Chicken Tikka Masala

For reasons unknown, most Chicken Tikka Masala dishes in restaurants are on the bland side. This is great if you’re introducing someone to the idea of Indian food, but these dishes are not palate-pleasers.

This recipe, based on Madhur Jaffrey’s, is full of flavor. Ginger, garlic, cumin, and various other spices bring tons of flavor. Grated tomato melts into the dish, adding even more flavor. I love serving this at parties or dishing up for leftovers during the week. It just gets better with time!

Chile Verde

I love chile verde, and, despite all the steps in the recipe below, it’s pretty easy to make. A long, slow simmer on the stove (or, heck, you could do this in a 225 degree oven, if you prefer) brings lots of flavors together. The pork will be falling apart, and the whole dish is tangy with just a hint of heat.

While pork is traditional, chicken is also an option. My recipe for Chicken Chile Verde is right here.

Grilled Fish Tacos

Let me be perfectly clear: while this recipe is for fish tacos, you can make a good taco out of just about anything. Steak, chicken, and carnitas (shredded pork) are popular fillings. But fish tacos are something special. And they’re so easy.

Obviously, since these tacos are gluten-free, they’re not covered in a heavy, and often greasy, batter. Instead, the fresh flavor of the fish shines through, and additional yumminess comes a tangy cabbage slaw. If you’re not up for making a slaw, diced onions and cilantro with a bit of lime juice works just as well. If you like your tacos with a bit heat, add a small amount of diced jalapeno.

Falafel

Is there a better food than falafel? No, I say, there is not. Except maybe mashed potatoes. It’s a close call.

Finding gluten-free falafel out in the wild is hard. Making it at home is so easy, you won’t miss going out for this wonderful food at all. As a bonus, falafel makes a great vegan option for those times you need one.

One huge note, that I’ll repeat in the Notes section as well: do not use canned chickpeas when making falafel. They have absorbed too much liquid in the can, and will create a heavy, less fluffy falafel. You will thank yourself for soaking your garbanzo beans the old-fashioned way!

Zucchini Fritters

One day, as I was shredding potatoes for hash browns, I had an epiphany. A little one, but an epiphany nonetheless. I realized I needed to squeeze all the excess water out of the potatoes before cooking them. Now, based on what I see on the Internets, *everybody* already knew this somehow. I guessed I missed a memo.

So, putting two and two together — never let it be said that I don’t catch on quickly — I realized I needed to do the same thing for zucchini when making fritters. It is fascinating to discover how much liquid is in a zucchini. And making fritters is a tasty way to make zucchini interesting again. Seriously…it’s been coming on strong all summer, and I don’t think there’s an end in sight!

If you make too many fritters, you can freeze and reheat in the oven. If you’re looking for a party appetizer, make smaller fritters. The best part of this recipe? Nobody will ever know they’re gluten-free. I love delicious recipes that showcase GF-specific ingredients — the lack of gluten doesn’t mean a lack of flavor.

When researching this recipe, I discovered a few recipes featuring freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and one that used feta. I think cheese is always a good idea! Now, given my druthers, I’d go with the feta (and skip any additional salt), but it’s always good to have options. Also, you can make the dipping sauce however you like. I use Greek yogurt all the time, so naturally gravitate in that direction.

Rice Pilaf

I live in a neighborhood filled with Armenian and Lebanese businesses. Or, as I like to think of it, filled with Armenian and Lebanese food. Falafel (sadly, not available to me as nobody around here makes a gluten-free version), kebabs, hummus (oh, the hummus!), and, of course, rice pilaf. Unfortunately, many of the establishments in my ‘hood cook their pilaf with wheat-based vermicelli, so finding tasty pilaf is a bit tougher than it should be.

Hence, making my own. This recipe is fairly simple, and you can make the rest of the meal while the rice is cooking and resting. I like doing this in the oven, but you can do it on the stovetop if you prefer. I was discussing the recipe via Facebook with a friend; she talked about how her mother made pilaf…and there was no skimping on the butter! I try to be a little more health conscious these days, but do sometimes increase the amount of butter when I make this dish.

Seriously, butter. Use it liberally!

Risotto with Peas, Ricotta, and Lemon

Once upon a time, I was scared of weeknight risotto. Everyone said it required too much time, too much stirring, too much attention. The latter, alas, is true. As is the stirring part. But you can whip out an excellent risotto in under 45 minutes.

This recipe reminds me of Spring.  The peas — fresh or frozen — add a lovely flavor. And the lemon adds freshness. Plus, if you can think of a better way to use up leftover ricotta, I am eager to hear your secret recipes!

Final note: I love me some bacon (or, prosciutto), but just omit it for a vegetarian option. Or serve the crumbled salty pork on the side. Also, substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock for a truly vegetarian meal.

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