When it comes to cooking for friends and family, our aspirations often surpass our actual culinary abilities. We’ve all experienced those kitchen disasters and Pinterest recipe fails that made us want to hang up our aprons for good, but impressing your guests with your culinary skills (or lack there of) has never been easier thanks to a few basic recipes. Whether you’re inviting a small group of friends over for a tasty brunch, or you simply wish to wow your significant other, these are the recipes that can make your culinary dreams come true!
1. Banana Berry French Crepes
This French-inspired dish is super simple to make and best of all, delicious! Top these crepes with whatever you are in the mood for: Nutella, fruit, whipped cream and more! Make them sweet or savory for a tasty morning treat. With just a few simple ingredients, you have a brunch dish that's ready to impress.
Recipe courtesy of blogilates.com
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. of cinnamon
- 1 banana
- 1/3 cup of oatmeal
- 1/4 cup of milk (can substitute with almond or soy)
- Handful of berries of your choice
- Mix all dry ingredients together in a blender until they become a fine powder.
- Add half a ripe banana and an egg along with the milk. Blend all ingredients together.
- Pour a thin layer of batter into a pan on medium low heat.
- When you see bubbles forming in the batter, flip the crepes.
- Once the crepes are fully cooked on both sides, you are all set and ready to add toppings!
2. Farmers Market Egg Bake Casserole
A breakfast upgrade from your basic omelet, all you need is a casserole dish, eggs and add-ins such as onion, mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes and basil. Pair this meal with a delicious smoothie and you have yourself the perfect breakfast!
Recipe courtesy of twohealthykitchens.com
- 1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage
- 1 ½ cups diced sweet onion
- 8 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
- 2 cups shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup diced green pepper
- 2-3 plum diced tomatoes
- 12 eggs
- 1 ¾ cup of non-fat milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Cook sausage, onions, mushrooms and garlic in large non-stick skillet over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
- In a 9 x 13 pan coated with cooking spray, layer potatoes, sausage mixture, cheese, onions, peppers, and tomatoes.
- In a medium bowl, combine eggs, milk, parsley, salt, basil and pepper. Whisk thoroughly to combine, then pour egg mixture evenly over other ingredients in baking pan.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
- In the morning, preheat oven to 375°F.
- Bake casserole, uncovered, for 60 to 70 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
3. Chopped Avocado Shrimp Salad
Time to upgrade your simple lettuce and dressing dish to a colorful chopped salad your guests will rave about. Feel free to add whatever you want with your chopped salad. Top it off with some homemade dressing and you are ready to serve your guests.
Recipe courtesy of eatingwell.com
- 1 pound raw shrimp peeled
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly group pepper
- 2 ears corn, husked
- 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- ¾ cup finely chopped red cabbage
- ¾ cup diced red pepper
- ½ cup diced red onion
- ½ cup assorted cherry tomatoes, chopped
- ½ fennel bulb, halved again, thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 2 slices crispy cooked bacon, diced
- Preheat grill to medium heat.
- Toss shrimp with 2 teaspoons oil, lime zest, salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Grill corn, turning occasionally for 6 to 10 minutes.
- Grill shrimp, turning occasionally for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Cut shrimp into small pieces and cut kernels off cob.
- Combine lettuce, cabbage, bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, fennel, avocado and bacon in large bowl. Add shrimp, corn and a dressing; toss to coat.
4. Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup
With fall and colder weather quickly approaching, nothing sounds more appealing than homemade soup. A roasted chicken noodle soup is an easy upgrade from a can of Campbell’s and will be sure to impress your guests.
Recipe courtesy of myrecipes.com
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup sliced celery
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ poultry seasoning
- 6 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 4 cups diced peeled baking potato
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups diced leftover roasted chicken
- 1 cup evaporated skim milk
- 2 cups uncooked wide egg noodles
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add chopped onion, carrots, celery and garlic clove; Sauté 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle flour, oregano, time and poultry seasoning over vegetables.
- Cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in broth, potato, and salt.
- Bring to boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 25 minutes.
- Add roasted chicken, milk, and noodles and cook for 10 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh thyme, if desired.
5. Lemon Chicken Piccata
Take your cooking skills to the next level by making this tasty chicken dish for your guests. Even with minimal ingredients and easy steps, they’ll definitely be getting up for seconds.
Recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com
- 2 split boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 extra-large egg
- ½ tablespoon water
- ¾ cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- Sliced lemon and chopped parsley leaves for serving
- Preheat oven to 400°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of paper and pound out ¼ inch thick.
- Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
- Mix flour, salt and pepper in a shallow plate.
- In a second plate, beat egg and water together.
- Place bread crumbs on third plate and dip each chicken breast first in flour, then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.
- Heat olive oil in large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned.
- Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and add lemon juice, wine, extra lemon halves, salt, pepper.
- Boil over high heat for 2 minutes.
- Off heat, add remaining butter and swirl to combine.
- Spoon sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and parsley.
6. Lasagna Roll Ups
This meal is perfect for anyone who loves lasagna but doesn't want to deal with the hassle of making too much. Your guests will love this simple twist on a traditional recipe, and you’ll love how much easier it is to make!
Recipe courtesy of mrfood.com
- 1 (28-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
- 1 (2-pound) container ricotta cheese
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12-14 lasagna noodles
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Pour half spaghetti sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
- In large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley and salt until well blended.
- Spoon cheese mixture over lasagna noodle and roll up tightly.
- Place roll-ups seam-side down in dish; top with remaining sauce.
- Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes.
7. Grilled Flank Steak and Balsamic Vegetables
Grilling has never been easier. Wow your dinner guests with this easy steak recipe that's paired perfectly with balsamic vegetables; great for anyone who is new to the grill, but still wants to amaze.
Recipe courtesy of realsimple.com
- 1 pound flank steak
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into ½ inch rounds
- 2 bell peppers quartered
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Heat grill to medium-high heat.
- Season steak with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Grill to desired doneness and transfer to a cutting board.
- Brush both sides of eggplant and peppers with 3 tablespoons of the oil.
- Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Grill until tender.
- In small bowl, combine remaining oil, vinegar, garlic, and parsley.
- Divide the steak and vegetables among individual plates.
- Spoon sauce over the vegetables and serve.
8. Vegetable Stir Fry
Rather than ordering Chinese take-out, try making your own vegetable rice stir-fry. Use this recipe as a staple to add whatever you have stored in the fridge such as chicken, pork, tofu or Ramen!
Recipe courtesy of chinese.food.com
- 3 cups cold leftover rice
- ½-1 cup oleo
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 carrots diced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3 eggs beaten
- ¼-½ cup soy sauce
- Melt oleo in large non-stick skillet.
- Add onion, celery, carrots.
- Sauté for about 5 minutes.
- Add peas and cook 1 minute more until peas thaw.
- Push veggies to one side of skillet.
- Scramble eggs in empty side of skillet.
- Mix eggs into veggies and season with pepper.
- Add soy sauce.
- Slowly mix rice until all ingredients are well blended and serve.
9. Rich Chocolate Mousse
This rich, decadent dessert is easy and requires no baking! Serve as is, or incorporate it into chocolate mousse trifle. Add layers of cake, cookies, or other sweet treats in between the mousse for a unique twist on a fabulous dessert.
Recipe courtesy of cookiesandcups.com
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2½ cups cold heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate
- Beat eggs and granulated sugar with your mixer for 3 minutes.
- Heat 1 cup heavy whipping cream in small saucepan until just hot, not boiling.
- Pour hot cream into egg mixture slowly until combined.
- Add egg/cream mixture back into saucepan and over low heat, stir for 5 minutes constantly until thickened. Do not boil.
- Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, until chilled, stirring occasionally.
- When mixture is chilled and firm, use whisk attachment on stand mixer to whip the remaining heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
- Remove chocolate from fridge and using a spoon, fold/stir the whipped cream into the chocolate until smooth.
- Serve immediately as-is, or refrigerate until ready to use.
10. Fresh Strawberry Shortcake
Whip up this easy dessert for a treat that’s both sweet and refreshing. Top it off with ice cream or learn how to make your own whipped cream to really wow.
Recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com
- 1 ½ pound strawberries, steamed and quartered
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoons baking soda
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- Mix strawberries with 3 tablespoons sugar and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Add heavy cream and mix until just combined.
- Place mixture in an un greased 8-inch square pan and bake 18 to 20 minutes.
- Remove shortcake from pan and place on rack to cool.
- Spoon strawberries on each shortcake and serve.
With these easy gourmet recipes, you will be sure to impress whomever you are cooking for. Your kitchen disasters are a thing of the past, and now you are practically a professional chef! (Well, let's not get too carried away.) Gather your ingredients and begin cooking these fabulous meals for your lucky guests—they'll be begging for your recipes in no time.