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This Valentine's Day Menu Brings the Chocolate Love

Make a cocoa-themed menu that won't weigh you down for the most romantic day of the year!


I have just one rule about cooking on Valentine's Day: Don't weigh yourself down. At home and in restaurants, cooks feel the need to bring the love with rich, decadent dishes loaded with butter and cream, foie gras and lobster, but I say save it for another day! I'm all in favor of treating yourself, but nobody wants to end a romantic meal feeling bloated and uncomfortably full.

In the latest season of Giada Entertains, I threw a Valentine's Day cookout for a few friends. It's a fun way to take advantage of a mild California February, or to bundle up and remind yourself of summertime vibes if you live in colder climes (you can always use a grill pan on the stove if the weather is truly forbidding). A simple menu with a chocolate theme sets the stage for a laid-back, relaxing evening in, with sunshine-y citrus grilled shrimp and cocoa-rubbed steak sandwiches for a light, inviting main course. 
But just because it's simple doesn't mean it isn't special! Stir up a signature cocktail that sets the theme with spice and smoke, and gather up some cozy blankets for two to share as you sit around the fire pit (or fireplace!) for an intimate evening that celebrates the best of friends.  
 

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