Gluten-free dinners

Originally published February 9, 2009

Our weird dietary restrictions, this week:

Sawyer’s celiac. Can’t have gluten, ever. Not even a crumb. No dairy, either, and yeah, no soy. 

I cheat and let him have fries and such that are fried with soybean oil once in a while or we’d never be able to eat out. But “real” soy, like tofu or fake sour cream, is off the menu. It does disturbing, odd things to him, best saved for a later story.

Sander’s gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, too. He’s not celiac. Don’t know what he is. He was autistic, now he isn’t. But if you take him off of this diet, he starts getting all weird again. Not going to do a trial and error thing with him -- my kids are not something where I want the word “error” to be applied...


So, for now, no gluten, dairy, or soy.

Mark wants to stay away from nightshades and sugar, too.


I love Mark, but screw any new dietary restrictions right now. I’m sorry, but I’m going to eat tomatoes and sugar. He can deal.


This, in no particular order, is the kind of stuff we have for dinner on a regular basis.


Keep in mind that we don't eat a lot of meat.  So I've had to get very creative. 

Here goes: I'm trying to have a soup, a pizza and a pasta each week. This covers a lot and prevents me from having to constantly worry about what's for dinner. It's also NOT boring.


Soups can be lentil, bean, gumbo, tomato, chicken tortilla (one of our favorites) or 

French onion (without cheese... Sigh.) 

Vegetable soup (no noodles or barley -- we substitute rice, rice noodles or just put in lots of corn and potatoes.) And corn chowder. Yum. Add coconut milk to make it creamy.

Oh, and potato soup, if you make it without cream. You can use coconut milk here, too.


Pasta -- try Tinkyada or Mrs. Leeper's. It's really not bad -- we like Mrs. Leeper's corn pasta. We don't use a lot of meat, so we just do chopped up tomatoes, summer squash, onions and peppers, but you can do meatballs, sausage, whatever you like. Pasta can be elbows or spaghetti or spirals, with all sorts of sauces and meats.


Pizza is, well, pizza, and it's pretty good. Not as good as "real" pizza, but my kids like it and it's easy. If you’re in Austin, you can buy a good one from Gluten-Free Kneads at Whole Foods. Gluten-free, dairy-free and it tastes good! You can make it with Chebe bread or a store-bought GF crust, topped with tomato sauce and veggies. My son likes the fake cheese sauce that I make on top of it -- you can put on soy cheese if you like it. I think it's pretty disgusting, and the pizza tastes pretty good without it.


So, that's three nights down.


Then there's meat one night, fish one night, sausage one night: For meat, there's hamburgers or veggie burgers (hard to find GF veggie burgers, but they're out there, or make your own), steak, pork loin, BBQ pork chops, and every kind of chicken you can imagine. The only thing you can't do is open a can of soup and dump it over the top.


And, of course, there's sausage. My son loves it, so we have it about once a week. We get soy-free "clean" sausage from Whole Foods, with no nitrites or garbage in it. Cut it up and sauteed with veggies over rice, make jambalaya, have kebabs on the grill, cut it up and mix with peppers and onions on chebe bread rolls. That's four dinners from sausage right there!


Chili. Straight from the package, it's gluten-free. Just make it yourself and read the ingredients. At least two or three brands are gluten-free, and it's an EASY dinner.


Leftovers can include Frito Pie, chili in a baked potato, chili omelettes and chili dogs. OK, I actually try to eat a lot healthier than that, and my kids have no idea what a Frito Pie is, but it's an option if you like stuff like that.


Other than that, meat night is easy. Make the same things you've always made, just modify them a little to be GF, and forget the bread. Have rice instead of pasta, and add lots of veggies.


Fish night's the same. Salmon, any kind of white fish -- make a quick sauce from wheat-free soy sauce, if you can have soy, and from soy-free mayo if you can't, and you're set. But PLEASE buy "clean" fish. There's all sorts of garbage our kids shouldn't be eating in most fish. Buy from Whole Foods, know what you're buying, or skip the fish altogether.


Some nights we do breakfast for dinner: Scrambled eggs, waffles, pancakes.


Some nights we do leftovers.


And some nights we just have almond butter and jelly sandwiches.


This doesn't have to be as complicated as it sounds! If you need more specifics on any of the above, just email me - that's what I’m here for!


Oh, other things I just remembered that we like: Fish tacos, chicken or veggie enchiladas (most canned sauce is GF, but check), and King Ranch chicken (but it's hard to make without dairy... maybe just a chicken and tortilla casserole, if you're new to this.) Barbecue pork chops, Rudy's barbecue... The list goes on!

Food, Gluten-freeMeagan McGovern