Spreading the LOVE

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I love dinner parties and Valentine’s Day (or somewhere around then) is a great time to spread the love amongst your friends. Over the years I’ve gathered a considerable amount of Valentine’s decor (I have to admit I’m up to 4 boxes!) and it’s fun to pull out all those red, pink and white decorations to enhance the dinner table. Let’s face it – dining out on Valentine’s is busy, expensive, and not as intimate as you can make it in your own home. Hope this post might inspire you to plan a celebration of your own this year!

Planning the dinner is almost as much fun as hosting it! A group of 6 to 10 is ideal; larger groups are great too, but you’ll find yourself pretty busy. I try to do as much prep in advance. For this Valentine’s party, I was able to prep much of the salad, soup, and main course in advance. Of course there are the last minute things to do such as cooking the veggies and plating the food, but having all your dishes ready to go is key to a more relaxed evening.

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Seafood Avocado Salad

This salad is quite easy to make and people love it! Mix equal amounts of sour cream and mayonnaisse with about 3 Tbsp. of seafood sauce. Add a shot of Tabasco & 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce; add curry powder (about 1 tsp.) chopped parsley and then mix in shrimp and crab meat. Serve over butter lettuce and accompany with avocado slices. Yum!

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Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vents

Our appetizers were Tortellini soup and Seafood Avocado salad, so a lighter dinner worked well. The Vol-au-vent shells can be purchased at most grocery stores and the chicken and mushroom sauce can be made in advance.

Chicken & Mushroom Vol-Au-Vents

Chop about 2 cups of mushrooms and fry in 3 Tbsp. butter. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup flour. Add 2 cups chicken stock and 1/4 cup white wine. Return to heat and stir until thickened. Add 1/4-1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 2 tsp. lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley. Add 2 1/2 to 3 cups of cooked chicken and heat for 5 – 8 minutes. Before serving add 1/2 heavy cream; heat and serve over vol-au-vents. Serve with vegetables.

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Easy no-bake Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce

This is such an easy dessert to make and less rich than a baked cheesecake. A tasty and refreshing way to finish off a meal!

Easy No-bake Cheesecake

Whip 500 ml of heavy cream with 2/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp. lemon juice & 1 tsp. vanilla. Add 1 cup cream cheese; beat well. Pour over a prepared graham wafer crust and freeze until needed. I usually remove the cheesecake from the freezer about 2-3 hours before serving (leave in fridge). Let sit on counter 15-20 minutes before cutting. Serve with strawberry (or other fruit) sauce.

Happy Valentine’s Day – hope yours is special!

 

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