Hiya, Brad C and welcome to DC! =)
Not sure if your friends eat cheese and / or eggs or not, if they do, here's a simple one that looks impressive and tastes like you spent a lot of time in the kitchen on it.
Double Crust Bean Pie
1 T evoo
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, diced fine (optional, can use just part of one if you don't like the heat or omit completely)
1-15 oz can black beans
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t black pepper
3/4 t chili powder
2 9-inch unbaked pie crusts
1-1.5 c shredded chedder cheese (could sub soy cheese here if your friends don't eat dairy)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
Heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and peppers until soft. Stir in beans, red pepper, chili pepper, cayenne, chili powder and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes.
Spoon half of the mixture into a pie pan with a crust on the bottom, top with half of the cheese. Add rest of beans and cheese. Top with remaining crust.
Bake 1 hour.
Squash Rings with Honey-Soy Glaze
2 1.25-1.5 acorn squash
6 T honey
2 T soy sauce
4 T rice vinegar
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 clove minced garlic
Preheat oven to 440 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Spray with nonstick spray (I use EVOO and smear it about with my fingers. =P). Cut off both ends of each squash. Cut each squash crosswise into four rings. Scoop out seeds and discard. Place squash rings in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Cover baking sheet tightly with foil. Bake until squash begins to soften, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk rest of ingredients in a small bowl to blen. Remove foil from squash. Brush half of the the honey mixture over the squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered 10 minutes. Brush remaining honey mixture over squash, continue to bake until squash is brown, tender and glazed, about 10 minutes.
Here's a great soup. Again if they're not into dairy you can skip the cheese on the croutons or use some soy / rice cheese in it's place.
Carmalized Onion and Portebello Mushroom Soup w/ Goat Cheese Croutons
3 T butter
1 1/2-lbs onion, halved, thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 1/2-lbs portobello mushrooms, stemmed, caps halved and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick strips
3 T Cognac or Brandy
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 c vegetable broth
1 c dry white wine
18 i-inch thick slices French-bread baugette, toasted
8-oz soft fresh goat cheese @ room tempature
Melt 1 T butter in heavy large pot over high heat. Add onions and thyme, saute until onions begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cook until onions are caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to a medium bowl.
Melt remainint 2 T butter in same pot over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, saute until soft, about 12 minutes. Add Cognac and garlic, stir 20 seconds. Stir in onion mixture, then broth and wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, simmer until onions are very tender, about 45 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs. Season soup with salt and pepper. (Can do this one day ahead. Cool slightly, cover and chill. Bring to simmer before serving.)
Preheat broiler. Place baguette slices on large baking sheet. Spread goat cheese on baugette slices, dividing equally. Broil goat cheese croutons until cheese begins to brown in spots, about 30 seconds. Divide soup among 6 bowls. Top with croutons and serve.
Best of luck with your dinner!