Valentine's Day Brunch or Dinner Ideas

This week we have more recipes for that Valentine’s Day brunch or dinner with your special sweetheart(s).

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Strawberry Mimosas


Yields: 2 servings

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 10 mins


1 c. chopped strawberries

1 T. sugar

1 c. champagne, plus more for topping off flute

Sliced strawberries, for garnish 


In a blender or food processor, blend strawberries, sugar, and champagne until fully combined, then pour into champagne flutes and top with more bubbly.

Garnish with a strawberry slice and serve.


Baked Feta Egg Casserole


Yields: 4 - 6 servings

Prep Time: 8 min

Total Time: 55 min


1/4 c. olive oil

2 pt. cherry tomatoes

1/4 red onion, sliced

1/2 tsp. salt, plus more for serving

1/2 tsp. black pepper, plus more for serving

1 (7-8 oz.) block of feta

Pinch of red pepper flakes, plus more to taste

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 (12 oz.) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped

1/2 c. loosely packed basil leaves, chopped

6 large eggs

Toast or focaccia, for serving


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pull 6 eggs from the refrigerator to rest at room temperature. Reserve 6-8 tomatoes and combine the remaining tomatoes with the red onion, ¼ cup of olive oil, salt and black pepper in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Mix well to combine.

Place the block of feta in the middle of the tomatoes and turn over once, so that the top is coated with olive oil. Sprinkle red pepper flakes on the feta. Bake for 35 minutes, until the tomatoes start to burst.

Remove from the oven and stir in the chopped garlic, roasted red peppers, and ½ of the basil leaves, breaking up the feta and tomatoes and making a creamy sauce. Make 6 wells in the tomato mixture and carefully crack an egg into each of the wells.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Return the casserole to the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are just set (the whites will still be very jiggly and will continue to cook out of the oven).

Halve the reserved tomatoes. Top the casserole with the fresh tomatoes, remaining basil and an extra sprinkle of salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes if desired. Transfer to serving bowls and serve immediately with toasted bread or focaccia.


Giant Dutch Baby Pancake with Raspberries and Nutella® Syrup


Yields: 4 - 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 50 mins


Raspberry Dutch Baby Pancake:

4 lg. eggs

3 T. sugar

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. whole milk

1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. almond extract, optional

1/4 tsp. salt

3 T. unsalted butter, diced

1 (6 oz) package raspberries, divided


Cocoa Sugar:

2 T. powdered sugar

1 T. cocoa powder


Nutella® Syrup:

1/4 c. milk

1/2 c. Nutella®


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a blender canister, combine the eggs, sugar, flour, milk, vanilla and almond extracts and salt. Blend on low speed for about 30-45 seconds, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the blender at least once, until very smooth. Place a metal 9x13-inch baking dish in the oven and let preheat for 20 minutes, while the batter rests.

Wearing oven mitts, very carefully remove the hot baking pan from the oven. Add the butter and swirl to coat the bottom of the tin. Immediately pour in the batter and sprinkle all over with 1 cup of raspberries (reserve the remainder for later). Bake for 18-20 minutes until puffed and golden.

For the cocoa sugar: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Place in a sifter, set over an empty bowl. Set aside.

For the Nutella syrup: Place the milk and Nutella in a small bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds until warm. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.

As soon as the dutch baby pancake is ready, remove from the oven. Quickly dust with the cocoa sugar, top with the remaining raspberries and drizzle with the Nutella syrup. Serve immediately with more Nutella syrup on the side.


Artichoke Chicken


Prep Time: 15 min.

Bake Time: 40 min.

YIELD: 8 servings


8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz. ea.)

2 T. butter

2 jars (6 oz. ea.) marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained

1 jar (4-1/2 oz.) whole mushrooms, drained

1/2 c. chopped onion

1/3 c. all-purpose flour

1-1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 c. chicken broth or 1 c. broth & 1 c. dry white wine

Hot cooked noodles

Minced fresh parsley


In a large skillet, brown chicken in butter. Remove chicken to an ungreased 13x9-in. baking dish. Arrange artichokes and mushrooms on top of chicken; set aside.

Saute onion in pan juices until crisp-tender. Combine the flour, rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir into pan until blended. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Spoon over chicken.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° until a thermometer inserted in the chicken reads 165°, about 40 minutes. Serve with noodles and sprinkle with parsley.


Basil-Butter Steaks with Roasted Potatoes


Prep/Total Time: 30 min.

Yield: 4 servings


1 pkg. (15 oz.) frozen Parmesan & roasted garlic red potato wedges

4 beef tenderloin steaks (1-1/4” thick & 6 oz. each)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

5 T. butter, divided

2 c. grape tomatoes

1 T. minced fresh basil


Bake potato wedges according to package directions.

Meanwhile, sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. In a 10-in. cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet, brown steaks in 2 tablespoons butter. Add tomatoes to skillet. Bake, uncovered, at 425° until meat reaches desired doneness, 15-20 minutes (for medium-rare, a thermometer should read 135°; medium, 140°; medium-well, 145°).

In a small bowl, combine basil and remaining butter. Spoon over steaks and serve with potatoes.


Lasagna Casserole


Prep Time: 15 min.

