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4 Delicious One-Pot Valentine's Day Meals

These are oh-so-tasty and a little on the fancy side.

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AARP: The Girlfriend
Photographs and prop styling by Caitlin Bensel (Food Stylist: Torie Cox)
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Whether you're planning an intimate Valentine's Day dinner for two or hosting a Galentine's Day gathering, you'll want to cook something special that's tasty and a little on the fancy side. You can't go wrong with a surf and turf meal of lobster tail and rib-eye steak or a creamy pasta carbonara. However, if you want to spend only a few hours cooking, consider making a personal restaurant-quality dinner that can be prepped ahead of time and cooked in one pot. The beauty of one-pot meals is that you spend less time in the kitchen and more time socializing with guests.

Follow up with a decadent chocolate dessert, and you'll have the perfect Valentine's Day dinner!

AARP: The Girlfriend
Caitlin Bensel

Chicken Coq Au Vin

This classic French dish is known worldwide for its simplicity and deliciousness. Serve with a good Burgundy or Pinot Noir.

Serves 4

8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken, cut into chunks

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 cup flour

1 (10-ounce) can of vegetable or chicken broth

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 cup red wine

8 small new potatoes, cut in half

8 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 medium onions, cut into chunks

1-2 teaspoons thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon in a large pot for 5 minutes, turning once. Add chicken and garlic. Stir and cook for 10 minutes or until chicken is browned on both sides. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and broth. Pour into the pot and stir. Add all other ingredients. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally until carrots and potatoes are tender. Serve with a crusty baguette on the side.

AARP: The Girlfriend
Caitlin Bensel

Honey Pistachio-Crusted Salmon with Asparagus

This easy recipe comes from spoonuniversity.com and is one of my favorites because it's healthy yet delicious and filling. If you want to add carbs to this meal, serve it with a side of rice, pasta or roasted garlic potatoes.

Serves 2

1 large piece or 2 filets of salmon (if frozen, defrost before cooking)

1 tablespoon honey

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup crushed pistachio nuts

Half a bunch of asparagus (or however much you can fit in the pan) cleaned and trimmed.

Heat oven to 350. Place salmon skin-side down in a greased baking dish. In a small bowl, mix the honey and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Brush over salmon, then season fish with salt and pepper. Pour pistachios over the salmon, gently pushing the nuts into the fish so they stick. Toss cleaned asparagus in the remaining olive oil (I advise adding a little more olive oil if you're using a lot of asparagus), then tuck around the salmon as much as possible.

Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn oven to broil and cook 5 more minutes until salmon is pale and pistachios are slightly toasted. Serve with buttered rice or linguini if desired.

AARP: The Girlfriend
Caitlin Bensel

Slow Cooker White Vegetable Lasagna

There is no better comfort food than a hearty dish of cheesy lasagna. This recipe fits the bill and is perfect for your vegetarian friends! Serve with a salad and toasty garlic bread to complete the meal.

Serves 4

1 1/4 cups Italian cheese blend

1 (15 oz.) jar Alfredo sauce

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt and black pepper to taste

6-8 uncooked lasagna noodles

1 (10 oz.) box frozen chopped spinach cooked and drained (or 1 lb. fresh spinach, stems removed and cooked)

3 medium-sized portobello mushroom caps (gills removed) halved and thinly sliced

1 zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 medium tomato, diced

Mix 1/2 cup cheese blend with Alfredo sauce and seasonings in a bowl. Next, spread one-fourth of the sauce in a greased slow cooker. Layer with 3 uncooked noodles (breaking up the noodles if necessary to fit), then add one-third of the mushrooms and zucchini, one-third of the spinach, and 1/4 cup cheese blend. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining noodles, the last of the sauce mixture, and then the parmesan cheese. Cover and cook on low for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours or until edges are bubbly and lasagna is heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes, then serve with diced tomato chunks over the top.

AARP: The Girlfriend
Caitlin Bensel

Sheet Pan Parmesan Pork Chops and Vegetables

It doesn't get any easier than this recipe from julieseatsandtreats.com. You can mix everything together, spread it out on a sheet pan and let the oven do the rest.

Serves 4

1 pound bone-in pork chops (about 4-5)

16 ounces red potatoes cut into 1-inch pieces

16 ounces fresh green beans trimmed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon thyme

5 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Mix olive oil, garlic, seasonings, and parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Brush half of the mixture over the top of the pork chops. Place meat on the baking sheet. Add potatoes and beans to the remaining parmesan mixture and coat well. Place veggies next to the pork chops on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-22 minutes, then broil for 3-4 minutes until the cheese is golden and the pork is completely cooked through. Let rest for 3 minutes. Serve with a garnish of parsley.

 
Do any of you have plans for Valentine's Day? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Lifestyle