Email Link SMS X Search Clock Right Arrow Caret down Caret up Caret left Caret right Thumbs up Speech Audio on Replay Plus Minus

40 Fancy Date Night Recipes That Are Absolutely Worth The Effort

Shake up your normal dinner routine with something extra special.

You're probably cooking at home much more than usual, so why not shake up your dinner routine every now and then with something a bit out of the ordinary? These recipes — ranging from brunch favorites to decadent dinners — are a little bit fancy, and they're absolutely worth the effort.

1. Sweet Potato, Kale, and Goat Cheese Frittata

Two Peas and Their Pod / Via twopeasandtheirpod.com

Turn Sunday morning into a fancy brunch date at home. Frittatas are so simple to make, but this veggie-packed version tastes totally restaurant quality. Pair it with mimosas, of course.

Recipe: Sweet Potato, Kale, and Goat Cheese Frittata

Advertisement

Advertisement

2. Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Pancakes

The Live in Kitchen / Via theliveinkitchen.com

Nothing says "I love you" like a warm stack of pancakes filled with melted chocolate, sliced bananas, and savory walnuts.

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Pancakes

3. Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

Whole Fully / Via wholefully.com

Don't be intimidated by the idea of making hollandaise sauce from scratch. All you need are egg yolks, butter, lemon juice, dill, and cayenne pepper.

Recipe: Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

Advertisement

Advertisement

4. Prosciutto and Swiss Dutch Baby

Seasons and Suppers / Via seasonsandsuppers.ca

The Dutch baby — a sort of pancake-crêpe-popover-hybrid — tastes delicious filled with any of your favorite sweet or savory ingredients. This version calls for prosciutto and tangy Swiss cheese, but you can get creative.

Recipe: Prosciutto and Swiss Dutch Baby

5. Eggs in Purgatory

Little Spice Jar / Via littlespicejar.com

Think of these baked eggs in tomato sauce as the Italian take on shakshuka. The dish gets a kick from garlic, Italian herbs, and red pepper flakes.

Recipe: Eggs in Purgatory

Advertisement

Advertisement

6. Chicken Marsala

Sandra Valvassori / Via sandravalvassori.com

Chicken breasts are dredged in flour, pan-fried, and then cooked in a sauce made with olive oil, butter, shallots, garlic, broth, and Masala wine.

Recipe: Chicken Marsala

7. Pecan Crusted Salmon With Lemon Glaze

Damn Delicious / Via damndelicious.net

Pecan-crusted fish sounds pretty fancy, huh? Well turns out, you can whip this recipe up with just a few basic ingredients. Toss pecans, panko, and parsley into a blender or food processor, dredge the salmon in the pecan mixture, and bake it in the oven.

Recipe: Pecan Crusted Salmon With Lemon Glaze

Advertisement

Advertisement

8. Stuffed Roasted Eggplant

Sunday Supper Movement / Via sundaysuppermovement.com

10 minutes of prep and five ingredients is all that's required to make this easy and lightened-up take on eggplant Parmesan.

Recipe: Stuffed Roasted Eggplant

9. Maple Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops

The Chunky Chef / Via thechunkychef.com

Transform bone-in pork chops into an elegant meal with the help of a sweet and tangy glaze made with maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, beef broth, Dijon, and garlic.

Recipe: Maple Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops

Advertisement

Advertisement

10. Flounder Piccata

Skinny Taste / Via skinnytaste.com

This dish is typically made with chicken, but you can use any thin white fish like flounder, sole, or skate wing for this pescatarian version, which is breaded, pan-fried, and drizzled in lemony caper sauce.

Recipe: Flounder Piccata

11. Lamb Chops With Mustard Thyme Sauce

Julia's Album / Via juliasalbum.com

You can use any type of lamb chops you like best for this recipe, but if you're looking for a more affordable option, go for loin chops over rack of lamb.

Recipe: Lamb Chops With Mustard Thyme Sauce

Advertisement

Advertisement

12. Crispy Baked Scallops

Dinner Then Dessert / Via dinnerthendessert.com

If you're intimidated by the idea of cooking seafood, this scallops recipe will change your mind. They're topped with a mixture of paprika, cayenne, panko, Parmesan, parsley, olive oil, and butter, then baked until golden brown on top yet tender enough to cut with a fork.

Recipe: Crispy Baked Scallops

13. Linguine With Clams

Striped Spatula / Via stripedspatula.com, Stripled Spatula / Via stripedspatula.com

Linguine and clams are prepared in bianco, with a decadent sauce made of white wine, fresh garlic, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes.

Recipe: Linguine With Clams

Advertisement

Advertisement

14. Baked Mushroom Risotto

Carlsbad Cravings / Via carlsbadcravings.com

Forget about all that stovetop stirring. This indulgent risotto starts on the stove then it's baked in the oven so you can sit back and relax.

