V-Day Dinner

by Farra

Two nights ago for Valentine’s Day, Jarret and I decided to cook dinner and bake dessert together over a bottle of wine rather than overpay for a prix fixe meal at a cheesily-decorated restaurant.  (Do you remember that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie and Miranda celebrate Valentine’s Day together, and as they sit at dinner the strings from too many red and pink balloons dangle in their unhappy faces?  That’s what I always think about – and try to avoid – when Valentine’s Day rolls around and we’re trying to make plans.)

On the menu?  Shrimp Lemon Pepper Linguine and Paula Deen’s Gooey Butter Cake (I’m happy to report that the cake was my first go at a recipe found on Pinterest).  I won’t kid myself, I am certainly no chef, but I have to say I was pretty impressed with the results of both.

Shrimp Lemon Pepper Linguine (recipe via)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package linguine pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil


  • Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil.  Add linguine, and cook for 9 to 13 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and saute garlic about 1 minute.  Mix in chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.  Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is reduced by about 1/2.
  • Mix shrimp, butter, parsley, and basil into the saucepan.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp is opaque.  Stir in the cooked linguine, and continue cooking for 2 minutes, until well coated.

Paula Deen’s Gooey Butter Cake (recipe via)

What you’ll need for the crust:

  • 1 (18 1/4 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted

What you’ll need for the filling:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (16 ounce) box powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350° F
  • Combine cake mix, egg, and butter; mix well with an electric mixer.  Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
  • For the filling, beat the cream cheese until smooth in a large bowl.  Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter; mix with electric mixer.
  • Next, add the powered sugar and mix well.  Spread over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.  Do not over-bake as the center should still be a little gooey.

I warn you, this cake is not for the dieting kind.  It is beyond fattening (2 entire sticks of butter and 1 entire package of powdered sugar!), but also so yummy… and great for a special occasion like Valentine’s Day.  All in all, we had a delicious and relaxing meal together to celebrate this slightly obnoxious (can you believe Hallmark had the nerve to steal $8 from me in exchange for a measly little card?!) yet sweet holiday.  Hope yours was great too!

{Sadly I was too ravenous once our meal was ready for consumption and completely forgot about the whole “picture” thing, so the above images were found here and here}