Introduction: Operation Epic Valentine's Day 2015

The plan: have an entire day centered around cooking for my wife and kids with out them knowing what will be coming next. In the past I have taken my wife out for Valentine's day, but now after having kids and living on a budget the amount of money for a babysitter and the cost of dinner at a crowed high-end restaurant does not seem that appealing to either of us. That being said my wife and I have a tradition now that we stay in on Valentine's day and I cook her favorite meals (also mine). This year I will go above and beyond and attempt to do all three meals plus an amazing dessert! Here I go!

So in actuality which I will go into later, I had a plan as seen in the first image and as you see in the second image what really happened. All in all the food was great but the family was all sick :(

I will show recipes for all, or link to others I or my wife have written!

Step 1: Breakfast

Recently on the Instructables website I cam across a few pancake recipes called "German Pancakes" or "Oven Pancakes." I have made thesea few times making changes each time trying to perfect the recipe for my family. This attempt was a big hit with the whole family. I do not really care for syrup so I will show my own topping.

Ingredients:

• 6 eggs
• 1 cup of flour or pancake mix
• 1/2 cup of milk
• 1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt
• 1 table spoons of sugar
• 4 table spoons of butter or coconut oil may be used

Topping:

• 1 package of raspberries, strawberries or blackberries (save a few for additional topping)
• 1 banana
• 1 cup of water
• 3-4 table spoons of white sugar

Cooking:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take a glass baking dish or in my case two glass pie dishes and add your butter (about 1 table spoon in each dish), place the dishes into the oven to melt. In a medium bowl scramble up the eggs, add in the milk, yogurt and sugar. Mix well, next gently mix in the flour or pancake mix and stir until evenly mixed. Take out the dishes and add your mixture to the melted butter. Place back in the oven and cook till the tops start to turn a golden color. Remove when done and set aside to cool.

For the topping take a medium pan add in your berry fruit (washed), water and sugar. Cook on medium to high heat till it comes to a boil stirring frequently. Once it is at a boil the fruit will start to break down. I rapidly mixed with a fork breaking down the strawberries further to a jam like consistency and removed from heat and set aside. Next add the berry jam and pour it over the pancake in the baking dish. The juices will seep into the top layer of the cake, yum. Next for decorative purposes I added a few more strawberry and banana slices covering the pancake.

Serving:

Cut the pancakes out of the dish and place on a plate and get ready to enjoy the first meal, Yum!

Step 2: Lunch

Ok, no one really ever raves too much about lunch so I really had to dig deep on this one. I came up with fish Taco's, they are light yet very filling. For a link to my entire instructable on fishing click here.

Ingredients:

1. Your favorite fish cooked the way you like grilled, baked or fried (your favorite white fish will work), I used flounder)
2. Black beans (drained)
3. Shredded Lettuce
4. Diced Tomatoes
5. Onions (optional)
6. Shredded cheese
7. Tortillas

Fish Taco Sauce:

1. Mayonnaise
2. Plain white yogurt (Greek if you like)
3. Lemon Juice
4. Cumin
5. Dill
6. Cayenne Pepper
7. Tony Chachere Creole seasoning


For the all-important Fish Taco Sauce, start off by placing even parts (one for one) yogurt and Mayonnaise in a bowl. I usually do about ½ -1 cup of each depending on the number of people I plan to feed . Next, add about a teaspoon of Cumin, a teaspoon of Dill, a ¼ teaspoon of Cayenne and ¼ Tony’s. Add more cayenne if you like yours spicy! Last, but not least, the lemon juice. I add about 1-2 lemons worth of juice hand squeezed. (The left
over rind is good to cook with on the grill/oven to add more flavor to the fish) I do make this sauce to taste, so taste as you go and make it your own!

