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The Perfect Date Night Meal

For Valentine's Day, my fiance and I decided to avoid the masses and instead cook dinner and indulge in a nice bottle of red wine, in honor of Cupid himself.  I wanted to try something new, and something a little exotic, at least to my Southern-food loving soul, and was thrilled when a coworker recommended Cooking Light's Coq au Vin.  Her review? "My date was very impressed (actually broke out the 'I'm not worthy' bow)." Perfect!

If you've been too afraid to order this dish in a restaurant (the name can be tricky), you have to give it a try.  A classic French dish, Coq au Vin is basically chicken and vegetables cooked in a wine sauce.  With bacon.  And, yes, it's every bit as delicious as it sounds.

The best part?  It's super easy.  I asked the grocery's butcher to cut up the whole chicken (much faster than if I did it myself), and then my fiance and I made the simple marinade, which calls for dried herbs.  Score!  The hardest part of the whole recipe was trying to find "dried plums" in the fruit section.  It took about ten minutes before either of us realized that "dried plums" = "prunes."

The dish smelled heavenly when cooking and tasted twice as good spooned over mashed potatoes.  My Valentine got up mid-meal to go get an extra bowl of the sauce, which I count as the highest compliment of all.  I'll take that over a prix fixe meal any day of the week.