1. Minimal clean up. Easy meals require little to no extra dishes involved. Nobody likes having to clean up a mess. One pot pastas, salmon, drumsticks all fall into this category. I once saw a recipe for a "one pot" lasagna, and that may be the biggest lie told to the world since water gate.
2. Aoilis, sauces, glazes or other various toppings. Ailois are so easy to make and again fall into the minimal clean up category. Or better yet, mince some fresh parsley or basil and sprinkle it on the top. This is key for people thinking you are fancy.
3. Seafood. Mussels, clams, lobster, shrimp. All of these are great for looking like you know what you are doing. They cook quickly, which means it's difficult to under or overcook. For clams and mussels you can leave the shells on and your credibility really improves. You also benefit from having others "de-shell" your meal. What could be better?
4 ears of shucked corn
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 lime juiced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium high heat. Grill corn until it is cooked through and charred on all sides. While corn is grilling, combine mayonnaise, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Roll corn in melted butter. Top with fresh cilantro and drizzle on the mayonnaise sauce.