For the tacos, build them up as you like. I take the beans first and put them on the tortilla then take your cooked fish and place it on top of the beans. Next add your veggies: the lettuce, tomatoes, onions and place over the fish. Then the most important ingredient, the Fish Taco Sauce! Lay it on thick or thin. This is the sauce of sauces for any white fish. Next top with cheese, wrap it up and Enjoy!

Step 3: Dinner

Ok, so on to the the main meal. I kid you not, the most desired meal in my house is some good old fashioned country food. My wife's and my favorite meal is specially prepared venison steaks, homemade mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. It is so simple but so amazing. My venison recipe amazes everyone who tries it and they are often in disbelief that venison could be so tender and delicious. Also my mashed potatoes are a real treat! so here we go!

This recipe will work with other wild game meats, my favorites that I like to use are Deer, Duck and Rabbit.

• Vienison ~ 2 lb
• Olive oil
• Tony Cahceres
• Seasoned salt
• Italian seasoning
• Black Pepper

Venison, unlike beef or pork, has little to no fat content and because of this it must be prepared differently in order to keep it tender. For tips on processing, check out my instructable on proper processing a deer (link coming soon). You can use any cut of venison meat and make it tender without having an over powering game taste. The secret is in the preparation. Remove all sinew, fat and slimy membrane from the meat. This can be done easily with a fillet knife. To help tenderize and "add fat," the secret is olive oil and a fork. Every venison recipe I have created uses this heart healthy oil. Olive oil helps to prevent the meat from burning while providing a medium for seasoning (Tony's, black pepper and seasoned salt). The fork tenderizes and infuses the meat with oil and seasoning. Take a glass bowl, add the cut up venison, add the olive oil and seasonings, and then gently take the fork and poke/pierce the meat evenly. Let it set for a few minutes or up to a day in the fridge. Now the meat is ready to be cooked.

My country mashed potatoes:

Cut the potatoes (3 per person, I used 6) into small cubes, place in a medium pot cover with water and boil till potatoes are soft and be easily crushed with a fork. Remove from heat and drain. Once drained add in butter (1/2 stick) and mix around till fully melted. Next add the sour cream (3/4 cup) and mash/mix the potatoes until an even consistency(if the potatoes seem dry you can add in a bit of milk). Lastly add in your spices, I use season salt and black pepper.

Steamed Broccoli
Cut up the broccoli (3 heads) and place in steamer and cook till tender. I also add just a dash of season salt to the broccoli.

Step 4: Dessert!

My amazing strawberry brownie cake will be the treat to top off the night. For a link to my full recipe with more pictures click here.

Brownies:

I use two Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownie mixes. One mix for each 9 inch circular pan. After mixing place the batter into the lightly greased pans and bake until the brownies are to your desired doneness. I like them to be a bit under done and gooey :) Remove the brownies and set aside on a plate.

Whip cream:

Start off mixing the heavy whipping cream in a blender or if you want an arm work out do it with a whisk. Add in the sugar slowly and taste every so often until you reach the desired sweetness. I don't like it very sweet because the brownies are plenty sweet.

The Build:

First I cut up the strawberries into thin slices and place them in a bowl. Next I coat a layer of whip cream onto the bottom brownie. Then apply the strawberry slices to the whip cream layer until completely covered. Next add the second brownie layer and coat with a layer of whip cream all over once complete add strawberry slices until completely covered.

This cake is so good, but so not good for you :)

Step 5: What Really Happened on Valentines

Ok, so the day was a success but not everything on the original menu was made :( The reason was because everyone in the family came down with a nasty virus the day before (go to the hospital bad). That being said we had to change out a few items for ones that did not have dairy.

Actual menu:
German Pancakes
Spinach and strawberry salad, for step by step instructions check out my wife's instructable by clicking here.
Venison steak, mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli
Banana bread, for step by step instructions check out my wife's instructable by clicking here.


We made the best of our sick day, hope you enjoyed!

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Bio: I am an outdoor enthusiast, with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and a M.S. in Systems Engineering. I love spending time with my ... More »
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