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45 Impressive Dinners for Your Cooking Bucket List

Whether its a special occasion, or you're just feeling fancy, here are some extraordinary dinner recipes that are guaranteed to impress.

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Crown Roast of Pork with Mushroom Dressing

It looks so elegant that everyone thinks I spent a lot of time on this roast. But it's actually so easy! The biggest challenge is to remember to order the crown roast from the meat department ahead of time. —Betty Claycomb, Alverton, Pennsylvania
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Bacon-Wrapped Pesto Pork Tenderloin

I love to serve this family-favorite tenderloin—maybe because of the compliments that come with it! When the weather warms up, we grill it instead. —Megan Riofski, Frankfort, Illinois
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Prime Rib with Fresh Herb Sauce

Nothing says “special occasion” like a perfectly seasoned prime rib. Savory, succulent, tender, it’s the perfect choice when you want to share something truly divine. —Tonya Burkhard, Palm Coast, Florida
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Duck Breasts with Apricot Chutney

When serving this entree as part of a buffet, try using chafing dish to keep it warm. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Pork Tenderloin with Three-Berry Salsa

My husband came home from a work meeting that had served pork with a spicy blueberry salsa. He was amazed at how tasty it was, so I came up with my own rendition without seeing or tasting what he had. It took several tries, but this is the delicious result. —Angie Phillips, Tarzana, California
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Nana's Italian Roulade

My great-aunt from Sicily taught my mother how to stuff and bake a steak in a jelly-roll style. It’s unique and really special in our family. —Roseanne McDonald, Days Creek, Oregon
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Balsamic Roast Chicken

As far as roast chicken ideas go, this recipe is one of our favorites. When the aroma from this dish fills your house, your family will think you spent all day cooking. But this elegant, Sunday-special roast chicken, flavored with rosemary, wine and balsamic vinegar, is surprisingly simple to make. —Tracy Tylkowski, Omaha, Nebraska
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Slow-Simmered Burgundy Beef Stew

My mother-in-law shared this recipe with me about 25 years ago. Ever since then, it's been a go-to whenever I need good food without a lot of fussing. —Mary Lou Timpson, Colorado City, Arizona
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Brown Sugar Pineapple Ham

This pineapple ham glaze is straightforward and simple—just what you're looking for in a holiday main dish. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Dad's Famous Stuffies

The third of July is almost as important as July Fourth in my family. We make these stuffed clams on the third every year, and it's an event in and of itself! —Karen Barros, Bristol, Rhode Island
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Braised Short Ribs with Gravy

This recipe can be finished in a slow cooker which makes it very helpful during those very busy days.—Susan Kinsella, East Falmouth, Massachusetts
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Turkey Club Roulades

Weeknights turn elegant when these short-prep roulades with familiar ingredients are on the menu. Not a fan of turkey? Substitute lightly pounded chicken breasts. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Seafood-Stuffed Salmon Fillets

You could get stuffed salmon from a big-box store, but my fillets are loaded with flavor from crab, cream cheese and savory herbs. We love them. —Mary Cokenour, Monticello, Utah
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Mediterranean Rack of Lamb

It’s elegant. It’s special. And it will have your guests thinking you went all out. They don’t have to know how simple it is. —Susan Nilsson, Sterling, Virginia
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Artichoke-Stuffed Beef Tenderloin

My bacon-wrapped tenderloin looks time-consuming to make but requires just 30 minutes of prep work before baking. A big slice of the stuffed beef is almost a meal-in-one. —Jamie Jones, Madison, Georgia
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Cranberry-Orange Roast Ducklings

I came up with this recipe few years ago. The first time I served it, there wasn't a speck of food left on the platter and I knew I had a winning recipe. —Gloria Warczak, Cedarburg, Wisconsin
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Homemade Ravioli

I love to bake and cook, especially Italian dishes like this homemade ravioli recipe. In fact, my idea of a perfect day consists of cooking my family's favorite foods then watching them dig in!—Lori Daniels, Hartland, Michigan
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Chicken Tikka Masala

This Indian-style chicken tikka masala recipe has flavors that keep me coming back for more—a simple dish spiced with garam masala, cumin and gingerroot that’s simply amazing. —Jaclyn Bell, Logan, Utah
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Spinach Pork Tenderloin

Stuffed with fresh spinach and artichoke hearts, these pork slices look fancy enough for guests. —Linda Rae Lee of San Francisco, California.
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Lemony Salmon Patties

Topped with a zippy white sauce, these little patties bake up golden brown in a muffin pan. They're impressive enough for company but easy enough that I can prepare them any time we like. —Lorice Britt, Severn, North Carolina
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Slow-Cooker Sauerbraten

My family is of German Lutheran descent, and although we enjoy this traditional beef roast, I never liked the amount of time and fuss it takes to make it. This recipe is so good and oh-so-easy. It's great served with dumplings, spaetzle, veggies or a salad. —Norma English, Baden, Pennsylvania
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Shredded Barbecue Chicken over Grits

There’s nothing like juicy meat over steaming grits. And the pumpkin in these grits makes them taste like a spicy, comforting bowl of fall flavors. Your family will come running to the table for this one. —Erin Renouf Mylroie, Santa Clara, Utah
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Mushroom-Stuffed Flank Steak Roll

