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A Romantic Dinner for Two

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If you’re hoping to woo your significant other this Valentine’s Day, look no further than this romantic dinner menu from the authors of Our Best Bites. Your special someone is sure to fall even more in love with you—after all, the way to the heart is through the stomach.

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Spinach and Parmesan Mushroom Caps

From Our Best Bites

- 18 large fresh mushrooms, cleaned

- 2 tablespoons butter

- 4 cloves garlic, minced

- ¼ cup finely chopped green onions

- 1 (10-ounce) package spinach

- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

- 1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

- 6 ounces (about 1½ cups) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

- Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Gently twist stems from mushroom caps. Set caps aside and finely chop stems. Melt butter over medium heat. Sauté mushroom stems, garlic, and green onions until tender. Add spinach and cook until wilted and tender. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Stuff mushroom caps with mixture and place on prepared baking sheet. Cook until mushrooms are cooked through and cheese is bubbly, about 8–10 minutes.

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Pesto Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

From Our Best Bites

- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes

- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (about 3 cups)

- 3–4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

- Kosher salt

- Freshly ground black pepper

- 8 ounces farfalle pasta (a little more than 3 cups)

- ¼ cup pine nuts

- ½ cup pesto

- cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425º F. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place tomatoes and mushrooms on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss with your fingers, making sure everything is coated with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook for 12–15 minutes or until tomatoes look plump and some of the skins just start to split.

When the water comes to a boil, add 2 teaspoons kosher salt and pasta, and cook according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, place pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently until nuts turn golden brown and look slightly glossy, about 7–9 minutes. To assemble, toss drained pasta with pesto and Parmesan cheese. Top with tomatoes and mushrooms and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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Pan-Seared Filet Mignon with Garlic Herb Butter

From Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites

- Up to 4 (6-ounce) filets

- 1 slice bacon for each filet (not thick cut)

- Kosher or sea salt

- Freshly ground black pepper

- 1 tablespoon olive oil

- 1 tablespoon butter

Garlic Herb Butter

- ½ cup butter, softened

- ¾ teaspoon pressed or finely minced garlic

- 1½ tablespoons finely minced green onion

- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

- 2–3 cracks freshly ground black pepper

For garlic butter, combine butter, garlic, green onion, parsley, and pepper with a fork and stir until well incorporated. Place butter on a rectangular sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap plastic around butter and gently roll to create a round log shape. Twist ends of plastic wrap to secure. Place in refrigerator to chill until ready to use.

To prepare meat, remove filets from refrigerator and let them rest 20–30 minutes at room temperature. Preheat oven to 400º F. Rinse steaks in cool water and blot dry with paper towels. Wrap a piece of bacon around each steak, trimming if necessary so the ends don’t overlap much, and secure with a toothpick or tie with baker’s twine. Sprinkle each side of steaks generously with salt and pepper.

Heat an 8–10-inch, oven-safe skillet to medium-high heat on stovetop. Use a stainless steel skillet if you have one. Add oil and butter and tilt pan until butter is melted. Place steaks in pan and cook, without moving them, about 2½ minutes. Use tongs to gently turn steaks and cook on remaining side for 2½ minutes. Place skillet in oven and cook until internal temperature reaches 130–135º F, about 5–8 minutes. Leave an oven-safe thermometer in the meat so you can remove steaks at just the right time. This particular cut will taste best when cooked medium rare. Remove steaks from oven and top with a slice of garlic herb butter. Let steaks rest about 3 minutes as butter melts. Serve immediately with more butter, if desired.

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Cream Cheese Filled Strawberries

From Our Best Bites

- 2 pints strawberries

- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

- ¾ cup powdered sugar

- 1 teaspoon almond extract

- ¼ cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips, optional

- ½ teaspoon shortening, optional

Rinse and dry strawberries. Set aside. To prepare filling, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and almond extract with electric mixer on high. When ready to serve, spoon mixture into a decorating bag fitted with a star tip.

Using a sharp knife, cut a strawberry from tip almost to stem in the middle of the strawberry. Make another cut crosswise, creating an “X.” Be careful not to cut all the way through the strawberry. If the strawberry is sitting on its stem, it should flare open. Repeat this step with remaining strawberries.

Using the filled decorating bag, gently pipe cream cheese filling into each strawberry. If desired, place chocolate chips and shortening in a small zip-top bag and microwave for 20–30 seconds or until chocolate is melted. Make sure the top is sealed, and mash bag together to combine melted chocolate with melted shortening. Cut a small corner off the bag and drizzle chocolate over filled strawberries. Immediately place strawberries in freezer or refrigerator to harden the chocolate quickly then serve immediately.

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