Recipes Made with Iowa Love

By Lydia Zerby

There’s so much to love when it comes to spending Valentine’s Day with a significant other, family or friends. While many enjoy the holiday by celebrating love between people, Iowans have plenty to love when it comes to food and agriculture! 

We’ve chosen six recipes that will enhance your Valentine’s Day festivities. Whether you choose to create a steakhouse classic at home, celebrate with tacos for breakfast, delight in a turkey vegetable risotto, or make a delectable panna cotta for dessert, love will be in the air with Iowa-inspired ingredients shining bright. 

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Photo credit: Iowa Beef Industry Council

Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Blue Cheese Topping | Iowa Beef Industry Council 

Avoid the stress of securing a dinner reservation and try your hand at creating a steakhouse classic at home. Your sweetheart will adore the flavors of garlic-rubbed beef tenderloin steaks topped with creamy blue cheese. Round out the meal with a roasted vegetable such as broccoli or asparagus, along with baked or mashed potatoes, and you’re set! Find the recipe here. 

What’s to Love? The tenderest steak, beef tenderloin — or filet mignon — is lean yet succulent, with a fine buttery texture. This steak is sold boneless and meets government guidelines for lean.


Photo credit: National Pork Producers

Pork Milanese with Cacio e Pepe Spaghetti | Iowa Pork Producers

Pork Milanese is a classic dish from the north of Italy, and it couldn't be more of a crowd-pleaser, perfect for serving as a dinner for two or as a family meal. Preparing something Milanese style means dredging thin slices of meat in flour, eggs and seasoned breadcrumbs, and frying them. In this dish, crispy pork cutlets are enhanced by a fresh squeeze of lemon and served alongside a simple pasta seasoned with rich, savory cheeses and aromatic black pepper. Find the recipe here. 

What’s to Love? When compared to 1960, the use of natural resources required to produce pork has gone down significantly. Nearly 76% less land, 25% less water and 7% less energy are used.


Photo credit: Iowa Egg Council

Sunrise Fiesta | Iowa Egg Council
Celebrating love and friendship can be done at any time of the day. This recipe offers the opportunity to enjoy time with friends and family during breakfast or brunch. Protein-packed eggs are mixed with peppers, onions and mushrooms, and garnished with cheese, salsa, sour cream and olives for a flavorful flair that feels like your Valentine’s Day gift is a vacation in Mexico! Find the recipe here. 

What’s to Love? Did you know that the egg yolk contains almost as much protein as the egg white? So eat the whole egg for all its protein benefits!


Photo credit: Iowa Turkey Federation

Turkey and Vegetable Risotto | Iowa Turkey Federation

Choosing a one-pot meal for a Valentine’s Day celebration ensures you can spend less time in the kitchen and more quality time with loved ones. This recipe pairs turkey tenderloin with risotto, a classic Italian dish known for its creamy and velvety texture. Risotto is a type of rice dish that’s cooked to a rich, almost saucy consistency. When fresh vegetables and seasonings are added, along with nutty Parmesan cheese, you’ll have a complete meal perfect for sharing. Find the recipe here.

What’s to Love? Turkey tenderloin is a lean and healthy source of protein. It’s lower in fat than dark meat cuts, making it a popular choice for those seeking a leaner option.


Photo credit: Undeniably Dairy

Chocolate Mousse Brownie Trifle | Midwest Dairy

If you’re looking to make an unforgettable chocolate dessert, this recipe delivers. Picture this: A gooey brownie base offsets a fluffy mousse under homemade whipped cream. And then those delectable elements are layered on repeat. When you’re serious about treats, there’s no trifling with this lavish chocolate trifle. It’s easy to make and hard to resist. Find the recipe here.

What’s to Love? Heavy cream is derived from the fatty portion of cow's milk. It’s separated from milk through a centrifugal process. Heavy cream is characterized by its high fat content, typically containing at least 36% milk fat.


Photo credit: The Soyfoods Council

Tofu Panna Cotta | The Soyfoods Council

If you’re celebrating in a fine dining establishment, often the meal ends with a small dessert and coffee. Combine both by creating your own delightful nightcap with this recipe. The star of this dish is soft silken tofu, which has an exceptionally smooth and custard-like texture. When paired with the flavors of coffee and vanilla, it’s sure to end your meal on a delicious note. Find the recipe here. 

What’s to Love? Like other types of tofu, soft silken tofu is a good source of plant-based protein. It’s also low in saturated fat and contains essential nutrients such as iron, calcium and magnesium.