Ranch dressing got its start on a real dude ranch in California. Punch up the Western original with green salsa, green chilies, jalapenos and cilantro for more color, spice and high volume that feeds a crowd. —Lindsay Duke, Goodrich, Texas
Classic empanadas from South America are stuffed pastries of beef or chicken, usually fried. That doesn't mean "classic" never changes. Chicken goes well with black beans, corn and jalapenos in this baked version with a Southwestern spin. —Jane McMillan, Dania Beach, Florida
Enjoy the tangy taste of Staca Hiatt's pita pizzas. “I use bottled barbecue sauce, cooked chicken breast, and cheddar cheese for a truly Western-style pizza, and they're very easy to prepare,” writes the Twentynine Palms, California reader.
Your gang will huddle around the buffet table at half-time when you put out the two heaping plates of these spicy chicken nachos. “This is a ‘dash in the pan’ dish that’s always a hit.”—Karen Horning, Rockford, Illinois.
“I enjoy cooking for my parents and two brothers,” relates Betsy Baertlein, 17, of Mazeppa, Minnesota. “I usually prepare things that are a little out of the ordinary. These strips, seasoned with curry, are great for a family game night.”
Meet the Cook: Since you can chop up all the ingredients the night before, this can be ready in about 30 minutes. So it's a great after-work dinner. You can also serve it as a snack or an appetizer...similar to chicken nuggets. I've even substituted quail for the chicken, and it was delicious. Next, I may try it with pork!
-Kari Caven, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho