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A Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu for the Whole Family

By Carolyn Malcoun, February 6, 2016 - 2:09pm

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My husband, Dan, actually likes Valentine’s Day, the Hallmark holiday of holidays. Flowers, cute cards, a little gift, a fancy dinner out or one made together at home (with plenty of good wine, of course). And maybe a back rub while we’re binge-watching Netflix, if I’m lucky.

But now we have an almost 4-year-old. Forget spending all day cooking fancy Valentine’s Day recipes. Rarely are we afforded the luxury of lingering over three-hour candlelit dinners. (Heck, we’re lucky if we can have a five-minute-long conversation while the kid is awake, these days.) But we’d still like to enjoy a nice meal together as a family. We’re fortunate that our daughter, Lila, loves to cook and eat. So I’m planning a menu that we can enjoy together.

So what’s on my Valentine’s Day menu?

Curried Onion DipCurried Onion Dip
I have a soft spot for that too-salty onion soup mix dip. This is much healthier and tastes better, too. I’m pretty sure Lila will want to help stir up the dip mixture, but at the very least she’ll want to eat it with chips and carrot sticks.

Mixed Green Salad with Pomegranate, Dates & BaconMixed Green Salad with Pomegranate, Dates & Bacon
Jewel-like pomegranate seeds add a Valentine’s Day touch to this salad. Lila can help zap the dressing in the food processor, and she’ll love watching Dan whack the pomegranate to get the seeds out.

Macaroni with Sausage & Ricotta Macaroni with Sausage & Ricotta
This recipe marries two of Lila’s favorite foods: sausage and pasta. Added bonus: it comes together quickly. Lila can pluck basil leaves while I make the sauce.

Chocolate-Fudge Pudding CakeChocolate-Fudge Pudding Cake
This was one of my favorite recipes growing up. Lila is a pro at stirring batter, so she can help me mix this together. We’ll pop it in the oven while we eat dinner so it’s warm and ready-to-eat when it’s time for dessert.

TAGS: Carolyn Malcoun, Food Blog, Dinner, Family meals, Healthy kids, Holidays

Carolyn Malcoun
A graduate of New England Culinary Institute and University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism, Carolyn pairs her long-standing love for food with writing as EatingWell's senior food editor. Carolyn’s culinary interest is rooted in her childhood; she grew up making thousands of Christmas cookies every year with her mom and picking leaves off bunches of parsley to make tabbouleh with her dad. Away from the kitchen, Carolyn enjoys seeking out rare craft beers and exploring the outdoors with her husband, young daughter and dog.

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