03/01/2012 03:30 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

5 Elegant Dishes With Simple Ingredients

Since this winter hasn't been all that harsh in most parts of the US, we can't resort to our usual heavy winter classics. But that doesn't mean we should neglect our favorite winter ingredients. Cooking seasonally is not only great for the environment (since it requires less travel and chemical additives for your produce) but also great for your budget. But just because you can find inexpensive ingredients in each season doesn't mean you have to maintain that frugal attitude when cooking.

Simple ingredients can be used to make elegant dishes with just a little extra attention to detail. Since truffle oil and caviar aren't always in the budget, learning to tweak and enhance just a few ingredients and flavor combinations can help you transform those ordinary ingredients into the extraordinary!

With the help of Food Republic, we've picked five great winter ingredients -- Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, grapefruit, pears, and sweet potatoes -- and rounded up five amazing recipes guaranteed to knock your socks off! These recipes are all fairly upscale and will have your dinner guests fooled into thinking you either ordered straight from a restaurant or had a world-class chef help you in the kitchen.

For more great tips and recipes, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

5 Elegant Dishes with Simple Ingredients