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Making a great meal can be one of the best gifts to someone you love. Here are 20+ birthday dinner ideas that will make someone feel extra special on their big day. Our ideas are approachable, yet still delicious. We’ve also included side dish ideas to help take the brainwork out of planning the meal.
Small Ways to Make a Birthday Dinner Feel Extra Special
You don’t have to throw a huge party or spend a lot of money to make someone’s birthday dinner feel extra special. Here are a few simple ideas to add to your dinner.
- Tape a few balloons to the back of the chair where the special person will sit. Streamers will work too.
- Light a few candles in the middle of the table. Something about this makes a meal feel extra special.
- Light a birthday candle and put it in the middle of their entree.
- Have everyone at the table share one thing they appreciate about the person.
- Play their favorite music while you eat dinner.
- If it’s an adult, have the kids decorate their cake. It will be beautiful in its own way. 🙂
- Let the birthday boy/girl pick the dinner. Send them this list below to browse through!
20+ Birthday Dinner Ideas
We’ll bring the menu. You bring the gifts, candles, and fun!
5. Oven Fried Coconut Shrimp – Restaurant quality but easy to make at home! Dip in the Pineapple Chili Sauce from the recipe.
More Birthday Dinner Ideas
Need more meal ideas that work for large groups? We have a great roundup of those as well. See 20+ Meal Ideas for Large Groups.
Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!
- 1–2 steaks (suggested: New York Strip) (Get meat you can trust here.)
- Steak seasoning
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- Pull the steaks out of the refrigerator about 20-30 minutes before cooking and let rest on counter.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Pat steaks dry on both sides. Then, season generously with steak seasoning on all sides, rubbing it in with your fingers.
- Place an OVEN-SAFE, large, heavy-bottomed pan* over medium-high heat for just a few minutes. To test if it’s hot enough, sprinkle a little water on it. If it sizzles, it’s ready. (Note: Don’t leave your pan over this high heat for long at all or it will get too hot. Mine only took about 1-2 minutes to get to temperature.)
- Using tongs, place steaks in pan without letting them touch. You will hear them immediately start to sizzle. Let them sear on this first side (without moving them!) for 1-2 minutes. When they come away from the pan easily and have sufficient browning on one side, flip the steaks to another part of the pan where it’s really hot (not the same spot it was just in). Sear steaks for 1-2 minutes on this side until browned well. The goal of this step is to create a nice crust on the outside of your steak.
- Now, you’re going to finish cooking your steak in the oven. Transfer your oven-safe pan* directly to the preheated oven. Let steaks bake for 5-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steaks and how you like them done (medium-rare, medium, etc). Insert a digital meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak to test for doneness near the end of the cooking time. You want to remove the steaks about 5 degrees sooner than the optimal finished temp, because they will continue to cook while they rest. So, remove the steak at the temperatures listed below for the perfect doneness.
- Once the steak is at your desired internal temperature, use oven mitts to remove the hot pan from the oven. Transfer steaks to a plate and cover loosely with foil. LET REST FOR 5-10 MINUTES so it finishes cooking and the juices can redistribute throughout the meat. (This is a very important step!)
- Enjoy the perfect steak!
Steak Doneness Temperatures: Remove steaks at these temperatures before resting for the perfect doneness:
- 115-125 degrees = Rare
- 125-135 degrees = Medium Rare
- 135-145 degrees = Medium
- 145-155 degrees = Medium Well
- 155-165 degrees = Well Done
*An oven-safe pan is one that is all metal and does not have rubber or plastic on the handle. If you don’t have an oven-safe pan, then preheat a metal sheet pan (with sides) in the oven. After the steak has been seared, transfer the steak using tongs to this hot sheet pan to finish in the oven. For easy clean up, you may want to cover it with foil.
We get our meat from ButcherBox*. The beef is grass-fed, grass-finished with no hormones or antibiotics and is absolutely delicious! We highly recommend this service to source DELICIOUS and HEALTHY meat–like heritage-raised pork, organic chicken, wild salmon, and uncured bacon–and have used it for years ourselves. *Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of ButcherBox.