These quick and easy dinner recipes seem fancy without being too difficult or using obscure ingredients.
When you’ve got a family to feed, pizza is just downright convenient. Maybe you step your game up to sandwiches for a treat if everyone has somewhat similar palates. Even then, there’s a feeling that you’ve been defeated after too many nights of finger food.
Cooking something that gives a feeling of occasion doesn’t require you to be an Iron Chef. In fact, real restaurant chefs will often tell you that simple dishes are best. It’s all about how meals are prepared and presented to make food really stands out. Here are some ways to put on a fabulous meal that seems fancy, but is in reality quite simple.
Just saying “chicken piccata” makes you sound fancy. Indeed, you can find this dish on many restaurant menus, but it’s pretty straightforward to make. It involves pounding a few chicken breasts, browning them in a skillet and then removing them to create a sauce with your other ingredients before finally adding the chicken back. The result is moist, buttery/garlicky/citrusy chicken served with capers. It only takes about 25 minutes.
Making risotto is a labor of love, but it doesn’t require you to be a cordon-bleu chef. If you haven’t got the time to sit over a hot pan for 90 minutes, you can try this alternative method of making risotto. It’s just as delicious as the traditional method but is significantly quicker. This recipe calls for kale, but don’t be deterred. It’s neither dry nor offensively bitter thanks to the floral and oh-so-fancy pesto sauce.
Fancy Dinner that’s almost too easy
If you really want to impress someone, break out the duck. Waterfowl may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s rich, slightly gamey flavor is a favorite of foodies. If you tell someone you made duck confit, they’ll probably think you spend a lot of time hanging out with Alton Brown and Gordon Ramsay. This dish does take a couple of hours to bake, which might make it less than ideal for times when you’re in a rush. However, as presentation and provenance go, it’s top-shelf. The prep work is basically, “place duck in oven, simmer other ingredients in a pan and place them on duck.” Easy, right?
Another lovely high-class dish is filet mignon. This most esteemed of steaks is a bit challenging to cook because of the thickness of the cut. With the right timing, though, anyone can do it and it doesn’t take a long commitment. Combined with a rich balsamic glaze and a few roasted veggies, you’ve got a meal that would be right at home gracing the table of your favorite steakhouse. This version is much cheaper and it’s done in 30 minutes.
This recipe is some restaurant-quality comfort food. The combination of white or garbanzo beans, sausage, white wine, cheese and a touch of charred greens presents beautifully. It can be ready in about 15 minutes. Choose a large pasta for this recipe to get the best results. The big pieces will work as a vehicle for the delicate white wine sauce, and you can create delicious bites with several of those rustic Italian ingredients.
Savory grilled chicken covered in a light scattering of bacon, barbeque sauce, and cheese then topped with fresh herbs like cilantro and green onions – who knew so few ingredients could pack such a huge flavor punch. This dish is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed over a salad or steamed brown rice for a balanced dinner that will impress any guest!
Seafood always carries a highbrow connotation, but preparing a good cut of salmon at home is very easy. Start by making sure you’ve got good, fresh fish from a quality market. Tear off some large sections of tinfoil and add some garlic butter, seasoning and a few slices of lemon. Pop in the oven for 25 minutes or so and you’ve got a moist, flavorful fish dinner that looks like it should cost a king’s ransom. This is a wonderful go-to if you’ve got gluten-free eaters in your family. You can get creative with your toppings and seasonings to keep it interesting.
Easy dinner salad idea
Here’s something a little lighter that will still impress. This salad can be used as a side or a light dinner in the summer. It relies on fresh ingredients to provide lots of flavor in a package that sounds exotic but only takes about 10 minutes to prepare. The zing of the mint really ties the dish together. Don’t forget the crusty bread to soak up all the good drippings from that melon and prosciutto.
Fast and Fancy
These are great places to start if you want something that won’t turn into a mess and lead to ordering out. You can easily show you care about delivering a quality meal. Have you got a favorite that we didn’t list here? Do you want to share an idea for a simple meal that feels upscale with our community? Add it to the comments section below.
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