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How to Make Your Normal Dinner at Home Fancy

Photo by Bruna Branco

When it comes to making dinner at home, most of us aren’t exactly innovative. We reach for the chicken, caesar salad, and green beans time and time again because they’re fast and easy. But what if we took some of the pressure off by getting a little fancy with our dinners? Dinner at home can be a little bit of a hassle sometimes. You have to spend half an hour prepping a meal and clean up afterward so you don’t smell like burnt food for hours on end, and then you have to deal with people wondering why you don’t just go out for dinner more often (hey, we get it—it costs money!). But with a bit of advance planning and creative thinking, upgrading your recipes is easier than you think. Here are some tips on how to make your typical dinner at home as fancy as possible:

Don’t skimp on prep work

Unless you’re a professional chef (and, who knows, maybe you are, and we don’t know about it), you’re probably not going to be good at cooking like a pro in no time. It will take some practice and dedication—plus a decent amount of kitchen equipment, which is super expensive. But you don’t need to go entirely overboard to make a difference. Start with the easy dishes and work your way up to the more complicated ones. When making your meals fancier, you don’t want to take shortcuts that will ruin the whole experience.

Try making more than one dish at a time

When making your meals fancy, don’t be afraid to go the extra mile for your diners. If you’ve got a recipe that calls for two different ingredients, try making two other dishes with those ingredients. This only makes cooking a bit more complicated, and it looks like you did a lot more work than you did. For example, if you are using a bourbon chicken recipe, you can have a bourbon sour as the cocktail to pair it with and include another chicken dish that uses a different part of the chicken, such as the breast or wings, to make the most out of your ingredients. In the end, it’s a great way to impress your dinner guests and make your recipes genuinely fancy.

Try adding multiple courses to dinner and fancy beverage options

Depending on the occasion and your crowd, you can add a bit extra course to your dinner and fancy it up even more. If you have friends over for a casual dinner, adding an appetizer or dessert isn’t such a big deal. But if you’re having a special occasion or entertaining a group of guests, you can elevate the whole meal with a few extra touches. For example, you can add a twist to your appetizer by adding a special ingredient, like caviar, truffles, or foie gras. You can throw in some dessert if you’re having guests over for dinner. You can also serve a special cocktail with your fancy dinner for an extra fancy touch.

Keep your dishes spotless and upgrade your China and cutlery

Unless you’ve got some seriously fancy dishes, the kind you’d see on the cover of a magazine, you probably don’t need to clean them after each meal and can likely put them through the dishwasher. But if you’re having a fancy dinner, you’ll probably have expensive and beautiful plates and bowls out. So please clean up after every meal, pick up any leftovers, and put them in the fridge. This keeps your kitchen looking clean, and you’ll have less mess to deal with at the end of each day. Of course, if you’re having a fancy dinner, you can go the extra mile and clean your dishes after you’re done. 

Stay away from processed ingredients as much as possible

Processed ingredients will make your meals fancy, no matter how hard you try to avoid them. They’re going to add a lot of flavor to your dishes, but they’re also ruining the entire experience. No one wants to eat a bland meal with a bunch of ingredients you can taste the chemicals in. Instead, use fresh ingredients that you’ve chopped and minced yourself. You’ll be able to taste the freshness in your food and create a much more sophisticated meal. Just because you’re using fresh ingredients doesn’t mean it’ll be expensive. With a little bit of budgeting for groceries and knowing when deals are going on, you can actually save money while cooking delicious meals. 

Wrapping it up

If you’ve found yourself stuck in a rut when making your dinners fancy, you’ve come to the right place. These tips will help you upgrade your recipes and make your dinners as fancy as possible. But, most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy yourself! The best way to do this is to stop worrying about making your dinners fancy. Once you get into the swing of things, it will be easier than you think.

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