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Ross's easy feast

Here's an simple option for those who need to whomp up an impressive-looking meal for the family (or prospective significant other), but have cooking skills that, well, have limits. These recipes are almost foolproof, and not particularly expensive--except for the salmon, I suppose, but that's often on special. Serve with a nice cheap Oregon red wine.

Tabbouleh salad.
This seems exotic and impressive. But it's so easy and forgiving to make, and I've yet to meet a single person who hasn't liked it. Vegetarian friendly.

Irish soda bread.
You thought you'd need all day to make bread? How does 15 minutes sound? This lovable loaf will impress the lot of 'em with your amazing culinary skills, which you don't need to make it.

Salmon en feuille de métal.
A lot of people know the technique of baking meat or fish in aluminum foil, but this recipe adds zing and a sophisticated feeling, because you get to say "crème fraîche."

Or...

Minnesota baked beans. Takes all day plus soaking, but you don't have to actually do much. (Vegetarian alternative if you skip the salt pork.)

Lilly the lazy cat.Rosemary-crusted roasted potatoes.
I haven't met anyone who doesn't like these either, but you can turn 'em out with about as much effort as my cat makes to get to her food dish (see left). Veggie-friendly.

Mousse au chocolat.
Who doesn't like chocolate mousse? But it's so hard to make...except for this one. Whip it up ahead and chill, so you can relax and chlll during the meal, knowing dessert is waiting. Veggie-friendly. No eggs!