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February 2009 Issue
by Letty Velasco
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For most couples, it has always been a habit to go out for dinner when Valentine's Day comes. However, this practice can be very expensive too, especially when you already have a family to take with you. This is why dinner preparations are also viable options for those who want to save money this Valentine's, and this article can get you started with easy recipes to prepare for your family.

Crock pots are great tools for you to use in preparing Valentine's food. We often use them when we want to make sure that dinner will be ready after coming home late in busy days. But they are great assets for Valentine's also since many times, slow cookers have removable inner pots too that can be served on the table as a stylish dinnerware.

Cooking with a crock pot will also free you up with some quality time with your loved ones during Valentine's Day rather than you spending all your time slaving in the kitchen. There's a vast array of meal ideas for the crock pot too, like roasted chicken or beef roast with vegetables. And the best option of it all is how you can set it to cook slowly or a bit faster depending on the time you have set aside for cooking.

I know that Valentine's Day dinner preparations can be very painful since you ought to spend more time loving than cooking during this day anyways. But for those who are still determined, there's a definite way for you to enjoy more, and that is to make a dish that can be prepared ahead of time or something that just needs to be baked on Valentine's.

With this idea, it's easy to think about making casseroles since they are hands-down the easiest make-ahead food. They can be made using various kinds of meat like pork, beef or chicken, and even your choice of tasty fish, marinated, dressed and wrapped in foil, ready to be baked as a delicious Valentine's food. Just remember though that you are not to add milk or eggs before being ready to cook the casserole, and if you're using cooked meat, cook and slice the meat at February 13 and combine the ingredients by the 14th, which would be the day you'll pop the dish in the oven.

If you're still in a pinch in making a Valentine's food, not wanting to follow the previous two ideas, this one trick I bet will win you over. The trick is to prepare dishes that use only up to five ingredients to make. I know ideas for this one can be quite challenging, but the advantage to this is that you'll save some serious time in food preparation if you have fewer ingredients to think of. Try to make baked foods too. That way, cooking time can be converted to family time when the meal sits quietly inside the oven.

Another advantage to this is because of its simplicity, some old enough family members can also help during Valentine's dinner preparation. This again cuts preparation time, and can be a very fun activity involving family members too. And again, doing prep work the day before can free you up a lot more than you expect.

A great idea that falls into this category involves cooking pasta with some delicious sauce and meat. Good thing about pasta is that the ingredients can be cooked at the same time. Just make sure and be careful that you won't get ahead of yourself and go ruin the meal in the process when you go about cooking all the ingredients simultaneously.

Preparing Valentine's food need not to be painful if you do it right and saves you expenses against eating out. Dinner preparations should not take off your time with your loved ones too, so slaving in the kitchen is definitely not an option. With a little planning and hard work before the event, you can make Valentine's evening a fun and romantic time filled with delights for you and your sweetie.

February 14 is definitely a very perfect day where you can cook some Valentine's food for your special someone. Visit the Food Menu Blog for more tips on how to prepare Valentine's food and other cooking ideas that you will certainly love to share with your family and friends.



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