Holiday, Meat

Valentine’s Day Dinner: Putting it All Together

seasoned ribeye, mac and cheese, and asparagus

 

So now you have each of the individual recipes for this dinner, but how the heck do you coordinate all of these dishes without setting fire to the house?!  Do not fear my friends, find all the answers you need on timing and prep in this here blog post 🙂

[Prep Steak]

 

seasoned ribeye in a skillet, with sides of mac and cheese and asparagus

 

First place to start, is the steak marinade.  Either the night before, or a coupe hours before dinner you’re going to want to put the marinade on your steak.  This will take all of 5-10 min, and when you’re finished, just wrap it tightly and set it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. 

Depending on your time or how you want to set up dinner, the side dishes can be made right before serving, or prepared ahead of time, and then baked in the oven 30 minutes before serving.

[Prep Side Dishes]

mac and cheese and asparagus before being baked

 

Let’s start with the seasoned asparagus first!  Prep work for this is very minimal, and really just requires assembly.  Make sure to rinse your asparagus spears, trim the bottoms off and then lay in a greased baking dish.  Drizzle with oil and season with Everything But the Bagel Seasoning, cover with foil, and set aside.  If being prepped more than an hour before baking, store in the fridge.

 

close up of mac and cheese and asparagus in two skillets on a white table

 

Next is the mac and cheese!  Make sure to cook your noodles before starting the cheese, that way you can stir them in as soon as the cheese is ready!  If you let the cheese sit for too long it will start to harden, and then you have to go through the process of heating it up again, which is just a pain!  Once you add the panko crust topping, cover with foil and set aside, or store in fridge if prepped more than an hour before baking.

A tip to save you time…cook your noodles the night before and store in a air tight zip lock bag in the fridge.

[Bake side dishes]

45 min before the estimated dinner time, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  When the preheat is finished, pop the side dishes in and bake for 30 min.  Cover both with foil for first 20 min, then remove for last 10.

While side dishes are baking, pour yourself a nice glass of wine to sip on, because you’re dinner is almost done!  Last step…cooking the ribeyes!

 

macaroni and cheese and asparagus in skillets with a bottle of wine

 

[Sear Steak]

Remove your ribeyes from the fridge and set on the counter.  Take a large frying pan or skillet and add butter.  Set to medium-high heat.  Once the butter is melted, begin searing your ribeyes.  This will take anywhere from 7-15 min.

 

two ribeyes in a skillet with a side of mac and cheese and asparagus

 

By the time your steaks are done, your side dishes will be finishing up in the oven!  Serve however you like and enjoy!

 

ribeyes in skillet with side of mac and cheese and asparagus

Ribeye Steak Marinade

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: dinner, marinade, ribeye, steak
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 ribeyes bone-in, or no bone
  • 4 tbsp grass-fed butter

Steak Marinade

  • 3 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning enough to cover both surfaces of ribeye

Instructions

  • Prepare steak marinade by mixing together oil and garlic paste in a small bowl.  Brush over both sides of each ribeye.
  • Cover both sides of ribeyes with Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Wrap tightly and let marinate in fridge for a couple hours or overnight.
  • Begin cooking right before serving.  Heat a large pan or skillet over medium heat on stovetop.  Add butter and let melt.
  • Once butter has melted, add ribeyes and sear 1 minute on one side, and then flip and sear 1 minute on the opposite side.  Repeat process until desired temperature is met.  This will take anywhere from 7-15 minutes depending on desired temp.  As a reference point, for a medium steak cook for 10 min.
  • During periods of searing, take a spoon and scoop melted butter and fat drippings over top of ribeyes.
  • Serve after cooking.

 

Seasoned Asparagus

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: asparagus, baked, everything but the bagel, healthy, seasoned, simple, trader joes
Servings: 2 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 1/2 bundle fresh asparagus
  • 2 tbsp EVOO or avocado oil
  • Everything But The Bagel Seasoning Trader Joe's

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a small baking dish.
  • Take bundle of asparagus and cut an inch off the bottom stem.
  • Rinse asparagus, then lay in baking dish.  Drizzle oil overtop and season with Everything But The Bagel.  Add as much seasoning as you'd like, or enough to cover surface of asparagus.
  • Bake for 30 min.

 

THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: creamy, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, nutmeg
Servings: 8 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 pint half and half cream
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 block velveeta cheese cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 block sharp white cheddar cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tsp fresh nutmeg ground
  • 1 1 lb box rotini pasta cooked
  • 1/2 cup panko

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lay out all of your ingredients ahead of time, as the sauce will need to be stirred while cooking to prevent hardening or burning.
  • Prep the cheeses by cutting them into thin slices (that way they melt in the saucepan quicker).  Allow cream to get close to room temp, to avoid curdling.
  • Once ingredients are laid out, add butter to saucepan over medium heat.  Allow to melt and then whisk in flour.
  • Slowly pour cream into saucepan in stages, while continuously stirring.  This will thicken and create the roux for your cheese sauce.
  • Once you have added all the cream and created your roux, start to add the cheeses and continually stir.  Add cheese in stages (a handful of velveeta and cheddar at one time).  Stir in cheese until it melts, then add another handful until everything is blended together. 
  • Sprinkle in nutmeg and stir.
  • Add most of your cooked noodles to the cheese sauce and stir (I leave out a handful of noodles so it's extra creamy!).
  • Transfer to a greased baking dish.
  • Melt butter in a separate bowl and stir in 1/2 cup panko.  Take panko mixture and sprinkle on top of mac and cheese.
  • Bake for 30 min with foil on top for first 20 min.

