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47 Mother's Day dinner ideas because she deserves more than just brunch

After making mom breakfast in bed, treat her to a decadent dinner — she deserves it all.
/ Source: TODAY

A Mother's Day meal often consists of a leisurely breakfast in bed or family brunch. But whether Mom wants to sleep in and start her day slowly, or simply gather with the family later in the day, our celebratory Mother's Day dinner recipes are worthy of a celebration.

Julia Child once said, "The dinner hour is a sacred, happy time when everyone should be together and relaxed." This is as true on Mother's Day as any day, but it's even more important to treat the mother figure in your life to an enjoyable and joyful supper on the day designated just for her.

Since there is the whole day to work on it, there is no need for a mad morning rush to get everything prepped, cooked and on the table before 11 a.m.! By serving a delicious dinner, nothing needs to be done in a hurry and mom can take the day for some much-deserved time for herself. Take the afternoon to prep (and clean along the way so she doesn't get stuck with the dishes the next day) a thoughtful, delicious and meaningful supper on Sunday, May 14.

From juicy steaks served with seasonal salads to fancy fish feasts and perfect pastas, these dinner recipes will definitely make Mom feel loved and appreciated on her special day. Add in an appetizer like shrimp cocktail with dill horseradish sauce or crab cakes with citrusy tartar sauce and she'll feel like a queen. (And whatever you do, don't forget dessert! Perhaps a cake?)

Mother's Day starters

Ricotta Crostini

This easy starter is secretly so simple to make, but is big on flavor. Whipped ricotta is topped with crushed toasted hazelnuts, crispy rosemary and truffle honey for a delicious start to your Sunday supper.

Antipasto Skewers

This is a fun and easy way to serve all your favorite antipasto pairings. Think of this as less of a recipe and more of a technique. You won't find specific measurements for salumi, vegetables or cheeses. But that's okay. In fact, you'll have the ability to customize the skewers based on your mother figure's taste preferences.

This nostalgic appetizer recipe is crunchy, salty and a little sweet. The result is a poppable bite to kick off Mother's Day. Once you make a plate of these, hurry up and eat them because they won't last long!

Everyday Salad with Ramp Dressing

Creamy, crunchy and slightly garlicky, this salad is simple and flavorful enough to eat on its own or can be served alongside grilled meats and seafood or as part of a dinner spread. The ramp dressing packs a a punch.

"There's something so appealing about open-faced sandwiches," says Curtis Stone. "They're a snack I turn to often because I can take a slice of whatever bread I have on hand and top it with any bits of meat, cheese, relish or spreads lying about in my fridge. This version is similar to what the Danish call 'smørrebrød.' Slices of dense pumpernickel bread and French baguette are topped with a tangy cream cheese mixture, thin slices of smoked salmon and finished with a punchy relish."

Celery Salad with Cilantro and Sesame

The bold spice of the fresh chiles, toasty sesame seeds and bright, crunchy celery are all so satisfying. You can make some of the elements ahead of time, leaving you with more time to spend with mom on her day.

Ina Garten's Bay Scallop Ceviche

Ina Garten shares her recipe and foolproof tips for fresh and flavorful ceviche: "When making ceviche, the quality of the scallops makes all the difference, so be sure to buy fresh (not frozen) scallops," she says. "There is no cooking involved; the raw scallops will 'cook' in the lime juice in just one hour (less time and the scallops will be too raw; more time and they'll get mushy). When scallops are in season, the combination of the briny scallops, citrusy lime juice and all those fresh vegetables make this a great appetizer."

What's not to love about this vibrant salad? Honey adds a hint of sweetness to balance the bracing acidity of the fresh lemon in the tart vinaigrette. Edible flowers add an extra elegant and festive flourish to the dish.

Pesto Palmiers

Two grocery store staples — puff pastry and pesto — are all you need to create this easy and irresistible party appetizer that’s perfect to serve with cocktails. Though you’ll get plenty of flavor from these two ingredients, you can also feel free to play around with it by adding a sprinkle of chili flakes or finely grated cheese.

A spicy, herbed dipping sauce is the perfect creamy foil for the cool, sweet shrimp. When buying your shrimp, make sure they are shell-on — this is crucial when poaching shrimp, as the shell acts like a protective barrier for the flesh.

These crab cakes are pure and flavorful, thanks to a zingy combination of mayo, whole-grain mustard, horseradish, Calabrian chile paste and citrus zest. Jumbo lump crab meat shines on its own, thanks to the absence of breadcrumbs and other fillers.

Mother's Day mains

 Lemon Tarragon Chicken

20-minute recipes for the win! Think of this as an upgraded version of your usual weeknight chicken (but is just as easy).

