August 05, 2016

Over the past couple years, I've come up with a very specific definition of "fancy pants" with respect to cooking that I really hope catches on. It's when something is relatively easy to put together, but looks like you spent the better part of your life honing your technique. It is the holy grail of cooking, as far as I am concerned. I mean, I can't be the only one who wants to put in very little effort, yet deliver smashing results. That's the dream!

I've gathered some dazzlers that will make you look like a rock star host or hostess to guests, but leave you with tons of energy to still party like one.

Burnt sugar that you make in just minutes on the stove top tops quartered slices of grapefruit in this brunch favorite that's a stunner on a buffet table.

Fancy Pants Grapefruit
Burnt sugar tops quartered slices of grapefruit to make this brunch favorite that dazzles in a buffet spread.

Any time you fill food with other food, it automatically makes it fancier, and the fact that these are ready in 20 minutes flat gives it "fancy pants" status.

Avocado and Tuna Tapas
Photo by bd.weld

The fancy factor is high on these little beauties, but they are so, so easy to prepare—and they are gluten-free, to boot!


Thin slices of potatoes are folded and slid onto toothpicks, then dusted with dried dill. They're basically fancy baked potato chips -- the perfect snack with cocktails!


From simple syrups to flavored ice cubes, try some of these ideas for adding a little extra sparkle to your fizzy water.

Fruit water photo by Meredith
Photo by Meredith