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Easy Weeknight Dinners -the Gluten-free Way
Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:19 amForum Host
When you first start on a gluten-free diet you tend to focus on what you can't eat. The list of no-no foods seems overwhelming! It's important to focus on the positive aspects of Celaic/Coeliac Disease or wheat intolerance---diet is the only treatment!
Following a gluten-free diet need not be boring or difficult to keep to at home. There are so many foods that you can enjoy. You just keep learning about the gf diet, new products that become available, new cooking tips and ideas.
Cooking for someone who is gluten-free need not be a difficult task either. As awareness and diagnosis of Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance is rising, the quality and availability of gluten-free foods is also increasing. There is a wide range of foods readily available now in our supermarkets that have been developed for the gluten-free diet.
As I eat gluten-free, I tend to prepare my whole family a gluten-free dinner. Afterall ........ everybody can eat gluten-free food
The first step in cooking gluten-free is thinking about 'can haves' on your diet.
*All fresh plant based foods are gluten-free in their natural state -vegetables, fruits, spices and herbs. Frozen fruit and vegetables can be used too- but be sure they dont have added ingredients that may contain gluten. are gluten-free in their natural state
* All proteins are naturally gluten-free- red meats, chicken and other poultry, pork, fish and all other seafood. Purchase without crumbs, sauces, seasonings and marinades
*Some sliced deli/sandwich meats- check at the time of purchase. Processed meats or seasoned may not be suitable. Ham off the bone or cold sliced chicken meat
*Some ready cooked barbequed chickens- but you do need to check they are suitable. Purchase without stuffing and you do need to be aware of whatever they were cooked or basted with
*Eggs- all eggs are gluten-free
*Cheese- most cheese is suitable without seasonings or added ingredients. Dont buy ready grated/shredded cheese as it usually has additives that may include wheat that are to stop it from clumping
*yogurts- look for plain yogurt or flavoured that states it is gluten-free. Some yogurts are thickened with wheat, particularly the 'diet' or low-fat versions
*margarines- check labelling- you will find some may not be suitable
*Soy milk/ Rice milk/ nut milks- check it is gluten-free suitable
*beans and pulses- all are gluten-free suitable. Check any labelling if it has a marinade or flavor added
*oils- all oils are gluten-free unless they are seasoned or flavoured
*sausages- gluten-free sausages are available (check labelling carefully)
You can see that the easiest dinners are going to be things like a plain meat, chicken or fish that has been cooked by baking, pan-fry in a little oil, grilled/broiled or barbequed. Serve with a salad on the side or boiled or steamed veges.
Use some white or brown rice flour, seasoned with salt and pepper and some dried herbs. Add them to a plastic bag and drop in some chicken pieces. Shake them off and pan cook in a little oil. Steam or microwave some carrots and peas. Now you have a really quick weeknight dinner to prepare.
Toss a steak on the barbeque and cook till done to your liking. Serve with some steamed baby potatoes and a garden salad on the side. Sprinkle over some balsamic vinegar for extra flavor
How about fish and chips? Buy some ready prepared white fish fillets. Wrap into aluminium foil. Seasoned with some salt and pepper. Add in a couple of slices of tomato or onion too if you like. Set you oven to heat. Slice some potatoes (or swett potatoes) into chips or small chunks and place them on an oven tray. Pour some olive oil over the chips and make sure they are evenly covered. Season the chips with some salt/dried herbs of your choice. Put it all in the oven to cook.
(you might even be able to buy ready frozen chips/fries that are suitable)
Stir fry- cut some strips of chicken or beef and a good variety of veges. Stir-fry and add in a gluten-free sauce. My favourite to use is gf soy, honey and some chicken stock. Serve over boiled white or brown rice or with rice noodles. You can even add your noddles into the mix for a one bowl dinner.
Jacket bake some large potatoes and add toppings of your choice. You can add beans for some extra protein
I tend to modify recipes here on the site to suit my gluten-free diet. Most recipes can be made suitable- quick changes and substitutes can easily be done on many recipes here on the site and in your 'regular' cookbooks. Weeknight dinners can be the easiest to modify as they tend to use only small amounts of flour.
