Avocado Sauce

I love my avocados any which way. When they’re just ripe, nothing is better than sliced or diced avocado with just a smidge of salt. When they’re starting to soften, they’re perfect for guacamole because they still have a bit of body. And when they’re overly soft?

This amazing sauce. It takes just minutes, and is a great way to utilize avocados that aren’t quite firm enough for any other use. You can adjust the seasonings to suit your personal taste.

I’ve love this sauce with fish tacos, in a cole slaw, and with crab cakes. It also makes a fun salad dressing.

Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

There are certain times of year when I crave this salad. Sometimes it’s due to the hot weather and a desire for the cold, crisp crunch of iceberg lettuce. Sometimes it’s because I want to indulge in the absolute creamy, salty flavor of the dressing. Sometimes…it’s both.

I love serving this salad at barbecues because it’s easy to make for a crowd. It’s also the perfect accompaniment to a well-cooked steak. And, of course, the blue cheese dressing can be used on other types of salad.

I know there is some concern in the gluten-free community about whether or not blue cheese is gluten-free. Generally, these cheese are safe to eat. For your information, I discuss this issue and list blue cheeses that are gluten-free here (and a few that are not) here.

Caramelized Onion Dip

For a few years, I had the nutty idea that healthy appetizers should be served at parties. I slipped them in alongside chips and dips. It sorta worked…the chips and dip always disappeared, and, yes, people went for the carrots and celery. Because they were even better covered in onion dip.

Since commercial dried onion soup mixes can contain gluten (as of this writing, it contains a barley product), I had to come up with my own recipe. Luckily, there’s nothing I enjoy more than letting onions caramelize on the stove while I’m making other foods for a party. This recipe makes a good amount of dip — adjust ingredients to fit the number of people you’re feeding.

And don’t be surprised to find every bit of it gone by the end of the evening!

Steak Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

While steak on its own is a fine, fine meal, sometimes the salad craving can’t be ignored. This salad was born during a particularly brutal heatwave. The cool mix of vegetables, the light, tangy dressing (which I have also served with a good dash of chipotle), and the well-seasoned steak makes a satisfying meal.

Feel free to add or subtract ingredients based on what is in season. In late summer, I tend to have a lot of zucchini, so grilling it is a natural.

Broccoli Slaw with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

This is a quick and easy way to serve broccoli on a hot summer night (or any other time!). It’s a great salad for parties as well. The buttermilk dressing is creamy and refreshing. The nuts and berries add tastiness, and experimenting with flavors is a definite bonus in this salad.

The broccoli can be just the florets or a mix of florets and stem (the stems add a lot of body to this salad. If you aren’t into the stems, omit them.

You’ll probably end up with more dressing than you need. If it’s too thick for your taste, thin it with a bit more buttermilk. If you’re making the salad in advance, use some of the leftover dressing to freshen up the salad right before serving. Or, use the dressing on you favorite green salad.

Caramelized Onion Dip

Over the holiday season, I find myself eating way more chips and dip than is healthy. The fault is mostly mine since I’m the one who makes this fantastic and addictive caramelized onion dip.

Caramelizing onions changes their flavor — they become mellow and sweet. The amount of heat you use informs the speed of this dish (and the attention required — higher heat requires much more stirring to prevent burning!). I like to cook my onions low and slow while I’m preparing other dishes.

The amount of onion in this recipe seems insane, but they will cook down considerably.