Individual Nachos

I love nachos, but they don’t love me. If they did, then the platter wouldn’t be so overstuffed with deliciousness! It’s really hard to practice portion control when you’re facing all those chips.

To make my life easier, I love to make individual nachos. These handheld bites have everything that makes a nacho great: crispy corn tortilla chip, meat or beans or both, tangy salsa, cheese, sour cream, olives if you wish. They’re perfect for leftover meats like pulled pork. And, of course, they’re gluten free!

These nachos are also great for parties where you don’t want to serve a big messy platter of food. Figure three chips (or one corn tortilla) per guest, and load them up with your favorite toppings!

Chicken Paprikash

Since I’m half Hungarian, I’d like to pretend that I’ve been making this dish since birth. The truth is I’ve only been making it for a few years. While you can make it spicy with the addition of cayenne or hot paprika, I like the way the onions and paprika mellow into a slightly sweet and smoky dish. Some dishes don’t need to be spicy hot!

This version uses chicken on the bone (I generally use thighs because they are so good and relatively inexpensive), but you can substitute boneless meat. The volume of onions will seem huge, but they cook down pretty quickly. The longer the onions braise, the more they melt into the sauce.

If you’re making this for a party, transfer the browned meat and onions to a crockpot and cook on low for several hours. I prefer using cut-up boneless thighs if I’m making this for a party.

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.

Chicken with Sour Cream Sauce

Yeah, I know. Another chicken and sauce recipe. What can I say? I love dressing up plain chicken to make it special. Particularly chicken breasts. Of course, this recipe can be made with any type of boneless, skinless cut of chicken. Which is great because the grocery stores of the world have just realized that customers adore chicken thighs!

Chicken with Dijon-Cream Sauce

Chicken — tasty, versatile, convenient — chicken is my fallback for many a weeknight dinner. It’s fast and easy, and there are so many ways to prepare chicken that I feel guilty when I fall back on traditional baked chicken breast with rice and veggies (don’t get me wrong: I love this combo, but it can get a bit monotonous).

I feel less guilty once grilling season rolls around because everything tastes better hot off the grill.

On the other hand, I’ve fallen in love with pan sauces. They are a terrific, easy way to pep up ordinary chicken. The mustardy, creamy sauce here brightens up any cut of chicken. Added bonus is it brings loads of flavor to accompanying rice or potatoes (or even GF bread or biscuits).

I’ve made this with a variety of cuts of chicken, but (typically!) prefer bone-in skin-on thighs for their flavor. You can substitute for what you prefer, adjusting cooking times accordingly. Also, regular smooth Dijon mustard works quite well here.

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.

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