Use gluten-free pasta in place of regular pastas. Depending on your supermarket, the same shaped pasta called for in a recipe may not be available as a gluten-free option- but just use what you can buy. Gluten-free pasta tends to overcook fast....so read the directions on the pack and check it doneness a little ahead of time. I tend to remove mine from the water, just short of 'al dente' as it may still soften somewhat.
If a recipe calls for dusting meats in flour- I tend to use a blended gluten-free flour or just plain white or brown rice flour. For extra flavour add in some salt, pepper and herbs or gf seasonings of your choice. I've recently started using sorghum flour and used 50/50 with rice flour adds good browning quality to the flour
A recipe uses breadcrumbs? or dry packaged breadcrumbs? You can use a bought gluten-free crumb or make your own from gluten-free bread. Polenta can be used instead of crumb too. Another option is to use a gluten-free potato chip/crisps finely pounded or gluten-free crackers processed to a crumb.
A recipe calls for noodles- you can use rice noodles from fresh or dried. Use gluten-free pasta instead. Maybe you could use rice as a substitute even. In asian grocery stores you can sometimes find large sheets of gluten-free noodle that you can cut to your desired thickness or they can be used like lasagne sheets in recipes
Making a stir-fry recipe? Be sure you buy gluten-free soy sauce or gluten-free tamari sauce. Lots of other asian style sauces are available as gluten-free options too. Can't buy what you are looking for???- maybe you will find a substitute recipe here on this site.....might even be more economical on your budget too
Where a recipe calls for pastry- you may be able to make a pastry-free version, make a rice based pastry shell, use a purchased gluten-free pastry or make your own gluten-free pastry shell (sometimes a bit time consuming for a weeknight's dinner though).
If a recipe calls for ingredients like cous cous, maybe you could subsitute in cooked rice or quinoa instead.
Corn based tacos are usually gluten-free as are corn torillas. I usually just sub in the corn variety instead of wheat- usually they are just smaller at any rate. Have a try at making your own- there's quite a few recipes here on the site that are suitable. Just use a flat bread in place of the wheat based wraps instead.
If you ar emaking a sald recipe and it calls for using brown/malt vinegar- just use a different kind. All other vinegars are usually gluten-free. Making a recipe and it calls for a bottled dressing- just buy a similar gf version. Maybe you can find a suitable recipe here on the site to use.
Making a recipe that calls for cans of soup to be used as a base? Try making your own soup base- there are quite a few good "cream of soup" substitutes here on Food.com that you can try.
Being gluten-free means thinking outside of the box sometimes. Look for alternatives that you can try and be adventurous in your cooking!
Here's some recipes that I have enjoyed gluten-free from Food.com
Carrot and Golden Raisin (Sultana) Salad
Simple Lime Salad Dressing
Indian Spicy-Sour Chickpeas With Cauliflower
Asparagus With Garlic Butter and Parmesan Cheese
Quick, Fast, and Easy Rice and Veggies for Dining on a $
Cumin Crusted Salmon With Orange Rice Pilaf
Mediterranean Zucchini Fritters With Sensational Yogurt Sauce
Zucchini With Salsa
Healthier Chicken Marsala
Chicken Curry Pie With Sweet Potato
Kieran's Fave Chicken
Oven-Fried Sweet Potato Wedges
Can You Believe It's Oven Roasted Chicken
Grilled Stuffed Chicken Breast (Petti Di Pollo Ripieni)
Tomatoes Roasted With Pesto
Grilled Orange Chicken Breasts
Ohhh so Yummy Chicken Kabobs
Curried Lentil Patties
Oven-Baked Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes With Rosemary
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Skillet Chicken Cutlets With Mushrooms
Parmesan-Crusted Chicken With Arugula Salad
Nutty Red Chicken Stir Fry
Gnocchi Gratin With Chilli Tomato Sauce
Sate Prawns (Shrimp)
Asian Grilled Chicken Salad
Chicken (Or Beef) Satay
Middle Eastern Chicken
Please share some of your favourite gluten-free dinners or side dishes.
Do you have a recipe that you would like some ideas with to become a gluten-free dish?
(this thread was posted to TOTM October 2011 and copied over to this forum)
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