A month's worth of gluten-free meals, made easy!


Originally published July 19, 2009



OK, this isn’t really EASY. But it’s a lot easier to do all the cooking at once and get it over with.
I’m SO tired of trying to figure out what to have for dinner.
So I thought I’d list the meals we eat over and over again, and how I make a lot of them ahead of time so they’re ready to cook.
Below are 30 meals, in no particular order, that we eat in a given month.
Some are vegan -- some can be made vegetarian. Others are heavy on the meat. It all depends on what’s on sale and what I have in the freezer.
Below the list, I’ll line out how to cook the bulk of this in one day and have it ready to go the rest of the month.
Beef or bean tacos with corn tortillas (meat from the make-ahead night)
Bean soup -- lots of extra veggies
Corn chowder -- made with coconut milk for creaminess
Pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, capers, pecans and olive oil
Meatloaf (from the make-ahead night)
Chicken enchiladas (from the make-ahead night)
Lentil soup (crockpot)
King Ranch chicken (from the make-ahead night)
Fajitas (storebought -- make sure seasonings are GF and use corn tortillas)
French onion soup
Pizza  -- BBQ sauce and chicken
Sausage and peppers
Fish tacos (from the make-ahead night)
Potato soup
Grilled chicken with Thai peanut sauce (from the make-ahead night)
Shrimp marinated in Italian dressing (from the make-ahead night)
Beef stew (crockpot)
Pizza -- whatever meats and sauce you have on hand
Pasta with meatballs (meatballs made ahead)
Sander’s chicken (from the make-ahead night)
Pork tenderloin (from the make-ahead night)
Taco soup
Thai chicken curry over rice
Stir fry veggies over rice
Grilled salmon with rice and veggies
Sausage skewers on the the grill
Pasta with leftover sausage
Egg frittata with whatever leftovers you have
Scrounge night
Chicken cacciatore (from the make-ahead night)
Everything that isn’t made ahead is easy to make on the day of, or to plan ahead that week and have it ready.
If you want to do just a couple of meals, that works, too. If you want to do chicken one day and beef another, fine.
Do what works for you. This is, obviously, a general overview of how to do it. I can’t tell you quantities, because I don’t use them. I can’t tell what kinds of spices, because I change them every time according to what I have on hand.
But if you really need recipes, or this isn’t clear, just let me know and I’ll try to be more specific.
On the day you’re going to cook everything ahead of time, have ready:
Pork tenderloin
Beef stew meat
Ruffles potato chips (trust me on this)
Ground beef
Chicken breasts and thighs
Corn tortillas
Taco seasoning
Enchilada sauce
Peanut butter
GF soy sauce
Coconut milk
GF Italian dressing
Brown sugar
Chopped pecans if you like them
BBQ sauce
Lots and lots of gallon-sized ziploc freezer bags
Regular cooking stuff: Eggs, seasonings you like, canned tomatoes if you like them, carrots and onions, salt and pepper -- whatever you like to cook with. These are, after all, your meals.
I can’t tell you quantities. It’s your family. Do you want to make up six bags of taco meat and that will last your family a month, or will that be a year’s worth and it’s way too much? I do know that if you wrap this stuff well it really won’t go bad for at least two to three months and you probably won’t regret having good meals ready to go.
And you don’t have to do this all on one day -- you could do chicken one weekend, and beef another. But that kind of negates the never having to cook thing, so I do it all at once.
First, the ground beef.
With it, you can make:
Meat for tacos and taco soup
Meat for pizza
Divide into how many portions you want. Make the meatballs and meatloaf the same way: Mix ground beef (and turkey or pork if you like,) with lots of crushed Ruffles potato chips, Italian seasonings, eggs and ketchup until it looks like meatloaf. Make balls out of some, loaves out of some, and freeze in pie pans or on paper plates in ziploc bags uncooked.
When the time comes to eat them, thaw the night before and cook ‘em up.
Take the rest of the ground beef and mix it with taco seasoning (check seasonings to make sure they’re GF.)
It’s your call whether to cook the meat first or freeze it raw. I think it tastes better if you cook it the night you eat it. But it sure is nice to have a couple of bags of taco meat ready to go when your family is hungry.
If you cook it first, leave a bag or two marked for pizza so you’ll have a quick topping.
For tacos, cook the meat and serve in corn tortillas with beans, rice, lettuce and lots of good salsa.
For taco soup, saute the meat, add chicken broth, add frozen or canned corn and a can of tomatoes to the broth, and serve with tortilla chips and salsa.
Next, the chicken, fish, shrimp and pork tenderloins.
Some will be raw and some cooked.
Start a pot of plain rice. You just need a little.
Start some chicken cooking for King Ranch and enchiladas.
Just simmer it in water on the stove until it’s done -- use what you like to eat -- boneless thighs are good, or breasts, or even tenderloins. Use what you like.
While that’s cooking, make up a bunch of quick dinners.
These are EASY.
