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There are several occasions throughout the year when I want to step my dinner game up a notch and make something really nice. Birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, and special visitors, to name a few. Crafting a beautiful and delicious meal is a great way to show love and appreciation for someone!

If you’re looking for recipes that are special, but not totally off-the-wall, you’re in the right place.

Choose an appetizer, main course, and dessert from this list for an amazing three-course meal, or keep it simple and focus on making a show-stopping dessert.

Whether you’re cooking for two or ten, these dishes won’t disappoint.

(Oh, and if you are looking for something special to make for Valentine’s Day, you’ll be happy to know that we’ve listed many pink-colored dishes! And if it’s not pink, be like Tara and make it pink.)

Appetizers

Cheesy Parmesan Chicken Garlic Bread – The Food Cafe

Oven Roasted Melting Potatoes – Simply Sated

Winter Fruit Salad – Natasha’s Kitchen

Philly Cheesecake Dip – Rachael Ray

Rosemary Dinner Rolls – Cooking Classy or Texas Roadhouse Rolls – Jo Cooks

Bite-sized Bloomin’ Onions – Macheesemo

Spinach and Artichoke Hand Pies – Will Cook For Smiles

Homemade Chiabatta Bread – The Cozy Cook (Try pairing it with Garlic Dipping Oil – Life Currents)

Zesty Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp – McCormick.com

Fried Sweet Plantain Slices – Smart Little Cookie

Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs – Spend With Pennies

Best Ever Broccoli Salad – Mom on Timeout

Main Course

Easy, Fall-off-the-Bones Oven-Baked Ribs – Inspired Taste.net or Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Baby Back Ribs – A Family Feast (Pair with Roasted Green Beans with Parmesan and Basil – Rachel Cooks!)

Garlic Parmesan Salmon and Asparagus Foil Pack – Calorie Warrior

Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana – The Chunky Chef (Goes amazingly with Copycat Red Lobster Biscuits – The Slow Roasted Italian)

Pan-Seared Filet Mignon with Garlic & Herb Butter Recipe – Kitchen Swagger

Grilled Lemon Herb Mediterranean Chicken Salad – Cafe Delights

Ultimate Garlic Pork Loin Roast – Dinner Then Dessert

One Pot Creamy White Bean and Ham Tortellini Soup – Carl’s Bad Cravings

Blackened Chicken Alfredo – Aunt Bee’s Recipes

Roasted Portobello Mushroom, Pecan and Chestnut Wellington – Washington Post

Asparagus-Stuffed Chicken Breast – I Wash You Dry

Ricotta Stuffed Shells With Creamy Pesto – One Green Planet

Pineapple Ham Fried Rice – Rachael Ray

Flank Steak Pinwheels – Art From My Table

Pork Carnitas Tacos with Mango Black Bean Salsa – The Flavor Bender

Vietnamese Chicken Red Cabbage Cups – Rachael Ray

Spinach Artichoke Pasta – The Pioneer Woman

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan – Six Sister’s Stuff

Desserts

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake – Sugar Hero

Pink Lemonade No Bake Cheesecake Parfaits – Cravings of a Lunatic

Blueberry Pavlova – Rachael Ray

Brownie-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Thumbprint Cookies -Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Apple Pie Enchiladas – Sugar Apron

S’mores Macarons – Bakers Royale

Summer Berry Cheesecake Salad – The Slow-Roasted Italian

Raspberry Nutella Puff Pastry Heart – It’s Always Autumn

Dole Pineapple Whip (and instructions on how to make other fruit whip variations) – The Blendtec Blog

Honeyed Pears in Puff Pastry – Just a Pinch Recipes

Cannoli Recipe – Italian Dessert Recipes

Homemade Cream Puffs – Chef In Training

Which recipe did you try for your special night? How did it turn out? (We can swap fail stories, too. We all have ’em.)

-Mariah

Pair that dinner with a movie! Check out our list of man-approved chick flicks or amazing, classic old movies!

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