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Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas At Home on a Budget

Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas
Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas At Home on a Budget

‘Tis is the month of love, but hearts shouldn’t be bleeding money where there is none.

So instead of buying romance at a restaurant, why not create your own romantic, heart-healthy Valentine’s Day dinner at home?

Jessie Price, food editor at Eatingwell.com, an online magazine specializing in healthy food choices, shares her recommendations for the perfect, sensuous dinner for two.

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Chicken with Honey-Orange Sauce
Chicken With Honey Orange Sauce

Serve skinless, trimmed chicken breasts with zesty orange, golden raisins, glazed with honey and a side dish of kernels that explode like caviar—you guessed it, Quinoa—and your honey will be beaming. And best of all: All that sweetness comes at 420 calories (per serving), is served in 35 minutes, and costs less than $3.50 per serving to make.

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Duck Breasts with Port & Dried Cherry Sauce
Duck With Port-Dried Cherry Sauce

Making duck may seem like a major undertaking, but Eatingswell’s recipe for duck breasts with port-dried cherry sauce isn’t just a breeze to cook. The beautiful mahogany-colored sauce is guaranteed to heat up the table: “The sauce with its rich and dark color looks like Valentine’s Day,” said Price. All that goodness comes at 354 calories per serving and 14 grams of fat.

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Filet Mignon with Madeira-Prune Sauce
Filet Mignon With a Madeira Prune Sauce

“If you’re cooking for a man, a filet mignon with a fabulous Madeira prune sauce is a sure recipe to impress,” Price suggested. For two people, this filet mignon is still very affordable and at 359 total calories a truly, guilt-free shared pleasure.

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Mussels South of Two Borders
Mussels South of the Border

If you really want to get “dirty” with your Valentine, mussels south of the border will give the spice, heat and zest to create a memorable evening. You could even throw a party with this dish. “Not only is this dish fun to make, but it’s interactive; you get dirty and intimate by picking up the food and dipping your bread into the broth,” Price said. Best of all: At 212 total calories per serving and 4 grams of fat, this dish is as much fun as it is diet friendly.

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Penne with Vodka Sauce & Capicola
Penne With Vodka Sauce Capicola

Turn up the heat with a pasta dish with a spicy pepper sauce. “It makes you happy and hot and bothered,” Price said. The velvety tomato sauce is spiked with cubes of salty capicola and a few shots of vodka. Serve with a Caesar salad and a glass of Pinot Noir, and you’re on your way to an intimate affair. At 311 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving, this dish is made for calorie-conscious lovers.

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Strawberries Dipped in Chocolate
Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

What spells romance more than chocolate-covered strawberries? All you need is 2 ounces of high-quality dark chocolate, 12 strawberries, a microwave and 10 minutes of preparation time. At 133 calories per serving and 4 grams of fat, this dessert is good for your heart and your waistline. Walk the dog for 30 minutes with your honey and you’re almost even in burning off this treat (a 140-pound person would burn about 116 calories; 150 calories for someone weighing 180 pounds).

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Chocolate Fondue
Chocolate Fondue

This chocolate fondue tastes as heavenly as it looks. Share it, dip it, enjoy. At 345 calories and 19 grams of fat per serving, most lovers can dance this treat away in about 45 minutes or more. So turn up the music, turn on the mood.

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Caramelized Bananas
Caramelized Bananas

Caramelized bananas aren’t only quick to make, but the light brown sugar, dark rum and orange juice sauce is truly a delight for the senses. Add a scoop of low-fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt for a hot-cool delight. At 342 calories and 6 grams of fat, this dessert offers variety. To burn these calories, a 200-pound person would need to ice-skate about 30 minutes; a 150-pound person would burn about 250 calories over the same amount of time. But this is winter, so why not take it outdoors for a romantic Waltz on the ice?

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Marion Webb is the managing editor for the American Council on Exercise and is an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and an ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor. For specific fitness-related story ideas or comments, please e-mail her directly at marion.webb@acefitness.org.


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