Valentine's Day Dinner for Two: Kefta, Tzatziki and Shepard's Salad

Valentine’s Day is speeding towards us at 90 miles per hour with expectations of squeezing every last penny from our pockets. Valentines and candy for the kid’s class mates, flowers, boxes of chocolates, dinner at a nice restaurant, babysitters. It all adds up so quickly. Didn’t we just spend an arm and a leg on Christmas? There has got to be a way to have a budget friendly Valentine’s Day without killing the romance.

A few years ago I started dreading the “day of love” and every expense that came along with it, so I did something about it! Did you know you can have an equally romantic evening at home? I kid you not! Spending $100 on dinner in an overcrowded restaurant does not have to make or break the romance on this special day. Not to mention you get to avoid the uncomfortable situation of being seated next to the couple that takes their public displays of affection way too far. I began creating romantic dinner menus for Jon and I to enjoy at home. I’d begin cooking right before the kids went to bed and we’d enjoy a quiet and relaxing dinner together. It was so fun that we started having romantic dinners quite frequently, like almost once a week.

With a little bit of preparation and a few good recipes you can create an absolutely fabulous dinner date night right in your own home for under $30. That $30 will also provide leftovers you can enjoy for lunch the next day. The secret to a successful dinner date night is not getting yourself stuck in the kitchen cooking for an hour while your partner sits in the next room drinking up all the wine. You want recipes that can be almost fully completed in advance allowing you to spend more time gazing into your lovers eyes, and less time fretting over cooking the perfect steak.

Shepard's Salad Shepard's Salad

 

My menu this Valentine’s Day is bursting with exotic flavors. It is light enough to keep us from feeling like beached whales (not very sexy) and nearly the whole thing can be made way ahead of time. Kefta is a traditional Middle Eastern meat dish full of fresh herbs and warm spices that will set off fireworks in your mouth, kind of how Jon sets off fireworks in my heart. I’m using Litehouse’s Instantly Fresh Ginger and Garlic to save time in the kitchen.  I’ll be paring the warm spiced meat with a light and tangy cucumber yogurt sauce for dipping, traditionally called Tzatziki, and a simple Shepard’s Salad dressed with Litehouse Greek Vinaigrette Dressing. Get ready to be amazed as you watch chunks of Feta cheese come pouring out of the bottle, it’s good stuff.

This year save your money and try showing your significant other how much you adore them by creating a meal for lover’s right in your own home. As a bonus these dishes are full of fresh parsley and mint, natural breath fresheners. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

Valentine's Day Kefta Dinner Ready to Eat Valentine's Day Kefta Dinner Ready to Eat

 

Dinner For Two: Kefta, Tzatziki, and Shepard’s Salad

Serves 2, plus leftovers | Finish in 12 hours
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Leave the stress at the door by making these dishes in the morning the day of your Valentine’s Day Dinner at home. Spiced meat known as Kefta is served with a cool cucumber yogurt sauce and a fresh Shepard’s Salad. Easy, light, and delicious.

Ingredients

For the Kefta,
1 lb. lean ground beef,
¼c. chopped parsley,
½ onion grated on a fine grater,
1 ½ Tbsp. ground coriander,
1 Tbsp. Litehouse Instantly Fresh Garlic,
2 tsp. ground cinnamon,
1 ½ tsp. cumin,
1 tsp. Litehouse Instantly Fresh Ginger,
¾ tsp. allspice,
1 tsp. salt,
½ tsp. pepper,

For the Tzatziki,
1 c. plain yogurt,
½ cucumber peeled and grated,
¼ c. chopped fresh parsley,
¼ c. chopped fresh mint,
1 Tbsp. Litehouse Instantly Fresh Garlic,
Zest and juice of one lemon,
¼ tsp. salt and pepper to taste,

For the Shepard’s Salad,
½ red onion finely chopped,
½ cucumber seeded and chopped,
¼ c. chopped fresh parsley,
¼ c. Litehouse Greek Dressing,
4 c. torn romaine lettuce,

Directions

Make the Tzatziki up to one day ahead of time.

Mix all Tzatziki ingredients in a bowl.

Allow to sit at least 3 hours or until ready to serve.

Make the Kefta meat mixture in the morning so all the flavors can meld together before cooking.

Mix all Kefta ingredients together in a bowl.

Right before serving shape 2 inch balls of the meat mixture into rectangles about the size of your finger.

Heat a pan over medium high and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Cook Kefta about 2 minutes on each side or until crispy brown on all sides.

Serve with a dollop of prepared Tzatziki.

Make the Shepard’s Salad mixture in the morning and simply place a scoop over the romaine right before serving dinner.

Mix together the first four Shepard’s Salad ingredients in a bowl.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve over the romaine lettuce.

Dim the lights.

Throw on some lipstick.

Turn on some soft music.

Light the candles.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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