Valentine’s Day eats and treats
(Family Features) Valentine’s Day naturally brings thoughts of hearts, flowers, sweetness and love. Because it also occurs during American Heart Month, it’s a perfect opportunity to start taking care of your own heart and the hearts of loved ones.
Part of the charm of the day’s celebrations is in giving family and friends flavorful foods to enjoy from chocolates and candies to other sugary treats. However, the festivities don’t have to be completely focused on unhealthy bites in order to make someone feel special.
This year, it can be easy to share in the fun of Valentine’s Day by serving those you love with sweet, seasonal treats. For example, these Frosted Watermelon Cutouts make for ideal snacks for children and adults alike whether it’s an after-school treat or a sweet dessert with just three ingredients, heart-shaped cookie cutters and minimal time spent in the kitchen.
If you’re really looking to impress that special someone, this Watermelon and Chocolate Dessert Board calls for creativity and plenty of tasty morsels like berries, cashews, almonds and dark chocolate. Without any baking or cooking required, simply spread out the ingredients for a platter that’s just as visually appealing as it is appetizing.
Both recipes include the benefits of watermelon, which boasts plenty of vitamin C to boost the immune system’s defenses as a cholesterol-free, fat-free and sodium-free food. Plus, watermelon draws its red color from the powerful antioxidant lycopene (12.7 mg per serving), which may help protect cells from damage, and the healthy treat is American Heart Association Heart-Check Certified with just 80 calories per serving, making it the perfect centerpiece for Valentine’s Day recipes.
Find more Valentine’s Day inspiration and recipes at watermelon.org.
Frosted Watermelon Cutouts
- 1 seedless watermelon, cut into 1/2-3/4-inch thick slices
- 4 brownie bites
- 1 cup frosting (any flavor)
- Using heart-shaped cookie cutters, cut shapes out of watermelon slices or simply use cut watermelon wedges, if desired. Top heart shapes with brownie bites and add frosting as desired.
Watermelon and Chocolate Dessert Board
- 1/2 medium seedless watermelon, cut into wedges and cubes
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 cup fresh red cherries
- 1 cup strawberries, trimmed and halved
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup roasted, salted cashews
- 1 cup chocolate covered almonds
- 1 bar dark chocolate, broken into squares
- 1 cup coconut chips
- mint leaves, for garnish
- On serving board, arrange watermelon in center and surround with raspberries, cherries, strawberries, cranberries, cashews, almonds, chocolate and coconut chips. Scatter mint leaves around board for garnish.
Source: Watermelon Board
(Family Features) There’s no time like a hot summer picnic to let your patriotic spirit show. These all-American snacks featuring a classic favorite fruit – watermelon – are the perfect solution for nearly any summertime celebration.
Watermelon is a patriotic picnic staple for countless reasons, not the least of which is that it’s a beloved treat that many people associate with memories from childhood. However, nostalgia isn’t the only reason adults are just as likely to gravitate toward watermelon at a summer event. Its sweet, cool and refreshing flavor also makes it a favorite for all ages.
From a practical standpoint, watermelon is also quite portable, versatile and easy to serve, and with a composition of 92% water, it’s a simple way to sneak in some extra hydration on a hot day. Another benefit is its value; watermelon is one of the best values in the produce section among fruit, and just one watermelon can feed up to three dozen people.
Serving watermelon at a party can be as simple as slicing wedges, or you can prepare a dish such as:
- A fruit basket, with the rind serving as a colorful bowl to hold the watermelon and other fresh fruits.
- A charcuterie board with a selection of fruit, cheese and protein for simple snacking.
- Creamy parfaits, perfect for a summery brunch or alternative to more traditional desserts.
- A creatively colorful and patriotic “cake” that makes for a tasty centerpiece on the dessert table.
Find more ideas for incorporating watermelon into your summer festivities at watermelon.org.
Easy Summer Thirst Quencher
A simple fruit-infused water can give your summer event an instant upgrade in no time at all. Add extra dimension and complexity to the flavor by adding some of your favorite herbs like basil and mint.
- 2 cups watermelon balls or cubes
- 1 cup other fruit, such as berries
- herbs, such as basil or mint
- Place watermelon, fruit and herbs in pitcher and cover with water. For best flavor, allow to chill in refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.
Red, White and Blue Watermelon Parfait
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 container (6 ounces) Greek yogurt (vanilla, lemon or coconut)
- 1 cup watermelon, plus three pieces diced watermelon
- whipped cream, for serving
- In pint canning jar, layer blueberries, yogurt and 1 cup watermelon. Top with whipped cream and garnish with three diced watermelon pieces.
Note: To make ahead or make thicker, drain Greek yogurt on paper towels to absorb some liquid.
Patriotic Fruit Salad
- 1 watermelon
- Slice 1/4 inch off bottom of watermelon, lengthwise, to create stable base.
- Use pencil to draw zig-zag lines for basket opening. Using paring knife, make cuts through rind.
- Carefully remove top section, pull out large chunks of flesh and cut them into 3-by-3-inch squares.
- Trim 3/4-inch thick slices off squares to use for cutting out stars with 1 1/2-3-inch, star-shaped cookie cutters.
- Use ice cream scoop to remove flesh from inside basket and cut scoops into quarters for fruit salad. Place in bottom of basket. Add honeydew and blueberries; stir to combine.
- Cut out white stripes from honeydew.
- Garnish top of fruit salad with watermelon stars, honeydew stripes and blueberries.
Patriotic Charcuterie Board
- 1/2 medium seedless watermelon, cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
- 10 strawberries (dipped in white chocolate, if desired)
- 5 ounces fresh goat cheese
- 1/2 cup toasted, salted cashews
- 2 ounces cured meats like prosciutto, pancetta, coppa, salami, soppressata, sausage or pepperoni
- 1 Honeycrisp apple, cored and sliced
- lemon juice
- fresh basil leaves
- On large board or platter, arrange watermelon, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cheese, cashews, meat and apples. Drizzle fruit with lemon juice. Garnish with basil leaves before serving.
Flag Kebab Cake
- 1 pint fresh, washed blackberries
- 12 wooden skewers
- 1 seedless watermelon, flesh cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes (white part only)
- dips, such as yogurt, chocolate, caramel or marshmallow (optional)
- Thread five blackberries on each of five skewers, followed by alternating watermelon and cake cubes.
- On remaining skewers, alternate watermelon and cake so first and last cubes are watermelon. Place skewers on platter; fruit and cake will create stars and stripes when lined properly.
- Serve with dips, if desired.