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An Unforgettable Anniversary Menu

By Paula Deen

This weekend Michael and I are celebrating another wedding anniversary, y’all! I was thinking, instead of trying to battle the crowds, why not create a romantic meal at home? Sharing a romantic dinner is the perfect way to spend an anniversary evening with your loved one. All it takes is a little planning and some excellent recipes to make restaurant quality food at your own stove. Throw in some simple decorations and voila you have transformed your dinner table into a perfect setting for a romantic meal. Adding courses to your homemade anniversary meal and making dishes fancier than the average week night makes it feel extra special and decedent.

First Course :: Oyster Stew
A wonderful first course is oyster stew. Oysters have long been thought of as a romantic food, even an aphrodisiac. My oyster stew recipe is so rich and creamy and simple to make, it is a perfect way to start your special meal. Add in oysters on the half shell.

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Second Course :: Black Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon
Black pepper crusted filet mignon with goat cheese is a great main course to make your sweetheart feel extra special. Filet mignon is a fancier steak that you wouldn’t prepare every day, which makes it really fitting for this occasion. The red pepper salsa jazzes it up a bit and the hint of red from the peppers goes with the theme of the evening.

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On the Side:: Mashed Potatoes & Sautéed Mushrooms and Roasted Beet Salad
Romance and comfort go hand in hand, and what better comfort food is there on earth than mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes with sautéed mushrooms steps up the old classic a bit. The sautéed mushrooms add a depth of flavor and make this dish much less ordinary. A lovely side with the steak and mashed potatoes is roasted beet salad with cocoa vinaigrette. Cocoa infused salad dressing on Valentines Day, Yum! This is such a vibrant and beautiful salad with the orange slices and the beets. A thinly sliced beet almost looks like the shape of a heart and is definitely the right color.

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For Dessert :: Banana Nut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Sweet treats are an age-old tradition in celebrating love. This dessert was not only Michael’s groom cake at the wedding, but it is also his hands-down favorite cake since he was five years old, Banana Nut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

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Set the Table
Now that you have the menu planned, some simple decorations will be the finishing touches on your night:

  • Simply setting your table with a nice tablecloth and dishes will make it feel more special than an average night at home.
  • Printing or handwriting your menu on some nice red paper and setting them on the table will remind you of a night out at a fancy restaurant.
  • Candles and beautiful flowers as a centerpiece are a classic way to spruce things up and tie it all together.
  • For some whimsical fun, use a heart shaped hole punch or scissors to cut out confetti to sprinkle all around.

And there you have it, a decadent delicious meal and a beautiful table to make your romantic night unforgettable.

Paula Deen - As a young girl growing up in Albany, Georgia, Paula Deen never dreamed she would become an American icon. As a young mother, Paula was living the American dream — married to her high school sweetheart and raising two adorable boys — when tragedy struck. Her parents died, her marriage failed and she began a prolonged battle with agoraphobia. With her boys in their teens and her family near homelessness, Paula took her last $200, reached deep inside her soul and started The Bag Lady, a home-based catering company that marked the start of Deen's professional cooking career. With sons Jamie and Bobby delivering lunch-and-love-in-a-bag, beginning in June 1989, Paula turned her life around by sharing what she knew best, traditional Southern cooking.

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