Tomorrow is Valentine’s day! (Not that you didn’t know that already- what with all the flower and jewelry advertisements being played over and over.)  But just in case-I thought I ought to remind you.

I guess for all those folks who have someone special-tomorrow is a day that will be filled with love and romance-and yes, probably flowers and jewelry. (Okay- maybe for some it will be just a card.  It’s the thought that counts!)

 But sadly-not everyone has found their special someone yet.  I was there once-and let me tell you-I dreaded this ‘so called’ holiday, with great passion.

Luckily, after many years of searching-I found the ‘perfect’ one. (No ladies-he’s not perfect)-but for me-he is!

Now, for all you folks out there who have yet to find that special someone- stick with me.  These recipes I’m going to share can be eaten by a party of two, or, (as I’ve proven in the past)-one!  I  mean- come on!  Tomorrow isn’t just about romance you know!  It’s about LOVE. (And boy do I love me some chocolate!)

Since hubby is on call this week- we will not be partaking, (as we have in past years), of some fancy restaurant food.  That’s right.  This year’s menu is based entirely on my two hands. (Oh goodness! I can feel the pressure now.)  Okay-not really.  Why? Because I have it all planned.

First- let’s start with the ‘sweet’ part.(After all-that’s what Valentines day is all about, right?)  We’re going to make up a batch of Peanut Butter Chip Blondie’s.  (I jotted down this recipe years ago-when I was watching our local news, and Mr. Food came on.) You know- the guy who always used to say, “Ooh, it’s so good!”  Sadly, Mr. Food passed, but his kitchen helpers are still busy-and you can find all of his great recipes here!  I did make one ‘minor’ change in the recipe-but we’ll get to that in sec.

Did I tell you that this recipe is so easy-I am almost embarrassed to post it, on the off hand that hubby reads this-and finds out the little bit of effort it took.  Oh well- I’ll just throw some flour on my face and call it a day.

Here’s what you will need:

2 cups light brown sugar
1 stick melted butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 2/3 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup walnuts (I did not add these as hubby can’t eat nuts)

1 cup peanut butter chips (divided)
1 cup dark chocolate chips (divided)***Here’s my change!  The original recipe calls for semi-sweet.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large mixing bowl-add the brown sugar.  (Wow!  Are you as blinded by that reflection off the bowl as I am?)

Add melted butter and whisk together. ( I know-your arteries are already hardening looking at all that butter, but just remember….Ooh it’s so good!)
Whisk in the eggs and vanilla.  Add the flour, salt and baking powder, and mix thoroughly.(If you’re adding nuts-go ahead and do so now.)  If not-add 3/4 cup of peanut butter chips.
And then 3/4 cup of chocolate chips.
Place your dough in a greased 9×13 pan.
Sprinkle the top with the remaining chips.
Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool.
But don’t wait too long!  These yummy bars are even better when they are warm! (Trust me-I know)
Now, on to the savory part.  Since this post has become seriously LONG (sorry, I’ve never been one to give the ‘short’ version), I’ll save the photo’s.  All except one- because frankly- this lasagna recipe wouldn’t be the same without it!

Yes, that’s right.  The secret ingredient in my lasagna is Bloody Mary mix!  I know it sounds crazy- but I guarantee, once you try it-you’ll never make your favorite lasagna recipe without it!

So-here is what you’ll need:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon onion (minced)
3 tablespoon parsley flakes (divided)
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 lb ground beef
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) whole tomatoes
2 (6 oz) cans of tomato paste
8 oz (1 cup) of Bloody Mary mix (I use original, but if you want to spice it up-go ahead and use HOT!)

12 oz carton of large curd cottage cheese
15 oz carton Ricotta Cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 eggs, beaten
12 lasagna noodles (I use the oven ready ones-it saves a whole lot of time!)
16 oz mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350.
In large skillet, heat oil, garlic, onion, 1 tablespoon parsley flakes, basil and oregano.  Add ground beef.  Break up and sti until browned.  Drain grease.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, Bloody Mary mix, and salt and pepper.  Heat to boiling.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring often.  Meanwhile, combine cottage cheese, Ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and two tablespoons parsley.  Mix well.

In a 9×13 inch greased pan, layer half noodles, half cheese mixture, half mozzarella, and half meat mixture.  Repeat layers-sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake 35-40 minutes.  Makes 12 servings.  (Can be made ahead and refrigerated-baking time would increase to 45-60 minutes.  Or, freeze the lasagna-in which you would thaw-and use refrigerated baking time frame.)

I hope you enjoy these yummy recipes!  And, I hope your Valentines day is filled with love and happiness-regardless if you have that ‘special’ someone, or not!  Either way-eat lot’s of chocolate!  Hubby say’s it has cocoa beans in it-so therefore it is healthy!  I say it is a cure for all that ails you!  But if all else fails-you’ll have plenty of Bloody Mary mix left!

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