Family Valentine's Day Menu
Don't pretend that you didn't know all that romance stuff was eventually going to bring on several demanding little mouths to feed. Within their first few weeks they are sitting in a high-chair like a baby chick just waiting for you to cram food in their mouths. They will eat anything, including a bug that happens to be crawling near by if only they can catch it. And then they turn into toddlers, and rambunctious boys and girls, and finally sullen teenagers. As they grope their way to adulthood they get more and more picky. So now you have to come up with a menu geared to satisfy the munchkins as well as the fondly loving spouse who would enjoy nothing more than an evening alone with you.
Holiday Cook is here to solve your problem. We put together a menu and recipes geared for the whole family and sure to become a Valentine's Day tradition (at least until you can kick the last food eating machine out of the house). This meal is as simple as spaghetti with meat balls, but with a twist. The meat balls are made in the shape of hearts. This is so easy because you can go with meat sauce from a jar or try our own special Valentine's Day sauce.
Your options for a vegetable to serve with the main course are wide and varied, but steamed brocolli is an excellent choice. Grate some cheddar cheese to sprinkle on the hot broccoli for those so inclined. For salad get some chopped romain for a Caesar, but have some baby carrots on the side. With these you can have an old fashioned carrot crunching contest. Have Dad or Mom be the judge and see who can make their carrot crunch the loudest. A bit of Ranch dressing or dip on the side wouldn't hurt. Finally a nice loaf of homemade bread would certainly be appreciated.
Kids are inclined to think of sweet foods as the soul and essence of Valentine's Day. It is here that the main effort for the meal should be expended. The Valentine's Day cake delivers the sweet, fuity, light-hearted culmination to the family Valentine's Day celebration. Even so, it will be a heart rending act cutting into this cute little cake.
With this entire menu, it is entirely possible to get the kids involved in the preparations. Forming hearts out of hamburger, sprinkling spices into sauces, and stirring, or pouring are all activities children love to do, especially if they are under the illusion that they are actually helping. But another fun aspect of Valentine's Day is decorating for the occasion. A fun idea is to have them make decorated namecards for the place settings. Depending on the ages of the children, candles may be dangerous, but twisted red and white crepe paper draped judiciously or copiously here and there will give a festive atmosphere to the meal. A couple of balloons hanging over the table (above eye level) is a nice touch.
During the meal, it might also be a fun activity for Mom and Dad to relate a story about how they met. Kids are fascinated by stories from before they were born about the lives of their parents. Generally, the better planned an event, the more successful it will be. If there are going to be many children present, it might also be wise to investigate party games for children. With good food, simple decorations, and a few thoughtful gestures, Valentine's Dinner can be an enjoyable event for everyone.