With Your Own Gluten Free Recipes, Dinner Is Easy
Try These Easy Gluten Free Dinner Ideas
Our daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease when she was 2 years old. She had been failing to thrive and had developed gastrointestinal problems, a pale skin color, and her hair was thinning when we decided enough was enough. We had been steered towards screening for celiac by our pediatrician, who had little experience with the disease but recognized the symptoms. As soon as we knew what was wrong, we were so relieved that the cure seemed like a breeze. All we had to do was eliminate gluten from her diet. We didn't even worry about finding easy gluten free dinner recipes. But what we thought would be easy turned out to be a nightmare in many ways, but it was worth the effort because she is a happy and healthy teenager today. Along the way we learned how important gluten free recipes and meal ideas are to the gluten free household.
When we were starting out on the gluten free path almost 20 years ago, it was a grim world. Of course we learned the sources of gluten and what was absolutely forbidden, but we also learned that gluten was hidden in many common products. This was before labeling became so allergy-friendly, and there were entire books published with lists of products that were free of gluten. It was easy to see that if we stuck to fresh meats, vegetables, fruits and grains like rice and corn and used them in gluten free recipes, dinner and other meals would not be a problem. But what about bread and pasta, pizza and hamburgers? Many of our favorite foods just disappeared from our table until we learned how to use the substitutes available. Nowadays even Walmart has a gluten free section, so things have really changed.
So if you have seen the importance and accepted the necessity of becoming gluten free, don't despair. Most if not all of your favorite recipes can be converted to easy gluten free dinner ideas if you know how. Let's start with pasta dishes. When we started eating gluten free there were a couple of choices for pasta made from corn or rice, but they were awful - they fell apart and became mush when cooked, and tasted like cardboard. Now there are pastas available that taste and feel every bit as good as those made with wheat. Ready-made gluten free pasta sauces either tomato-based or cheese-based are on your grocer's shelves, and rice bread crumbs and flour can go in your meatball recipe. Spaghetti and meatballs, a fresh green salad with your choice of dressings (homemade is best, but there are many wheat-free alternatives out there), and you've got a pasta meal. I know - the Italian bread is missing, but there are gluten free breads out there that can be turned into garlic bread that's just as good! The moral of the story is that any recipe that calls for pasta is doable with your gluten free pasta as a substitute.
Pizza is a big deal at our house. It was very hard getting over the disappointment in knowing you couldn't get delivery pizza free of gluten, but you can make your own and get very close. First of all, there are frozen crusts available that are very good, and using your own sauce, cheeses and toppings you have an excellent pie made at home. You can also use any of the numerous box crust mixes, or make your own from scratch. There are even major pizza chains that are making gluten free pizzas, so someday the dream of having one delivered to your door may come true.
The idea of simply substituting gluten-free items in recipes has worked for us. Of course you also have to be careful that other ingredients are free from the grain. But there are so many resources available to help, and so many gluten free products as well, that making up your own easy gluten free recipes that are healthy eating for the gluten intolerant is truly a breeze.