Cook Up a Valentine’s Day Dinner with Heart

You—and your heart—will enjoy a healthier twist on these romantic dishes.

Silky Chocolate Fondue

Nothing says, “I love you” like double chocolate fondue, especially when it’s made with dark chocolate, known to contain beneficial antioxidants. Dip and swirl your way to your loved one’s heart with fresh berries, bananas and sweet fat-free angel food cake. If you don’t have a fondue pot, serve in a mini-crock pot or in a bowl over a saucepan of warm water.

Makes about 2 cups

1 cup 2% chocolate milk
12 oz. dark chocolate (60 – 65% cacao), chopped
3 Tbs. light agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to simmer. Remove from heat, add chocolate and whisk until chocolate is smooth and silky. Whisk in agave and vanilla.

2. Pour into fondue pot or mini-crock pot and enjoy immediately.

Fondue Flavor Variations

  • Add 2 to 3 Tbs. of your favorite liqueur, like Frangelico, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Creme de Menthe, Grand Marnier, Amaretto or Chambord.
  • Add 1 tsp. cinnamon and a pinch of ground cayenne or ancho chile pepper for Mexican-style fondue.
  • Mix 1 tsp. espresso powder with 2 Tbs. water and stir it into the fondue.

Low-Fat Dippables

  • Strawberries, Raspberries and Bananas
  • Dried Apricots
  • Crystallized Ginger
  • Pretzels
  • Graham Crackers
  • Marshmallows
  • Meringue Cookies
  • Biscotti
  • Angel Food Cake

PER SERVING (1/4 cup fondue): 195CAL; 3G PROT; 9G TOTAL FAT (4G SAT. FAT); 26G CARB; 3MG CHOL; 27MG SOD; 3G FIBER; 70G SUGARS

Honey Balsamic Salmon with Creamy Spinach Saute

Impress your valentine with this easy-to-make entree of glazed salmon and creamy spinach. No one needs to know that it’s healthy too; salmon contains heart smart omega-3s and spinach is a good source of vitamin A, iron and dietary fiber. Use leftover honey-balsamic glaze for vegetables, like roasted sweet potatoes or asparagus.

Serves 2

1/4 cup honey
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 6-oz. salmon fillets (wild, if available)
6 oz. baby spinach leaves
2 Tbs. Earth Balance Buttery Spread or olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup 2% milk
3 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
pinch of grated nutmeg
1 lemon, zested and sliced into wedges
salt and black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450F.

2. Stir together honey and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Keep warm.

3. Sprinkle salmon fillets with salt and place on a baking sheet. Roast 8 minutes, until opaque, remove salmon from the oven and turn oven to broil. Brush salmon with honey-balsamic glaze and broil 1 to 2 minutes, until caramelized.

4. While salmon roasts, heat Earth Balance or olive oil in a saut? pan over medium-low heat Add garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes, until softened. Be careful not to burn. Turn heat to medium high and add spinach. Stir to coat evenly. When the spinach wilts, push it to the sides of the pan. Pour the milk in the center of the pan. When it starts to bubble, stir in the cheese and nutmeg. Stir the spinach and the creamy sauce together. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Serve spinach garnished with lemon zest and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve the salmon with a wedge of lemon.

PER SERVING: 485CAL; 47G PROT; 22G TOTAL FAT (5G SAT. FAT); 24G CARB; 85MG CHOL; 234MG SOD; 4G FIBER; 17G SUGARS

Forest Mushroom Pate

Indulge your desire for a rich tasting appetizer with our better-for-you version of classic duck liver pate. Earthy mushrooms combine with toasted walnuts and just enough cream cheese and tangy Jarlsberg to create an appetizer that’s sure to woo your valentine. Enjoy paired with a bold red wine, like Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Serves 8

1/2 cup walnuts
2 Tbs. Earth Balance Buttery Spread or olive oil
1 lb. assorted mushrooms (white button, cremini, shiitake, and portobello)
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
3 Tbs. dry sherry
3 Tbs. chopped Italian parsley
2 Tbs. lemon juice
4 oz. light cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup shredded light Jarlsberg cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste (about 1/2 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. pepper)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and bake 5 to 7 minutes, until toasted (be careful not to burn).

3. Heat Earth Balance in a skillet over medium heat; add garlic, shallots and mushrooms. Cook about 10 minutes, until mushrooms are soft and the excess liquid has evaporated. Stir in thyme. Turn up heat and add sherry. Remove from heat.

4. Place walnuts, saut?ed mushrooms, parsley, lemon juice, cream cheese and Jarlsberg in a food processor. Pulse until just mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Spread into a ramekin or bowl, cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.

6. Garnish with thyme and chopped walnuts and serve with toasted walnut, rosemary or olive artisan bread.

PER SERVING: 135CAL; 6G PROT; 9G TOTAL FAT (2G SAT. FAT); 5G CARB; 7MG CHOL; 98MG SOD; 1G FIBER; 1G SUGARS