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    Updated on Aug 26, 2018. Posted on Jul 2, 2018

    23 Easy Ways To Impress Everyone With Your Cooking

    Who's coming over for dinner?

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    1. First things first, make sure you're working with a versatile spice palette in the kitchen, because spice is the spice of life.

    Klenova / Getty Images

    More often than not, the right combination of spices is what it takes to go from bland to ~bam~. Learn more about the 12 spices you should have in your kitchen and how to use them.

    2. At the very least, pay attention to the quality and amount of ~the~ most important spice of them all — salt — as you cook.

    Jet

    I can't tell you how many times an extra pinch of salt brought out all the flavors in a recipe I was making. Any recipe that instructs you to "salt to taste" is a good recipe, because certain foods require less or more salt to make those flavors pop (looking at you, potatoes). Himalayan salt is one of the highest quality salts you can buy; your food will thank you.

    Promising review: "I only use Himalayan crystal salt and was looking for a shaker to take to work for my lunches. This is perfect!" —Cheryl A

    Get it from Jet for $4.91.

    3. Know when do to things by hand in the kitchen, such as when to break out the knife set. Even something as small as chopping instead of using a food processor can add more texture and personality to a dish.

    Chabybucko / Getty Images, Walmart

    Food processing can cut down on prep time, but chopping by hand means your ingredients will be less uniform, and that will give your dish more texture. Plus, nothing is more impressive than a chef who can chop nearly as fast as a machine with enough practice! I personally love this affordable, colorful set of knives.

    Set includes: six nonstick, stainless steel knives and six knife-guards.

    Promising review: "Excellent knives, I use them every day. Buy them, you won't be disappointed!" —Katk

    Get them from Walmart for $21.99.

    And check out our picks for the best chef's knife on BuzzFeed Reviews.

    4. Trust a high-quality stand mixer when it's time to mix and knead big batches of bread, cookies, and mashed potatoes.

    Walmart

    Not only will a stand mixer decrease the amount of prep time and increase the size of your recipes, it will also mix better (and faster) than any human can, which will make your food taste better.

    Features: 4.5-quart capacity, soft start helps to avoid ingredient splash; tilt-head design allows clear access to the bowl to add ingredients; 10 optimized speeds; includes one coated flat beater, one coated dough hook, and one six-wire whip.

    Promising review: "As expected from this premium brand, the mixer is sturdy (I'm sure it will last me a lifetime!), beautiful, and versatile. The powerful motor makes any job easy: cutting, mixing, kneading, juicing, pasta making, you name it. And it looks so stylish on the kitchen counter. The mixer comes with a bowl, wire whip, dough hook, and float beater so you can mix any type of batter or dough. I make my own bread at home and this thing just makes kneading a breeze!" —hbry

    Get it from Walmart for $229.

    Learn more about why a KitchenAid mixer will change your life.

    5. Choose quality ingredients whenever possible. Choosing fresh mozzarella and extra virgin olive oil will make this garlic and herb marinated mozzarella appetizer taste even better.

    thekitchn.com, Jet

    I buy my EVOO in bulk online, because it tastes great, saves money, and the tin keeps it fresher longer!

    Get the full recipe for this appetizer from the Kitchn, and check out more ways to use olive oil like a pro.

    Get the olive oil from Jet for $11.57.

    6. Remember that presentation is everything, and top off all your recipes with a little garnish so they look great on the plate.

    Alleko / Getty Images

    Garnishing is much easier than you think. Just set aside a little extra of an ingredient already incorporated in your dish and sprinkle on top — like chopped peanuts if you're making spicy peanut noodles or cilantro on quesadillas. Fresh herbs like parsley are another great garnish option for meat and potatoes.

    7. Prepare sauces from scratch whenever possible. Everyone will be able to taste the difference, plus you can make a big batch of red sauce and store some for later!

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    8. Elevate meals you already feel super comfortable cooking, like instant ramen.

    thepioneerwoman.com

    The most simple recipes are worth elevating, even if the only taste buds you are trying to impress are your own!

    Get the full recipe from the Pioneer Woman.

    9. Put a twist on a classic dish and whip up a lasagna dome.

    tasty.co

    People love comfort food, and the shape gives this dish a slight wow factor everyone will enjoy.

    Get the full recipe from Tasty.

    10. Or, whip up a memorable morning with three ways to elevate pancake mix.

    thepioneerwoman.com

    😍

    Get the full recipe from the Pioneer Woman.

    And check out our picks for the best cast-iron skillet on BuzzFeed Reviews!

    11. Bring your passion for fried food home with an air fryer that'll give homemade fries, bean burgers, chicken wings, and more a perfect crunch layer.

    Walmart

    Features: digital oil-less fryer; cooks by high-speed circulation that disperses air evenly for crispy foods; dishwasher-safe, nonstick components; cooks up to two pounds of food; has timer and temperature control.

    Promising review: "This is so handy! Easy way to eat healthy without heating up a giant oven. I cut up a head of cauliflower and used a Tbsp of butter with garlic powder/onion powder and smoked paprika. Stir the cauliflower around in that, then sprinkle with Italian bread crumbs and air fry. Put it in the preheated air fryer for 10-12 minutes, at 350; it was excellent. I cooked some saucy things in there, and the sauce drips to the bottom, but it does not smoke and burn. VERY easy clean up. Made some homemade bean burgers, came out great in there. Also made a ton of fries, they come out great and I piled it full. Not heating up the whole oven for these items will be great in the summer when the air conditioning is on." —spendtilltheend

    Get it from Walmart for $79.88.

