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35 Recipes Your Dinner Guests Are Secretly Hoping You’ll Make

Make your dinner party extra memorable with these dishes that most people don't like to make for themselves.

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Red Pepper Cornmeal Souffle

I use the vegetables from our garden in all my cooking. Dotted with parsley and red pepper, this souffle is a favorite. —Janet Eckhoff, Woodland, California
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Slow Cooker Cassoulet with Crumb Topping

Classically inspired, this dish is loaded with chicken thighs, pork and smoked sausage. Tomatoes, beans and wine round out the hearty French stew, and bread crumbs thicken it slightly. —Marie Rizzio, Interlochen, Michigan
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Chicken Tamales

I love making these homemade tamales. They take a little time to make but are so worth the effort. I usually make them for Christmas, but my family wants them more often, so I freeze a big batch. —Cindy Pruitt, Grove, Oklahoma
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Double Nut Baklava

It may take some time to make this rich, buttery treat, but it's well worth the effort! The blend of coconut, pecans and macadamia nuts is irresistible. —Kari Kelley, Plains, Montana
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Ricotta Gnocchi with Spinach & Gorgonzola

When my family comes for a visit, they always ask me to make this unique dish for dinner. Homemade cheesy gnocchi is topped with a rich sauce made with butternut squash, spinach and Gorgonzola.— Brud Holland, Watkins Glen, New York
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Classic French Onion Soup

Enjoy my signature French onion soup the way my granddaughter Becky does: I make onion soup for her in a crock bowl, complete with garlic croutons and gobs of melted Swiss cheese on top. —Lou Sansevero, Ferron, Utah
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Sunday Dinner Brisket

We loved how tender this brisket came out of the slow cooker. The sauce has a robust, beefy flavor with a slight tang from the balsamic vinegar, and the rich caramelized onions complete the dish.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Risotto Balls (Arancini)

My Italian grandma made these risotto balls for me. I still request them when I visit her, and so do my children. These can be made ahead of time and frozen. They are also delicious served as a vegetarian main course with a salad. —Gretchen Whelan, San Francisco
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Skillet Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

Treat your sweet-salty tooth! Sweet potatoes dressed with buttery, herby, garlicky goodness make for a stunning, delicious side dish. —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Flaky Chicken Wellington

This cozy chicken Wellington takes a classic recipe and makes it super easy! I like to cook the chicken a day or so ahead of time to make it even simpler to throw together on busy nights. —Kerry Dingwall, Wilmington, North Carolina
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Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

This is the one and only lemon meringue pie recipe you'll ever need. The flaky and tender from-scratch crust is worth the effort. —Lee Bremson, Kansas City, Missouri
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Sesame-Beef Pot Stickers

I enjoy having these potstickers as a late-night snack. They also work well as a quick appetizer for family parties. —Carolyn Turner, Reno, Nevada
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Turkey Shrimp Gumbo

This slimmed-down version of gumbo tastes just as hearty as the classic version. —Michael Williams, Westfield, New York
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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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Homemade Pierogi

Pierogi, dumplings stuffed with a filling, make for a wonderful change-of-pace side dish. —Diane Gawrys, Manchester, Tennessee
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Mocha Baked Alaskas

Make these baked Alaskas ahead of time—you can torch the completed desserts and freeze them up to 24 hours before serving. —Kerry Dingwall, Ponte Vedra, Florida
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The Best Chicken & Dumplings

 Homemade chicken and dumplings from scratch harken back to my childhood and chilly days when we devoured those cute little balls of dough swimming in hot, rich broth. It's one of those types of soup you'll want to eat again and again. —Erika Monroe-Williams, Scottsdale, Arizona
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Special Occasion Beef Bourguignon

I've found many rich and satisfying variations for boeuf bourguignon, including an intriguing peasant version that used beef cheeks for the meat and a rustic table wine. To make this stew gluten free, use white rice flour instead of all-purpose. —Leo Cotnoir, Johnson City, New York
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Beefy Eggplant Parmigiana

I developed this recipe one summer when my husband grew eggplant in the garden. I was thrilled when it won high honors at a national beef contest. —Celeste Copper, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Parmesan Risotto

Risotto is a creamy Italian rice dish. In this version, the rice is briefly sauteed, then slowly cooked in wine and seasonings. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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New World Stuffed Cabbage

European immigrants brought their favorite stuffed cabbage recipes to the New World in the late 19th century. Here's my take on tradition. —Katherine Stefanovich, Desert Hot Springs, California
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Peppermint Lava Cakes

It never ceases to amaze to see warm chocolate pudding ooze out of the center of this tender chocolate cake. These cakes are a showstopper on a plate! Serve lava cakes with whipped cream or ice cream. —Carolyn Crotser, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Beef Short Ribs in Burgundy Sauce

As an Army general, my stepdad got this beef short ribs recipe from his aide, who said it was his mother's best Sunday meal. It’s a mouthwatering family favorite. —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida
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Best-Ever Fried Chicken

Crispy, juicy and perfectly seasoned, this really is the best fried chicken recipe, ever. Summer reunions and neighborly gatherings will never be the same. When I was growing up, my parents had a farm, and every year, Dad would hire teenage boys to help by haying time. They looked forward to coming because they knew they would be treated to some of Mom's deep fryer recipes, including this delicious fried chicken. —Lola Clifton, Vinton, Virginia
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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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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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Ginger-Pork Wontons

A flavorful, juicy pork filling is jazzed up with a delicious touch of ginger and enveloped in crispy wrappers. These surprisingly simple appetizers are the ultimate finger food and are perfect for parties. —Sandra Parton, Halifax, Nova Scotia
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Roasted Chicken with Rosemary

Herbs, garlic and butter give this hearty meal in one a classic flavor. It's a lot like pot roast, except it uses chicken instead of beef. —Isabel Zienkosky, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Garlic-Butter Steak

Made in a skillet, this quick-and-easy garlic butter steak is restaurant-quality and sure to become a staple at your house, too! —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia
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The Best Apple Pie

Boost your apple pie with a buttery crust, pre-cooked apples and an incredible filling with cider, cinnamon and lemon juice. —Nick Iverson, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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The Best Ever Lasagna

My brother, Joe, created this lasagna based on our mom’s recipe. It’s a family favorite at Christmas, thanks to the special ingredients that make it magnifico. —Stephanie Marchese, Taste of Home Visual Production Director
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Pretty Duchess Potatoes

Comfort-food flavor comes in attractive packages that are just the right size! This recipe is a favorite Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving menu idea. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Ultimate Pot Roast

Dutch oven pot roast recipes are the ultimate comfort food. When juicy pot roast simmers in garlic, onions and veggies, everyone comes running to ask, "When can we eat?" The answer? Just wait—it will be worth it. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Grilled Chorizo and Shrimp Paella

This shrimp paella recipe is not only healthy but satisfying, too! It has vitamin C from the sweet red pepper, fiber from the rice, and lean protein from the chicken sausage. — Daniel Bartholomay, Fargo, North Dakota
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Restaurant-Style Prime Rib

I have served this recipe to people visiting the U.S. from all over the world and to dear friends, family and neighbors. It is enjoyed and raved about by all. It makes an excellent main dish for a Christmas feast. —Kelly Williams, Forked River, New Jersey

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Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.

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