You know the saying: “A home-cooked meal makes the heart grow fonder.” OK, so maybe we’re paraphrasing a bit. Still, what better Valentine’s Day gift is there than a delicious and comforting homemade meal to enjoy along with your loved one? Bypass the scramble for restaurant reservations by preparing a delightful, savory, and sophisticated dish with the aid of your slow cooker.
Simmer up a romantic and elegant Valentine’s Day dinner using any of these six slow-cooked recipes.
1. Red Wine Beef Cheeks With Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Beef cheeks are a cut of meat that lend themselves perfectly to crockpot cooking. These lean cuts are able to absorb a wide range of complex flavors as they simmer, including the red wine-based braising liquid in Recipe Tin Eats’ dish. Try using a full-bodied red wine such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon to result in an especially tender and delectable meal. Rich mashed potatoes help to offset the intense flavors of your main course. These Red Wine Beef Cheeks With Creamy Mashed Potatoes take just 15 minutes of prep time plus 10 hours in the slow cooker. The recipe yields 6 servings.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, separated
- 3 pounds beef cheeks (4 large or 6 small beef cheeks)
- 1 onion (white, brown, or yellow), roughly diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 celery stalk, roughly diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 carrot, roughly diced (about ¾ cup)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 stems of fresh thyme or 1½ teaspoons dried thyme leaves
- 4 dried bay leaves (or 3 fresh bay leaves)
- 1 cup beef stock
- 2 cups red wine
- 3 teaspoons salt, separated
- Black pepper
Creamy mashed potatoes
- 1.6 pounds starchy potatoes, diced into ¾-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup milk
- Salt and pepper
See recipe directions at Recipe Tin Eats.
2. Brown Butter Creamy Linguine With Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Crockpot Gourmet’s luxurious recipe for Brown Butter Creamy Linguine With Roasted Brussels Sprouts makes for a perfectly cozy dish to share with your Valentine. These linguine noodles are cooked into a creamy Italian sauce, accented with notes of citrus-infused Brussels sprouts for a meal worthy of a five-star restaurant (without the hassle of reservations). Perhaps best of all, this crockpot dish will save you loads of cleanup time, so save the chores for another day!
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3½ cups chicken broth
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 16 ounces linguine noodles (for later)
- ¾ cup heavy cream (for later)
See recipe directions at Crockpot Gourmet.
3. Lemon-Rosemary Chicken
The delicate flavors of lemon and rosemary bring out the best in this easy chicken recipe from This Gal Cooks. The dish is zesty and refreshing, with the meat reaching spectacular levels of tender juiciness after a few hours in the crockpot. This recipe requires just 10 minutes of prep time, then 6 hours in your slow cooker, resulting in 6 servings of lean, home-cooked goodness. To round out the meal, try serving your Lemon-Rosemary Chicken with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.
- 1 (6- to 7-pound) whole chicken
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 head of garlic, cloves removed, peeled, and ends chopped off
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
- 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
See recipe directions at This Gal Cooks.
4. Slow Cooker Bouillabaisse
It may sound intimidating, but bouillabaisse is really just the French term for a traditional fish stew. The meal offers a medley of fresh-from-the-sea flavors, accented with choice spices such as saffron, thyme, and bay leaf. The addition of a dry white wine lends the dish a degree of complexity, while leeks, celery, and potatoes offer extra heartiness to the bounty. This Slow Cooker Bouillabaisse recipe from Simple Living And Eating takes 20 minutes of prep time plus 4 to 6 hours in the slow cooker, yielding 8 to 10 servings (great for leftovers!).
- 2 leeks, white and light green part only, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 10 small red potatoes, quartered
- 1 small fennel bulb, chopped
- 3 pounds of a frozen white fish (cod, snapper, haddock, etc.)
- 1 pound frozen seafood (sea scallops, squid, etc.)
- 1 pound fresh shellfish (clams or mussels)
- 1 (28-ounce) can of diced tomatoes
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 orange peel
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon saffron
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Pepper, to taste
- Crosti toast or baguette toast
See recipe directions at Simple Living and Eating.
5. Chicken and Dumplings Stew
Nothing beats cozying up to your loved one with a comforting bowl of slow-cooked Chicken and Dumplings. This easy-to-prepare dish shows how even beginner-level cooks can transform store-bought biscuit dough into tiny, delightful dumplings to add a wonderful texture to their dish. This recipe from Love Bakes Good Cakes yields 8 servings and keeps well for future meals.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- ¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 (10.5-ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth
- 1 soup can water (use the empty soup can to measure)
- 2 (10-ounce) tubes refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces
- Chopped parsley, for serving (optional)
See recipe directions at Love Bakes Good Cakes.
6. Gin-Braised Lamb Ribs
Indulge in a taste of sophistication this holiday with these exceptional Gin-Braised Lamb Ribs from Cocoa Bean, the Vegetable. These lamb ribs simmer on low in the slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours, gaining a succulent texture with a gin-infused broth. The flavors of cumin, cayenne, apricot, onion, and gin grant the meat an unforgettable and decadent taste. This dish can be served warm or hot. To serve leftovers, heat in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes.
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 cups dried apricots
- 1 half rack lamb ribs (about 4 pounds)
- ¾ teaspoon dried cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- ¼ cup gin
- Salt and pepper
See recipe directions at Cocoa Bean, the Vegetable.