Recipe: Baked Mushroom Risotto

15. Lobster Mac 'n' Cheese

Simply Scratch / Via simplyscratch.com

How do you mac creamy, rich mac 'n' cheese even more indulgent? Just add lobster.

Recipe: Lobster Mac 'n' Cheese

Advertisement

Advertisement

16. Mushroom Fettuccine

Pinch of Yum / Via pinchofyum.com

You deserve to pamper yourself, and this fettuccine alfredo packed with savory mushrooms is an excellent way to do just that.

Recipe: Mushroom Fettuccine

17. Slow Roasted Salmon With Citrus and Fennel

Coley Cooks / Via coleycooks.com

Slow roasting fish at a low temperature is an easy way to ensure it cooks until tender, flakey perfection.

Recipe: Slow Roasted Salmon With Citrus and Fennel

Advertisement

Advertisement

18. Seared Ahi Tuna With Sesame Dressing

Lindsay Eats LA / Via lindseyeatsla.com

While seared tuna may look like a dish better left to the pro chefs, the truth is you can make it very easily at home. Just heat up a skillet until sizzling and sear the fish for a minute or two on each side.

Recipe: Seared Ahi Tuna With Sesame Dressing

19. Instant Pot Chicken Marinara With Polenta

The Modern Proper / Via themodernproper.com

This ridiculously easy shredded chicken calls for just three ingredients: boneless and skinless chicken thighs, marinara sauce, and chicken broth. Serve it over creamy polenta or mashed potatoes for a rustic yet sophisticated meal.

Recipe: Instant Pot Chicken Marinara With Polenta

Advertisement

Advertisement

20. Shrimp Orzo In Creamy Wine Sauce

What's In The Pan / Via whatsinthepan.com

A true one-pot meal, this shrimp and orzo is prepared in a mouthwatering sauce made with lemon, white wine, butter, garlic, and cream. Crumble some creamy feta cheese on top to take things to the next level.

Recipe: Shrimp Orzo In Creamy Wine Sauce

21. Cauliflower Parmesan

Lexi's Clean Kitchen / Via lexiscleankitchen.com

Cauliflower steaks, which are breaded and pan-fried, take the place of chicken in this creative take on classic Italian Parmesan.

Recipe: Cauliflower Parmesan

Advertisement

Advertisement

22. Dijon Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb

Coley Cooks / Via coleycooks.com

Rack of lamb is a bit of a splurge, but for a special occasion there's nothing more luxurious. This recipe calls for lamb, which is coated in a mixture of panko, Dijon, fresh herbs, and olive oil. Then it's baked in the oven until the breading is golden and crispy.

Recipe: Dijon Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb

23. Cast Iron Ribeye Steak

Simply Home Cooked / Via simplyhomecooked.com

Whip this up and you're basically Gordon Ramsay. There's not much to it except for a sizzling cast iron skillet and some quality ingredients.

Recipe: Cast Iron Ribeye Steak

Advertisement

Advertisement

24. Scallops With Lemon Caper Sauce

The Recipe Critic / Via therecipecritic.com

These pan-seared sea scallops are special enough for an occasion yet simple enough for any old weeknight meal.

Recipe: Scallops With Lemon Caper Sauce

25. Mushroom and White Bean Cassoulet with Mustard Polenta

Rebel Recipes / Via rebelrecipes.com

Typically, cassoulet is a meat-filled, hearty meal, but this vegetarian version calls for umami-packed mushrooms and creamy white beans cooked with lots of veggies in vegetable broth, balsamic vinegar, and plenty of herbs.

Recipe: Mushroom and White Bean Cassoulet with Mustard Polenta

Advertisement

Advertisement

26. Creamy Pumpkin and Sausage Gnocchi

Fox and Briar / Via foxandbriar.com

If carbs are the key to your heart, this creamy gnocchi will have you head over heels.

Recipe: Creamy Pumpkin and Sausage Gnocchi

27. Argentinian Stuffed Flank Steak

Jo Cooks / Via jocooks.com

This Argentinian stuffed steak (also known as matambre) is made with flank steak, which is stuffed with hard boiled eggs, peppers, and chimichurri. Then, it's rolled up, grilled, and finally baked in the oven.

Recipe: Argentinian Stuffed Flank Steak

Advertisement

Advertisement

28. Cod With Tomato and Herb Butter

Little Broken / Via littlebroken.com

You can make this bright and juicy baked fish with any flaky white fish like halibut, fluke, or striped bass.

Recipe: Cod With Tomato and Herb Butter

29. Goat Cheese Stuffed Rosemary Chicken in Prosciutto

Food With Feeling / Via foodwithfeeling.com

Everything tastes better wrapped in prosciutto, but stuff it with creamy goat cheese and you've got something truly spectacular.

