How to Have a Special Valentine’s Meal with the Whole Family

By: Foodlets

If you’re like me, when your Valentine’s Day plans involve not only your spouse but also your four small kids, you improvise. You adjust. You balance romantic ideas with one simple question: How long will it take? Because kids aren’t keen on long, drawn-out meals, of course. These are my favorite ideas for a doable meal that’s still as special as ever.

Dinners to Delight

Follow the simple steps for Giada De Laurentiis’ salmon and you’ll have an elegant (and healthy) dinner on the table in a hurry.

Photo by: Picasa

Picasa

It looks fancy, but these steak rollups are simpler than you think. And, bonus: This dish includes a built-in veggie. Just serve with a big loaf of crusty bread and soft butter.

Ree Drummond's Alfredo Sauce for Alex's 16th Birthday as seen on Food Network's The Pioneer Woman

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Ree Drummond’s recipe may include only five ingredients, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be memorable. This will be one of the most-decadent dinners of the year.

Ellie Krieger's Heart Shaped Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce as seen on Food Netowkr

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Breakfast for Dinner

These heart-shaped whole-wheat pancakes sit on a bed of three-ingredient homemade strawberry sauce.

This is another all-in-one dish that’s served best with a long baguette that everyone can tear off of as they like.

It’s pasta with shrimp, and if your kids are anything like mine, these are two of their favorite foods. Plus, the flavors bold enough that you and your special someone will enjoy them too.

Photo by: Picasa

Picasa

If you like simple recipes that look like they took hours, this is the one for you. Our kids love plucking all those olives right off the plate.

I once read a description of this sauce as something you should make only for someone you really love. It’s that time consuming — and that good. This version is faster, however, but it’s still just as amazing. Perfect for a whole group of people you love.

Photo by: Picasa

Picasa

3 Simple Desserts to Wow a Crowd

If you’re tight on time or energy, this is the super-simple dessert for you. Bake the puffs, whip the cream and pop a berry right on top. Done.

ntd_cupcakes.tif

ntd_cupcakes.tif

Food Styling: Karen Evans

Photo by: Sam Kaplan

Sam Kaplan

With a fresh strawberry tucked away inside, these cupcakes are hard to top this Valentine’s Day.

It takes only five ingredients to make the Barefoot Contessa’s famous shortbread, a recipe even little hands can help with ahead of time.

Charity Curley Mathews is the mom of four small kids. She’s a contributor to InStyle, The Huffington Post, eHow Food and more. She blogs about food and parenting at Foodlets.com, where every recipe is full of fresh ingredients, simple to make and kid-tested x4.

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