Valentine's Day Recipe- cooking together creates connection
by, Taryn McPherson
Have you made your Valentine’s Day plans yet? What if instead of going out you stayed in and cooked together?
Food is such a good way to bring people together. Think of how often we use food to bring together the people we love - holidays, celebratory meals, even in times of grief or challenges we show love and support through giving food and breaking bread together.
The benefits of connection that come with eating together extend to preparing food as well. Many of us have warm memories of being in the kitchen with a loved one as a child baking cookies or helping to prepare a holiday meal. Cooking together creates a sense of connection as you work toward a common goal. It can help build teamwork and communication and can create bonding time as you try something new together.
Then, in the end, you have a delicious meal to share and the satisfaction of knowing you worked together to prepare it.
This recipe is a fun one to make with a partner, both because the stuffing and rolling the Swiss chard can be a bit labor-intensive and it can be a new experience to share together. When cooking together it’s important to consider each person’s unique abilities and skills when deciding how to split up responsibilities, but it’s a good idea to make sure you have a designated chef and sous chef(s) to prevent confusion or disagreements.
Remember, Valentine’s Day is about acknowledging the people we love. That doesn’t have to mean a romantic partner. Maybe you’d rather spend the day with a friend, child, or other loved one. Cooking together is a great way to get some quality time with anyone you care about.
When I was creating this recipe I had two different ideas for the flavor profile of the dish, but my taste testers couldn’t settle on which one they liked best. So I decided to offer both options and you can decide which flavors you feel like. Or make both! Then have a taste testing challenge with your cooking partner(s).
The tomato sauce topped version of the dish has flavors similar to stuffed cabbage. While the yogurt drizzle gives the dish more of a Mediterranean flair. Whatever you choose, I hope you enjoy both the dish and the company!
Stuffed Swiss Chard
2/3 cup of uncooked rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
3 garlic diced cloves
1 lb ground turkey
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
A sprinkle of basil and freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bunch of Swiss chard leaves, stems cut off
Prepare rice per package directions. Preheat oven to 270 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a skillet, then add onion and garlic. Saute until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add turkey and dried herbs. Cook until turkey is cooked through (i.e. you shouldn’t see any pink). Add tomato paste and mix thoroughly.Then mix in cooked rice.
Boil water in a large pan or pot - something large enough to fit your swiss chard leaves. Once water is boiling place each leaf into the water for 15-30 seconds, then remove and shake off excess water.
Scoop roughly 1/2 cup of turkey mixture onto swiss chard leaf. I found it easiest to start at the top and roll the leaf down, but maybe a different way will work better for you, there’s no wrong answer! Once the leaf is rolled up, place it seam down into a baking dish. I used 2 8x8 dishes, but if you’re going to do all one type you can use a larger dish to fit everything into one.
(Optional) Cover with tomato sauce (as much or as little as you want).
Cook stuffed leaves for 15-20 minutes. If you covered them with tomato sauce, sprinkle some mozzarella on top for the last five minutes of baking.
Yogurt sauce (optional)
1 cup greek yogurt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dill
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Whisk all ingredients together. Drizzle on top of Swiss chard before serving or plate a scoop on the side of dipping.