Monday, December 31, 2012

Baked Potato Night

Baked potatoes are one of the easiest gluten free dinners.  Throw them in the oven, add your favorite toppings, and dinner is served.  They are also an easy way to make everyone happy because each family member can make their own potato creation.  My kids' favorite is a baked potato with salsa, black beans, and cheese.

At a loss for how to top your potato or just want to try something new.  Check out this page with 101 Best Baked Potato Toppings.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gluten Free Tuna Mac

Last night I needed to make a quick dinner, and I didn't have much available.  I was also exhausted, so the thought of dragging three kids to the store or even trying to go out to eat with both a toddler and a preschooler was unbearable.  Therefore, I had to get creative and use what I had.  As far as protein, a can of tuna was the only thing not frozen.  Not the most exciting item for sure, but I managed to make it work.  I cooked a box of DeBoles Gluten Free Corn Elbow Style Pasta , drained it, and then added in a large can of tuna drained, some frozen peas (about 1 cup), some shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 cup), and a can of Progressive Cream of Mushroom Soup.  I just cooked the mixture a couple of minutes to melt the cheese and warm up the soup.  Voila, Gluten Free Tuna Mac!  Everyone liked it, and two of the kids even had seconds.

If you haven't already, check out the Progressive Soup at your local grocery store.  Several of their soups including the mushroom soup are labeled gluten free.  Make sure to check the back of the can.  While some of them are clearly labeled gluten free on the front, others only have the gluten free label on the back of the can near the ingredient list.  We also like the Traditional Chicken and Rice with Vegetables which is a nice chicken and noodle soup substitute to have on hand for days when little ones are feeling sick.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Gluten Free Oatmeal Rasin Cookies

I experimented with converting my old favorite oatmeal cookie recipe to gluten free today.  I used to just make the "Family Favorite Oatmeal Cookies" recipe from the back of the Meijer brand quick oats.  With just a few changes, I was able to recreate these as a gluten free cookie.  They turned out crispy on the outside, but still soft on the inside.  I have also found that my cookies typically turn out much better when I bake them on an AirBake Insulated Cookie Sheet oatmeal cookies. Here's my gluten-free version:

1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp GF vanilla
1 cup GF oat flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 corn starch
1 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups GF oats
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease cookie sheet.  Beat shortening and sugar until creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.  In a separate bowl, whisk together oat flour, potato starch, corn starch, xantham gum, baking soda, and soda to mix well.  Combine wet and dry ingredients. Stir in oats and raisins. Chill dough for 10-15 minutes. Using rounded tablespoons, roll into balls.  Place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet.  Flatten with fork.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let stand for a couple of minutes before removing to racks to cool.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Breakfast in a Jiffy Please

I must admit that I am not a morning person, so cooking breakfast on early weekday mornings for the kids is just not going to happen.  My kids are also not the best breakfast eaters, so I just do my best in my zombie-like state to get something in them.  Their breakfasts are not too unusual for small kids, but I thought that I'd share our gluten free twist on breakfast.  Breakfast usually includes milk or yogurt, fruit, and some type of grain.


My daughter drinks soy milk every morning which is nice because I know that she's at least getting some protein.  Her little brother doesn't drink milk very well, so I typically feed him a GoGurt Simple yogurt.  I discovered this morning that I could sneak his antibiotics in with the yogurt with no complaints too.


We buy berries in bulk at Costco, so the kids typically have a handful of blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries with their breakfast.  Some mornings they have a "chocolate banana" which is just a banana with some Nutella.  I also keep squeezable applesauce on hand which my kid's love.

Squeezable Applesauce


Crunchmaster Crackers
Sun Butter
My daughter's favorite is to have some leftover homemade bread with nutella for breakfast.  See my post about our favorite bread (Gluten Free Bread).  Otherwise, she might have some Crunchmaster crackers with SunButter.  My oldest has a severe peanut allergy, so my little ones can't eat peanut butter due to the risk of accidentally exposing their brother to it.  He has no desire to eat anything resembling peanut butter, but the little kids love Sun Butter.

I also keep a few different types of dry cereal on hand.  Here's some of our favorites.

As a special treat, my kid's also like Van's gluten free waffles.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gluten Free Salmon Potato Patties

We don't typically eat much fish, but I'm trying to broaden our diet a bit so I tried something new tonight.  I looked through a few recipes for inspiration and came up with this combination based mostly on what I had available.  I will count this as a hit since all three kids ate some.  It took a little bribing with my daughter, but eventually she tried the salmon patties and decided they were pretty good.  The bribing involved getting her watermelon for dessert, so I count it as a big win.  This recipe makes eight patties which was the perfect amount for my family of five. The little kids each ate one patty, and my teenager, husband, and I each had two.

Salmon Potato Patties
1 small onion
handful of baby carrots
olive oil
2 cups prepared mashed potatoes (I used some ready-made, but leftovers would also work well)
1 egg
2 - 6 oz. cans of pink salmon
2 tbs corn starch

Finely chop the onion and carrots.  I used a food chopper to get the onions very small so that my kids couldn't see the onions; otherwise, they would protest and refuse to eat it.

Next saute the onions and carrots with a little bit of olive oil until the onions start to caramelize and the carrots soften. 

Then drain the salmon and empty it into a medium sized bowl. Mix in the onion/carrots, mashed potatoes, egg and corn starch.

Form the mixture into 8 patties and cook in a skillet with some olive oil for approximately 5 minutes on each side. I just used the same skillet that I used to saute the onions and carrots.

I served the patties with some peas.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Favorite Gluten Free Pastas

Whenever I ask my kids what they want for dinner, they respond in unison "Pasta!"  For a while, I always made separate gluten free pasta for my daughter and regular pasta for the rest of the family because nobody else liked the gluten free pasta.  However, over time we found a few gluten free pastas that everyone likes which has greatly simplified things for me.

Dave's Butternut Squash Sauce
My family's absolute favorite pasta is from a local business that specializes in handcrafted gourmet pasta, Your Family's Pasta - Gourmet Pastas.  If you happen to live in the Indianapolis area, they sell their pasta at the Noblesville, Fishers, and Westfield farmer's market.  You can also order from them online and have it shipped directly to you.  We love both the gluten free Veggie Curls and Pagoda.  I serve this with Prego traditional sauce,  Dave's Butternut Squash Sauce, or even just some Parmesan cheese and butter.  Believe it or not, my kids actually prefer the "squash sauce" and request it specifically.

Corn Elbow Style Pasta
My family also likes DeBoles Corn Elbow Style pasta.  I like to use this pasta for chilli mac.  I just make my chilli with kidney beans, tomato sauce, ground beef, and onions and serve it over the corn pasta sprinkled with cheddar cheese.  Sometimes I also make a mexican style goulash with it.  I brown a pound of ground beef with a small, chopped onion, and add taco seasoning, a can of black beans, and crushed tomatoes and serve this over the pasta with some cheese and sour cream.

 Nature's Earthly Choice Quinoa Pasta blend from Costco is a great penne pasta.  It is a corn, rice, and quinoa blend that cooks with a pleasing texture.

Even with these pastas, you have to follow the cooking instructions carefully; otherwise, they will be mushy.  I have found that it is very important to bring the water to a rapid boil before cooking gluten-free pasta.   A couple of times I have tried to add more water to the pan after I had already added the pasta, and I ended up with a gooey mess and had to throw away the pasta.  You also need to follow the cooking time on the package to make sure that you don't over cook the pasta.  Once the cooking water starts to thicken, the pasta is done.