Let's Get Fancy! Special Dinners for Weekday Meals

Celebratory meals don’t have to take all day to make. This week we are upping the ante with Instant Pot paella, bolognese, pork cutlets, sweet truffles, and more.

5 Meals to Celebrate People We Love

My husband and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary Wednesday and this warrants a week of special, yet doable, meals. We’ve gotten good at celebrating at home this past year. We learned that a good meal doesn’t have to take all day to make. 

I want this week’s meals to stand out from the rest, but they should be easy enough to pull off without breaking a sweat. I’m leaning on quick-cooking proteins like fish, fragrant spices like saffron, and Italian dishes that don’t have to simmer all day—I’m serving it with a fresh baguette and a glass of wine

In between the daily hustle and bustle of life, let’s carve out space this week to gather at the dinner table with our loved ones and build on all the memories of meals shared over the last year (or twenty)!

  • Instant Pot Paella with Chicken and Sausage

    Pressure Cooker Paella
    Coco Morante

    This meal is one of our favorites, plus making it an electric pressure cooker instead of a paella pan shaves off so much time and effort! The addition of saffron makes this easy dinner feel even more special. I use kielbasa in place of the chorizo because I know that everyone in my family will eat it happily.

  • Halibut With Fennel, Peppers, and Tomatoes

    Halibut with Vegetables
    Sally Vargas

    Set the halibut on a bed of colorful vegetables and bake it for a simple, yet stunning dinner. It’s quick, delicious, and beautiful. Look for skinless fillets and feel free to substitute with tilapia or cod, if you prefer. This dish pairs perfectly with a glass of wine and a fresh baguette for a special weeknight dinner.

  • Beef Steak Fajitas

    Beef Steak Fajitas
    Elise Bauer

    When my husband and I were dating, he would make steak fajitas for me and it was love at first bite. 

    While still reasonably priced, flank steak is a quick-cooking upgrade from the ground beef our family usually eats in tacos. Marinate the flank steak the night before so it’s ready for a quick sear in the cast iron skillet whenever you’re ready to eat. Warm up the tortillas and add your favorite toppings. We love sour cream, salsa, and cilantro. Serve them with tortilla chips and salsa

  • Sesame-Crusted Pork Cutlets with Crispy Shallots

    Sesame-Crusted Pork Cutlets with Crispy Shallots
    Sally Vargas

    Lean pork cutlets are a great weeknight option because they cook quickly. These are coated in crunchy Panko breadcrumbs and nutty sesame seeds. They are pan fried until golden brown and crunchy. Placed over a fresh spinach salad and topped with fried shallots, it’s a fantastic weeknight meal that is on the table in 45 minutes. 

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  • Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Bolognese

    Cauliflower Bolognese on a plate with spaghetti and a fork.
    Sally Vargas

    Bolognese isn’t usually a meal I think to make on a weeknight—isn’t it supposed to cook low and slow all day long? This flavorful meat-free version is ready and on the table in 60 minutes! The food processor makes quick work of the vegetables, and the addition of lentils adds protein and a meat-like texture. Serve it over fresh pasta for a restaurant-worthy dinner.

  • Weekend Baking: Whiskey Chocolate Truffles

    Whiskey Chocolate Truffles rolled in cocoa.
    Elana Lepkowski

    We end every dinner with a square of dark chocolate but on special occasions, truffles are our chocolate of choice. These easy truffles add whiskey to the ganache for a warm, adult flavor. Try bourbon for a bolder taste. Each truffle has a scant amount of alcohol, but feel free to leave it out if you’re serving them to children. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.