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Cook for Your Lady this Valentine's Day

Let your special someone sit back, relax and enjoy some delicious food this Valentine's Day.

Women love a man who can cook! Let's face it, if you're married or dating someone, chances are your lady is the one doing the cooking. If you're the cook, we're jealous!

There's something romantic about when a man makes us a home-cooked meal. When my boyfriend cooks for me, my instinct is to try to help out. When he tells me to sit down and relax, it makes me feel special.

So guys, instead of going out to a crowded restaurant, make a special evening at home. and have music playing in the background!

As far as a meal, I'd suggested personalizing it a little bit. Do you know what her favorite food is? Did you enjoy a special meal one time that you could recreate?

Three years ago, my boyfriend and I went to San Francisco for a few days. One rainy afternoon, we bought clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls and popcorn shrimp from a little vendor and sat on the pier with our jacket hoods up to keep from getting wet as we ate  our lunch—it was the best meal of the entire trip.

The next Valentine's Day, I had cans of clam chowder and sourdough bread bowls shipped from our favorite San Fran so we could enjoy them again.

If you just can't think of anything, here's a sample menu with recipes with ingredients that you can pick up from to use for a fun, yet romantic meal—garlic bread, shrimp scampi pasta and heart-shaped chocolate chip conversation cookies to decorate with your sweetie. For the over-21 crowd, ! 

Garlic Bread

Since you'll be working hard on the rest of the meal, there's no need to make the garlic bread from scratch. Visit your  and buy prepackaged loaves or slices of garlic bread to pop in the oven.

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

My boyfriend made me a variation of this dish last year for Valentine's Day. It's simple and very delicious!

What you need:

    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 pound peeled and deveined raw large shrimp 
    4 large garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    5 tablespoons butter
    1 box of angel hair pasta 
    1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

What to do:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Once the water is boiling, add pasta and cook for 4 minutes, or until it's tender.
2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the shrimp until they turn pink. Remove the shrimp and place them in a bowl.
3. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, wine, salt and pepper to the remaining oil. Cook over high heat and stir for one minute.
4. Add the butter and stir until it is melted.
5. Add the shrimp and remove the skillet from the heat. 
6. Drain the cooked pasta in a colander.
7. Toss pasta with shrimp and parsley, and serve.

Heart-Shaped Chocolate Chip Conversation Cookies

Conversation heart candies are popular and clever, but why not make cookies that express your love or fondness for your girl? You can make these cookies the night before your dinner date or earlier in the evening to give them time to cool. You don't need to make them from scratch, just buy some cookie dough from the supermarket. 

What you need:

    1 package of NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Dough
    1/4 cup of flour
    Rolling pin
    Heart cookie cutter
    Icing of your choice

What to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line two to 3 baking sheets with aluminum foil. Lightly grease them.
2. Crumble the cookie dough into a medium bowl and mix with the flour until it combines.
3. Roll the dough onto a floured surface. Use the heart-shaped cookie cutters to cut out hearts, and place them on the cookie sheets.
4. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.
5. Remove from oven and cool completely before removing them from the foil.
6. Store the cookies until after dinner, when you can decorate them with your special someone. Use the icing to write sweet sayings for each other on the cookies! 

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