We’ve made it to February (whew!) but we still have at least six weeks of winter still to survive so we thought it is probably time to bring out Cioppino and Chocolate Mousse: our easy, healthy and light Valentine’s dinner.
I always love having little things to look forward to at this time of year. Whether it is a dinner with friends, a massage or a drive to Banff for a mini get away – these are the little joys that make those short days and long nights manageable. Also, my husband travels for work a lot, and I have been travelling with our daughter so it also feels like we are ships passing in the night. It might be time for a special dinner?
If you celebrate Valentine’s Day in your house or not, it is always fun to have a meal that is easy, healthy and light and you could include the kids in if you wish! Our young adults quite enjoy a dinner in the dining room and I have made this meal for Sunday dinner a few times.
This seafood soup and healthy chocolate mousse are the perfect easy, healthy, and light Valentine’s dinner – make it tonight or save it for LOVE day!
This menu includes Cioppino – a light tomato / white wine broth seafood soup, a yummy salad for some greens (recipe not included!) and of course the most delicious chocolate mousse for dessert.
Cioppino – Easy, Healthy and Light Valentine’s Dinner
Some of you might be intimidated by seafood but I have to tell you – this recipe (adapted from my fav. Ina Garten) is so easy, you can prepare it on a weeknight. Seafood is SO EASY particularly if you buy it fresh or even frozen from a reputable fish market.
The biggest thing about this dish is just having the ingredients on hand. Seafood stock (if you don’t make it fresh, and to be honest, I don’t ever have time for that) is something you can buy and have in your pantry.
The seafood and fennel could be picked up on the way home from work and everything else you should have on hand at home.
Another option for this easy, healthy and light Valentine’s dinner is to make the “soup” a day ahead. Heat it up and add the seafood when you are ready to eat!
This recipe includes cod, shrimp, scallops and mussels – but you can switch that up if you have other seafood preferences. Make sure that you follow the recipe in terms of the order to put the seafood in – this ensures the perfect cooking time.
Healthy, Easy and Light Cioppino for Valentine's Day
Good olive oil
2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) fennel bulb
1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) yellow onion (1 large)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 teaspoon whole dried fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, such as San Marzano
4 cups seafood stock – we like Bar Harbor
1 1/2 cups dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds cod fillets, skin removed, 2-inch diced
1 pound large (16 to 20-count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound sea scallops, halved crosswise
24 mussels, scrubbed
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Heat 1/2 cup olive oil and sauté the fennel and onions until soft (about 10 minutes)
Stir in the garlic, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, stock, wine, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
If you want to make this ahead – store in the fridge for up to a few days – heat to simmer when you are ready for dinner.
Add the seafood in the following order:
first the cod, then the shrimp, scallops, and finally the mussels.
Do not stir!
Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, cover, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the seafood is cooked and the mussels are open.
Ladle into large shallow bowls, sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot with your fav. garlic toast.
Easy, Healthy and Light Chocolate Mousse
There is nothing that wrecks a romantic evening more than a full tummy – especially one filled with rich food. I’m sorry, but nothing is more of a “mood buster!”
And FYI, there is no such thing as a Valentine’s Dinner without chocolate. So one of my fav things to make for a special dessert, that won’t leave you feeling uncomfortable, is this easy, healthy and light chocolate mousse.
You can either pipe this mousse into a pudding or parfait cup, or as a dollop on top of fresh strawberries. Either way it will be a favourite. My teens go crazy for this mousse. In general, they are always pretty excited when I make dessert, but this one continually gets the double thumbs up.
This healthy, easy and light dessert also ticks the dairy free box, the gluten free box, and the no refined sugar box.
Our creamy, light chocolate mousse uses only 4 ingredients – and the star of the show is COCONUT CREAM. If you are short on time, throw the coconut cream in the freezer before dinner, and then whip up the mousse (which take 5 minutes).
Healthy, Easy and Light Chocolate Mousse for Valentine's Day
2 ( 14 oz) cans of coconut cream
5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp maple syrup or honey
Remove coconut cream to a mixing bowl and place in freezer for about 1 hour prior to serving.
Remove bowl from freezer, add remaining ingredients, and whip with your stand mixer until smooth and creamy.
Pipe mousse into a parfait glass with your choice of garnish (I love a good red jujube!) or dollop in a pretty bowl and serve as a dip for your favourite fruits.
Of course, Danni and I know that none of this is rocket science, and that, if you are in your 40’s you probably have made many of these recipes countless times. For me though – getting the reminder that I can make something special and maybe something I haven’t made in a while is what I love about blogging. It is fun to peak into someone else’s world and get ideas and inspiration.
So – hopefully you are inspired and your family (or partner) is delighted by a special evening because it can be fun to express LOVE in the kitchen 🙂