February 11, 2014

Love Birds Valentines Day Dinner for $25

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February is here and we are almost to the Day of Love, Valentine’s Day. We can celebrate love in many different ways in all of our relationships: romantic, family, friends, the list goes on and on. My favorite way to show someone that I love them is through their stomach. I love to make a special dinner, dish, or even a quick snack tailored to the ones I love.

ShopRite challenged me with an interesting task, create a dinner for two for $25.00…..and since I am a gluten free blogger, it needs to be deliciously gluten free too. Ok, we all know gluten free can be more expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.

You be the judge, here is a romantic dinner for two, featuring a simply delicious main meal,  a star dessert and a beautiful cocktail.

Romantic Roast Chicken:

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt

4lb all natural, antibiotic free chicken @$1.99lb x 4lbs =$7.96

1 large sweet onion, cut into 1″ pieces @$1.29lb x .80lbs =$1.03

1lb bag organic carrots, peeled with ends removed, cut into 1″ pieces @$1.69 a bag  =$1.69

1 large russet potato, washed & cut into bite size pieces @$0.89lb x .78lbs =$0.70

1 bunch spinach, washed & stems removed @$1.99lb x .55lbs  =$1.09

Romantic Roast Chicken Total: $12.74

Romantic Roast Chicken

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Cut and add onion, carrots, and potato to a large baking dish. Toss the veggies together with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sea salt until evenly coated. Remove chicken from wrapper, check the inside cavities of the chicken to make sure that there isn’t anything inside, remove if there is.  Place chicken breast side up on top of the onion, carrots, and potato. It’s that simple! Place the chicken in the oven and cook for about 45 minutes – one hour or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked through. Remove from oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, take a beautiful platter, (I used an oval platter), and place the spinach on the platter to make a bed for the roasted veggies and chicken. When the veggies and the chicken are cooked, using a large slotted spoon, place the roasted vegetables on top of the spinach. Carefully place the chicken on top of the roasted veggies and spinach and you have a beautiful, healthy, Romantic Roast Chicken.  This recipe easily serves two with plenty of leftovers, however if your celebrating Valentines Day with family and/or friends this recipe easily serves 4 people.

Love dessert? We have you and your love covered!! I wanted to create something that can be whipped up at a moments notice, something sweet & tempting, something decadent…Banana Coconut Rum Cake to the plate please.  Yes, this cake is delectably gluten free and very easy to make. Stick with me, this layer cake is anything but typical. It is actually made using my banana bread pancake recipe, (try just the banana bread pancakes for breakfast sometime and let me know what you think!).

Banana Bread Pancakes

2 organic bananas, peeled @$0.69lb x .58lbs = $0.40

3 large eggs @$2.19 a dozen/12 = $0.18each x 3   = $0.55

2 tablespoons ground chia seeds @$0.79 a ounce x .50 =$0.40

1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract (read label to make sure it is gluten free)  @$2.00 a ounce x .07  =$0.14

1/2 teaspoon ground organic cinnamon @$1.83 a ounce x .07  =$0.13

1/4 teaspoon ground organic ginger @$2.18 a ounce x .035 =$0.08

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt @$0.41 a ounce x .25 =$0.10

Total Banana Bread Pancake Cost: $1.80

Banana Bread Pancakes Cooking

Preheat griddle to 300 degrees F. I use an electric nonstick griddle. If you are using cast iron use a little bit of butter and olive oil to grease the pan. In a blender or a small food processor blend together all of the ingredients until the batter is smooth and it becomes a light yellow color. This only takes about a minute. Let sit covered for 5-10 minutes, just about the time your grill gets to the right temperature. Pour the batter into 4 inch pancakes. Let cook for about 2-4 minutes per side (it depends on the heat of your griddle). Flip very carefully, use a thin spatula to release the edges of the pancake from the griddle, then flip. This batter should make approximately 7, 4 inch pancakes.

Once the pancakes are cooked set them aside to cool. If all of your pancakes are exactly the same size, great! If you are like me and they range a little in size, don’t worry. Just find something to cut them with that is about 4 inches in diameter. You could use a biscuit cutter or be creative,  I used a margarita glass, it was just the right size. Let the pancakes cool completely.

Next, it’s time to make the Vanilla Rum Whip Cream Icing.

