Valentine Meal for Two...For Under $20

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My husband and I personally like to stay home and cook dinner for special “holiday” meals like Valentines and New Year’s Eve. We can cook more expensive meals than we usually do that will still cost us a lot less than dining out. And we enjoy doing it. We’ll dress up, crank up the music, pour the wine and cook…it’s together time and we can laugh and talk while we cook. And we don’t have to worry about driving home after a couple of cocktails.

This meal is hearty, yet we lightened up some of the ingredients so it’s not as heavy in fat. This meal takes about 25 minutes and costs about $16 for 2 servings. I did get my filet mignon on sale for $13.99 lb and the fingerling potatoes were on sale for $2.99 for 24 ounces (we only use 12 ounces). If filet mignon is not in your budget, you can substitute flank or hanger steak. The calories for this came in at about 410 with 33 g protein, 2 g carbohydrate, 29 g total fat (12 g saturated), 123 mg cholesterol and 320 mg sodium. (Don’t want too heavy of a meal on a romantic night!)

I found this recipe in Good Housekeeping (Feb 2013 issue) and was happy it wasn’t as costly as I thought it would. But prices will vary depending on your location. And at this price, if the kids are joining you for dinner, it’s still an inexpensive “special” meal.

Filet Mignon With Shallot Butter
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 2 for approx $15.94 (time and price is for the entire menu)


  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary

  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter (no substitution), room temp
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 beef tenderloin (filet mignon) steaks, about 1 inch thick and 6 oz each


In 10-inch skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil on medium. Add shallot and rosemary; cook 2 minutes or until shallot is golden, stirring. Add wine. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until most of wine has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly. In small bowl, combine butter and shallot mixture. Stir in parsley. Refrigerate.

Wipe out skillet; add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Heat on medium-high until very hot. Season steaks with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place steaks in skillet. Cook 3 minutes, or until browned. Turn over; cook 3 minutes or until desired doneness (145 degrees for med-rare). Transfer to plate; let stand 5 minutes.

To serve, top steaks with red wine-shallot butter. Serve with oven fries and creamed spinach.

Oven Fries

  • 12 ounce fingerling potatoes, cut lengthwise into quarters
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In jelly roll pan, toss fingerling potatoes with olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Arrange in single layer on pan; roast 15 minutes. Stir potatoes; roast 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and tender.

Creamed Spinach


  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 10 ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons light sour cream


In 2-quart saucepan, heat half-and-half, nutmeg, salt and pepper to simmering on medium heat. Stir in spinach, Parmesan cheese and sour cream. Cook 2 minutes or until hot, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.

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