From Z to A: 4 Recipes for Your At-Home Valentine’s Day Menu

I love Valentine’s Day even more after having kids. We love to plan a fun themed night because my husband and I are lucky enough to go to dinner by ourselves whenever we want a date night, so Valentine’s Day always gets dedicated as a family celebration. A lot of our celebration revolves around food — shocking, I know. 

I’m really lucky that we introduced the kids to different types of food early on because it makes the process of picking out dinner so much more fun with their involvement and excitement. So although the items below are not your typical kid menu selections, I think it’s a great way to incorporate new flavors into meals they might already recognize, but flavorful enough to make even if you are celebrating without any children on the guestlist.

Always remember: Food is personal. Feel free to use these recipes as inspiration for incorporating your own flavors, because at the end of the day, it’s you who has to be excited about what’s on your plate.


Raspberry Balsamic Goat Cheese Crostini


  • 12 pieces French bread, thinly sliced at an angle
  • 4-6 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups raspberries, washed and dried 
  • 1-2 tbsp. sugar (depending on how sweet your berries are)
  • 1-2 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 cup good balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 8 oz. herb goat cheese
  • fresh basil leaves, chopped for garnish


  1. Make the balsamic glaze first and set aside. In a small saucepan, mix together the balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup sugar and slowly simmer together until the sauce thickens. Don’t over-thicken it, or it will become too much like sticky caramel.

  2. To make the raspberry compote, in another saucepan, add the raspberries and a little of the sugar and slowly simmer until the strawberries start to melt together. Cool and set aside.

  3. To make the crostini, butter both sides of the French bread and toast in a skillet on medium heat until browned on both sides.

  4. To assemble, spread the goat cheese on each piece of the crostini, top with a spoonful of the raspberry compote, drizzle with the balsamic glaze and garnish with basil.


Chicken & Beet Alfredo


  • 4 thin chicken breasts, or 2 full breasts sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2-3 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2-3 tsp. oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • flour for dredging
  • olive oil for sauteing 
  • 2 small beets, roasted and peeled (use disposable gloves)
  • 8 oz. fettuccine
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. garlic paste
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan


  1. Drizzle the beets in a little olive oil and wrap in foil to roast in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until fork tender. 

  2. In a food processor or blender, blend together the roasted beets, softened cream cheese and 1/4 cup of the heavy cream. Set aside for the sauce later.

  3. Boil water for the pasta and cook according to directions, then strain.

  4. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and season the chicken pieces with half the seasonings, then dredge through the flour. 

  5. When the oil is heated, saute the chicken pieces until cooked through and golden, then remove and set aside.

  6. In the same pan, add in the butter, remaining seasonings, garlic paste and heavy cream. Let it simmer and thicken, then add in the beet and cream cheese mixture. Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper. 

  7. Add in the chicken broth if the sauce is too thick. 

  8. To assemble, you can either add all the pasta to the sauce and mix together, or plate the pasta and chicken and pour the sauce on top.

  9. Top with additional parmesan and basil for garnish.


Chocolate Nutella Ganache Tart


  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups mixed nuts
  • 1/2 cup graham crackers
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. good quality chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • sea salt for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a tart pan with a removable bottom. You can also line it with a round of parchment paper.

  2. In a food processor, add in the nuts, crackers, sugar and melted butter and blend until finely chopped.

  3. Press the nut mixture into the pan and bake for 20 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Allow to cool.

  4. To make the ganache, add the chocolate to a large bowl, heat the cream gently either in a saucepan or in a few intervals in the microwave.

  5. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit without being stirred for 5-6 minutes. Add in the softened butter and Nutella, then use a spatula to slowly combine the ingredients until glossy and well combined.

  6. Pour the ganache mixture into the crust and allow to cool until set, at least an hour in the fridge.

  7. When cooled, enjoy with whipped cream and fresh berries or as is.


Strawberry Shortcake Puppy Chow


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup freeze-dried strawberry powder
  • 2 cups white chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups pound cake, diced (I use Sara Lee)
  • 1 box Chex cereal
  • 1/4 cup mini white chocolates
  • 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries


  1. Mix together the powdered sugar and the freeze-dried strawberry powder. Set aside.

  2. Heat the cream and add in the 2 cups white chocolate until melted through. Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, add in the Chex cereal and diced pound cake pieces, then pour the melted white chocolate over the cereal. Mix until combined.

  4. While the chocolate is still warm, add in the powdered sugar mix and stir to coat.

  5. Lastly, add in the mini white chocolate chips and the freeze-dried strawberries.

  6. Optional: You can also add in a salty component like pretzels or wavy potato chips.

  7. Let harden a bit and enjoy!


From Z to A with Zara Abbasi

Zara Abbasi is the pastry chef and recipe developer for Zara Made It. Follow her food adventures on Instagram at @zaramadeit.

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