It's Valentine's Day again, and I just want to remind people there are alternatives to chocolate when it comes to showing your love.
Because let's face it, at any given time many of us are on diets or at least watching what we're eating. And a box of chocolates isn't exactly helping out.
So if you're looking for a romantic Valentine's Day gift that's truly from the heart, why not give the best gift of all — a mouth-watering, healthy meal you make yourself?
This week's recipe is my version of a trendy dish served in restaurants across the country — lobster pot pie. A typical pot pie like this will cost you around 680 calories and 46 grams of fat per serving. But I've downsized that to just 330 calories and 6 grams of fat.
I did this by turning the pie into a cobbler, which means the crust is only on top. And my crust is made from a lower calorie pancake mix that gives you the taste of a pot pie, but without all the fattening richness of typical crusts. I've also added in lean beef tenderloin, making this a true surf and turf delight.
I saved you plenty of fat by thickening this dish with a delicious and pleasantly sweet puree of beets, instead of the usual butter, cream and flour.
— Save yourself some trouble and ask to have your lobster steamed for you while you shop. The seafood department at most grocers will do this for free. Some will even remove the meat from the shell for you.
VALENTINE'S DAY SURF AND TURF COBBLER
Start to finish: 45 minutes (30 minutes active)
1 1/4-pound live lobster
4 ounces fresh asparagus spears (12 to 16 spears, depending on thickness), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 ounces beef tenderloin, cut into 8 cubes
Salt and ground black pepper
14 1/2-ounce can red beets with liquid
16 pumps butter spray
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
2/3 cup Bisquick Heart Smart Pancake and Baking Mix
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
In a large stockpot, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Set a bowl of ice water nearby.
Submerge the lobster in the boiling water, then return the water to a boil. Cook the lobster for 4 minutes, adding the asparagus to the water for the last 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the asparagus to the ice water to cool for 2 minutes, then transfer to a kitchen towel to dry. Remove the lobster from the water and place on a sheet pan. Let cool until easy to handle.
Heat a medium nonstick skillet over high.
Season the beef with salt and pepper, then spritz the pan with cooking spray and add the beef to the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the outsides are well browned and the centers are rare, turning once. Transfer the beef to a small plate and set aside.
Drain the beets, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid. Cut two-thirds of the drained beets (about 1 cup) into bite-size pieces (save the remaining beets for another use). Add half of the beet pieces to a blender along with the 1/4 cup of reserved liquid. Cover and blend until smooth.
Add the 16 pumps of butter spray and cover and blend again just until combined. Pour the pureed beets into a medium bowl and add the remaining chopped beets. Add the asparagus to the beet mixture along with the cooked beef cubes and fresh tarragon.
Heat the oven to 400 F.
Remove the meat from the lobster and cut into bite-size pieces. Add to the beet mixture and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture evenly into a 1-quart oven-safe glass bowl or souffle dish.
In a medium bowl, mix the pancake mix and water. Drop the dough into 6 small mounds over the lobster mixture. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the top is browned and the filling is heated through. Remove and top with horseradish.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 330 calories; 6 g fat (16 percent of calories from fat) (1 g saturated); 80 mg cholesterol; 40 g carbohydrate; 29 g protein; 5 g fiber; 1,356 mg sodium.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Rocco DiSpirito is author of the "Now Eat This!" and "Now Eat This! Diet" cookbooks.