Thursday, February 11, 2016


House is decorated for Valentine's Day (did I mention I love Valentine's Day?) and my granddaughter is coming over in the morning of VD to make cookies to take home for her family.  I decided better sit down and do my menu.  I had a sweet someone in my doctor's office this week ask me if we were going out and my reply was "no." I certainly understand that it is a lovely day to go to dinner but I don't like crowds and I like cooking a dinner with big love for my hubby - not a chore - we make it fun.
 Mostly old (the Leeds creamware pitcher full of Trader Joe's flowers), the little demitasse cups with votives, my funky pine cone girl with hearts, the sweet Annalee and last years heart wreath - all old but loved.  The lovely clear candle holders with the votive top are new.
See she is a funky little piece and I love her.  This red ribbon with the black and white trim is a favorite and this bow gets packed away with the Valentine things to be brought back year after year.

We were in the Midwest last week and I had the great fortune to mosey down to Atchinson, Kansas with my dear DIL and visit Nell Hill's wonderful store. As she is want to do she had these candlesticks and the votive topper all around one area showing just how versatile they could be - I dropped a red glass votive holder into them for VD but you can use these in so many ways and the candlestick part can be used either way so that the larger round part is either at the top or the bottom.  Neither piece was expensive but they were the third and last airport I was wishing that I had asked them to ship them to me but once I got home with them safe and sound I was happy.
Hubby is a meat and potatoes guy and when I ask what would make him happy it is usually a steak. I picked up a couple of small beef fillets and will pair them soup, salad, asparagus and onions and individual potato gratins. I have discovered that one has to be really careful when looking on the internet for nutrition information.  I was frustrated with the wide range of calories, fat and protein for fillets so I finally found what one ounce of lean (all fat cut off) beef fillet would be.  The answer is for a 6 ounce fillet, 324 cal, 12g fat, and 48g protein.  If you do not trim the fat the calories and fat go way, way up.

For the steak I will brown the steak in a heavy pan in some olive oil and butter (not a lot) adding only salt and pepper.  I will then put the pan in a 350° oven, each steak having an individual thermometer in them and remove them when they reach medium.  Hubby steak is always bigger than mine so mine will come out first - that is OK as they have to rest. They always come out perfect for me - this is my formula.

The asparagus is trimmed and cut into pieces and I dice about half an onion and stir fry in a little butter and olive (little - the butter flavors and the olive oil keeps the milk solids in the butter from burning) just a little salt and pepper - do not overcook.

Green salad with two different kinds of lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, green onions, green pepper, I love the mix from Trader Joe's that has all kinds of green crunchy things so I add that along with some sunflower seeds - homemade buttermilk ranch.

I cook the mushrooms in a little wine with salt and pepper and a little of the Costco bacon bits and pile the mushrooms on the steaks.  If you are not watching your calories go big and add some butter and olive oil.

French Onion Soup Recipe:


·        1 1/2 pounds onions, very thinly sliced

·        2 tablespoons butter

·        1 tablespoon Cognac
·        1/2 cup red wine
·        3 cups beef stock
·        Salt and pepper
·        4 croûtes, for garnish
·        Grated gruyère cheese, for garnish

    Melt the butter in a soup pot and sauté the onions until very soft, at least 20 minutes. Add the Cognac and the wine one minute. Add the stock. Simmer, covered, 45 minutes. Check the seasonings. Ladle into oven-proof soup bowls and set on a baking sheet. Top each with a croûte. Sprinkle the top generously with cheese. Broil until the top is lightly browned.

Note: This is Laura Calder's recipe and is very good but I will cut the recipe in half (the recipe is for four servings) and forego the bread and cheese on top and will instead add some real, grated Parmesan-Reggiano on the top.

Individual Potato Gratin Recipe:

Serves 4-6

Vegetable spray
2 large russet potatoes, roughly peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
2 green onions, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray 8 muffin tins with vegetable spray. Layer potato slices, cheese, and onions into each muffin cup. Season with salt and pepper and top each gratin with 1 or 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, removing the foil halfway through cooking time. Invert gratins onto plate and serve.

I love this simple recipe from Melissa d'Arabian but I am going to make little pots of potatoes and try and make them good but take out the heavy cream and cheese.  If they turn out (fingers crossed) I will post on Tuesday.  This recipe is so easy and good and if you are serving several people, a real time saver.  I do not use Swiss cheese when I make this I use Gruyère . 

Thank you for stopping by.



  2. Just hoping it will be a delish dinner for my Valentine! Happy Valentine's Day Anonymous ❤️ Thank you for stopping by!