Not too late to celebrate Valentine’s

Published 2:17 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2024

By Kara Kimbrough
There’s a good chance you’re reading this on Valentine’s Day or
maybe the weekend following the day when a special meal of
some kind is required with your significant other. Even if it’s too
late to make a restaurant reservation, there are still a few options
left to create a special meal.
First, if you’re on a strict budget, you can always go to Sonic
(yes, you read that right). Supposedly, Reba McIntire’s post that
Sonic’s #1 Cheeseburger would be her last meal on earth if given
the chance caused the chain to create a special Sweetheart Meal
at a reduced price for this week.
Included are a cheeseburger, tater tots and strawberry shake.
McIntire has even announced she and her boyfriend will celebrate
Valentine’s Day at the fast-food place. I’m not sure if I believe
that, but it does make for a great story.
If a fast-food burger and fried tots is not your idea of a special
meal, there are still quite a few options from which to choose to
create a memorable dinner, even at this late date.
If you’re newly-married, do what one of my friends did and
recreate a romantic dinner enjoyed during your honeymoon.
When all else fails, throw a juicy steak on the grill, bake a potato
(a fancy one) and pick up a heart-shaped cake from the local
bakery or supermarket.

Not only is it easy to pull off a special dinner in no time, but
there’s less stress and usually a significant cost savings over
dining out on one of the most expensive nights (or weekends) of
the year.
Here are three of my favorite “special occasion” recipes for a
steak dinner that won’t disappoint…and who knows, it may
become the requested meal of your special person when
Valentine’s Day rolls around next year.
Valentine’s Night Steaks for Two
Marinate two thick cuts of sirloin (or your favorite cut) steak for
several hours (or shorter if you wait until last minute) in the
refrigerator with:
1 medium bottle of teriyaki steak sauce
Juice of 2-3 lemons
Salt and pepper to taste
Remove from refrigerator and top with 1-2 tablespoons of
butter. Grill or broil to desired level of doneness. Let meat rest
before slicing. Recipe doubles easily.
Twice-Baked Potatoes for Two
Bake two large baking potatoes. Scoop out inside, leaving a
small border of potato around edges. Add to the potato filling:
Small container of French Onion Dip
1-2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of bacon bits
¼-1/2 cup shredded cheese

Stir well and return to potato skins; top with cheese. Place
under the broiler for a few minutes until insides are heated
through; don't overcook.
Air Fryer Mini Chocolate Pudding Cakes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
1-1/2 teaspoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking cocoa
Whipped topping, optional
Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the
flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in the milk,
butter and vanilla until smooth. Spoon into 2 lightly greased 4-
ounce ramekins. Combine brown sugar and cocoa; sprinkle over
Place ramekins on tray in air-fryer basket. Cook until a knife
inserted in the center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Serve
warm or at room temperature, with whipped topping if desired.

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Kara Kimbrough is a food and travel writer and travel agent from
Mississippi. Email her at