It’s showtime, e’rybody. It’s that time of year where the romantic gesture of cooking a scratch-made meal can only end one of two ways, canoodling or calling the fire department. Well, not only am I here to help get your canoodle on, but we’re going to make better choices to get to that canoodle. Plus, we’ll let the fire department handle a real emergency. And, if you’re flying solo, then you’ll have a killer dinner, lunch for tomorrow, and dessert all week long because #lovethyself. Boom.
Most people make Valentine’s Day their day to throw all New Year resolutions out the window and just go for it. We’re celebrating, right?
Look, we didn’t start our #betterchoices journey in January (down 20 pounds – not even trying – thank you very much) just to watch it blow up to smithereens because being in a sugar coma sounds like a perfectly lovely way to end the night. No. We’re making a sexy meal for our sexy selves, and not to worry – sad, little salads are not invited.
Fair warning, though. This is a labor of love. So, make sure you give yourself at least one hour to prep. The actual cooking will take less than 30 minutes.
Something else to note: the dinner itself, including a 3oz portion (plenty) of your favorite cabernet sauvignon and a healthy portion of Chocolate Decadence Cake is under 730 calories.
That’s right. Better choices, baby! No way you can get away with less than 750 calories for a restaurant meal like this. We are stepping it up with filet mignon kabobs, oyster mushrooms, grilled fennel, and sweet potato roses. And, we’re topping it off with a rich Chocolate Decadence Cake that’s sugar-free and gluten-free but not taste-free (my least favorite type of cake). You can have this indulgent dinner AND eat breakfast and lunch like a normal person – all on the same day!
We are stepping it up without stepping all over our better choices.
Let’s do this!
Sweet Potato Roses
1 Large Sweet Potato, peeled
1/2 TBS Canola Oil
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Smoked Paprika
Preheat oven to 375°.
Peel your sweet potato. With a mandolin or a knife, carefully slice the sweet potato into thin 1/8″ slices.
Season the sliced sweet potato with salt and smoked paprika. Drizzle with canola oil, and toss to coat evenly.
Layer 20 of the seasoned sweet potato slices in a straight line, fanned out like a deck of cards, left to right. Starting with the first sweet potato slice on the left, begin to roll to the right.
Continue rolling up the slices, holding the roll tightly with your fingers until you’ve rolled up all the sweet potato slices and you have formed a rose. Place the rose into a muffin tin.
Repeat the process until all the sweet potato slices are used. You should get approximately six roses. Sprinkle with additional smoked paprika. Bake in the oven at 375° for 20 minutes. The sweet potato will come out looking like dried roses.
Filet Mignon Beef Kabobs
Zero Calorie Coconut Oil Spray
4 Bamboo Skewers (metal skewers work, as well)
4 oz Oyster Mushrooms, trimmed
3 oz Red Boiler Onions (baby onions that are somewhat heart-shaped)
8 Grape Tomatoes (oval shape is best)
1 TBS Canola Oil
1/2 Cup Parsley, chopped
10 oz Filet Mignon, cut into 8 portions
1 Garlic Clove, minced (don’t lie – you know if you both eat garlic, you’ll be a’ight)
1 Small Fennel Bulb and Frond, trimmed
1 Cup Baby Spinach
Splash of Low Sodium Chicken Broth
Prepare a cast iron grill pan or skillet with zero calorie coconut oil spray and set aside. Do not heat yet.
In a tall glass or dish, add four bamboo skewers and cover in water to soak. Soaking the skewers ensures they will not burn when over the grill pan. Bring salted water to a rolling boil in a saucepan. Prepare an ice bath by filling a medium bowl with 1/2 water and 1/2 ice, and set aside.
Using a knife, carefully remove the paper thin outer layer of the baby onions. If you cannot find boiler onions, pearl onions will do.
Add the onions to the boiling water to blanch them. Cover and boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove the onions and immediately place them in the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Remove onions from the ice bath after about 10 seconds. Blanching and shocking the onions make skewering them much easier.
Cut the onions vertically in half, keeping the root ends intact.
The first outer layer of onion may peel away from the onion after the blanching process. Not to worry. Just pull the outer layer off without removing the root end. Set aside.
Cut the fennel bulb in half, and mince the fennel frond. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, add the chopped parsley, fennel frond, minced garlic, halved onions, tomatoes, and fennel halves. Drizzle with 1 TBS of canola oil, and season with salt. Toss to coat.
Remove all the vegetables from the bowl, leaving the leftover parsley, frond, and garlic mixture. Add the eight portions of filet mignon to the bowl, drizzle an additional 1/2 TBS of canola oil over the meat, season with salt, and toss to coat. I divided four pieces per person with mine being one-ounce portions and Bear’s being four pieces totaling six ounces. You adjust your portions to your needs, but keep in mind it is four pieces total per person.
Add the oyster mushrooms to the filet mixture, season with a dash of salt, and toss to coat. The reason you do not add the oyster mushrooms to the veggies or before you add the beef is because the mushrooms will absorb the canola oil. We simply want the oyster mushrooms to join the party, not take over. Set aside.
Take your halved red boiler onions, and place them flat side down. Carefully take a knife and cut out the top portion to create a heart, leaving the root end intact. Repeat this with all the red boiler onions.
Take your tomatoes, and slice them on the diagonal.
Flip only one side of the tomato upside down, and join the tomato back together to create a heart. Catching on to the theme, now??? Repeat this with all the tomatoes, keeping them paired up.
Remove the bamboo skewers from the water, and very carefully, skewer the tomatoes so they keep their heart shape and the onions so they stay intact. Alternate tomato, oyster mushroom, onion, and beef until you’ve filled the skewer with the combination twice.
Repeat until all four skewers are filled. If you portioned yours like mine, then make sure you keep track of which skewer is portioned for which person. Heat the cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat until the grill pan just begins to smoke. Add the skewers two at a time and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side for medium rare to medium, making sure you don’t move the skewers once they are down. You need to get grill marks, and if you move around the meat, you ruin the sexy grill marks. Stay put!
Once the skewers are cooked, add the leftover mushrooms and two fennel halves to the grill pan and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes or until the mushrooms and fennel are beautifully charred.
Arrange that sexy romantical plate, dive in, and then get you a slice of the Chocolate Decadence Cake! You can cheers to that with your calories to spare!