There is nothing like the warmth of a chicken pot pie. This version is all about celebrating spring produce with a veggie-packed, one-pan pot pie that the whole family will absolutely love.

Lamb Patties with Tzatziki

Meet the perfect combination: The cucumber and garlic bite of the yogurt-based condiment paired deliciously with the sweet juiciness of the lamb burger.

Jerk Chicken

"Jerk chicken is spicy by nature. What was once a method of preparing food surreptitiously by Jamaican Maroons has become Jamaica's greatest contribution to the culinary canon: a tapestry of flavors, aromatics and spices," sayas Kwame Onwuachi.

Using leftover or store-bought rotisserie chicken in this easy dinner is the trick to creating a macro-friendly meal that everyone will love. It comes together in just about 20 minutes and is wonderfully customizable to accommodate what Mom typically orders at her favorite Chinese takeout restaurant.

Shrimp Scampi with Bucatini

Up the ante on your usual shrimp scampi recipe with bucatini, a lot of garlic, lemon juice and butter. It's a classic recipe that's perfectly executed.

"This is hands down my family's favorite dinner that I make. It's juicy, so full of flavor and is great when guests come over, too. Back when Calvin was three, I used to record him telling me what was on his dinner plate because it was just so darn cute," says TODAY's Dylan Dreyer.

Jet Tila takes the guess work out of making restaurant-style prime rib at home. "Everyone is chasing a professional quality prime rib and this technique ensures that you get one. Cooking slow and low then roasting allows you to use the oven for other dishes," he says. "Air dry your rib roast for up to three or more days in fridge. This will concentrate the flavors by evaporating moisture from the roast similar to dry aging. This also creates an amazing crust when roasting."

Making curry paste from scratch might sound intimidating, but it's really not! With a mini food processor, you can have fresh and fragrant curry paste in no time. Spicy ginger, zingy lemongrass, garlic and more spices come together to make a delicious mix that's tremendous over these edamame noodles with fresh veggies.

Not only are these crispy shrimp burgers incredibly easy to make, they are also packed with flavor. In each bite, you'll get a punch of smoked paprika, lime juice and cheddar cheese (not to mention a smear of spicy mayo).

Brie Pasta

Get The Recipe

Brie Pasta

Elizabeth Heiskell

Somewhere in between a baked brie appetizer and a creamy, cheesy pasta is this recipe, which comes together in a flash. To make this a vegetarian dish, swap out the bacon for sautéed mushrooms.

Savannah's Mom's Homestyle Fried Chicken

Savannah's mother Nancy reveals her secrets to making her delicious homestyle Kentucky fried chicken. The key is to use crushed crackers or potato chips in the coating and to add bacon grease to the frying oil for extra flavor. Serve the fried chicken with a spiced applesauce that Nancy calls "smashed red apples," stewed green beans with bacon and warm spoonbread for a delicious Southern meal.

Lemon Pasta

The beauty of this dish is its simplicity. It's a totally elegant and delicious dish that comes together in minutes and with minimal effort to boot. Pasta water is a key ingredient in this recipe: Just before the pasta is done cooking, remove a cup of water and hold to the side before draining. It helps to thicken the sauce without the need for added butter or cream.

Green Pea Risotto with Scallops and Parmesan

A seasonal risotto is one of Geoffrey Zakarian's favorite ways to celebrate special occasions in spring. "The sweetness of the scallops and freshness of the green peas are the perfect flavors to welcome the warming weather," he says.

Sheet Pan Flounder with Roasted Tomatoes and Black Olives

Cooking fish at home often seems intimidating. What type to buy? Won't it overcook? Will it stick to the pan? Enter this recipe! It's the easiest and tastiest way to make fish for the whole family. There's no splattering or mess whatsoever and there's no chance of the fish sticking to the pan.

Pasta alla Norma

This simple, rustic Sicilian pasta dish will be a new family favorite. Sweet tomatoes, earthy eggplant and a little red pepper make it a hearty dish for a special occasion meal. This version uses a whipped ricotta rather than the traditional ricotta salata to balance the tomato-based sauce with a creamier texture.

These baked chicken and ricotta meatballs are lighter than their beefy counterparts and don't require a lot of work. Baking eliminates the mess from browning on the stovetop and leaves just one mixing bowl and a sheet pan to clean at the end — and, most importantly, 20 delicious meatballs. Add these to tomato sauce, a quick soup with some leafy greens, or over a bed of spinach or grains with lemon juice, olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan.

This lightened-up version of an Alfredo hits the spot when a comfort food craving hits. The sauce is downright healthy compared to that of a traditional Alfredo, thanks to the addition of nearly six cups of cauliflower.

Pesto Vinaigrette Pasta

You've probably never tasted pesto like this before. Nutty almonds, bright lemon and zesty mustard give this simple sauce a serious depth of flavor.

