Valentine's Day, Kid-Style

These heartfelt recipes provide a great opportunity for practicing the art of sharing among loved ones.
By Ellen Booth Church



Valentine's Day, Kid-Style

Recipes by Amy Lord

Sharing is an important part of growing up that we continue to fine-tune, even into our adult years. A family-style Valentine's Day dinner is the perfect way to experience the joys of this timeless lesson — and to celebrate the unique love you share as a family. Although best known as a romantic holiday, Valentine's Day is actually a great opportunity for you and your children to express the appreciation you have for one another.

The most memorable meals are those when everyone takes part in the creation and enjoyment of the food. Not only are our dip and fondue recipes easy to make in advance (perfect for a holiday that falls on a school night!), they are designed to be kid-friendly and shared casually right from the table, resulting in a celebration filled with fun, light-heartedness, and laughter. Happy Valentine's Day!

Dunkable Turkey Meatballs

What you need:

  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1⁄4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1⁄3 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread, torn into small pieces
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • Olive oil for greasing pan
  • 2 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought

What to do:

  1. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt, milk, garlic, cheese, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add the torn bread, stir to combine, and let sit for 10 minutes until the bread has absorbed most of the liquid.
  3. Mash bread with a fork to form a paste. Stir in ground turkey and mix well. Chill mixture.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat a cookie sheet with olive oil. Slightly moisten hands with water and form 1 tbsp. turkey mixture into a small ball and place on prepared pan. Repeat with remaining mixture. (You should have about 35 meatballs.)
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until firm and fully cooked.
  6. Warm the marinara sauce over low heat or in the microwave.
  7. Remove meatballs from baking sheet and serve on a plate alongside sauce.
  8. The meatballs can also be made in advance, placed in a resealable plastic bag and refrigerated for 3 to 4 days, or frozen for up to 6 weeks.

Heart-Shaped Garlic Toast With Red Pepper Spread

What you need:

  • 7 oz. jar roasted red peppers, rinsed and well drained
  • 5.2 oz. package garlic and herb Boursin cheese
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 12 slices sandwich bread or loaf of Italian bread
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

For the dip:

  1. Tear the peppers into strips, add to food processor, and pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Crumble the cheese into the processor with peppers and process until well combined.
  3. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill. (Can be made 3 to 4 days in advance.)

For the toast:

  1. Warm the oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and heat together for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Transfer oil to a bowl and cool.
  4. Meanwhile, using a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut bread into hearts and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Alternately, Italian bread can simply be cut into thin slices.
  5. Using a brush, lightly dab garlic oil onto both sides of the bread.
  6. Season lightly with salt and pepper and bake in a preheated 400Ëš oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. 
  7. Remove from oven and serve, or cool completely on a baking rack, and store in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container for 3 to 4 days.

Chocolate Orange Fondue

What you need:

  • 6 oz. semisweet
  • chocolate chips
  • 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon orange extract
  • 16 oz. fresh strawberries, washed, stems removed
  • Biscotti, optional

What to do:

  1. Place chocolate, cream, and the extracts in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. In the microwave, heat at high power for 30 seconds, remove from the oven, and stir until combined and smooth.
  3. Microwave for an additional 15 to 30 seconds, if needed, to melt the chocolate. 
  4. Serve in a warm bowl with strawberries and biscotti, if desired.

For your child's safety, it's best to keep dippers short with rounded edges. These utensils work well:

  • Bamboo skewers (using scissors, cut off pointed tips and trim to 6-inch lengths)
  • Cocktail straws
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Small seafood forks
Problem Solving
Following Directions
Age 5
Age 4
Age 3
Valentine's Day
Hobbies, Play, Recreation