Chocolate, Glitter, and a Sweetheart Dinner

January 19, 2016 by · 3 Comments 

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m a romantic. I get giddy over hearts and fancy chocolates. Pink glitter is my favorite color. Did someone say roses?

I am a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. Apparently, I love LOVE. When we got married, we’d celebrate V-Day with dinner reservations at a nice restaurant. But then something happened. We had kids. Like many other new parents, we were forced to revise our romantic expectations as our family grew. Instead of hiring a sitter on Valentine’s night, we decided to stay home and celebrate with our daughters. That’s how our annual ‘Radi Family Sweetheart Dinners’ began.

Click here to read my previous blog about our early Sweetheart Dinners!

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In the early years, we celebrated with spaghetti, chocolate cake, and gobs of glitter. The girls and I would spend the entire day preparing for the event—cutting out construction paper hearts and setting the table with fancy china and crystal goblets. Now, with older kids and busier schedules, we spend a little less time decorating and a little more time enjoying the food and our precious time together.

I’m happy our Sweetheart Dinner tradition continues. We celebrated a couple weeks early this year because Brooke will be out of the country on a study abroad experience on Valentine’s Day and we didn’t want to break the tradition. After 19 years, our girls still help plan the menu and dessert is, of course, always chocolate. But now, instead of spaghetti, they get a little more innovative. This year, Karen requested baked tilapia and Brooke chose chocolate mousse for dessert. Whether your kids are tots or teens like mine, this menu is a wonderful way to bring both fish and vegetables to your table. They won’t even miss the spaghetti.

2016 Sweetheart Dinner Menu

  • Easy Baked Tilapia
  • Sweet Potato Bites
  • Oven Roasted Broccoli
  • Mousse Au Chocolate

This menu is so easy and quick to prepare. And it tastes amazing! We worked together as a family to prepare the meal and, aside from the mousse, the rest of it was ready in less than 30 minutes. You don’t have to wait until Valentine’s Day to try it for yourself. With the quick prep time, this meal could be a nutritious dinner any night of the year.

main course

Easy Baked Tilapia

I’m not kidding when I say “easy.” I think we Midwesterners sometimes shy away from preparing fish, thinking it is too much work or that we can’t get good fish here. This recipe will change your mind! We picked up some beautiful, fresh tilapia fillets (NuVal 88) from our Coborn’s meat counter. To prepare them, I lined a rimmed baking sheet with foil to make for easier clean-up. I sprayed it with Pam cooking spray to keep the fish from sticking. I placed the fillets on the pan and sprinkled them with seasoned salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and thyme. Then, I drizzled them with olive oil. They baked at 425 degrees for 15 minutes and came out perfectly flaky and flavorful.

Sweet Potato Bites

Sweet potatoes are not only good, they are good for you. Earning a NuVal score of 100, the sweet potato  is a superfood! This super-easy recipe is a favorite of our girls. They like to make a huge batch so they have leftovers to nibble on the next day. To prepare this dish, wash and pat dry 2-3 (or more!) sweet potatoes and cut them into small cubes. No need to peel the skin first. Place the cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with a little seasoned salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees, turning half way though baking time. They will come out slightly browned on the outside and soft on the inside.

Oven Roasted Broccoli

Often, when we’re in a hurry, we microwave-steam broccoli. But roasting broccoli in the oven gives it a depth of flavor that a microwave cannot produce. And oven roasting broccoli also helps maintain its crunchy texture. It’s worth the extra effort, in my opinion. To prepare, wash and cut up your broccoli florets (NuVal 100). Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Bake at 425 for 5-8 minutes. If desired, top with grated parmesan cheese.

Mousse Au Chocolate

I received this decadent chocolate mousse recipe from my friend Catherine Katz (wife of NuVal founder Dr. David Katz). For our Sweetheart Dinner, we served it in individual glass dessert cups with a dusting of powdered sugar and topped with raspberries. Please note it does need to be prepared a couple of hours in advance to allow it time to set. This luscious, classic dessert was a Sweetheart Dinner hit at our house! My sweethearts are already asking when I will make it again.

dessertdessert 2

Share Your Love!

How does your family celebrate Valentine’s Day? Do you give chocolates or roses? Conversation hearts or dinner out? Do you make homemade cards? Are you ga-ga for glitter? Please share your ideas in the comment section below? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time, I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating LOVE with the people you love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Kelly

Kelly RadiThis is a guest post by Kelly Radi. Passionate about food and nutrition, Kelly is a freelance writer, NuVal expert, former BLEND employee, and current BLEND advocate.  A wife and mother of 2 teenagers, Kelly lives in Sartell where she is often spotted at Coborn’s scouring the shelves in search of the best NuVal scores. She enjoys cooking, playing tennis, and sitting down with a good book. She can be reached at radi.to.write@gmail.com. 

The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the writer and not the opinions of NuVal LLC, Coborn’s, Inc., BLEND, and the CentraCare Health Foundation.  Read more “Peek Into Kelly’s Kitchen” blogs, here!

