Low Effort High Impact Dishes
I have always tried to find low effort high impact dishes like chocolate truffles as opposed to fudge. It is easier to make truffles than fudge and it is usually received far better.
Key Lime Pie is easy but always get rave reviews. Chicken Cacciatore is pretty low effort and is very popular.
Do you have any low effort high impact dishes? I would like to hear about them. Post a recipe or a link to a recipe if you like.
ceviche amigo. you chop really fresh stuff up and then soak it in an easily assembled liquid. endlessly customizable...
Mussels: garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, canned tomatoes, white wine. Ridiculously simple, cheap even, and people love them.
Scallops: if they're fresh and really dry they take no time at all to sear perfectly, make a sauce of butter, wine, citrus and herbs.
Both of those take no more than 15 minutes, can be altered according to taste, and since a lot of people tend to be intimidated by cooking seafood, they have no idea how easy it is and are very impressed!
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Appetizer: buy Scallion Pancake appetizer at the Chinese restaurant. Tell them not to cut it into wedges. Spread each scallion pancake (warm) with cream cheese, then layer smoked salmon, then cut into wedges, and top each wedge with a little caviar.
For dinner, it's expensive but steamed or baked lobster always wows people. (And right now there're a few stores with cheap lobster offerings for the Fathers' Day weekend.)
Shrimp Fra Diavolo is a very fast affair, can be "dolled up" by the addition of the correct colors/textures of vegetables and all you otherwise have to do is cook up some fettucine. You can even grill the shrimp briefly and add 'em to a spicy tomato sauce made a-la-minute...
Pop a huge beef roast (rib roast, round or even brisket) in the oven for 300 degrees for 5 minutes a pound. Dial your oven down as low as it'll go (160 for a rare roast). Let it sit there for at least 8, but better 10 hours. The product that comes out is pink all the way through, with a nice, dark outside. It's the best beef roast you'll ever have. (Thanks to the late Adelle Davis in her book "Let's Cook It Right.")