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It Is Valentine’s Day and You Waited Until the Last Minute: How to Get a Romantic Dinner on the Table Fast

Valentines Day Dinner

Valentines Day Dinner

Maybe you are a last minute kind of person or maybe you have just been busy this year.  No matter how you got in this situation, if you have not yet planned dinner for your Valentine, this post is for you.  I will tell you step by step how to get dinner on the table in less than an hour – including appetizers while you finish up, pretty drinks. After dinner, I have a dessert that you can put together while you clean up.   The whole dinner, dessert included, only took me about an hour and fifteen minutes, including clean up.  And, best of all, it is delicious!

Strawberry Napoleon

First, this is what you will need.  You can easily stop by the grocery store on your way home from work and get all of this in just a few minutes – though do expect it to be crowded, and if you are still looking for cards, candy, or flowers, well, I can’t help you there.  That might take longer than this takes to cook.  I tried to steer clear of typical Valentine’s Day prepared items because there is a good chance they will be sold out if you are stopping at the store on your way home from work.  But, if you find something like chocolate covered strawberries from the bakery and want to substitute those for the dessert here or add them in somewhere, then certainly go for it!

The list:

1 box frozen puff pastry (You will only use one sheet.)

1 small jar raspberry jam

1 small (7 oz.) round of brie

1 can refrigerated crescent rolls (I used Pillsbury.  If you can find the seamless, get it, but if you can’t get the kind with seams.)

1 lemon

1 small container of colored sugar (red or pink is great for Valentine’s day.

1 bottle of pink or red beverage (I used a sparkling juice that was cherry flavored, but use your favorite.  A rose or red wine would be nice too.)

1 small container prepared pesto

1 lb. chicken cutlets

1 package julienne soft sun dried tomatoes

1 package microwaveable fresh whole green beans (My grocery store sells them in a plastic bag that all you have to do is cut the corner off and microwave.

1 lb. strawberries

1 bag of your favorite salad greens

1 bottle raspberry vinaigrette

1 package almond salad toppings (choose your favorite flavor)

1 small package feta cheese

1 container spray whipped cream

2 6 oz. pre-made vanilla pudding cups

1 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

sugar (You only need a tablespoon.)

confectioners’ sugar (just a little for dusting)

 brie appetizer

And, here is the plan… don’t worry, all the recipes are listed below. 

1.  Before you start cooking dinner, take one sheet of puff pastry out and set it out on a plate to thaw while you cook and eat dinner.

2.  Assemble the brie appetizer and put it in the oven.

3.  Sugar the rims of the glasses.  To do this.  Pour the sugar into a small plate, rub a lemon wedge around the edge, dip the edge of the glass in the sugar and rotate until well coated.

4.  At any point, if your Valentine comes in, pour him or her a drink, and serve the brie if it it is done.

5.  Prepare the chicken and cook.

6.  Wash, hull, and slice the strawberries, save 1 cup for dessert, and use the rest in the salad.

7.  Assemble the salad.  Don’t add the dressing until just before serving or it will wilt.

8.  Heat the bread.

9.  Microwave the green beans.

10.  Serve

11.  When dinner is over, start the napoleon by getting the puff pastry in the oven before you clean up.  You will probably be able to do the dishes in the time it takes for the pastry to bake.  Then assembly just takes a few minutes, and then you can enjoy dessert with your Valentine.  If you are really lucky, your Valentine might even do the dishes for you to help speed things along.


Crescent Brie

1 can crescent rolls (seamless if you can find it)

1 7 oz. round of brie

2 Tbsps. raspberry jam


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Line a baking sheet with parchment,

3. Trim the rind off of the brie.  This is edible, but I think it tastes better without it.

4.  If you have crescent rolls with seams, roll out and press together seams.  If not just roll out. Cut dough in half.  Place brie round on one half.  Top with jam.  Place the other half of the dough over the jam.  Press the dough around the sides of the brie and into the other piece of dough to seal.  Trim edges.

5.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Source:  Adapted from Pillsbury.


Pesto Chicken

1 to 1 1/2 lbs. chicken cutlets

1 small container prepared pesto

1 small container julienne soft sun dried tomatoes


1.   Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Lightly oil a 9″x13″ baking dish.

3.  Place chicken in baking dish.

4.  Spread with pesto. Just cover the chicken. There will be some pesto leftover.

5.  Sprinkle with sun dried tomatoes. Again, there will be some left.

6.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until chicken is done.






Strawberry Salad

1 bag salad greens

1/2 cup feta cheese

1/4 almond salad topping

sliced strawberries

raspberry vinaigrette to taste


Toss together greens, cheese, almonds, and strawberries.  Add dressing just before serving.


Strawberry Napoleon

½ pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed (If you are putting this together at the last minute, set one sheet of pastry out to thaw while you cook and eat dinner.)

2 6 oz. refrigerated vanilla pudding cups

1 can whipped cream (You know, the spray kind.)

1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced

1 Tbsp. sugar

½ cup confectioners’ sugar

1 oz. semi sweet chocolate


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment.

3.  Unfold the pastry and cut along the fold lines. This really gives you enough pastry for two Napoleons, so I you would like to double the other ingredients and make two then do.

4.  Bake pastry for approximately 15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool for approximately 5 minutes. You can get the other ingredients ready while the pastry cools.

5.  Sprinkle berries with sugar.

6.  Put pudding in a bowl. Add one cup whipped cream. Fold together until combined.

7.  Split each pastry into two layers. You will only use three.

8.  Place one pastry layer on a serving dish. Top with half of the pudding mixture and half of the berries.

9.  Repeat layers.

10.  Top with a third piece of puff pastry.

11.  Top the third layer with whipped cream and additional strawberries.

12.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

13.  Melt chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals. When melted drizzle over berries and whipped cream.

Source:  Adapted from Pepperidge Farm via From Calculus to Cupcakes

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From Calculus to Cupcakes

I am a Calculus teacher who just happens to love to cook and blog about it.

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