While I will admit to a fondness for baked beans, I’ve always shied away from the canned version because I am not a fan of sweet foods. Sure, I’ll indulge if I encounter the canned version, but I won’t buy them unless I have a serious craving.
Yeah, I crave baked beans.
If the craving is minor and time is plentiful — or I know I need a killer dish to bring to a barbecue — I go straight for my crockpot and let the beans cook overnight. The slow cooker does all the work of cooking the beans through while developing a rich sauce that is just sweet enough with some tangy and spicy flavors to balance that sweetness. Best of all: no soaking required! I just toss everything into the crockpot, and let it work while I catch up on TV and much-needed sleep.
I like to pretend it’s my Hungarian heritage that draws me to to this dish, but the truth is I love stews of all kinds, at any time of year. This braised dish sits on the back of the stove for a few hours, filling your house with the scent of paprika and yumminess. Oh, and it’s effortless to make this dish gluten free!
To offset the heat of the paprika, the recipe uses a bunch of onion. These cook down into the sauce to add a rich sweetness that will have you reaching for second before you realize it!
My recipe calls for a thick sauce that clings to the beef, but if you like a looser, soupier sauce, that is fine. The sauce will soak into buttered noodles, rice, or even gluten-free rolls.
As with so many of my recipes, this is not truly authentic. I’m lucky there are many Vietnamese restaurants in Southern California that serve delicious gluten-free pho (both beef and chicken). I’m also aware that every place I’ve ever gone has a slightly different variation of the broth.
Some are salty and a bit spicy. Some have a bit more sweetness. Most are very rich, with intense meat or vegetable flavor.
These different flavor profiles make me confident my soup is just fine for those times when I don’t want to venture outside to get my pho fix. And when I say this soup is addictive, you can either take my word for it, or, well, become an addict yourself!
Yes, beef pho is traditional, but I haven’t mastered a good beef broth (I’ve mastered an okay beef broth), so I stick with chicken when I’m dining at home. Some things, I believe, are best left to the experts.
Chile Verde is a green, tangy tomatillo-based salsa or sauce. While you can certainly use the sauce for dipping chips or chilaquiles, I love simmering chicken or pork in the sauce for a quick weeknight stew. I love the addition of jalapeno to the sauce, but it can be omitted if your prefer your food less spicy.
(You can also ramp up the heat by using additional peppers or adding a few dashes of red pepper flakes or chipotle powder.)
There is no need to add a thickener to the salsa — the tomatillos have lots of pectin to do the job.
Our first meal in Milan was this delicious, beautiful rice dish. While it is technically a first course or served with Osso Bucco, my husband and I devoured a huge serving of Risotto Milanese and declared ourselves happy. I will confess to eating this dish a, um, few more times over the next week.
And, of course, making it the moment we got home. Risotto is a perfect gluten-free dish — elegant and delicious.
Risotto has a reputation for being challenging and time-consuming. This is only sort of true. Yes, you need to keep on eye on the pan while the rice is absorbing liquid, but this generally happens in about thirty to forty minutes. Constant stirring is important, but you can also find time to do other tasks, including drinking a glass of wine!
I think of pulled pork as the beginning of a very good week of leftovers (see this article for ideas on what to do after you’ve made delicious pulled pork). It’s also a truly bargain dish — pork shoulder (also known as pork butt) goes on sale frequently, in quantities that make leftovers a no brainer.
If I were Southern, I suspect I’d be appalled at my version, but since I’m Californian with a full-time job, I will confess the ease of throwing pork into the crockpot and letting it simmer away all day is my idea of a good time. Walking into the house after a long day and smelling dinner? Priceless.
Since I’m committing heresy left and right with the recipe, I’ll confess to another secret: I don’t brown my pork before putting it into the crockpot. Phew! So happy to get that off my chest. I simply toss it, well seasoned (salt generously and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight), into the crockpot. The rest of the seasoning is in the braising liquid.
(Yes, pulled pork is naturally gluten-free, but some people add soy sauce to their braising liquid. I like the idea of adding that additional level of umami, but will remind you to use to GF soy sauce or tamari!)
See notes below for ideas on making pulled pork in your pressure cooker!
Vindaloo is a tangy, spicy curry with origins in Portugal — the vin in vindaloo stands for “vinha de alhos”, or wine vinegar. The spiciness comes from a mix of warm spices such as cumin and coriander, as supplemented by a bit of cayenne. My husband would probably eat this dish every day if he could.
If you have time, marinate your chicken — or lamb, beef, pork — in some of the curry paste before cooking. If not, no worries. I prefer chicken thighs over chicken breasts because they carry more flavor. If have breasts on hand, they’re a fine choice.
As with most curries, this recipe is naturally gluten free. The list of ingredients is long, but don’t let that daunt you. The whole thing comes together very quickly!