Katie's Healthy Bites: Sensual Valentine's Day Dishes

Here is a healthy Valentine's Day dinner for two that features lighter takes on classic dishes -- and some aphrodisiac ingredients!

Valentine’s Day is here! For me, this means chocolates and romantic dinners, but that can also mean indulging in too many calories and fat. Fortunately, you don't have to skimp on decadence tonight. Here, I've reworked a traditional Valentine's Day meal, featuring a bison steak and comforting sides, to make easier on the waistline and pleasing to your palate.

Added bonus: These recipes contain some noted aphrodisiacs to help rev up the romance.

Arugula Salad With Figs, Fennel and Orange

The veggies in this seasonal winter salad are packed with fiber and antioxidants like vitamin C to drive away colds, but the fennel may bring your sweetie closer: ancient Egyptians touted it as a mega libido enhancer. Arugula and figs are also noted aphrodisiacs from the olden days.

Servings: 4
For the dressing:
• 1 tablespoon minced shallots
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For the salad:
• 1 large orange, segmented
• 4 figs, quartered (if dry, sliced fine)
• 6-7 cups arugula, trimmed

• 1/4 large fennel bulb, quartered lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced crosswise

• 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Whisk minced shallots, Dijon, olive oil, balsamic and lemon juice in a medium bowl to blend. Season this dressing mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.

Cut, peel and remove the white pith from the oranges. Using a small, sharp knife, cut between the orange's membranes to release segments.

Combine arugula and fennel in a large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Add orange segments, figs and goat cheese; toss to combine.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories: 175.6; Fat: 2.5 grams; Saturated Fat: 2.5 grams; Protein: 5.5 grams; Carbohydrates:, 19.3 grams; Cholesterol: 5.6 milligrams; Sodium: 4.7 grams; Fiber: 4.7 grams

Herb and Dijon Crusted Bison Filet

Bison is a heart-smart alternative to beef because it contains less saturated fat. Meanwhile, the added mustard, a noted aphrodisiac, may boost some other body parts!

• 1 (1-1/4 pound) bison tenderloin, trimmed (can substitute beef)
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
• 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
• 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place beef on a broiler pan or in a baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Spread the mustard evenly over beef. Combine the herbs and coat the beef evenly with the mixture.

Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes or until an inserted meat thermometer registers at 145°F (this is medium-rare) or your desired degree of doneness.

Transfer the beef to a cutting board. Cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories: 218; Fat: 2.8 grams; Saturated Fat: 1 gram; Protein: 33 grams; Carbohydrates: 13 grams; Cholesterol: 88 milligrams; Sodium: 262 milligrams; Fiber: 1 gram

Truffle Mashed Potatoes

You won’t miss the fatty butter and whole milk in these light-and-creamy mashers, I promise. Truffles sport a musky scent that some say stimulates desire -- either way, your mouth will water.

Servings: 4
• 1 pound white potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
• 1/2 cup 1% milk
• 2 garlic cloves
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1-2 teaspoons white truffle oil *
• 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
• Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 20 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, add milk, olive oil and garlic to a small sauce pot. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes or so. You want the milk mixture to be hot but not boiling.

Remove the potatoes from the heat, drain them and then return them to their cooking pot. Add milk mixture to the pot along with 1 teaspoon truffle oil (*add another teaspoon if you want it stronger). Mash until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley. Mix and serve.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories: 175; Fat: 9.8 grams; Saturated Fat: 1.6 grams; Protein: 3 grams; Carbohydrates: 20 grams; Cholesterol: 1.8 milligrams; Sodium: 289 milligrams; Fiber: 2.75 grams

Roasted Asparagus

This glorious green veggie is an excellent source of fiber, potassium, folic acid and vitamins A, C, E and K. Vitamin E has been linked to stimulating sex hormones, but we think the asparagus's shape is suggestive enough. *wink, wink*

• 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed, rinsed and patted dry
• 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

In a large glass baking dish, toss the asparagus with the olive oil and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper and toss. Bake until the asparagus are tender and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories: 64; Fat: 3.7 grams; Saturated Fat: 0.5 grams; Protein: 3.74 grams; Carbohydrates: 6.6 grams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Sodium: 136.65 milligrams; Fiber: 3.57 grams

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

These little delights are perfect for hand-feeding to your lover! Dark chocolate contains antioxidant-rich flavanoids that some studies show may help reduce high blood pressure; it's flavor is euphoria-inducing, too. Berries are a low-calorie treat and great source of antioxidants like vitamin C. Though the nuts are optional, think about this: some claim the almond’s aroma excites a lady lover.

Servings: 8
• 3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
• 1/4 cup almond slivers (can omit)
• 16 large strawberries, washed and dried very well

Put the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowl of chocolate over the water and stir to melt. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove the bowl from the pan.

Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the dark chocolate (let any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl — you don't want a thick coating). Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Sprinkle with almond crumbs. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries.

Refrigerate the berries for 20 to 30 minutes to set the chocolate. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories: 91; Fat: 5.4 grams; Saturated Fat: 2.1 grams; Protein: 1.6 grams; Carbohydrates: 11.75 grams; Cholesterol: 1.24 milligrams; Sodium: 0.64 milligrams; Fiber: 2.11 grams

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