By Meghan Lewis | Photos by Seth Binsted

It’s that time of year again. February makes its yearly appearance, love and romance determinately fill the air, heating up this chilly winter weather. If this season you do have that certain “love bug” there is a simple way to cook a romantic meal for two without breaking your piggy bank. Cooking for a loved one, whether it is for family members or your significant other, can be one of the most loving gestures. Time to take some notes, guys — it looks like chivalry is still in business after all. Since we are college students, there is a tight budget to take into consideration and a fancy meal out is not always very realistic. Look deep into yourself and channel that “Top-Chef” because on the menu tonight is a meal that is not only delicious and inexpensive but incredibly simple to concoct with little cooking experience required. The ingredients could come from your usual grocery store, but for these specific meals we pulled many of the ingredients from Sharp Shopper and Harrisonburg’s local downtown farmer’s market. Bon appétit!

Entrée:

Romantic Pasta

VDAY-19 

Serves: 2

  • 8 ounces shell or bow tie pasta
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 roma tomato
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 6 1/2 ounces canned flaked turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) dried parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon (or to taste) salt
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed

Directions:

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Smash, peel and chop the garlic clove.
  • Mix together the soup and water in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Wash and slice the tomato.
  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion. Cook briefly, then add the tomato. Cook on medium-low heat until heated through.
  • Stir in the soup mixture. Stir in the flaked turkey, dried parsley and salt.
  • Strain in the spinach. Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Dessert:

Chocolate–Covered Strawberries

  • 1/2 pound (about 16) fresh strawberries
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 teaspoon shortening

Directions:

  • Break the chocolate into pieces. Lay out a sheet of wax paper on a 9”x13” baking sheet.
  • On stove: fill a heavy pot halfway with barely simmering water.
  • Combine the chocolate and shortening in a metal bowl and place on top of the pot (or use the top of a double boiler if you have one). Melt at low heat, stirring regularly and making sure the chocolate doesn’t burn.
  • Microwave: place the chocolate and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium heat for four minutes stirring regularly, until the chocolate is completely melted.
  • Remove the chocolate form the stovetop or microwave. Dip each strawberry into the chocolate and set on the wax paper.
  • Cool briefly in the refrigerator, and serve when the chocolate has hardened.