Monday, August 16, 2010

Gluten Free Restaurants

Being GF/LF is actually pretty easy as long as I eat at home. Eating out is a completely different story. I have no control over how the food is prepared. Does it have added butter? Do the spices contain a wheat or milk ingredient? Because most people don't realize that wheat is often a hidden ingredient, they think of wheat as being confined to bread or pasta. The fact is that it can be found in any natural or artificial color...or flavor. It is often found in marinades, spices, condiments and salad dressings. Eating out can be a stressful situation.

Before you eat out, plan on making some phone calls. Pick a time when the restaurant is more at rest (2-3pm). Ask to speak to a manager. Begin by asking if the restaurant has an allergen list. Wheat and lactose are two of the nine major allergens and many restaurants will have information on them. If this list is available, you should be able to make a determination on food items. The next issue you will have to deal with is cross-contamination. That is extremely difficult to avoid in a restaurant environment. How are cooking utensils washed between preparing entrees? If you are having a hamburger (less the bun), is the meat prepared on a surface where gluten/lactose containing items are also prepared? There are a lot of questions to ask and the fact will be taking a risk.

I am in the process of compiling a list of restaurant chains that offer GF/LF selections. It is slow going because we only eat out several times/month (if that many). I will update this list periodically.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries
(go here for allergy information) - I was thrilled to find that the burgers (without bun) and fries at Five Guys are GF/LF. The burgers do not contain any added spices and the fries are prepared in oil that only cooks fries. Double check with the location nearest you to make sure that the buns are indeed prepared on a separate grill. This greatly reduces the chance of cross-contamination.

Olive Garden (go here for GF menu) - Olive Garden offers several GF items, including penne pasta with marinara and several grilled items served with vegetables. I enjoyed the mixed grill yesterday although I'm not convinced that the roasted potatoes that were served as a side didn't have Parmesan cheese on them. As always double check with the server or manager.

Outback Steakhouse (go here to check out an extensive GF menu) - If you are lactose intolerant, you will want to double check on many of these items.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lactose Free Orange Julius

I was checking out recipes at Tammy's Recipes and came across this one. It looks delicious...we'll be trying this tomorrow night during our family movie night.

Lactose Free Orange Julius

3 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup soy or almond milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 banana, optional
6 regular-sized ice cubes (or until desired consistency)

Blend together orange juice concentrate, milk, water, sugar, vanilla, and banana (if using) for 1 minute. Add ice cubes, one at a time, blending after each one until smooth.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Salmon Croquettes

Salmon Croquettes

1 can salmon, drained and big bones removed
1/2 bell pepper, minced
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 egg
1/2 cup crushed corn ships
2 tbsp. canola oil

Mix first five ingredients and form into patties. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook croquettes until browned on both sides. Allow to cool briefly on paper towel to remove excess grease.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

I was certain that I had accidentally thrown this recipe away and was thrilled to find it tucked back in a drawer. Since eliminating gluten and lactose, there are a few foods that I really miss...chicken enchiladas are one of those foods. These enchiladas are not only delicious, but safe for celiacs and those with lactose intolerance. I'm making these tomorrow!!!

Chicken Enchiladas

salt and pepper
3 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded
2 tbsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 small can green chiles
1 can (14.5 oz) GF chicken broth (or homemade)
8 corn tortillas
1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add cornstarch, cumin and chiles; cook, whisking, 1 minute. Whisk in broth and 1/2 cup water; bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook, whisking occasionally until sauce has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken to sauce, combine.

Pour 1/4 cup of sauce into bottom of 8 inch square baking dish; set aside. Stack tortillas and wrap in a double layer of damp paper towels; microwave until hot, about 1 minute. Fill each tortilla with chicken mixture; roll up tightly and arrange, seam side down, in baking dish. Cover with remaining sauce and top with cheese.

Bake in 400 degree oven until hot and bubbling, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

(Another option is to prepare layered enchiladas. After pouring 1/4 cup of sauce into baking dish, layer tortillas and sauce (repeating and ending with sauce on top). This method will require more tortillas. Bake as instructed above.)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wild Rice with Mushrooms

We haven't tried this recipe yet, but it is part of the weeks menu. Since dropping gluten containing foods, rice has become an important part of our diet. We eat one serving almost every single day. I like to make several servings ahead of time to use in future recipes. It reheats well in a skillet and cuts down on the number of dishes to be washed each night.

