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Prepare a romantic dinner for two

Updated: Feb 10, 2011 04:30 PM EST
Whatever you make this Valentine's Day, just remember the most important thing is spending quality time with your partner. (©iStockphoto.com/Andrzej Burak) Whatever you make this Valentine's Day, just remember the most important thing is spending quality time with your partner. (©iStockphoto.com/Andrzej Burak)
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  • Blueberry Cheesecake Bars with Oreo Cookies, 7/22/14

    Blueberry Cheesecake Bars with Oreo Cookies, 7/22/14

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:12 AM EDT2014-07-22 15:12:24 GMT
    Alan BennettYield: 32 servingsIngredients:1 1/4 Quart Oreo Pieces-small, divided6 Tbl. butter, meltedCup Original Cream Cheese, softened2 Cup sugar4 Ea. eggs1 1/4 Cup fresh blueberries1/3 Cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate, meltedDescription:Cheesecake bars made with fresh blueberries and Oreo Cookie Pieces.Preparation Steps:Combine 1 lb. of the Oreo Pieces and butter; press evenly onto bottom of 1 parchment-lined half-sheet pan. Place cream cheese and sugar in large bowl of electric mixer fitt...More >>
    Alan BennettYield: 32 servingsIngredients:1 1/4 Quart Oreo Pieces-small, divided6 Tbl. butter, meltedCup Original Cream Cheese, softened2 Cup sugar4 Ea. eggs1 1/4 Cup fresh blueberries1/3 Cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate, meltedDescription:Cheesecake bars made with fresh blueberries and Oreo Cookie Pieces.Preparation Steps:Combine 1 lb. of the Oreo Pieces and butter; press evenly onto bottom of 1 parchment-lined half-sheet pan. Place cream cheese and sugar in large bowl of electric mixer fitt...More >>
  • Melinda's chocolate peanut butter "dump" cake

    Melinda's chocolate peanut butter "dump" cake

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:20 AM EDT2014-07-22 13:20:16 GMT
    From Melinda Mayo, My Chocolate Peanut Butter "Dump" Cake was a hit this morning on Daybreak. I love to cook, but I don't bake a lot, so I bought this new cookbook with easy recipes. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake 1 Pkg (about 15 oz.) chocolate fudge cake mix 1 1/4 cups water... 3 eggs 1/3 cup vegetable oil 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter, *warmed divided 1 cup mini peanut butter cups *Microwave peanut butter on LOW (30%) about 2 mins until pourable 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13 x 9...More >>
    From Melinda Mayo, My Chocolate Peanut Butter "Dump" Cake was a hit this morning on Daybreak. I love to cook, but I don't bake a lot, so I bought this new cookbook with easy recipes. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake 1 Pkg (about 15 oz.) chocolate fudge cake mix 1 1/4 cups water... 3 eggs 1/3 cup vegetable oil 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter, *warmed divided 1 cup mini peanut butter cups *Microwave peanut butter on LOW (30%) about 2 mins until pourable 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13 x 9...More >>
  • Grilled Jalapeno & Tequila Chimichurri, 7/21/14

    Grilled Jalapeno & Tequila Chimichurri, 7/21/14

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:32 AM EDT2014-07-21 14:32:35 GMT
    On the Border2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil1 cup lime juice¼ cup Agave Nectar3 Garlic cloves½ cup cilantro leaves½ cup diced red onion1 medium sized jalapeno, grilled and de-stemmed1/2 Tbsp Salt (or to taste)¼ cup of 100% Blue Agave Reposado TequilaPut all items in a blender and pulse until all items are incorporatedKeep ½ cup separate for basting after grillingMarinade beef, fish or chicken for 2 hours, discard marinade.Brush meat with reserved marinade after cookingTop with fresh cracked Bla...More >>
    On the Border2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil1 cup lime juice¼ cup Agave Nectar3 Garlic cloves½ cup cilantro leaves½ cup diced red onion1 medium sized jalapeno, grilled and de-stemmed1/2 Tbsp Salt (or to taste)¼ cup of 100% Blue Agave Reposado TequilaPut all items in a blender and pulse until all items are incorporatedKeep ½ cup separate for basting after grillingMarinade beef, fish or chicken for 2 hours, discard marinade.Brush meat with reserved marinade after cookingTop with fresh cracked Bla...More >>

By Amy Reiley

Valentine's Day is well-known as restaurants' busiest night of the year. So why spend your special evening ear-to-elbow with a dining room full of strangers? Making a romantic dinner at home can be less stressful and sexier -- not to mention lighter on the wallet.

The key to preparing a romantic dinner for two is planning. Selecting a menu that incorporates aphrodisiac ingredients can make the evening more successful. Chile peppers and ginger can raise body temperature, cause a release of endorphins and bring a sexy blush to the cheeks. Truffles replicate the scent of male pheromones, champagne brings on a giddy sensation, and the scent of Blanc de Blancs-style sparkling wines offers an aroma similar to that of female pheromones.

On the big night, you want to be able to focus your energy on the one you love. Plan dishes that can be prepped in advance, or that you can make together, like rolling vegetarian sushi. Slow-cooked dishes like Coq au Vin or a seafood stew are smart choices. I sometimes make a turkey meatloaf with chunks of fresh mango folded in for an easy -- but slightly exotic -- dinner. Add a salad of fresh kale (which is good for your skin) with aged Parmesan, thinly sliced apple, and olive oil -- seasoned with salt and pepper -- for a complete meal.

Keep the whole dinner light, including dessert. Try simple sweets like fresh fruit dipped in warm chocolate. You don't need a fondue pot; just bring cream or half-and-half to a near boil, remove from heat and stir in an equal amount of high-quality dark chocolate until smooth and glossy. For added antioxidant benefits and a delicious little crunch, stir in a handful of cocoa nibs.

Whatever you make this Valentine's Day, just remember the most important thing is spending quality time with your partner.

For more on Valentine's Day, check out:

Amy Reiley is the editorial director of EatSomethingSexy.com, a cookbook author and an aphrodisiac foods authority. 

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