 

Spectacular Summer Salads

May 19, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

Arrowwood Salad

Now that spring has officially sprung and summer is just around the corner, my taste buds are singing a new tune. I’m no longer craving the heavy hot dishes and comforting soups that a Minnesota winter begs for. This time of year, I want fresh! I want to munch on crisp greens and a rainbow assortment of raw vegetables.  Sweet or savory, I have a hankering for leafy greens with creative toppings. Bring on the summer salads!

One of my all-time favorite summer salads is served at Arrowwood Resort’s Lake Cafe in Alexandria. I order it nearly every time I visit the resort. They call it a Strawberry Bleu Salad. I call it delish! Since it’s spring and since I’m craving an Arrowwood Strawberry Bleu Salad right now, I thought I’d re-create this spectacular salad at home. I usually think salads taste way better in a restaurant, but I don’t know why. Is it the dressing? Could it be the fact that somebody else plates and serves it to me? Is it because I don’t have to wash the dishes? I have no idea. I can tell you this one is easy to master at home and is definitely as tasty as the restaurant’s version.

Strawberry Bleu Salad

Fresh mixed greens (NuVal 100)
Grilled chicken breasts, sliced or cubed (I used leftovers!) (NuVal 57)
Strawberries, sliced (you can always substitute fresh raspberries or blackberries) (NuVal 100)
Cucumber slices (NuVal 100)
Walnuts (Arrowwood uses candied walnuts, I use plain, raw ones) (NuVal 82)
Dried cherries or cranberries (NuVal scores varies by brand)
Bleu cheese crumbles (NuVal 25)

Dressing: I use either store-bought Briana’s Homestyle Poppyseed (NuVal 12) or a homemade creamy vinaigrette

You’ll note I didn’t include measurements in the recipe. To be honest, I’ve never measured how many cups or tablespoons I’ve used for this salad. I just eyeball it. It is foolproof whether you’re serving an individual or feeding a crowd. There’s no wrong way to do it. Just begin with fresh greens (spinach, kale, any variety of lettuce) and add your toppings. This salad is an incredible combination of both sweet and savory. The crunchy greens and cucumber slices hold up well with the salty chicken breast and tangy bleu cheese crumbles. The chewy, dried cherries, fresh strawberries, and light, creamy dressing add just the right amount of sweetness. This salad says “summer” to your taste buds!

Please leave a comment and share your favorite summer salad, whether it is one you prepare at home or one you order in a restaurant. I’m always looking for inspiration and new recipes. Thank you!

Enjoy the sunshine,
Kelly

Kelly RadiThis is a guest post by Kelly Radi. Passionate about food and nutrition, Kelly is a freelance writer, NuVal expert, former BLEND employee, and current BLEND advocate.  A wife and mother of 2 teenagers, Kelly lives in Sartell where she is often spotted at Coborn’s scouring the shelves in search of the best NuVal scores. She enjoys cooking, playing tennis, and sitting down with a good book. She can be reached at radi.to.write@gmail.com.

The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the writer and not the opinions of NuVal LLC, Coborn’s, Inc., BLEND, and the CentraCare Health Foundation.

Kid’s Favorite Peanut Butter Sandwich

September 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 med. banana, sliced thin
  • 1 med. carrot, pared and shredded
  • 4 tsp. raisins

Put peanut butter on each slice of bread. Arrange banana slices on each, then sprinkle each with grated carrot and 1 tsp. raisins.

Four servings. About 285 calories per serving.

From COOKS.COM

Chicken Tortilla Sandwich

September 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

  • 6 whole grain tortillas, 7″
  • 1 c. diced, cooked chicken or turkey (4 oz.)
  • 1 c. shredded low-fat Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 sm. red onion, finely chopped (1/2 c.)
  • 1/2 c. drained, chopped roasted sweet red peppers
  • 1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilies
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and heat in the oven for 5 minutes or until warm. Preheat the broiler, setting the rack 6″ from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, combine the chicken, cheese, onion, peppers, chilies, garlic, cumin and cilantro. Spread an equal amount of the mixture in the center of each tortilla, then fold the tortilla in half to enclose the filling.
  3. Brush both sides of each sandwich with the oil and transfer to a baking sheet. Broil for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes on each side or until crisp and blistered. Serve immediately or wrap the sandwiches in aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 2 days, letting them come to room temperature before serving.

Makes 6 sandwiches. Per Sandwich: 218 calories; 3 g saturated fat; 29 mg cholesterol. Preparation Time: 20 minutes. Cooking Time: 5 minutes.

From COOKS.COM

Tuna Sandwich Filling

September 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

  • 1 lg. can white tuna, water packed, drained
  • 1 lg. carrot, grated
  • 1 c. finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 c. or more sun flower seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dill weed
  • Enough equal parts of plain yogurt and low fat mayonnaise to moisten.

Combine all ingredients. Amounts of everything can vary according to taste. Keeps well for several days. Good on whole wheat bread with sprouts. To use as a salad. Stir in chow mein noodles. Just before serving on a lettuce leaf with cherry tomatoes for garnish.

From COOKS.COM