Wild Rice with Mushrooms

1 cup wild rice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Cook the wild rice according to package directions (I like to prepare mine in chicken stock). Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned, 10-15 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in cooked rice. Cook until warmed.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Favorite GF/LF Products

Living gluten/lactose free means reading lots of ingredient lists and making tons of phone inquiries concerning products. While we prepare most of our meals from scratch (it's the safest), there are many *GF/LF products available. Here are some of my favorites (The date in parenthesis indicates the last date of confirmation):

Cabot brand extra sharp cheddar cheese (naturally lactose free) (8/3/10
Chex brand cereals: Rice, Corn, Honey-nut (8/2/10)
Cracker Barrel extra sharp cheddar cheese (naturally lactose free) (8/3/10)
French's classic Worcestershire Sauce (8/2/10 - confirmed by company representative)
Hormel product list (8/7/10)
Kraft products will specifically mention wheat or milk in ingredients list (8/3/10)
Kraft extra sharp cheddar cheese (naturally lactose free) (8/3/10)
Ragu products will specifically mention wheat or milk in ingredients list (8/2/10)
Silk Almond Milk (8/5/10)

* It is important to remember that products sometimes change their formula. Therefore, it is important to check the label each time a processed food is purchased.

Shepherd's Meatloaf

I prepared this main dish for my family last night and it was a huge hit. The meatloaf has a very good flavor and is very easy to make. Next time, I think I will double the recipe and freeze half.

Shepherd's Meatloaf

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 medium potato, cooked and mashed
2 tbsp. diced onion
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 egg

Thoroughly mix all ingredients and form into four equal sized loaves. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Recipe from the Celiac Sprue Association website. The recipe found on the website mentions pressing 1/2 lb of sliced mushrooms into the surface of the meatloaf before cooking. I bet the mushrooms would add a great flavor...I just didn't have any on hand.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Easy Chicken Stock

The main reason that I purchase whole chickens is to make homemade chicken stock. I love the fact that I can control the amount of salt as well as season it according to the recipes I plan on using in the coming weeks. If you have never tried this you really is super easy!!!

Easy Chicken Stock

large, whole chicken carcass
several stalks celery, including leaves
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
several cloves garlic, skin on and halved
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
spices of choice (basil, rosemary, or thyme)

Put the leftover bones and skin from a chicken carcass into a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Add celery, onion, carrots, garlic and spices. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to barely a simmer. Simmer, uncovered for at least 4 hours, occasionally skimming off the foam that comes to the surface. Remove the bones and strain the stock. If making stock for future use in soup you may want to reduce the stock by simmering a few hours longer to make it more concentrated and easier to store.

This stock can be used in any recipe calling for chicken broth. I love to use this broth when preparing rice. It give the rice an excellent flavor!! Freeze in 1 cup portions for easy use.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Super Easy Fried Rice

Easy Fried Rice

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. chopped green onions
1 cup cooked, long grain rice (best if prepared the night before)
1 egg, lightly scrambled

Cook garlic in olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet (12 in.) until soft. Add green onions and long grain rice. Heat, stirring frequently, until rice is warm and slightly browned. Push rice mixture to one side of the skillet. Pour scrambled egg onto the opposite side of the skillet and cook until slightly set. Combine with rice mixture and continue to cook until egg is well set.

Enjoy as a side or with chicken/pork/steamed veggies as a meal. I double this recipe when I prepare it for my family as a side dish. Do not add soy contains gluten.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Incredible Peanut Butter Cookies

Unfortunately, many GF/LF dessert recipes require the purchase of several types of GF flour as well as other interesting ingredients. Well...these simple, yet yummy cookies require ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen. I had my doubts about this recipe, but I think you will agree that these cookies are fabulous!!

Incredible Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg

Combine ingredients. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 20 cookies.

Optional: Add 1/4 cup Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips to batter. These chips do not contain milk, but are produced on equipment that also produces other milk containing items. There is a chance of cross-contamination.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Easy Spanish Rice

This simple concoction can be spooned into taco shells or served over tortilla chips. Finish with fresh avacado, olives, and Cabot sharp cheddar cheese (which happens to be naturally lactose free).

Easy Spanish Rice

1 pound ground chuck
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, crushed
1/2 chopped onion
1-2 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup quick cooking rice, uncooked

Brown ground beef in a large skillet, stirring until it crumbles. Once the beef is well browned, add onion and cook until transparent. Drain and return to skillet. Add tomato and spices, stir well and bring to a boil. Add rice; cover; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until rice is tender.