Monday, June 4, 2012

Gluten-Free is Easy!

RoseBud has been gluten-free since December, due to some health issues she had.  Probably 60% of what we eat as a family is gluten-free because of that.  She's remarkably disciplined and can cook for herself, so if she can't eat or doesn't like what we're having, she makes something else.  She's feeling much better, btw, and can tell if she eats something with gluten in it.

So I've been wondering if going gluten-free would help anyone else in the family.  Specifically, I'm thinking about the boys.  All three of them.  So with the end of school and the advent of summer I'll be regaining control over everyone's diet and I thought we'd all try it.

You all know how I'll never be a famous foodie blogger, but in an effort to show that being gluten-free isn't really all that hard, I thought I'd toss a couple of recipes on the blog.  Heaven knows I don't blog about anything else!

So my theme is that gluten-free eating, at least at home (!!) isn't all that hard.  In most cases, cooking for RoseBud has mainly involved reading labels.  There have been a few minor substitutions I've had to make, but nothing complicated.  I don't go for complicated anyway.

My theory about simple gluten-free eating is that you can't expect to directly substitute for every glutenated (I made that word up!!) food you eat.  If you try, you will often be disappointed.  In other words, if you try to replicate your grandma's 200 year old chocolate chip cookie recipe, it won't work very well.  If you can be happy eating a nicely textured coconut/peanut butter cookie instead, you can, well, be happy!

We happily eat lots of beans, fruit, veggies, meat and eggs here, and not so much bread/pasta/gluten in the first place.  I'll talk some more about that in another post.

Anyway, lots of things are just plain naturally gluten-free and fine to eat without any modification.  Instead of our afternoon go-to snack of graham crackers, Banana Boy made (almost all by himself!) fruit salad and everyone felt happy!

Banana Boy's Fruit Salad

(we are also not so much measurers in this house!)

a handful of grapes
a banana, sliced
an apple, diced
plain yogurt, enough to coat everything
a splash of vanilla
the dregs of the honey jar (about 2 T.)

Mix gently and share with your sisters!

And for dinner (remember, I never said I was a photographer...)

Gluten-Free Taco Lasagna
(My ingredients were home-made (beans cooked from dry, tomatoes & sauce canned from the garden, home-made taco seasoning).  Be sure to check labels of purchased items for gluten-free status)

2 lbs hamburger
1 large onion diced
1 qt tomato sauce
1 pint (14-16 oz) diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 pkt. gluten-free taco seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
3 c. pinto beans

Brown hamburger and onion.  Add remaining ingredients except beans and simmer 20-30 minutes.  Add beans and mix gently.  

More ingredients:
gluten-free corn tortillas (I used Chi-Chi's brand and I used 14 of them)
grated cheddar cheese
black olives
other taco toppings as you like

Spread 1/2 of meat sauce in a 9x13 pan.  Top with gluten-free corn tortillas to cover.  I used 6 in the first layer.  Cover tortillas with grated cheese.  Top with remaining meat sauce, then more tortillas (I used 8 in the top layer), more cheese and black olives.

If I was making this for us at home (It's for a potluck tonight) I'd also top the final layer of cheese with jalapenos.  Bake at 350 until heated through and cheese is slightly browned (30-60 min. depending on if it goes right into the oven after assembly or if it has been refrigerated).  You can sprinkle with other traditional taco toppings after baking like diced raw onion, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, etc.  Serve with sour cream and salsa.

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