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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Show A Little Love This Weekend

By Sherrie Norris

Another special occasion with limited celebration options is just a few days away. Don’t despair — we’re getting good at coming up with alternatives to holiday traditions, and Valentine’s Day is no exception.

There are multiple take-out opportunities in and around the High Country if you want to grab something and bring home for a safe, intimate dinner by the fire. (Or a free-for-all for the whole family!) And, there are still plenty of Covid-compliant places where you can actually go in and sit down, if that’s what you prefer.

Whatever you choose, a little lovin’ from the oven, or the kitchen in general, goes a long way. We’ll help with the “sweets” and you can do the rest.

Beyond your own home, remember that this world could use a little more love, so let’s do our best to spread it around (safely!) in the coming days. Make a front porch drop-off for an elderly neighbor, friend or family member. Fill a bag or box with goodies, ring the doorbell and walk away with a wave and a smile. Pick up the phone and place that call to someone who’s lost a loved one recently or who has otherwise been on your mind. Walk the outside parameters of your local nursing home, waving to the residents as you pass by, or deliver Valentine’s cards and candies to the front door for the residents and staff. Take food to your local food pantry or homeless shelter. Be creative and let the kids help make a difference this weekend.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Valentine Salad 

1 can cherry pie filling

1 can crushed pineapple

1 lg. Cool Whip

½ pkg. miniature marshmallows

1 cup chopped pecans

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Mix all ingredients and chill overnight. It’s great frozen, too!


Cupid’s Sundae Bar

Vanilla and strawberry ice cream

Chocolate and strawberry sauce

Red and white sprinkles

Red hot cinnamon heart candies

Whipped topping

Set up a sundae bar on a table or counter with each ingredient in its own container. Family members (or guests) can create their own sundaes. This will be especially fun for the whole family. The above mentioned toppings are only suggestions — the possibilities are endless.


Dessert Pizza

1 (18 oz.) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough

1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese

1 can strawberry or cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350; Press cookie dough evenly into a 12-inch pizza pan. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Cool in pan on wire rack.

In meantime, mix cream cheese and cool whip together and spread over cooled crust nearly to edge. Cover cream mixture with pie filling. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

(This is my “holiday” version of fruit pizza. Fresh fruit may be used instead of pie filling.)


The Perfect Pancake

Heart-shaped pancakes are the perfect breakfast treat for your valentine. Simply mix pancake batter as usual and make a few large, skillet sized pancakes. Then cut out heart shapes with a cookie cutter, stack and serve. Cover with a thin coating of strawberry jam that’s been heated for a few seconds in the microwave.


Strawberry Dumplings

4 eggs

4 Tbsp. melted butter

4 tsp. baking powder

4 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

12 Tbsp. flour

4 cups strawberries

2 cups sugar

Combine first six ingredients to make stiff batter to hold shape.

Mash berries with sugar and bring to boil in a large pot with a tight lid. Drop dough into hot liquid; reduce heat and simmer with lid on for 15 minutes. Don’t peek! Remove dumplings carefully to dessert dishes and spoon berries over top. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream


Valentine Pretzel Rods

White chocolate wafers for melting/dipping

Whole pretzel rods

Red, white and/or pink sprinkles.

Melt chocolate according to package directions. Dip pretzel rods in the chocolate, cover with sprinkles and place on wax paper to dry.


Secret Kiss Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Sifted powdered sugar

1 pkg. Hershey Kisses, foil removed

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla with 1 Tbsp. water. Stir in flour and nuts; mix well. Shape dough around Hershey Kisses, forming a ball. Place on lightly greased/sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool on rack; roll in powdered sugar. Makes about 60 cookies.