Notes

  • I use Vermont Sharp White Cheddar by Cracker Barrel for my choice of cheddar.
  • Rotini pasta is my favorite to use with mac and cheese, because I find that its shape is best for grabbing the sauce.

 

Holiday

Homemade Holiday Cafe Mocha

Peppermint Cafe Mocha and Cinnamon Cafe Mocha

Guys.  I have a new obsession this winter…CAFE.MOCHAS.  I seriously don’t know what took me so long to try these, but holy guacamole I’m so glad I did!  I love having my black coffee in the morning, and then to add hot chocolate to it?! YES, YES, and more YES.  Whoever first crafted this heavenly, caffeinated, chocolatey sip from heaven…I commend you.

So obviously I want to make this a winter staple in my house for those snow day pick me ups, or when the winter blues are sucking the life out of my happy hormones.  The problem with coffee shop mochas, albeit they are DE.LIC.IOUS., is that they are full of sugar and calories.  And if I’m being honest, I would really like to enjoy my mocha with a side of cookie and not feel bad about it later.

And that’s how I set forth on mission, Super-Yummy-Cafe-Mocha-With-Side-Of-Guilt-Free.  I used cocoa powder with almond milk as the hot chocolate base, and honey as the sweetener.  Added some homemade black coffee with a little vanilla extract, drank it and then me and my mocha lived happily ever after.  JK JK…anyone who knows me, knows I cant leave a good thing well enough alone, sooooooo…

I added a little holiday twist!  PEPPERMINT and CINNAMON.  Don’t worry folks, not both of those flavors together.  Two separate mocha flavors, because my husband likes to remind me that everyone on the planet doesn’t like peppermint as much as I do.  So there we have it, and now you can have it at home too…whichever way you prefer! 

Homemade Holiday Cafe Mocha

And the best part…for the added flavor, all you need is a candy cane or cinnamon stick (how fun?!).  For peppermint…use the candy cane as your stir stick.

Homemade Peppermint Cafe Mocha with Candy Cane

And for  cinnamon, use a cinnamon stick for stirring!  Or if you don’t have a stick available, use a 1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder for flavor.

Homemade Cinnamon Cafe Mocha

Homemade Holiday Cafe Mocha

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Drinks
Keyword: cafe mocha, cinnamon, coffee, hot chocolate, mint
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 cups black coffee
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • candy cane (optional)
  • cinnamon stick or powder (optional)

Instructions

  • Start brewing a pot of coffee or 2 cups from Keurig.
  • In a medium pot, pour in almond milk and cocoa powder and whisk over medium heat.
  • Once milk and cocoa mixture starts to bubble, stir in honey.  Add vanilla extract, then coffee, and stir to combine all ingredients.  Ladle or pour into individual mugs.
  • For peppermint flavor, add a candy cane as your stir stick.  For cinnamon, add a cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder.  Stir and enjoy!  Yields enough for 3 medium drinks, or 4 small.
Vegetarian Meals

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce

Between flavor and convenience, this is one of my all-time favorites to have in the fridge during the week!  It’s so easy to spoon yourself a little bowl if searching for something quick to eat, and is a great way to get some fruit and fiber in ya!

Not only are you going to want to eat the whole batch yourself, but it will make your house smell like an actual candle.  Not even kidding, it is as if fall turned into a human and walked right through your front door.

Speaking of fall…this is an excellent dish to bring to any dinner party or family gathering!  It is super quick and easy to make and will leave everyone thinking you’re a serious rock star in the kitchen.  Definitely a good way to impress the in-laws this Thanksgiving 😉 

For this recipe, I use Monkfruit Sugar, a natural sweetener that does not spike your blood sugar like regular white sugar does.  I also prefer my applesauce to be a little chunky, so I use a potato masher in order to get my preferred consistency.  If you prefer a smoother applesauce, use a food processor.

Serves: 4-6 Total Time: 25 min

Ingredients:

  • 4 apples, cored, peeled, and sliced (suggest 2 Gala & 2 Granny Smith)
  • 1 pear (suggest Bosc or Bartlett)
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar (I used Monkfruit sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar

Instructions: 

  1. In a saucepan, combine apples, pear, water, sugar, and cinnamon.
  2. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 min or until apples are soft, but not totally mushy.
  3. Mash with a fork, potato masher, or food processor until at desired consistency.
  4. Allow to cool before eating.  Store in air tight container, and refrigerate up to 1 week.