The Easiest "Non-Entrée Entrée" I'm Making for Every Summer Dinner Party

My favorite snack recently became an entertaining staple.
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G and I love to entertain and there's no better time to have friends over than in the warmer months. We keep things simple with a signature cocktail that we make in advance and set out a few light appetizers: a bowl of olives, some Marcona almonds. But it's our one-pot (in this case, a pan) dish that upstages everything else: homemade nachos.

Let me start by assuring you that these aren't the average nachos you'd find at at the back of a creepy convenience store. G begins by making homemade carnitas in the pressure cooker, which requires little hands on time, but results in the juiciest, most flavorful meat by the time dinner rolls around. And then it's all about layering lots of high-quality ingredients so that each and every bite is loaded with cheese, meat, and all the fun toppings. More is more when it comes to nachos (sour cream, avocado, cilantro, different hot sauces!) and when we served them to friends recently, they were thrilled at our elevated take on a low-brow classic.

But more than anything else, they served as a good reminder that dinner parties don't need to be anything fancy or fussy and in fact, it's kind of the opposite. They set the tone for such a casual meal in the backyard and have impacted our approach for entertaining. Instead of feeling the pressure to always have a huge appetizer spread, a well-balanced meal, and a homemade dessert, it's all about simplicity. We loved it so much that we've now returned to basics for future dinner parties: a baked potato bar (still one of my favorite ideas), serve-yourself-tacos... you get the idea. It means you get to enjoy more of your precious weekend hours outside the kitchen and set the stage for a low-key, fun night with friends.