15 New Year’s Day Dinner Ideas That Look Fancy but Are Secretly So Easy

It’s the first day of the year...and it’s going to be delicious. Start 2020 off right with one of these festive dinner recipes that are fancy enough to belong in a nice restaurant, but easy enough to whip up at home (even if you went to bed way past midnight). All these dishes are worthy of enjoying while sipping your leftover New Year’s Champagne. OK, who are we kidding? Pop open a new bottle and cook one of these dinners on New Year’s Day.

39 Easy Dinner Recipes For Two

1 salmon and fennel dinner salad
New Way To Food

1. Salmon And Fennel Dinner Salad

Protein, grains and veggies unite in this beautiful-looking dinner salad that’s an appetizer, side and entree all in one.

2 pasta alla norma
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

2. Pasta Alla Norma

Sauteed eggplant and a simple homemade sauce, stirred with hot pasta in the pan right before serving, makes this dish feel extra fancy.

3. White Wine Coq Au Vin

A classic and foolproof French dinner in less than an hour? Done. Plus, you get to enjoy the extra white wine while the chicken simmers.

4. Skillet Gnocchi With Sausage And Broccoli Rabe

Low-key gnocchi is the way to go on a chilly January evening.

5. Polenta And Meatballs

Spaghetti night feels a bit pedestrian, so give your meatballs some flair with a batch of polenta instead. No one needs to know it’s ridiculously easy to make.

6. Cacio E Pepe Pasta

Six ingredients, 20 minutes, infinite yum. Splurge on the cheese for a higher-quality, even better tasting dish.

7. Cheater’s Skillet Paella

The best part of making paella? No stirring. Let this Spanish rice dish simmer as it cooks up into a gorgeous dinner that feeds six.

8. Baking Sheet Pizza

Almost as easy as ordering pizza, but so much tastier. Feel free to riff on the toppings.

9. Easy 10-minute Spicy Garlicky Cheater’s Dan Dan Noodles

Ten minutes is all you need to make this life-changing spicy noodle recipe. Add a side of sliced cucumbers or steamed broccoli if you want a veg.

10. One-skillet Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Chicken And Orzo

You don’t need to start off the year with extra dishes. This one-skillet meal is equal parts sophisticated and cozy.

11. Ravioli Lasagna

The baked pasta dish of your dreams has arrived. Consider using a few different kinds of packaged square ravioli to really mix things up.

12. Chicken Thighs With Pancetta And Green Olives

The crispy skin on these chicken thighs are—*chef’s kiss*—perfection, and the technique is easy to master.

13. Brown Butter Scallops With Parmesan Risotto

Yep, you can make the three components of this yummy meal in under an hour.

14. Flank Steak Tacos With Cucumber Salsa

Homemade salsa, as easy as it is tasty, amps up these steak tacos.

15. Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

It’s filling, it’s fast and if you use the image as inspo to layer the puff pastry, it’s pretty damn fancy too.