Sunday, February 13, 2011

Be My Valentine

I'll tell ya why it's one of my least favorite holidays.....I prefer to treat my family to very special dinners all during the year, not just pre-determined holidays that require you to celebrate your lov
e. Everyday should be a special occasion, right? I want them to know they are special and loved when they least expect it....when they've had a bad day or even when things are going really well, great report cards, positive changes, etc.

Don't be surprised if I pull out hearts and candles in July to celebrate how much I love you. That's just how I work.

I have planned a particularly wonderful dinner for my family for Valentine's Day. I feel justified spending a smidge more money at the grocery store on a holiday though.

And since I'd much rather cook a special dinner (I mean, who doesn't like homemade deliciousness?) than have an overcrowded, unpersonalized restaurant meal I have decided to make Herb Tanned Beef Tenderloin alongside buttery potatoes. And for a luscious dessert I'm making individual Creamy Red Velvet Cheesecakes.

Tenderloins always remind me of some kind of sea creature when I remove the packaging. Honestly they freak me out a little. But I love when they are cooked to perfection and the tender juicy meat just melts in your mouth. The herbs add a nice little crust to the outside. Sometimes you can find them pre-marinated in the meat department.

Have a lovely Valentine's Day Holiday!

Herb Tanned Beef Tenderloin
1 beef tenderloin roast
Salt and pepper, if desired
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Heat oven to 425°F. Rub beef roast with salt and pepper. In medium bowl, mix parsley, oregano, rosemary, garlic and oil. Press mixture onto top and sides of beef.
Place beef on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of beef.
Bake uncovered 35 to 50 minutes or until thermometer reads 140°F for medium-rare or 155°F for medium doneness. Remove beef from oven, cover with foil and let stand about 15 minutes.

Creamy Red Velvet Cheesecakes
24 thin chocolate wafer cookies (from 9-oz package), crushed (1 1/4 cups)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 packages (8 oz each) plus 4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons red food color
3 eggs
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated or powdered sugar
Chocolate curls, if desired

Heat oven to 350°F. Place foil baking cup in each of 16 regular-size muffin cups. In small bowl, mix cookie crumbs and melted butter. Divide crumb mixture among cups. With back of spoon, firmly press cookie crumbs in bottom of each foil cup.
In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in 1 cup granulated sugar and the cocoa until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and food color. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Divide batter evenly among baking cups (cups will be almost full).
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until centers are firm. Cool 15 minutes (cheesecake centers will sink while cooling). Refrigerate in baking cups at least 1 hour; cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour longer before serving.
In chilled small bowl, beat whipping cream and sugar with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Spoon whipped cream on chilled cheesecakes. Just before serving, garnish with chocolate curls. Cover and refrigerate any remaining cheesecakes.

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