$13: Valentine's Day Dinner at Trader Joe's

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Where: Trader Joe's (Queen Anne), 112 W. Galer St.

What does $13 get you? Gouda and apple on multigrain crackers ($5), lemon pepper pappardelle with prawns ($6), and milk chocolate-covered English toffee ($2)

Recommend? Definitely

Official tasting notes: I know I'm not the only one who's so over dealing with the mostly overpriced, crowded Valentine's Day dinner out. And I am such a fan of Trader Joe's. I'm there every Sunday morning to stock up for the week. Sure, I can't get everything on my list at TJ's--I save most of the produce for the farmers market--but it's definitely a staple in my grocery rotation. So I thought why not turn to Trader Joe's for a little romantic dinner at home on V Day.

No need to skimp on the fancy factor either just because you're not doling out the big bucks at a restaurant. I started with a simple app of slices of gouda and apples (an exception to my farmers market rule) on multigrain crackers. Yummmm. Don't fill up on these, though, as there's still a main course and dessert on the way.

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Then I found a lovely little recipe for a pasta and prawns dish on the back of the lemon pepper pappardelle. A little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, some pre-cooked TJ's prawns (I varied the recipe a bit by not going for the uncooked ones that you have to devein), toss with the pasta--and voila! A fancy-schmancy, super-tasty main course that won't leave you feeling stuffed (or broke).

Then dessert--after all that work in the kitchen, I wanted to make this part easy on myself. Plus the chocolate-covered English toffee from Trader Joe's is just Oh. So. Good. Don't forget to share with your Valentine. Otherwise, all that love karma you racked up by slaving away (?) in the kitchen will fly out the window on Cupid's wings (read: You definitely won't be gettin' any if you don't share the toffee).

 
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