This is a series of posts designed to help those of you eating gluten-free, or feeding gluten-free kids. See the previous post for frugal shopping tips.
Over this first month I've been eating gluten-free, dinners have been the easiest transition. There were three reasons for this:
- Many of our favorite meals were already gluten-free.
- Other meals were easily adapted by making a simple substitution, though some experiments didn't always work (pasta to quinoa, for example).
- Making the change coincided with a change in our schedule where I wanted to use my crockpot more, so I started using a fellow blogger's cookbook, Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. Several of Stephanie's recipes were already our family favorites, and since everything in her book is GF, it was easy to try some new dinners.
My Pineapple Pork Chops recipe was easily adapted; only the soy sauce had to be changed to GF. I was already serving it with brown rice and a green vegetable, so now it's a complete GF meal.
Changing the soy sauce also made my Asian Fish in a Packet recipe a GF meal. I love how it cooks in the foil with brown rice and bok choy, making it a complete meal with easy cleanup.
Last, the Broccoli Pie I make all the time, which uses Bisquick, was easily adapted by substituting 1/4 cup of GF Pancake/Waffle Mix. This is one of my go-to dinners where I can substitute any cheese, veggies, or meat and make a quick meal on a busy night.
We tried several new dinner recipes from Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. The biggest hit with my kids so far was Crockpot Broccoli & Beef (I agree with Stephanie that the sauce is SO much better than takeout Chinese food, it's not gloppy and gross, and the flavor was fantastic). I served it with long Thai rice noodles I found at Trader Joe's, which the kids loved.
I had several recipes that didn't need any adaptation at all: my Spinach Pie, which is already crustless, is one of the vegetarian meals we eat often, so I made some GF cornbread for me to eat on the side, and the rest of the family had regular (it's less expensive).
Adapting my go-to Pasta Salad was a failure; I simply replaced the regular pasta with quinoa, but the dressing made it too mushy and the texture was odd. Next time, I'll try this Warm Quinoa Spinach Salad from the Gluten-Free Goddess, and sprinkle our favorite Feta cheese on top.
For a treasure trove of family recipes that are gluten-free, these blogs are so helpful:
- Gluten-Free Mommy: I'm eager to try her Salmon Cakes recipe, since the one my kids love is full of bread crumbs. This one uses brown rice or wild rice and looks great!
- Gluten-Free Goddess: Karina is a long-time chef of GF recipes, so look for the simpler ones if you are intimidated by unusual-sounding baking ingredients. She has a whole section of GF/CF recipes if your kids are also dairy-free. Her Kicked-up Macaroni & Cheese looks incredible!
What I'm finding challenging now is eating away from home. We don't do restaurants often, but many post their GF menus online (Heather at Celiac Family has a handy compilation of those menus). What I'm finding tricky is eating at potlucks, picnics and barbecues–so far I've been carrying my own meals just to be safe. Those of you who are eating GF, what do you recommend and what are your favorite gluten-free dinners?
Disclosure: I am not a doctor, and I am not giving advice regarding the GF diet. I am simply sharing my personal experience.