Take as many pieces of chicken as you need for one meal for your family and put them in a ziploc.
Add a sauce.
You’re done.
Teriyaki: GF soy sauce, honey,  a little lemon juice
Italian: Pour GF Italian dressing over it
Thai peanut: Mix some peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce and a splash of hot sauce. Add a little sugar or honey, too. Use as much as you need to make it taste good, or look up a good recipe -- I just make it up as I go.
Any of the expensive sweet/hot sauces they sell at Whole Foods and HEB: Mango/Habanero or Apricot Brandy, etc. 
Barbecue sauce (Make sure it’s GF)
Label them and freeze as is.
Do the same with the shrimp and the pork tenderloin.
The pork is good with herbs and honey and mustard, or with the teriyaki or Italian sauces.
The shrimp is amazing with the Italian dressing. Or do two and do one with herbs, lemon juice and fake butter or some olive oil.
For the fish: You’re going to use it for fish tacos. Rub taco seasoning on it, put it in a ziploc and freeze. Do a salmon with herbs on top, and maybe honey or a teriyaki marinade, if you like.
Freeze them all uncooked.
When you’re ready to eat, thaw the night before.
All of these are good on the grill or in the oven -- the shrimp can go on the stovetop in a skillet.
For the fish, cook in a skillet or in the oven, flake and serve in corn tortillas with cabbage and salsa, or with a homemade tartar sauce -- use GF mayo and pickles.
For the salmon, simply cook the way you normally would: Under the broiler or in a pan.
Serve everything else with rice, potatoes or GF pasta. If you want to save the sauce when you cook it, make sure to heat the sauce with the chicken so it’s cooked through.
Sander’s chicken:
Take as many breasts as you have people in your family. Pound them flat with a mallet, a tin can, or whatever you have that will work and not damage the breast.
Wrap a little of the rice you just made (season it first,) inside the breast.
Roll it up, and sprinkle on mustard, brown sugar and some pecans if you like them.
Put as many as you like in one pie pan for one meal, and make as many meals as you like.
Put in a ziploc and freeze, uncooked.
Simply thaw and bake when ready to serve.
Chicken enchiladas:
Use the cooked chicken (if  you’re really lazy or in a time crunch, use a roasted chicken from the market. Just make sure it’s GF.)
Shred it, mix with GF enchilada sauce -- easy to make your own, or use store-bought. The best brand is at Sun Harvest, by Frontera. Really good!
Take the saucy chicken, roll it up in corn tortillas that you’ve warmed in the microwave a few seconds to soften, and put in a pan. Pour more sauce over the top.
Freeze a whole set for dinner. We put 12 in a pan for four people.
Really good with beans, rice, salsa and fake sour cream.
King Ranch chicken:
Basically, you’re making a lasagna with corn tortillas and salsa.
The hard part is that you need a GF white sauce.
Here’s how to do it:
In a large skillet, melt some oil or shortening. Mix in a couple tablespoons of rice flour or any GF flour blend. Stir until all the flour is absorbed -- add more oil if you need it.
Slowly add in some chicken stock, stirring the entire time, until you have a thick sauce. Salt and pepper liberally, or it won’t taste good.
In a casserole dish that can freeze: Make a layered dish with tortillas on the bottom, then some chicken, some white sauce, and some salsa or Rotel.
More corn tortillas, and repeat.
Finish with corn tortillas, a little white sauce and Rotel or salsa on top.
Make three or four of these. It’s a pain in the neck to make, and it’s silly to make just one.
And let me tell you: If you can have cheese, this is one of those dishes where it makes a difference. Add it, liberally.
If, like us, you can’t have it: Add salsa and fake sour cream when you eat it and pretend it’s nice and cheesy.
So, that takes care of beef or bean tacos, meatloaf, King Ranch chicken, fish tacos, chicken cacciatore, chicken with Thai sauce (or whatever sauce,) marinated shrimp, taco soup, pork tenderloin, Sander’s chicken and meatballs. 
The rest is stuff that’s crockpot or easy to make in one night:
Corn chowder -- made with coconut milk for creaminess
French onion soup
Potato soup
Pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, capers, pecans and olive oil
Pasta with leftover sausage
Pizza  -- BBQ sauce and chicken
Pizza -- whatever meats and sauce you have on hand
Beef stew
Bean soup -- lots of extra veggies
Lentil soup
Sausage and other quick meals:
Sausage and peppers
Thai chicken curry over rice (just chicken and store-bought curry paste, with veggies and coconut milk)
Stir fry veggies over rice (just a GF teriyaki sauce, veggies and rice)
Sausage skewers on the the grill
Fajitas (storebought -- make sure seasonings are GF and use corn tortillas)
Egg frittata with whatever leftovers you have
Scrounge night
Do you need recipes for these? I mostly wing it, but I’ve been cooking GF a long time.
If you need recipes, let me know and I’ll post them later this week -- this is just to everyone started with some ideas, so we’re not all stuck in a rut over what to eat!