Your tax return check recently came in the mail. You know how much the slip of government-issued paper will say, but something about seeing those little inky numbers makes your heart rush—the thrill of getting a lump sum delivered to your door never disappoints. And while you had well-constructed plans and a spot in your savings account for this tiny treasure, simply holding the envelope in your hands has you rethinking everything.
Only a little prompting is needed before you find yourself running to the bank to cash that check in. You feel like a million bucks. And then you pop into the grocery store to pick up the chicken thighs for tonight's dinner—when it hits you: That duck confit you've always wanted to make, the luxurious cake that’s been moonlighting in your fantasies, and the caviar-topped latkes you have been eyeing from afar all just become "affordable." Forget that overdue vacation, forget your credit card, put off that hefty student loan payment, and cook an amazing meal instead. Scratch that: Cook a whole day's worth of dreamy dishes. Make a meal where every bite is worth each shiny new penny spent. Here are 9 recipes to get you started: