Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Education’s Chef Tom Severs answers your Valentine’s questions:

1) What are tasty meals that won’t give you of your “special someone” bad breathe?

Fish, either baked or grilled, is a very safe preparation, as long as you don’t use garlic. Your normal seasoning of salt and pepper will do. You can add extra flavor by using fresh herbs and adding them just before service along with fresh butter. Steamed fresh broccoli or cauliflower with carrots would be a wonderful accompaniment with your fish.

2) What is a flavorful Valentines meal for six that’s also affordable?

The most affordable protein is chicken, and I would recommend the breast for a meal. If pork is acceptable, it too is a item that can be prepared in many ways. I would recommend the tenderloin. In either case, marinate it in a citrus marinade with seasonings for 1-2 hours to develop flavor. Pare it with grilled asparagus and tomatoes halves that are lightly seasoned. Serve it with a roasted mashed sweet potato puree and a fruit or tomatoes salsa.

3) What are healthy meals that use the color red?

We don’t use red food color in our program. We prefer to use natural colors like tomatoes or beets for red color. The use of natural over artificial is always the best way to go.

4) What’s a fun Valentine’s meal you can cook in less than 30 minutes?

Anything grilled, chicken breast, steak or fish, can be finished under 30 minutes. Choose a vegetable that can be steamed, and season everything well. Use extra virgin olive oil to help develop flavor. While 30 minutes is not a lot of time, if you plan ahead and finish everything when you get home, you can expand your menu. Otherwise, keep it simple but full of flavor.

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