Making Food Fancier

Whenever I'm inviting anyone over for a meal, I get a bit anxious about wanting the food to taste good and for it to look impressive. But who wants to slave away in the kitchen for hours? Here are some easy tips for elevating easy dishes with v. little effort:

If you're serving bread, toast it on a grill pan so you get some nice grill lines. It makes the bread look a lot more striking and delicious.
If you're serving a salad, make sure you're using a lot of colorful ingredients (multi-colored peppers, apples, mixed greens) and add a bit of pasta instead of croutons. Tricolor rotini is really vibrant and pretty but whatever short-cut pasta you have on hand is fine. It's a quick way to make the salad course seem less bland.
And if you're serving some sort of potato dish - mashed, baked, fries - sprinkle on some shredded cheese and crumbled bacon, stick the (oven-safe) dish in the broiler for 2 minutes to melt the cheese. It's not necessarily gourmet-fancy but it gives the bland beige potatoes some color and who doesn't like bacon and cheese?
It's little touches like this that can make a meal memorable.


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