you do to "fool" your meal guests ? Or name several, don't matter.
For me it's making gravy. I don't bother with different kinds of gravy (peppercorn, mushroom, au jus, etc). At least for red meats and poultry, gravy is gravy, muahaha. If I don' have wine in the house then I won't deglaze pan/pot drippings and fonds.
I use "Better Than Bouillon"
.... as base dissolved in the correct amount of hot water, then dump whatever cooking fats & juices that were in the pan or pot that the protein was cooked in, finally add some (here it comes ....drum roll) generic OXO gravy mix to the whole concoction and bob's your uncle. Sometimes I'd add a pat of butter at the end and season it with ground pepper of course.
So far 90% of the time I fool my guests that it's totally homemade. And they actually love it.
What's yours ?