*Quick Tip: Strawberries turn gourmet when dipped into this special whip cream!!*

Vanilla Rum Whip Cream

1/2 pint heavy cream (be sure to check the label to make sure it is gluten free, it should just say “cream.”)  @$0.24 a ounce x 8 =$1.92

1/4 cup pure maple syrup @$0.59 a ounce x 2 =$1.18

1/2 shot (0.50 ounces) pure white rum @$1.27 ounce x .50 =$0.64

1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt @$0.41 a ounce x .25 =$0.10

1 teaspoon pure organic vanilla extract (read the label to make sure it is gluten free) @$2.00 a ounce x .07 =$0.14

Total Vanilla Rum Whip Cream Cost: $3.98

Banana Bread Pancake Even Layers

Beat heavy cream in a large bowl until soft peaks start to form, while still whipping the cream, slowly add the pure maple syrup, the white rum, ground sea salt and pure vanilla extract. Whip until stiff peaks form. This is going to be your icing for the Banana Coconut Rum Cake.

The next step is easy, toasting the coconut for the cake.

*Quick Tip: toasting coconut is delicious, quick and easy! We toast unsweetened coconut for movie night at our house instead of popcorn; it is a scrumptious, warm and crunchy snack right from the oven!*

Toasted Coconut

2 cups of organic fancy grade unsweetened coconut flakes (read the label to make sure they are not produced in a facility that has gluten) @0.47 a ounce x 4 =$1.88  

Total Toasted Coconut Cost: $1.88

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place a layer of tinfoil on a cookie/baking sheet. Pour raw coconut flakes in an even layer onto the tinfoil lined cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 2-5 minutes until the coconut is fragrant and has beautiful golden brown colors. Remove from oven and let cool.

Banana Coconut Rum Cake

I put a heart doily on a cake stand, then took a piece of parchment paper, folded it, cut a half circle just slightly smaller than the size of my pancakes. Open up the parchment paper with the circle cut out and snip the two then pieces joining both sides of the paper. Lay it flat on the cake stand, on top of your doily. This is going to make cleaning up after icing a breeze.

Place one banana bread pancake down right in the center of your cake stand (and center of the hole cut out of the parchment paper.) Spread an even layer of the Vanilla Rum Whip Cream, top with a sprinkle of toasted coconut and top with another banana bread pancake. Repeat the process until you have a 5 banana cake high layer cake.

Put a cup of Vanilla Rum Whip Cream on top of the last pancake, and using a knife or a small offset spatula, bring the whip cream down over the sides of the cake until the sides are evenly coated in whip cream. Add more or less whip cream as necessary. Level the top of the cake with a layer of whip cream. Here is the best part…you don’t have to worry if your icing job is less than perfect because we are going to cover it up with lovely toasted coconut. Sprinkle the toasted coconut on top of the cake and gently press into the sides of the cake until it is completely covered in toasted coconut. Carefully slide the parchment papers out from under your cake to leave a lovely, beautifully iced cake, without the mess. I created a Banana Coconut Rum Cake YouTube video to show you the steps of assembling this delicious cake and how to put it all together:

Cover the cake with a large glass bowl or something that will keep the cake covered and air tight. Place in your refrigerator until you are ready to indulge and enjoy with your love.  This cake easily serves two with plenty of leftovers, however if your celebrating Valentines Day with family and/or friends this recipe can serve up to 7 people.

Banana Coconut Rum Cake Total Cost: $7.66

Ok, we have dinner and dessert covered with just enough left in our budget for a fabulous cocktail. This drink my husband named “A Spark Of Passion!!” Owza!!!

This cocktail is for adults 21 years of age or older, please drink responsibly!!

A Spark Of Passion                                                                                                                                                                                                        

4 parts ShopRite Imported Italian Blood Orange Soda @$1.99 bottle x .50    = $0.99

1 part premium white rum @$1.27 a ounce x 1     =$1.27

a handful of raspberries @$0.67 a ounce x 3    =$2.01

A Spark Of Passion Total Cost for 2 drinks: $4.27 

A Spark Of PassionMix 4 parts of ShopRite Imported Italian Blood Orange Soda with 1 part premium white rum and a handful of raspberries. Please enjoy this romantic and elegant cocktail responsibly.

Here is the tally:

Romantic Roast Chicken:          $12.74

Banana Coconut Rum Cake:     $7.66

A Spark Of Passion Cocktail      $4.27

Grand Total For Love Birds Dinner $24.67

Yes it can be done! A fabulous and flirty gluten free Valentines Day Dinner for Under $25.00 total cost!

Happy Valentines Day & Happy Dinner for 4 for under $25 any day of the week!

Warmest Regards & Happy Cooking,


Banana Coconut Rum Cake

All Recipes were created by Amy Rota-Poulin. All Recipes are Copyright 2014 Amy Rota-Poulin.

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