Think of Roman dish as grown-up macaroni and cheese. The secret to the silky sauce is using the starchy pasta water, which helps the cheese and pepper mixture coat each strand. The result is perhaps the ultimate three-ingredient pasta ever.

This super simple sheet-pan chicken utilizes ramps, smashed garlic and lemon slices to infuse the chicken a bevy of fragrant flavors. The chicken drippings, in turn, flavor the rest of the dish. The lemon rinds will become soft and edible and the garlic soft and spreadable so be sure to serve some crusty bread on the side.

For a meaningful meal or special dinner, there's nothing more decadent than lobster. The crustacean's buttery sweet meat is especially delicious when it's showcased in a simple, elegant pasta. It's a dish that is guaranteed to impress Mom.

The vibrant acidity from the lemons and bright brininess of the olives and capers makes this a standout dish from Lidia Bastianich. It's perfect for a casual weeknight dinner but special enough to serve for any occasion.

Springtime Pasta Bake

This dish from Alex Guarnaschelli is a great springtime pasta bake. "Even in the lighter, warmer months of the year, I am always looking for my kitchen to be a source of comfort food," she says. "I love this dish for filling that important place. You just pull the pasta out of the oven and place in the center of the table. It's got springtime vibes galore but also feels so homey and familiar."

Mom's Dal

"I used to sit at the kitchen table finishing my homework as my mom would whip something like this together for all of us to eat as we all finished up our respective activities," recalls Sarah Thomas. "We would come home to eat together, listen to the spices popping and be wrapped in the scents of cooked rice and aromatics. It is one of my most formative memories and one that always reminds me of home."

"This dish is basically the same recipe as the classic dip but with pasta. What could be better?!" says Katie Lee Biegel. A quick tip for the dish: "Cook the pasta a few minutes less than the package directions because it will continue to cook in the pan."

Ina Garten has made this dish more times than she can count! "I have the butcher butterfly the chicken," she says. "So all I do is grind the thyme, fennel seeds, salt and pepper, mix it with olive oil, and brush it on the chicken. When the lemon slices are roasted and caramelized, you can eat them with the chicken. Sometimes I sprinkle the chicken with minced fresh rosemary before allowing it to rest."

This is an easy, fuss-free meal that's as good for entertaining as it is for an easy weeknight dinner. The healthy, homemade teriyaki sauce tastes delicious with chicken or any other firm-fleshed fish.

Since Mother's Day falls during the height of the spring season, highlight the abundance of fresh, seasonal produce with this crowd-friendly primavera recipe.

Mother's Day sides

This pasta salad has bright citrus flavors, smoky and spicy notes from the chiles and loads of fresh vegetables. There's two things that make this recipe worthy of a Mother's Day dinner: it's make-ahead friendly (in fact, we recommend doing so) and the vegetables and pasta shape are completely customizable.

Hoda's Mom's Cauliflower Mash

We can't believe it's not potatoes! This super creamy, flavor-filled purée from Hoda Kotb's mother has the taste and texture of mashed potatoes without all the carbs. A touch of butter and a bit of coconut milk add loads of creamy texture without any heaviness.

Let's be honest: Cooking fresh artichokes seem like a lot of work for very little food. But with a little practice, they are rather quick to prepare. Baby artichokes are much smaller than regular artichokes and cook faster, making them perfect for sautéing into caramelized goodness. Here, they are served with a buttery pan sauce, but they would also be wonderful with aioli, garlic butter or hollandaise.

In a creative spin, Carson Daly dresses up mashed potatoes with crumbled bacon — and booze! He learned this fun from his late mother, Pattie. The flavor of the spirit is hidden by all the buttery goodness, but the addition of the alcohol does wonders for the texture of the potatoes.

Simple Spring Asparagus

The spring season's darling vegetable doesn't need much to make it shine. Adding lemon juice right before serving provides a special brightness that makes the asparagus pop. It has a delicate flavor that makes it a suitable side for almost any main course.

Craig's Mom's Mac and Cheese

Craig Melvin shares the key to his mom's amazing mac and cheese: "Eggs are the secret ingredient that makes my macaroni and cheese extra special," he says. "They help hold together all the melty cheese and noodles plus they make this comforting dish even more creamy and delicious."

Eric Ripert grew up eating byaldi. "It is a very typical Provençal dish similar to a very fancy ratatouille," he says. "My grandmother made it on Sundays to bring with us when we visited our extended family in the countryside. We would have to drive for hours, but we didn't mind because the smell of the byaldi in the car was so good. It took everything we had not to steal a piece before we arrived at my aunt Monique's house. We wouldn't even reheat it; we would just eat it warm from the casserole. It's even better the next day if you manage to have leftovers."