College Kitchen: Valentine’s Day

Whether you’re celebrating with a significant other or your closest friends, you’ll appreciate a budget-friendly alternative to a pricey, romantic meal out.

Honey-Lemon Chicken and Asparagus with a Pomegranate Side Salad.

Jack Rodgers

Honey-Lemon Chicken and Asparagus with a Pomegranate Side Salad.

Maddy Folstein

Reservations at your favorite restaurant all booked on Wednesday? Looking to save some money, even on the most romantic day of the year? The solution is to cook your Valentine’s Day meal at home. You can customize the meal entirely to your liking, and you’ll get the added bonus of bonding with your date while chopping garlic and melting chocolate. 

To make the night even more exciting, try incorporating a few aphrodisiacs into the meal. Rumored to increase romantic attraction, aphrodisiacs have mostly been debunked, but A&E doesn’t buy it. We chose four that should be easy to find at your favorite grocery store: honey, pomegranate seeds, chocolate and surprisingly, asparagus. 

Still not feeling up to cooking for yourself or heading out to a restaurant? The Domino’s two for $5.99 deal is just a phone call away.

Honey-Lemon Chicken and Asparagus

This one-pan recipe takes advantage of two aphrodisiacs (honey and asparagus). The key to making this taste like a meal from your favorite restaurant? Let the chicken marinate for as long as you can.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup of lemon juice

1/3 cup of honey

1 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce

2 tablespoons of garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon of parsley

1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (more or less is fine, depending on your spice tolerance)

Salt

Pepper

1-2 bunches of asparagus

Olive oil

Cooking spray of your choice

1. To make the marinade, combine honey, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, parsley and red pepper flakes. Add salt and pepper to your liking. 

2. Place chicken breasts into Ziploc bag, and add ¾ of the marinade. Let sit for 30 minutes to two hours — the longer the marinating time, the better the chicken. 

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

4. Spritz baking sheet with cooking spray, and place chicken in the center of the tray.

5. Cook for 20 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, drizzle olive oil and remaining marinade over the asparagus.

6. Add asparagus to the cooking sheet and bake for 12-15 more minutes. 

7. Serve with rice, quinoa, etc. or simply by itself. 

Pomegranate Side Salad

Take advantage of the aphrodisiac fruit in a simple side salad to serve alongside your main course. There’s no need to follow a recipe, but A&E combined fresh spinach, feta cheese, pomegranate seeds and chopped almonds.  

Chocolate Fondue

This decadent dessert is deceptively simple and well-suited for a romantic date or a Valentine’s Day party with friends. It’s also entirely customizable — play around with chocolate intensity, milk and various dipping items to find your perfect chocolate dip.

10 oz of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup of milk, half-and-half or heavy whipping cream (You’ll want more to add as you go along)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Salt (optional and to taste)

1. Combine chocolate chips and milk/cream in a bowl. Optional: add a sprinkle of salt to balance out the richness of the chocolate. 

2. Microwave for two minutes, stir and add more milk if needed. 

3. As the fondue cools, feel free to reheat and add more milk to keep the consistency smooth and creamy. 

4. Dip clementine slices, strawberries, Oreo cookies, marshmallows, pound cake, pretzels or anything you can find in your pantry.