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37 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

The Mother's Day meal is traditionally a leisurely breakfast in bed or family brunch. But it's time to change things up and let mom sleep in for once! Instead of making her a big meal in the morning, consider preparing a decadent dinner instead.

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 mom 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 — all before 11 a.m.! This way, 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 mom doesn't get stuck with the dishes the next day) a thoughtful, delicious and meaningful supper for mom on Sunday, May 8.

Whatever mom's taste, these recipes are sure to please any preference and satisfy any culinary craving that mom may have. From succulent steaks to seasonal salads and fancy fish feasts to perfect pastas, these dishes will definitely make her feel loved and appreciated on her special day. (And whatever you do, don't forget dessert! Perhaps a cake?)

Mother's Day starters

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 spread of salads and vegetables. While the ramp greens aren't used in this recipe, they can be saved to make a pesto or sautéed with other greens such as kale, spinach or chard for another side dish.

"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

This salad is super fresh and flavorful. The bold spice of the fresh chiles, toasty nuttiness of the sesame seeds and bright crunch of the celery are all so satisfying. The scallions, celery, cilantro and chile can be combined a day ahead, stored in a large zip-top bag in the fridge until it's time to eat.

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."

A quick dip in an ice water bath after boiling keeps the green vegetables crispy and bright. 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.

A spicy, herbed dipping sauce is the perfect creamy foil for the cool, sweet shrimp.

An important note about buying shrimp: They're sorted and sold by size and marked according to about how many pieces of shrimp comprise 1 pound. Larger size U10/15 are perfect for shrimp cocktail (meaning, 10 to 15 pieces shrimp per pound), but if they are not available, go for slightly smaller ones (16/20). Most importantly, make sure they are shell-on — this is crucial when poaching shrimp, as the shell acts like a protective barrier for the flesh. Smaller shrimp will cook faster, so if you're using size 16/20, knock off 30 seconds from the cook time. It sounds fussy, but it makes all the difference in the world.

These crabcakes are light, fresh and creamy, not laden with tons of filler. The sauce is a fun take on a traditional tartar sauce, and the added citrus is nice and bright.

Mother's Day mains

Lamb Patties with Tzatziki

Lamb Patties with Tzatziki

Dr. Jessica B. Harris

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

Shrimp Scampi with Bucatini

This shrimp scampi is ridiculously simple and out-of-control delicious — definitely a special treat. Lemony sunshine, glorious shrimp and garlic buttah. Something to treat your mom with!

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."

Not only are these crispy shrimp burgers incredibly easy to make, they are also packed with flavor. Every single person who has ever tried them loves them.

Brie Pasta

Brie Pasta

Elizabeth Heiskell

This recipe comes together in a flash. Everyone will will be blown away by this creamy, rich pasta. Make it even easier by using a cast iron skillet the same size as the wheel of brie. This way if any oozes over the cleanup will be easy. 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 that has an incredible golden crunch and just the right kick of spice. 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

Lemon Pasta

Katie Lee

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. 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.

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.

His tips for making the perfect risotto? "It is important to stir the risotto throughout the cooking process with a wooden spatula. This will ensure even absorption of the liquid and prevent the rice from sticking. Don't use cold chicken broth — make sure it's warmed up! — or else it'll mess up the timing of the risotto."

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

Anthony Contrino

This simple, rustic Sicilian pasta dish will be a new family favorite. Sweet tomatoes, earthy eggplant and a little red pepper for spice make it a hearty dish for a special occasion meal or any night. Normally topped with ricotta salata, this version uses a whipped ricotta 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 skips the time and mess of 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, to broth for a quick soup with some leafy greens, or eat on a bowl of spinach or grains with a little more lemon juice, olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan for good measure.

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. It is so delicious, no one would even know the difference.

Pesto Vinaigrette Pasta

Pesto is a pretty common sauce, but this version will knock your socks off! Nutty almonds, bright lemon and zesty mustard give this simple sauce serious depth of flavor and palate-pleasing texture.

The predecessor of mac and cheese as we know it now, this Roman dish is made with pasta, cheese and pepper. The secret is using the starchy pasta's cooking water to create a creamy sauce that coats each strand. The result is perhaps the ultimate three-ingredient pasta ever.

This super simple sheet-pan chicken utilizes the garlicky, onion flavor of ramps, smashed garlic and lemon slices to infuse the chicken with these flavors. The chicken drippings, in turn, season 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, but elegant pasta. It's a dish that is guaranteed to impress.

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

Springtime Pasta Bake

Springtime Pasta Bake

Alex Guarnaschelli

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

Mom's Dal

Sarah Thomas

"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 salmon dinner is full of healthy fats, protein and nutrients for skin glow, good energy and a healthy gut. It's an easy, fuss free healthy meal that's a good for entertaining as it is for an easy weeknight dinner. The healthy, homemade teriyaki sauce is also great with chicken or any other firm-fleshed fish.

Imagine spaghetti, boiled until al dente, mixed together with well-seasoned, roasted-until-tender vegetables, tossed in a creamy, cheesy sauce, topped with even more cheese and baked until bubbly, golden and perfectly set. Now imagine your mom eating it. Is she enjoying it? Obviously.

Mother's Day sides

This pasta salad has bright citrus flavors, smoky and spicy notes from the chiles and loads of freshness from an assortment of vegetables. The best part about this recipe, other than the fact that its flavor improves as it sits in the fridge, is that you can customize it, adding whatever vegetables or pasta you have on hand.

Hoda's Mom's Cauliflower Mash

We can't believe it's not potatoes! This super creamy, flavor-filled puree 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 of the heaviness of cream.

Let's be honest: Fresh artichokes seem like a lot of work for very little actual food. But with a little practice, they are rather quick to prepare. Baby artichokes aren't actually younger artichokes, but they are much smaller and cook up a bit 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

It's in the name: simple! 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 yet distinct flavor that makes it a suitable side for almost any main dish.

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."