    Check out 18 droolworthy air fryer recipes from BuzzFeed.

    12. Serve your guests a first course according to the season with summer gazpachos three ways.

    tasty.co

    Get the full recipe from Tasty.

    13. If you're pressed for time and ingredients, research three-ingredient recipes (like this delish Thai salmon) so you can be the chef who opens up the fridge and creates a whole meal out of nowhere.

    ifoodreal.com

    Get the full recipe from ifoodreal and check out more three-ingredient dinners from BuzzFeed.

    14. Blame your friend's brownie addiction on your food restriction with the best vegan brownie recipe out there, and keep more impressive vegan recipes on hand with this cookbook.

    tasty.co, Walmart

    Get the full recipe from Tasty.

    Promising review (for the cookbook): "This cookbook makes cooking easy. The recipes are really delicious, and fun to read!" —Homer

    Get it from Walmart for $14.

    15. Investigate sous vide cooking and get your hands on a sous vide cooker that'll basically make perfectly cooked meals for you.

    Walmart

    Sous vide is a precise cooking technique where you immerse vacuum-sealed food in water and use a sous vide device to cook it at a consistent, pre-programmed temp for a set amount of time. This ensures your food comes out perfect every time!

    Features: temperature control, digital timer, touch screen, and grip that'll fit any pot.

    Get it from Walmart for $57.99.

    16. Then test the sous vide cooker on this droolworthy steak recipe all your guests shall rave about.

    bonappetit.com

    Get the full recipe from Bon Appetit.

    Check out 16 Sous Vide Recipes So Good You'll Side-Eye The Oven for more tasty ideas.

    17. Up the flavor at the dinner party via a chimichurri sauce that'll pair perfectly with steak 👀.

    40aprons.com

    Get the full recipe from 40 Aprons.

    18. Use the natural color of food to wow your guests with this simple yet elegant beetroot crisp recipe.

    tasty.co

    Get the full recipe from Tasty.

    19. Slow-cook your way into a great pesto chicken dish with a five-quart slow-cooker you just may use for every meal.

    365daysofcrockpot.com, Jet

    Slow-cookers keep in all the flavor as your dish cooks on low over time, and it's an especially great way to cook melt-in-your-mouth tender chicken. Consider yourselves impressed, guests.

    Get the full recipe from 365 Days Of Crockpot.

    Features: programmable from two to 10 hours of cooking time; warming setting; cooks a 5-pound chicken or 3-pound roast; glass lid; easy-clean touchpad.

    Promising review: "I am really pleased with this slow cooker. It was recommended by a relative. Everything you cook in it comes out really good. I especially like the warmer feature. It's spacious and allows for lots of vegetables with your main entree." —MReyes

    Get it from Jet for $24.94.

    Check out the best comfort food slow-cooker recipes from BuzzFeed.

    20. Roll up some ice cream at home and make the whole family feel like they just stepped into the fanciest ice cream parlor of all time.

    tasty.co

    Get the full recipe from Tasty.

    Get an oversized turner from Jet for $13.88 to roll up the ice cream.

    21. Swap out your cookware for a cast-iron skillet to whip up rustic meals. You can use cast-iron on the campfire, on the stovetop, or in the oven!

    Jet

    Cast-iron cookware will keep food hotter for longer, and the food won't stick. You can use cast-iron in the oven, and when used properly cast-iron will last a lifetime. Plus there are tons cast-iron recipes out there, many of which are one-pan!

    Promising review (for the skillet): "I use this cast-iron deep skillet to replace all my nonstick pans and woks. Heat it until very HOT, then put a little oil on inside surface, then it will be nonstick for everything, even tofu, fish, and eggs. The cleaning is easy too; just wash with hot water then dry it. You even don't need to oil it if you use it very often." —Wumi

    Promising review (for the Dutch oven): "We bought for cub/boy scout campouts, and home use. It comes with a small cookbook to get you started. It is already pre-seasoned so you can take it right out of the box and use it. Which is great! However, I did lightly grease the inside of mine with cooking oil before I used it the first time, just to make sure nothing would stick. It worked great; nothing stuck. We have more than plenty of food using this oven. I always rub a little cooking oil all over the oven once it is clean, and I store it away to keep it nice. Very easy to take care of." —Papa

    Get them from Jet: the 9" skillet for $12.90 and the 6-quart Dutch oven for $43.71

    And check out our picks for the best cast-iron skillet on BuzzFeed Reviews!

    22. Get inspired by collecting recipes from your family and your community, because oftentimes the best meal you'll ever make is a meal you are passionate about.

    buzzfeedtasty.tumblr.com

    Get the full recipe from Tasty.

    23. And finally, go for the big wow factor with a four-course meal the next time you have a dinner date. It'll take some prep work leading up to it, but looks so worth it!

    thekitchenmccabe.com

    Get the full recipe guide from the Kitchen McCabe.

    When your friends come over for dinner:

    Warner Brothers

    The reviews for this post have been edited for length and clarity.

    Shopping for something specific? Check out BuzzFeed Reviews to find the best things for every budget!

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