Warming hearts with winter recipes

If the way to your loved one’s heart is through the stomach, there’s no better way to start off this Valentine’s Day than with a homemade breakfast prepared with love. 

Whether you’re whipping up a breakfast for a spouse with a sophisticated palate or trying to tempt the taste buds of your littlest loves, explore these ideas to get inspired.

Red is the color of love, so build your menu around fresh strawberries or raspberries, which pair perfectly with French toast or crepes, and can even dress up a simple cereal.

For a more sensible menu, opt for a fruity berry smoothie or a parfait layered with fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt and granola. Add a hint of loving indulgence by sprinkling dark chocolate shavings on top.

Show your affection with a plate of these colorful Cocoa-Kissed Red Velvet Pancakes featuring rich 100 percent cocoa, buttermilk and fresh berries. Heart-shaped cookie cutters lend a special touch to these fluffy, flavorful pancakes. Add sweet garnishes like powdered sugar and berries for a sensational way to say “I love you.”

Find more recipes you’ll love to share with your nearest and dearest this Valentine’s Day at Culinary.net.

Cocoa-Kissed Red Velvet Pancakes

Recipe courtesy of Nestlé
Servings: 10 pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons Nestlé Toll House Baking Cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup reduced-fat buttermilk or low-fat milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon red food coloring
heart-shaped pancake cutters or cookie cutters (optional)
butter, for garnish (optional)
powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)
maple syrup, for garnish (optional)
fresh berries, for garnish (optional)

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir well.

In separate large bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, unsalted butter, vanilla extract and food coloring. Add to flour mixture; stir to combine. Allow mixture to sit 5 minutes.


Cool winter days and their cold, crisp air call for a quick warmup in the form of a classic combo: soup and sandwich. Next time you need warmed up from the inside out, go for a homemade pairing that brings together a cheesy handheld and hearty minestrone.

 When you sit down for a wintertime meal with the family, Gourmet Grilled Cheese with Pickled Beets provides the comfort you crave with caramelized onions, gooey melted cheese and toasted sourdough. Slowly simmered to savory perfection, 3-Bean Tortellini Minestrone—powered by READ 3-Bean Salad—plays the ideal complement to the griddled sandwiches as a filling soup without the hassle.

To find more comforting meal ideas made for combatting the cold, visit AuntNellies.com and READSalads.com.

Family Features
Gourmet Grilled Cheese with Pickled Beets

Recipe courtesy of “Carlsbad Cravings”
Prep time: 60 minutes

Caramelized onions:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large yellow onions, halved, sliced ¼-inch thick
1-2 tablespoons water (optional)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
18 teaspoon salt
18 teaspoon pepper
18 teaspoon red pepper flakes

8 large sourdough slices, ½-inch thick
13 cup mayonnaise
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese, at room temperature
1 jar Aunt Nellie’s Sliced Pickled Beets (about 32 beets)
2 cups baby arugula
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Family Features
3-Bean Tortellini Minestrone

Recipe courtesy of “Joy of Eating”
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

1 can (15 ounces) READ 3-Bean Salad
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium yellow onion, diced
3 peeled garlic cloves, minced
2 pinches salt, plus additional to taste, divided
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus additional to taste, divided
3 small carrots, trimmed, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, trimmed and diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Parmesan rind (optional)
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
9-10 ounces refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 cups baby spinach
jarred pesto, for serving (optional)

Drain and rinse bean salad; set aside.

In large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onions, garlic and 1 pinch salt; saute until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Stir in Italian seasoning and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add carrots, celery and zucchini with remaining pinch salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp tender, 5-7 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes. Add Parmesan rind, if desired. Cook about 10 minutes until most tomato juice evaporates. Pour in vegetable broth. Bring to boil. Add tortellini; cook 2 minutes, or just until tender. Stir in bean salad and spinach. Cook 2-3 minutes to heat through.

Season with additional salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve garnished with pesto, if desired.

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