Bake Time: 1 hour + standing

Yield: 8 servings


1 lb. ground beef

1/4 c. chopped onion

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper, divided

1 lb. med. pasta shells, cooked & drained

4 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

3 c. 4% cottage cheese

2 lg. eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

2 T. dried parsley flakes

1 jar (24 oz.) pasta sauce


In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, breaking meat into crumbles; drain. Sprinkle with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta, 3 cups mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and remaining pepper. Transfer to a greased shallow 3-qt. or 13x9-in. baking dish. Top with beef mixture and spaghetti sauce (dish will be full).

Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly and cheese is melted, 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Freeze option: Sprinkle casserole with remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover and freeze unbaked casserole. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake casserole as directed, increasing time as necessary until heated through and a thermometer inserted in center reads 165°.


Rosemary Salmon and Veggies


Prep/Total Time: 30 min.

Yield: 4 servings


1-1/2 lbs. salmon fillets, cut into 4 portions

2 T. melted coconut oil or olive oil

2 T. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary or 3/4 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp. salt

1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed

1 med. sweet red pepper, cut into 1” pieces

1/4 tsp. pepper

Lemon wedges


Preheat oven to 400°. Place salmon in a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Combine oil, vinegar, rosemary, garlic, and salt. Pour half over salmon. Place asparagus and red pepper in a large bowl; drizzle with remaining oil mixture and toss to coat. Arrange around salmon in pan; sprinkle with pepper.

Bake until salmon flakes easily with a fork and vegetables are tender, 12-15 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.


Red Velvet Strawberry Cake


Level: Intermediate

Total: 6 hr (includes cooling and chilling times)

Active: 1 hr

Yield: 10 servings



Nonstick cooking spray

1/4 c. hot coffee

2 T. natural cocoa powder

2-1/3 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 c. granulated sugar

1 c. vegetable oil

2 lg. eggs, at room temp.

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 tsp. red gel food coloring

3/4 c. buttermilk, at room temp.

1 tsp. baking soda

1-1/2 tsp. distilled white vinegar



1 (14 oz.) pkg. unflavored gelatin

20 oz. cream cheese, at room temp.

1-3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/3 c. sour cream

24 oz. strawberries


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Cut two 22-by-3 1/2-inch strips of parchment paper. Spray a 7-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with parchment and fit one of the strips of parchment around the inside of the pan, so that the parchment sticks up above the edge. Spray again with nonstick spray.

Whisk together the coffee and cocoa powder in a small heatproof bowl until the cocoa has dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the granulated sugar and vegetable oil on medium speed. Add the eggs, vanilla and food coloring and mix until well combined. Mix in the cocoa mixture. Mixing on low speed, add the a third of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Add half the buttermilk. Add another third of the dry ingredients, mix until combined, and then add the remaining buttermilk.

Stop the mixer. Stir the baking soda and vinegar together in a small bowl (it will bubble up). Immediately add it to the batter along with the remaining dry ingredients and mix for 15 seconds.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, set the pan on a baking sheet tray and bake until the top springs back when gently pressed and a toothpick comes out clean, 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes, then remove the sides and slide the cake off the bottom to cool completely on the rack.

Once completely cool, use a large serrated knife or a cake knife or cake leveler to trim off any doming on top of the cake. Slice the cake horizontally into 2 even layers.

For the filling: Sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl. Set aside to bloom for 5 minutes.

Mix the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high until creamy and smooth. Transfer 3/4 cup of the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and set aside in the refrigerator. Microwave the bloomed gelatin until melted, about 20 seconds. Beat the gelatin into the remaining cream cheese along with the sour cream. Mix until smooth.

Set aside 5 of the prettiest strawberries for decorating the top of the cake. Remove the green tops from the rest of the strawberries. Trim the berries if necessary, so that they are similar in height when standing up on the trimmed end.

To assemble the cake, set one layer of cake on a cake board or flat serving platter. Unlock the clean ring of the springform pan and place it around the cake layer. Take the second strip of parchment and wrap around the cake inside the ring so that it is standing up, then lock the cake ring so that it hugs the parchment against the cake.

Spread 1/3 cup of the cream cheese filling over the cake layer. Slice a strawberry in half vertically and press the cut halves up against the parchment so that they touch at the bottom. Repeat until you have a ring of berries around the inside of the parchment. Take the remaining whole berries and fill in the interior of the ring, trimmed side down (you may not use all the berries, depending on their size).

Spread the rest of the filling over the berries, making sure that it fills in the gaps between them.

Gently tap the cake on the counter to eliminate any air pockets. Place the second cake layer on top, making sure the parchment is around the sides, and gently press down. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the filling is chilled through and set, at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours.

When ready to serve, unlock the springform ring and lift it off the cake. Peel off the parchment strip, being careful not to pull it straight out but rather peel it gently away from the sides of the cake. With the reserved frosting, pipe 14 stars in a circle around the top edge of the cake, then pipe 10 stars in a smaller circle, and then 2 large rosettes in the center. Cut the reserved 5 strawberries in half vertically, leaving the green tops on, and place 7 strawberry halves in every other gap between the 14 piped stars. Arrange the remaining 3 strawberry halves on the rosettes in the center of the cake. Slice and enjoy!


Quote of the Week:

“Time-Tested Beauty Tips: For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.”    

~ Author Sam Levenson (often requoted by Audrey Hepburn)



The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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