Ah, Sunday night. It's that period during the week that always feels slow and calm. It's also an opportunity to shore up your energy for the week ahead. After all, there's nothing like a memorable Sunday to get us all through to the following Friday. When it comes to making the most of this coveted time frame, one of the most rewarding and comforting things to do is to enjoy a Sunday dinner.
We put together a list of 11 heartwarming recipes that are ideal for Sunday night dinners. Some are perfect when you want to spend time alone, like a bowl of kung pao chicken, and some work when guests are over, like pork chops in a mushroom sauce. None of these recipes requires you to spend an entire Sunday in the kitchen, and some can be ready to eat in under an hour.
So gather your loved ones, place a candle or two on the table, and make Sunday night dinner an occasion. You never know; this could turn into a weekly tradition.
Lemon and Oregano Grilled Chicken
Why It Works: Displaying a full grilled chicken out for dinner simply calls for a Sunday night, and this recipe from Half Baked Harvest pulls that image together perfectly. Tieghan Gerard makes this with balsamic vinegar, lemon, chopped oregano, and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for a reveal that tastes as good as it looks.
Keep in Mind: "I like to serve the chicken with grilled lemon wedges and tons of fresh basil," Gerard says. "As a side dish, I'll usually do roasted potatoes, fresh bread, and an arugula salad."
Zucchini and Three-Cheese Lasagna
Why It Works: If you're craving something rich yet not too heavy after a busy Sunday, then this dinner for zucchini and three-cheese lasagna from Half Baked Harvest should do the trick. Those ingredients are mixed with spicy Italian sausage, cherry tomatoes, and milk ricotta cheese in one hefty pan.
Keep in Mind: "For the cheese, I use a combo of ricotta, fontina, and parmesan, but feel free to use three of your favorites," Gerard says. "Burrata, provolone, and mozzarella would all be great, so use what you love most."
Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon
Why It Works: Unveil this cedar plank grilled salmon from Half Baked Harvest for your friends or family one Sunday night, and we promise they'll be anxious to taste it. It features salmon that's cooked with ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and honey, and then topped with a nectarine, corn, and avocado salsa.
Keep in Mind: "This is a great recipe to make on a Sunday or Monday night and then use the leftovers in a salad for lunch the next day," Gerard adds. "Just add flaked salmon, the salsa, and a bunch of greens to a bowl."
Why It Works: Meatloaf is a classic for a reason, and this recipe from Heidi Larsen of Foodie Crush (as inspired by Serena Wolf's The Dude Diet cookbook) proves its familial staying power. It's made with quinoa, chicken broth, lean ground beef, and garlic, and then topped with a glaze of tomato paste and honey.
Keep in Mind: "Mix everything together with your hands until just combined," Larsen says. "Don't over mix or the meatloaf will be dry."
Why It Works: This recipe for pork chops from The Modern Proper has a rustic elegance to it, so it's the type of Sunday supper to serve when guests are over. The meat is covered with dry white wine, heavy cream, dijon mustard, and fresh thyme—alongside a mix of mushrooms—for a show-stopping dish that's ready in a half hour.
Keep in Mind: "In order to properly sear a pork chop you'll want the pan piping hot," Natalie Mortimer says. "I'm talking wisps of smoke setting off your smoke detector hot."
Why It Works: For those cool Sunday nights in, this Instant Pot recipe for pot roast from Tiffany Azure of Le Creme de la Crumb will be everything you need to feel satisfied. It has beef chuck roast, large carrots, yellow onion, and red potatoes tossed with seasonings and served tender. Plus, the Instant Pot does most of the work.
Keep in Mind: "If you'd like to use baby carrots, keep in mind that they will cook much faster than large chunks of whole carrots," Azure recommends. "To make sure they don't turn to mush, set your pressure cooking time 10 minutes shorter than the recipe states and leave the carrots out of the pot."
Sheet Pan Clambake
Why It Works: Call everyone over for a clambake, whether it's warm or cold outside. Why? Because this recipe from Le Creme de la Crumb is so good, you'll want to eat it year-round. It features all the fixings: clams, shrimp, lobster, corn, red potatoes, sausage, and plenty of Old Bay seasoning to make you feel like you're on a shore.
Keep in Mind: "The browned butter is semi-optional," Azure notes. "I mean, technically no, you don't have to do the browned butter—the meal will be tasty without it. But friends, you want the browned butter, trust me."
Kung Pao Noodles
Why It Works: File this recipe under the type of food to eat when you want to do nothing more but binge-watch on a Sunday night. Le Creme de La Crumb serves up kung pao noodles seasoned with chili paste, rice vinegar, and sesame oil, which can either be eaten on its own or with chicken and rice.
Keep in Mind: "I wrote this recipe to be a side dish, something to go along with all of my favorite Asian entrées," Azure notes. "But that being said, it's so easy to add chicken, shrimp, or beef to this dish and call it a full meal."
Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana Soup
Why It Works: A warm bowl of soup is a comforting dinner to eat after a Sunday spent outdoors, and this recipe from Krista Rollins at Joyful Healthy Eats makes every spoonful taste like a treat. She mixes sausage, bacon, carrots, and cauliflower with chicken stock and coconut milk for a heartwarming, rich flavor.
Keep in Mind: "I intentionally added the kale after the pressure cooking stage because I think it helps keep the texture of the kale a little better," Krista Rollins says.
Detroit-Style Pepperoni Pizza
Why It Works: Who doesn't love a warm slice of pepperoni pizza to close out a fun weekend? Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats turns the flavor up on this pizza recipe by topping it with freshly grated Provolone or mozzarella cheese, arugula, and honey mixed with jalapeños.
Keep in Mind: "Strain the honey through a fine mesh sieve to remove the peppers and the seeds," she says. "I like to keep the peppers and throw them on the pizza!"
Slow-Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili
Why It Works: The best thing about Sunday dinners is their ability to bring loved ones together, which won't be hard to do with this slow-cooker buffalo chicken recipe from How Sweet Eats, which combines its namesake ingredients with toppings like crumbled blue cheese, fresh cilantro, diced celery, and roasted red peppers. You can even make sure that everyone can mix-and-match their own toppings.
Keep in Mind: "Cover and cook on low for however long you need—since the chicken is cooked, this chili is technically done, but letting it cook for a few hours will deepen the flavor," Merchant says.