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    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.

    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

    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

    4. Prosciutto and Swiss Dutch Baby

    A savory Dutch baby filled with prosciutto, Swiss cheese, and arugula.
    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

    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

    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

    10. Flounder Piccata

    Four pieces of breaded flounder piccata with capers, herbs, and lemon.
    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

    12. Crispy Baked Scallops

    Baked Parmesan and panko scallops on a baking sheet.
    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

    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

    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

    A plate of slow roasted salmon with blood orange and fennel fronds.
    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

    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

    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

    20. Shrimp Orzo In Creamy Wine Sauce

    Shrimp and orzo in a pan.
    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

    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

    A medium-rare ribeye steak in a skillet with herbs, butter, and garlic.
    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    30. Slow Cooker Red Wine Braised Short Rib Pasta

    A bowl of pasta with short rib ragu.
    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

    32. Crab Spaghetti With Lemon Gremolata

    A plate of pasta with crab meat, lemon zest, and breadcrumbs.
    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

    Two steamed fish with scallions and shallot ginger 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

    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

    A steak salad with chimichurri sauce, lots of vegetables, and pita bread.
    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

    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

    38. Red Velvet Cake Truffles

    Red velvet cake truffles with chocolate coating.
    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

    Red velvet cookies with a gooey interior.
    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