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As Valentine’s Day approaches, you may find yourself reflecting on relationships. Positive relationships, whether with a partner, child, parent or friend, can be strengthened by doing activities together. This holiday, consider cooking a meal with your loved one, which can be just as nourishing for the relationship as it is for the body.

When cooking with another person, be sure to plan ahead. Decide on a menu together, which will offer each person a sense of belonging. Don’t be overly ambitious, especially if cooking with a child. Opt for simple side dishes or pre-packaged deserts to avoid the kitchen chaos of having too many things going on at one time. Before diving in, decide who is doing what.  Are you working on the same recipe together (my personal preference), or is each person taking on a separate recipe? If working on the recipe together, decide who will take the lead and delegate tasks.

Make the atmosphere fun and relaxed. Play some soothing music, and engage in conversation while you work. You’ll learn the art of dancing around each other when in each other’s way. If cooking with a child, take the opportunity to talk about the food as they are working with it. Research shows that children who cook are more willing to try new foods. Make cooking together a tradition, even if it’s only for one day a year. 

 

Shrimp Scampi (Printable PDF)

1 lb. angel hair pasta

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Tablespoons butter, divided

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Salt and pepper to taste

3 garlic cloves, minced

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ cup dry white wine or chicken broth

1 lemon, juiced

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp is opaque. Transfer to a plate; cover and keep warm. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to skillet; sauté until garlic is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the wine or broth. Squeeze lemon over a strainer to catch the seeds and add juice to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Add remaining tablespoon of butter and stir to melt. Return shrimp to the skillet; add cooked pasta. Stir will and sprinkle with parsley.

Yield: 8 servings

 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 300 calories, 6 grams fat, 440 milligrams sodium, 42 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 15 grams protein