Valentines Day Dinner Surf & Turf with Chocolate Lava Cakes

Love it or hate it, there's no escaping it: Valentine's Day is right around the corner.

Now I know some skeptics believe it's just a commercial holiday designed to sell flowers and sappy cards. But personally, I think it's a rather nice reminder to show your loved ones how much you care. (And it doesn't have to involve candlelight and roses.)

Case in point: last year, all of my co-workers spent a couple hours at the office making old-school Valentine boxes. On February 14, we gave each other cute cards filled with groan-worthy puns, chocolates and candy hearts. Silly? Absolutely. But we also spent the entire day smiling, just like we did back in third grade.

Here's my point: being a little sentimental sometimes is worth it. And sending more love out into the world is never a bad thing.

Of course, Valentine's Day can be romantic, too. Since we have young kids, my husband and I don't hire a baby-sitter and go out on the town very often though. So I decided to do something different this year: make a fancy meal right at home, worthy of any restaurant.

Behold ... Today's Menu Featuring"Surf & Turf"

Confession: this was actually my first time making a "Surf & Turf" dinner, which typically pairs steak with lobster, shrimp or some other kind of seafood. But mercy, it won't be my last.

Don't get me wrong – this one is a bit of a splurge, so it's definitely something for a weekend or special occasion. It's a fraction of the cost of a date night, though, and trust me – these recipes are the perfect way to impress the sweethearts in your life. (Or just treat yourself! You won't be sorry.)

Recipe #1: Sweet Pepper Coconut Shrimp

You'll find all of the ingredients and directions in the full recipe, but here's a quick rundown:

Step 1: Get Your Dipping Station Ready
You'll have three separate bowls for dipping: one for flour, one for beaten eggs, and one for your seasoned breadcrumb/coconut mixture.

Coconut Shrimp

Step 2: Dunk, Dredge & Dip
Using tongs, carefully dip each jumbo shrimp into flour; dunk it in the egg mixture, scraping any excess against the side of the bowl. Then quickly roll it in the seasoned coconut mixture.

Place coated shrimp on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper to make clean-up simple!). Repeat until you've got all of those beauties ready to go. Then heat your oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Coconut shrimp

Step 3: Make'em Sizzle
Fry your shrimp in small batches until golden brown, just 3-4 minutes per batch. (Don't overcrowd them! They won't take long, so watch them carefully.) Serve them with plenty of Sweet Pepper Jalapeño Jam on the side.

But Wait ... What About the "Turf"?
Do't worry, red meat lovers. I'm not forgetting about you. To make your "Surf & Turf" complete, pair your crispy, oh-so-coconutty shrimp with perfectly pan-seared filet mignon.

Surf & Turf

Recipe #2: Easy Filet Mignon
So tender and juicy, it's honestly one of the most delectable – and surprisingly simple – steaks you'll ever make. (I'm not exaggerating. My husband was able to cut his with a fork.)

Recipe #3: Caramel Fudge Molten Cake
What about dessert? Well, they say a photo is worth a thousand words. So I am just going to leave this here …

Lava Cake

Sigh. I know, right? Warm, dark and dreamy, these little lava cakes are divine with vanilla bean ice cream and fresh raspberries.

That's it! Now you've got your own sweet and simple menu for Valentine's Day or any other special occasion. And no matter how you feel about February 14, that's pretty hard not to love.

Enjoy!

- Jen

Tips & Hints::

  • Not sure what to make for side dishes? Microwave a steamer bag of baby red potatoes as directed on the package. Before serving, stir in 2-3 tablespoons butter and a generous sprinkle of Rustic Herb Seasoning. You could also serve mixed greens, garlic mashed potatoes or roasted vegetables.
  • I threaded my coconut shrimp onto skewers for serving. It’s not a necessary step, by any means – but it’s fun for entertaining (and making them look fancy). Bonus parenting tip: as a mom, I’ve also learned that most kids will eat anything off a stick.
  • If you want to reheat any leftover lava cakes, simply warm them up in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. Try ‘em with whipped cream, sliced strawberries or coffee-flavored ice cream, too!

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