot, over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and jalapeño and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and cumin and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add green chilies, chicken, and broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 10 to 12 minutes, until chicken is tender and cooked through.
Transfer chicken to a plate and shred with two forks. Return to pot and add white beans and corn. Bring to a simmer and let cook, 10 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in sour cream.
Ladle chillies into bowls and garnish with cilantro, cheese, and chips before serving.
3. Easy Pies
Love pies but don't have time to bake? Here's a quick and easy recipe for making a delicious three-ingredient homemade filling for purchased soft cookies.
1/2 of 300-gram cream cheese or fluffy cream, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 of a 200-gram jar marshmallow creme or Nutella
12 soft chocolate cookies or your favourite soft cookies
For filling, in a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until smooth and fluffy or just a spoon or a hand-held mixer. Fold in marshmallow creme.
Spread filling on bottoms of half of the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies, bottom sides down. For firmer filling, wrap and chill about 2 hours before serving.
If you like peanut butter, Prepare as directed, except substitute 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter for the butter and use soft peanut butter or sugar cookies
4. Cakey Pineapple Sundaes
Want a beautiful and elegant dessert without all the hassle, here is a recipe I found on the internet when I ended up having a lot of leftover cake from my birthday. This is perfect for people who love pineapples, but you can replace it with almost any fruit.
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped pineapple or canned pineapple tidbits (juice pack), drained
500 ml of vanilla ice cream
1/4 of a 200-gram loaf frozen pound cake, thawed and coarsely crumbled and, if desired, toasted
5. Maraschino cherries with stems
In a small heavy pan5, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, honey and cinnamon. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Add pineapple. Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes more or until heated through. Remove from heat.
Scoop ice cream into four dishes. Top with crumbled cake, warm pineapple mixture, whipped cream and a cherry. Serve immediately.
6. Rose Petal Vodka
If you are feeling a little too adventurous tonight make this concoction of love and poison.
Add rose petals from two or three flowers to an ice tray, cover halfway with distilled water, and freeze for a few hours. Remove the half frozen ice cubes from the freezer, fill the remaining with distilled water, and put the tray back in the freezer. This will allow your roses to be in the centre of your ice cubes. Place 3 or 4 ice cubes into a tumbler glass, and pour the vodka over the top. Serve with fresh rose petals.
So, don't stress, take a chill pill and make one or all of these delicious dishes so that you can put your love out on the table. All the best!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jishnu Bandyopadhyay is an artist, a designer and writer based in Bangalore, India. When not drowning in a pool of coffee, he loves meeting new people, reading books and watching films. You can find him on iamjishnu.blog or on Instagram @thedesignateddesigner
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