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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Cook Valentine's meal at home

Nothing is more romantic than a home cooked meal for two on Valentine’s Day. I really enjoy cooking that night for my wife, Peggy. I will let her choose the entree, which is usually ribeye steaks. From there, I design a menu to finish out the meal.

Today I will share with you some ideas to complete your Valentine’s Day menu. The appetizer, Lemon-Thyme Shrimp Beggars Purses, is a great finger food. It looks like it should be hanging from a stick being carried by a hobo. The flavor is out of this world. The side dish is Crawfish Mac & Cheese. This dish is always better with crawfish left over from a large boil, but frozen tails also work well. For dessert, I always reach for white chocolate. My White Chocolate Brownie is a play on the traditional chocolate brownie. It’s a great variation. Time to get this romantic meal going! Let’s head to the kitchen!

Lemon-Thyme Shrimp Beggars Purses

8 tablespoons butter, divided

1 pound peeled and deveined fresh shrimp, chopped

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning

3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 (16-ounce) package frozen phyllo dough, thawed

Preheat oven to 400℉. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, lemon zest and juice, thyme, cream and Creole seasoning; cook until shrimp are pink and firm, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in Parmesan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a small pot, melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. On a cutting board, unfold phyllo dough. Brush an even layer of butter on phyllo sheet; remove top sheet, and place on cutting board. Repeat with 5 more pieces, stacking on buttered phyllo. Cut into 4 equal sections, and place about 1 tablespoon shrimp mixture in center of each. Bring long sides together, sealing in filling; crimp remaining phyllo at top. Brush outside of each packet with butter and place on prepared pan. Repeat procedure with remaining phyllo sheets and filling.

Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Serve immediately.

Crawfish Mac & Cheese

1/2 pound elbow macaroni, cooked al denté

2 tablespoons butter

Nonstick cooking spray

1/2 pound cheese cut into small cubes, any cheese will do

1 tablespoon sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup milk

1 cup crawfish tails

Preheat oven to 350℉.

Cook the pasta to al denté., drain, and stir in the butter. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray, and add the pasta. Mix in the cheese, sugar, eggs, milk, and crawfish tails. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the macaroni is bubbly and top is golden brown.

White Chocolate Brownies

6 ounces white baking chocolate , chopped

6 tablespoons butter

2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup chopped Macadamia nuts

2 ounces baking chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease a 8x8x2 inch baking pan or line with foil, set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the 6 ounces white chocolate and the butter. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Cool for 10 minutes. Add eggs and sugar. Beat with a wooden spoon until combined. Add flour and vanilla, stir just until smooth. Stir in macadamia nuts. Spread batter in the prepared baking pan. Bake about 25 minutes or until top is lightly brown. Immediately sprinkle with the 2 ounce white chocolate. Let stand until chocolate is melted; spread over uncut brownies. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into brownies.

The best Valentine’s meal you can cook for someone is their favorite dish. It doesn’t have to be fancy. In my opinion, nothing says I Love You more than cooking and serving someone their favorite meal. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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