Romantic Valentines Evening For Under £50!


While I do think that Valentines day is very commercialised, I also think it is a good excuse to really make time for each other and do something a bit special.  It's expensive to go out for a meal (even more so on Valentines!) and everywhere is packed. I'm going to show you how to have a romantic 3 course meal, candles, flowers, cocktails and even chocolate dipped strawberries for under £50.  Not only that, but the meal is also Slimming World friendly and is under 15 syns with both your healthy extras. Am I good to you or what?  So read this blog post and tell your loved one you are putting in the special effort this year!

Firstly let me explain the £50.  An advert came up on my time feed for a local restaurant for a special Valentines meal that was "only £45 per person". £90 for a meal? For me there's something extra special about someone making the effort to prepare something just for you, especially if you don't normally do the cooking! The meal is nice and simple to prepare, no matter how good or bad your kitchen skills are!

£50 is what it costs for EVERYTHING on my shopping list.  Hopefully there are some things that you already have in your cupboard, such as herbs, spices etc, so you may even end up spending even less.  I shopped at Tescos and based prices on theirs, and all prices correct at time of posting!

Download shopping list here

Here is your menu for the evening:-

Starter
Love heart mushroom risotto with balsamic reduction (2 syns)

Main
Creamy chicken and pancetta tagliatelle, salad and cheesy garlic bread (3 syns)

Dessert
Luxurious chocolate and vanilla cheesecake with chocolate dipped strawberries (6 syns)

Drinks
Sugar Pink Cocktails (2.5 syns)

If there any meals that you don't like the sound of, have a look at my Slimming World recipe page

To set the scene I got candles from Wilkos and some rose petals from 99p land. Included in the £50 is £10 for flowers/gift and a card. The flowers in the picture were only £5 from Tescos.  Set the table, decorate it for 2.  I removed the other chairs at the table so it really felt like just the 2 of us.


Cheesecake

Prepare the cheesecake the day before to allow time to set overnight, and less stress for you on the evening!


Extra Easy Syn Value:- 6 Per Slice

Healthy Extras:- None

You will need:- 

8 bourbon cream biscuits, finely crushed 
40g Flora Light, melted 
2 x 12g sachet powdered gelatine 
4 x 175g pots Mullerlight Vanilla yoghurt 
2tsp vanilla extract 
2 tubs quark 
2tbsp sweetener 
40g dark chocolate, broken into pieces 
2 level tsp cocoa powder

Method:-

Put the biscuits in a bowl, pour over the melted spread and mix well. Spoon into a 20cm diameter springform cake tin, and press down with the back of a spoon. Cover with cling film and chill the base for 30 minutes.

Mix up the gelatine as per the pack instructions. Add to the quark, vanilla yoghurt and sweetener and mix until smooth.  Pour over the biscuit base, cover and chill overnight.

When ready to serve, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, ensuring the bowl doesn't touch the water (or melt in the microwave on a low heat for 30 seconds). Stir until smooth.

Cut the cheeseake into 8 slices, put 2 on your plate and dizzle with the melted dark chocolate, then dust with the cocoa powder. Serve with a chocolate dipped strawberry (1 syn)

Recipe adapted from here

Sugar Pink Cocktails


You will need:- 
Vodka 
Pink Lemonade Zero

Method:- 

Add the vodka and lemonade in a glass and top off with a strawberry

Mushroom Risotto



Extra Easy Syn Value:- 2 Per portion 

Healthy Extras:- None

You will need:- 
1 onion finely chopped
1/2 litre of chicken stock
135g of Arborio Rice
100g of mushrooms (I used baby portobello mushrooms)
1 tablespoon fat free fromage frais
1 cloves of garlic (crushed)
thyme
salt and black pepper
Balsamic Vinegar

Method:- 

Pour a cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the heat to a boil without reducing the heat on the stove.

At this point, turn down the heat so that boil reduces to a simmer. Stir occasionally and allow to simmer until the vinegar has reduced by at least half (for a thinner reduction) or more (for a more syrupy consistency). However impatient you may be, don't try to increase the heat, unless you want to be left with a stiff, hardened mess! Dot this on the plate or over your risotto.


Place all the stock in a small saucepan with a sprinkling of fresh thyme and keep on a low heat.
Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook until softened and golden.

Add a little of the stock if needed to prevent from sticking. Season with some black pepper.
Add the Arborio rice and mix thoroughly with the onion, garlic and mushrooms.

Add 1 ladle of stock and  continuously stir making sure you scrape all the flavouring from the bottom of the pan as you do so, as the stock reduces add another ladle of stock, and repeat the process. until stock is  gone and rice is cooked.

Serve in a heart shape

Recipe adapted from here
Chicken & Pancetta Tagliatelle


Extra Easy Syn Value:- Syn Free

Healthy Extras:- None

You will need:-

Low calorie cooking spray
4 chicken breasts, skin removed, cut into strips
7 rashers panchetta, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200ml fat free fromage frais
40ml chicken stock
1tbsp of quark
6 nests dried tagliatelli
1 tsp italian herbs

Method:- 

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions in a pan of salted boiling water, then drain.

Heat a frying pan and add the chicken strips panchetta bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the chicken is golden-brown and cooked through.

Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper, add the fromage frias and stir through, but be carefull not to let it boil.

Add the Italian herbs to the sauce mixture, then the cooked pasta and stiry through.   Serve with a mixed salad.

Cheesy Garlic Bread
(if you both eat garlic, it's ok!)


Extra Easy Syn Value:- Syn Free (for half)

Healthy Extras:- A & B

You will need:- 
75g wholemeal bread mix
60-70ml of water
1 clove of garlic, finely crushed
1 tbsp extra light butter
1 tsp parsley 
Salt & pepper to taste
40g extra light cheese per half of the pizza

Method:- 

Take 75g of the wholemeal bread mix, save approximately 5g for dusting

Add 60ml of water and mix to form a dough.

Knead and prove according to pack instructions and roll out into a pizza shape. This, when cooked, will make a base of approximately 115g in weight, which is 2HEBs (half the bread each is a healthy extra)

Mix the butter, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley together and spread on the pizza base and and 40g cheese on each half

Cook for 20 mins in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 20 mins

Have a fabulous evening, whatever you decide to do!
L x
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