How-To: Cook An Impressive Last Minute Valentine’s Dinner With 3 Easy Recipes

Let’s face it – Valentine’s Day is just another excuse to indulge post-holidays. That being said, there’s ways to fuel your body with healthier adaptations of classic dishes like French onion soup and Caesar salad without sacrificing their taste. Whether it be your romantic partner or Galentine that you’re cooking for, (or both!), these three recipes are simple to prepare when you’re in a pinch and never fail to please a crowd. Most importantly, they’re full of love and will help you show the special people in your life just how much you appreciate them. Plus, you can make all three to form a complete meal. Bon appetit!

Just Like Julia’s French Onion Soup

Who could say non?

Photo: Cassandra Wardrope


5-6 cups of yellow onions, thinly sliced (Pro-tip: Use a mandolin to save time and keep sizes consistent.)

4 tbsp olive oil

8-10 slices of baguette

4 oz parmesan cheese

About 1 cup of grated Swiss or gruyere cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

2 bay leafs

4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 cup dry red or white wine

6 cups beef stock

3 tbsp flour

½ tsp sugar

2 tbsp butter

1 garlic clove



  1. Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium-low heat and add olive oil. Melt the butter. Add the sliced onions and coat them in the butter and oil mixture. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes, checking to make sure the onions aren’t burning. Once finished, they should be clear and soft. Remove the lid and turn up the heat to medium-high, then add the sugar, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook the onions until they are browned.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the flour. Cook for two to three minutes in order to dissolve the raw flour. Add more butter if needed, then stir in the beef stock.
  3. Add the wine, sage, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer on low for 30 minutes.
  4. For the croutons, preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Brush both sides of the sliced baguette with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Toast the bread in the oven for 15 minutes on each side until crispy and golden brown. Once the bread is done, rub the garlic clove on top.
  5. Add salt and pepper to the soup if needed. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.
  6. Add a sprinkle of cheese to the bottom of each soup ramekin. Ladle in your soup, add 2 croutons to each soup bowl, and then sprinkle with cheese. Drizzle the top with olive oil. Place the ramekins in the oven on broil until the cheese is bubbly and melted.

Red-y In No Thai Coconut Braised Chicken

Better than takeout.

Photo: Cassandra Wardrope


4-6 chicken legs or thighs

2 tbsp red Thai curry paste

1 can coconut milk

1 tbsp tomato paste

5-6 dashes of fish sauce

1 lime

1 green onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 large knob of fresh ginger, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 bell peppers, chopped

1 jalapeño, diced into small pieces

1 zucchini, chopped

1 cup shredded green cabbage (Pro-tip: Any leafy green will do, though kale and spinach work well.)

Freshly chopped basil



  1. Heat a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan to medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Once hot, add in the chicken thighs and season with salt and pepper. Sear on each side until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside on a plate.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Sautée until fragrant. Add the tomato and curry paste and cook for two minutes. Add the jalapeño, peppers, and zucchini.
  3. Add the chicken back to the pot and the coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer on low for 30 minutes until the chicken is tender. Add the cabbage and cook for five to 10 minutes. Add the fish sauce.
  4. Remove from the heat and garnish with fresh lime juice, green onions, and basil. Serve with cauliflower rice, brown rice, or rice noodles.

The Best Damn Caesar Salad

No bottled dressing.

Photo: Cassandra Wardrope


1 garlic clove

1 lemon (half for the dressing, half for garnishing the salad)

4-6 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp anchovy paste or two fresh anchovy fillets

½ cup parmesan cheese and extra shavings for garnishing

½ cup neutral oil, like vegetable

Salt and pepper to taste

1 egg yolk (Pro-tip: Coddle the egg for one minute in boiling water on the stove.)

1 baguette or any stale leftover bread cut into small cubes

1 tbsp butter

Dash of garlic salt




  1. Add the garlic, parmesan, anchovy paste, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and Worcestershire to a food processor. Blitz until smooth.
  2. Add in the egg yolk and process. Slowly add in the olive oil while the food processor is running. Season with salt and pepper.


  1. Heat a non-stick fry pan to medium-low heat. Add the butter to the pan. Once the butter has melted and the pan is hot, add the bread cubes, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Crisp the bread on each side until golden brown.


  1. Toss the romaine lettuce in the dressing until it evenly coats each piece of lettuce.
  2. Add the croutons, lemon wedges, and shaved parmesan on top. Additional add-ons can include chicken or shrimp.
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