Loser cooks Valentine’s Dinner

Excerpt from my February 2009 Healthy Fit Article: … Looking for a bit of variety and shelter from the frigid cold this winter, I decide to branch out and explore other methods of quick and easy exercise rather than running.

While contemplating my options over lunch with a girlfriend, I discovered she plays racquetball to stay in shape. What a great idea – a perfect way to shake up my fitness routine this winter…by the time we finished lunch I was convinced I could whip her butt in a game and challenged her – looser cooks dinner… “What did I just do?” I thought, getting into my minivan after lunch, I haven’t stepped foot onto a court in over 25 years!

Here is the ‘loser cooks dinner’ menu. I combined creamy with savory and a side of crunch – perfect Valentines Menu for kids and adults alike. If you keep the servings sizes reasonable – Creamy Mac-and-Cheese is a fine accompaniment to any meat or fish dish.

Valentine’s Day Dinner:

Pan Fried Steak

Season both sides of sirloin steak simply and lightly with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and garlic powder. Heat up a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat drizzled with olive oil. Set steak in pan without crowding. Drizzle tops of meat with olive oil. Fry steak for approximately 4 minutes per side turning steak over when browned on bottom – only flipping steak once. Remove from pan and let sit 1-2 minutes before serving. Drizzle with a bit more sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and olive oil just before serving.

Steamed Broccoli Spears

Try to steam the broccoli instead of boiling and remove from steamer while stalks are “crispytender” (my word for still having crunch but not tasting raw).

Very Creamy Mac-and-Cheese (see recipe below)

Very Creamy Mac-and-Cheese

serves 10

1 pound elbow pasta

1 12-ounce can low-fat evaporated milk

1 14-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth

3 Tbs. butter

1/3 cup flour

1 ½ Tbs. Dijon mustard

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

¼ tsp. black pepper

3/4 pound grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese

1. Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and spread on large baking sheet.

2. Microwave milk and broth in large bowl until hot. Melt butter in empty pasta pot; whisk in flour; cook while stirring for 3-4 minutes. Add hot liquid; whisk until thick and bubbly. Whisk in mustard, parmesan cheese and black pepper. Remove from heat and add cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.

3. Add pasta; stir until combined. Serve immediately.

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