Mushroom-Stuffed Flank Steak Roll

My daughter and her family, who live in Hong Kong, love to make my flank steak becuase it reminds them of home. —Ethel Klyasheff, Granite City, Illinois
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Classic Crab Cakes

Our region is known for good seafood, and crab cakes are a traditional favorite. I learned to make them from a chef in a restaurant where they were a bestseller. The crabmeat's sweet and mild flavor is sparked by the blend of other ingredients. —Debbie Terenzini, Lusby, Maryland
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Salt-Encrusted Rib Roast

A rib roast is a big part of our holiday dinner traditions. We love the yellow mustard, but you can use your favorite—Dijon and others are fair game. —Rebecca Wirtzberger, Yuma, Arizona
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Spaghetti Meatball Supper

It was such a joy to come home and find my mom making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. This recipe has always been dear to my heart. —Debbie Heggie, Laramie, Wyoming
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Puff Pastry Chicken Bundles

Inside these golden puff pastry "packages", chicken breasts rolled with spinach, herbed cream cheese and walnuts are a savory surprise. I like to serve this elegant entree when we have guests or are celebrating a holiday or special occasion. -Brad Moritz, Limerick, Pennsylvania
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Turkey Sausage-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Finding healthy recipes the family will eat is a challenge. This elegant squash is one we love, and it works with pork or chicken sausage, too. —Melissa Pelkey Hass, Waleska, Georgia
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Bavarian Pot Roast

Since all my grandparents were German, it's no wonder that so many Bavarian recipes have been handed down to me. Because the Midwest has such a large German population, I feel this recipe represents the area well. —Susan Robertson, Hamilton, Ohio
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Stuffed Chicken Rolls

Just thinking about this dish sparks my appetite. The ham and cheese rolled inside are a tasty surprise. Leftovers reheat well and make a perfect lunch with a green salad. —Jean Sherwood, Kenneth City, Florida
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Favorite Corned Beef and Cabbage

It may be the most famous dish to eat on St. Patrick's Day, but this Irish-American corned beef recipe is a favorite at our table all year long. This is how to make corned beef and cabbage. —Evelyn Kenney, Trenton, New Jersey
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Marinated Thanksgiving Turkey

My family enjoys this Thanksgiving turkey because it cooks up tender, tasty and golden brown. Build up flavor by marinating the meat, then grill it to add a tempting barbecued flavor. —Ken Churches, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
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Steamed Mussels with Peppers

Use the French bread to soak up the deliciously seasoned broth. If you like food zippy, add the jalapeno seeds. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Sunday Best Stuffed Pork Chops

We’re farmers and ranchers who love to cook in a Dutch oven. Dish up these chops from the oven, and pass the salad, potatoes and steamed broccoli. —Lorraine Smith, Carpenter, Wyoming
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Crown Roast with Apricot Dressing

I have been making crown roasts for many years but was only satisfied with the results when I combined a few recipes to come up with this guest-pleasing version. It’s beautifully roasted with an apricot glaze and a nicely browned stuffing. —Isabell Cooper, Cambridge, Nova Scotia
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Bacon-Wrapped Scallops with Pineapple Quinoa

This is the first recipe I developed using quinoa as an ingredient. My husband thoroughly enjoyed helping me test this recipe­. This is a special dish that can be easily prepared in under 30 minutes.—Laura Greenberg, Lake Balboa, California
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Make-Ahead Lasagna

Make-Ahead Lasagna

This is an old standby when time's limited and guests are expected for dinner. It's a combination of several easy lasagna recipes I have tried over the years. —Mary Grimm, Williamsburg, Iowa
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Pepper-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Spicy stuffing balances the delicate flavor of pork in this dish that looks great on the plate—and tastes even better! —Margaret Allen, Abingdon, Virginia
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Pork Schnitzel with Dill Sauce

Schnitzel is one of my husband’s favorites because it reminds him of his German roots. An appealing dish for guests, it’s ready in a jiffy. Pop it on buns for a fun handheld option. —Joyce Folker, Paraowan, Utah
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Greek Salad Ravioli

Turn the fresh flavors of a Greek salad into a warm dish for cold winter nights. I like to make a large batch, freeze it, then simply drop ravioli into simmering water for dinner in about five minutes! —Carla Mendres, Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Puff Pastry Chicken Potpie

When my wife is craving comfort food, I whip up this chicken pot pie with puff pastry. It's easy to make, sticks to your ribs and delivers soul-satisfying flavor. —Nick Iverson, Denver, Colorado
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Garlic Herbed Beef Tenderloin

You don't need much seasoning to add flavor to this beef tenderloin recipe. The mild blending of rosemary, basil and garlic does the trick. —Ruth Andrewson, Leavenworth, Washington
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Sausage Manicotti

This classic Italian entree comes together in a snap but tastes as if it took hours. It's so tasty and easy to fix. My family always enjoys it. —Carolyn Henderson, Maple Plain, Minnesota
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Spinach-Pesto Spiral Chicken

The homemade pesto sets this main dish apart from the rest. Elegant enough for a special dinner but simple enough to a quiet evening at home, you can make this anytime. —Amy Blom, Marietta, Georgia
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Sweet Potato Tortellini with Hazelnut Sauce

Using wonton wrappers instead of fresh pasta dough makes homemade tortellini easy to prepare. For more formal dinners, this makes an impressive vegetarian entree. —Charlene Chambers, Ormond Beach, Florida

Caroline Stanko
As Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.

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