Recipe: Goat Cheese Stuffed Rosemary Chicken in Prosciutto

Advertisement

Advertisement

30. Slow Cooker Red Wine Braised Short Rib Pasta

Half Baked Harvest / Via halfbakedharvest.com

This slow cooked meat takes a bit of time, but there's only a very small amount of active work. Just toss the ingredients into your Crock Pot and wait for tender, fall-off-the-bone short ribs.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Red Wine Braised Short Rib Pasta

31. Stuffed Acorn Squash

Wanderlust and Wellness / Via wanderlustandwellness.org

Stuffed with pancetta, wild rice, apple, and herbs, this savory squash makes for a delicious appetizer or main dish.

Recipe: Stuffed Acorn Squash

Advertisement

Advertisement

32. Crab Spaghetti With Lemon Gremolata

Foodie Crush / Via foodiecrush.com

Just try to resist this buttery spaghetti and lump crab beneath a layer of lemony, garlic breadcrumbs. Yeah...it's as delicious as it sounds.

Recipe: Crab Spaghetti With Lemon Gremolata

33. Chinese Steamed Fish With Ginger Shallot Sauce

Recipe Tin Eats / Via recipetineats.com

Cooking a whole fish might seem very intimidating, but in reality it's as easy as making a whole chicken. This Chinese-inspired recipe is steamed and served with a ginger-shallot topping that makes the whole dish so fragrant and flavorful.

Recipe: Chinese Steamed Fish With Ginger Shallot Sauce

Advertisement

Advertisement

34. Korean Braised Beef Short Ribs

From a Chef's Kitchen / Via fromachefskitchen.com

A slow braise turns this tough cut of meat into a dish that quite literally falls off the bone.

Recipe: Korean Braised Beef Short Ribs

35. Chimichurri Steak Salad

Kitchen Sanctuary / Via kitchensanctuary.com

You can get creative and serve this flank steak and chimichurri dressing with whatever veggies you like best.

Recipe: Chimichurri Steak Salad

Advertisement

Advertisement

36. Moroccan Chicken Tagine Skillet

Table for Two Blog / Via tablefortwoblog.com

Preserved lemon, castelvetrano and kalamata olives, and cinnamon makes this Moroccan-inspired chicken an irresistible balance of sweet and savory.

Recipe: Moroccan Chicken Tagine Skillet

37. Five-Ingredient Easy Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

Gimme Delicious / Via gimmedelicious.com

Remember: It's always a good idea to eat more chocolate.

Recipe: Five-Ingredient Easy Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

Advertisement

Advertisement

38. Red Velvet Cake Truffles

Julie's Eats and Treats / Via julieseatsandtreats.com

This deceptively easy dessert recipe calls for nothing more than red velvet cake mix, vegetable oil, cream cheese, and your favorite melting chocolate.

Recipe: Red Velvet Cake Truffles

39. Greek Yogurt Strawberry Cheesecakes

Fit Mitten Kitchen / Via fitmittenkitchen.com

Made with Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese, these lightened-up mini cheesecakes still taste like quite the treat.

Recipe: Greek Yogurt Strawberry Cheesecakes

40. Gooey Red Velvet Cookies

Recipe Girl / Via recipegirl.com

The secret to these crispy-on-the-outside-gooey-on-the-inside cookies is cream cheese. It keeps the cookies super moist and buttery while they bake.

Recipe: Gooey Red Velvet Cookies

Need easy dinner ideas?

These meals will make your weeknights way simpler. (And tastier!)

Advertisement

Advertisement

Trending Recipes

Advertisement

Advertisement

Latest Tasty Guides

50+ Weeknight Meal Ideas For When You Want Dinner On The Table Fast
25 Ways To Eat Vegetables And Actually Like Them
We Asked Nutritionists And Dietitians What They Eat For Breakfast; Here's What They Said

Advertisement

Advertisement

21 Healthy And Delicious Freezer Meals With No Meat
45 One-Pan, One-Pot, And One-Sheet Recipes For All Your Weeknight Cooking Needs
34 Ways To Waste Less Food

Advertisement

Advertisement

48 Food And Drink Hacks From Around The Internet That Are Actually Genius
16 Of The Best Veggie Burgers In NYC
20 No-Cook Meals You Can Make To Feed Yourself Or Your Family After A Power Outage

Advertisement

Advertisement

Need easy dinner ideas?

These meals will make your weeknights way simpler. (And tastier!)

Advertisement

Advertisement

Share on Pinterest Share on Pinterest Pinterest Pinterest Share on Facebook Share on Facebook Share on Email Share on Email More More