Just in case you didn’t get enough ideas last week, I’m here to share a few more Valentine’s Day recipes for you! What better way is there to show those you love how much you care than cooking or baking for them?

This week, a wonderful meal for two, some delicious cookies, a Valentine’s Day themed treat for the kids and a bonus drink have been selected to share with you.

Recipes wanted! Submitted recipes will be accepted at [email protected], or you can stop by the Albion office and drop a copy off up front. My next request for you are recipes that highlight local agriculture and your favorite apple pie recipes!

Selected recipes will be published weekly in my new column, based on a theme. Please feel free to send whatever types of recipes you want, for any occasion! I will begin a database to choose from for future editions. So even if you don’t see your recipe right when you send it, you never know when it may show up! If you don’t have a recipe to submit right now, but there is a recipe you’re desperately seeking, feel free to email or drop off a note for a “Recipe Request.”


Strawberry Valentine Chex Mix


4-6C Rice Chex cereal

1 (8-oz.) bag strawberry candy melts OR

1 (12-oz.) bag of white chocolate baking chips AND

1 box of Strawberry Creme Jell-O Pudding (NOT gelatin)

1/2 tsp shortening or coconut oil, optional

Valentines M&M’s and/or sprinkles


Measure out the Chex cereal into a large bowl. If you’re using the strawberry candy melts, you’ll use 4 cups of cereal; if you’re using the white chocolate chips plus pudding mix, you’ll use 6 cups of cereal.

Pour the candy melts or white chocolate into a small glass dish. Add in 1/2 tsp of shortening, if desired, to help coat the cereal more easily.

Microwave for 1 minute, 20 seconds. Let sit in the microwave for 3 minutes. Remove and gently stir. If once stirred the chocolate looks smooth, it’s done. If not, return to the microwave in 15 second increments, letting it sit for 2-3 minutes each time, until melted and smooth. You can alternately do this on the stove with a double boiler.

If you used white chocolate chips plus the pudding mix, add in 4 TBSP of the Strawberry Creme pudding mix into the white chocolate and stir gently until smooth. Add in 2 drops of red food coloring, if desired.

Pour the melted mixture over the Chex cereal and then stir gently to coat. Transfer the cereal mixture to a large piece of wax paper. Sprinkle with M&M’s and/or Valentine’s colored sprinkles, if desired.

Let cool to set. Break into pieces and then store in an airtight container to save. Candy can be made up to 3-4 days ahead if desired. It saves really well!

Note from Auntie Nat Weir: You can use any combination of Chex cereal(s) or try other cereals such as Cheerios. You can even try Chow Mein noodles.

***Recipe courtesy of Jessica of “Butter with a Side of Bread” blog.***


Steakhouse Sheet Pan Dinner for Two


2 TBSP unsalted butter, melted, plus extra

4 tail-on jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

3 small cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4C grated Parmesan

2/3C heavy cream

6 small Yukon gold potatoes, sliced into 1/8-in. rounds

2-oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1 10-oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

2/3 C shredded Gruyere

2 8-oz. New York strip steaks (1 to 1-1/2 in. thick)


two 4-oz. ramekins


Position an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Lightly grease 1/3 of an 18 x13-in. sheet pan with butter.

Toss the shrimp with the melted butter, 1 tsp thyme, 1/3 of the minced garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a medium bowl until well coated; set aside.

Mix the Parmesan, 1/3C heavy cream, remaining 1 tsp thyme, half the remaining garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small bowl.

Arrange half of the potato slices in a single, overlapping layer on the buttered part of the sheet pan and pour the heavy cream mixture over the top. Top with the remaining potato slices. Cover the potatoes with foil and bake until tender when pierced with a fork, 15-17 minutes.

Whisk together the cream cheese, remaining 1/3C heavy cream and remaining garlic in a medium bowl until smooth. Fold in the spinach until well coated. Divide the mixture between two 4-in. ramekins and press the spinach down so that it is flat and the cream mixture is pooling a bit on top.

Remove the pan from the oven, remove the foil and sprinkle the potatoes with the Gruyere. Put the steaks down the middle of the pan and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Put the ramekins on one end of the empty third of the pan so that they are side by side.

Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the steak registers 95 degrees, 12 -14 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and turn on the broiler. Create 2 hearts with the shrimp on the pan beside the ramekins by connecting the tails. Broil until the steaks start to turn brown in some spots, an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the steak reaches 115 degrees, the shrimp are cooked through and no longer opaque and the cheese on the potatoes turns golden and starts to crisp, 3-4 minutes. Let rest 5-10 minutes. Slice and serve the steak on plates alongside the shrimp, potatoes and creamed spinach.

***Recipe courtesy of the Food Network Kitchen.***


Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies



3 1/2C flour

3/4C cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1-1/4C butter

1-3/4C granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 TBSP vanilla

1 12-oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained, cut in half

Fudge Topping:

1C semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1/4 tsp almond extract


In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the flour mixture and shape into 1-in. balls. Press a thumb-sized indentation into each ball and then place a cherry half into the center. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350. Cool.

Over low heat, melt chocolate chips and mix in the sweetened condensed milk and almond extract. Once combined, continue stirring over low heat for about 3-4 minutes until mixture is thickened. Using a spoon, frost each cookie, covering the cherry. 

***Recipe courtesy of Jessica of “Butter with a Side of Bread” blog.***


BONUS recipe: Hibiscus Mocktail


3C hibiscus tea (such as Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger)

3C ginger ale

6 fresh pineapple spears


In a pitcher, mix together the hibiscus tea and ginger ale. Serve over ice in a tall glass with a fresh pineapple spear, or cut out a heart-shaped piece of pineapple and skewer onto a straw!

***Recipe courtesy of Kate Merker and Sara Quessenberry, for Real Simple online.***