Celiac: How to Make Gluten Free Chowmein and other available gluten free foods
Gluten free! Some are choosing to be gluten free others are forced into it. According to Webster.com gluten is "a tenacious elastic protein substance especially of wheat flour that gives cohesiveness to dough."
Celiacs by the way are people who are officially diagnosed with the autoimmune celiac disease. Eating anything containing gluten causes the small intestine to become irritated and causes the villi (small hair like substances) in the small intestine to lie down. If they are laying down they are not doing their job which is to distribute nourishment and vitamins throughout the rest of the body. Celiac symptoms can manifest as diarrhea, abdominal pain, excessive gas, cramps, constipation, vomiting, depression, skin rashes, and the list goes on. If you get the idea this disease is hard to pinpoint then I'm making my point. Once it is diagnosed, however, there is no more gluten. It must be cut out of the diet completely or symptoms return and the risk of cancer returns with them.
Good News for Celiacs
The good news for Celiacs is that people are now choosing to be gluten free. A choice I never would have made. I miss my bread and pasta too much. However, with more people choosing to be gluten free more gluten free products are appearing on the market. More major companies are introducing gluten free products and more restaurants are adding gluten free items to their menus. I have written about Celiac before in my hub Living With Celiac, How I Cope. I have found the best foods come from people who are celiacs or who have celiacs in their family. They seem to have a more vested interest in the taste.
There are gluten free recipes everywhere and gluten free cook books galore. There is still room for improvement with a lot left to be "made better" but we are well on our way to eating normally without gluten!
Foods and Recipes
Most Health Food Stores carry gluten free products. Some of the best are made by Udi's. Udi makes bread, muffins, and bagels that taste as close to real as you can get. Spaghetti was always a problem with the 'corn' brand tasting more like corn than spaghetti but lucky us, Notta Posta a rice spaghetti made by incredibly enough, Notta Posta, actually tastes like the real thing and now Barilla and Ronzoni also make gluten free pasta. Notta Posta has many recipes including one for Chicken Souvlaki click here to see.
What about bread crumbs? How can you eat all those delicious things coated in bread crumbs? Get OrgraN all purpose rice crumbs or recently 4C Breadcrumbs have recently appeared on grocery shelves. I can personally tell you both are good.
Chebe is a Brazilian bread that is naturally gluten free. Fortunately they make different bread mixes and frozen breads and sell them in the U.S. The cheese bread is delicious! Under the Resources tab on the Chebe website you'll find recipes using their mixes from appetizers to bread machine recipes.
I'm not trying to promote any products per se, but to give you an idea of what's available out there for gluten free. It's hard to mention gluten free without using these wonderful gluten free products.
Of course Celiacs know they can eat plain meats, vegetables, rice and quinoa which is called a whole grain but is really a grain like crop grown most notably in South America . There are a million ways to use quinoa. It is always prepared the same way -- wash in cold water and add 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups boiling water. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 12 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes,and fluff (makes 4 servings.) Once you've done that the fun begins. Since quinoa has a slightly nutty taste and you can do so much with it. First of all, instead of adding to boiling water you can use chicken or beef broth. When it's ready you can add fried peppers and onions or you can add meat and vegetables. The variations are endless and the best part is it is really good for you!
Since quinoa is more nutritious than rice you might want to use it in stuffed peppers. Cut the tops off of some good sized peppers, parbroil them just to soften. Brown some ground sirloin and onion with a little sprinkle of granulated garlic and mix with the cooked quinoa and some tomato sauce to keep the filling moist. Fill the peppers with the meat/quinoa mixture and bake in the oven. Notice I don't give any measurements...that's because I never measure, I just do by eye. To approximate; 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, 4 good sized peppers, 1 lb. of meat, 1/3 cup of onion..these are only approximations.
You can use the OrgraN or 4C Crumbs to coat chicken so you can have Chicken Parm again! Something I've missed. You can coat the boneless chicken breasts with an egg and milk mixture, dip in the rice crumbs and fry in olive or canola oil. I like to bake a few minutes in the oven to insure doneness and lack of oil. Once the breasts are cooked place in an oven safe dish, lightly coated with tomato sauce on the bottom. Place a few tablespoons of sauce on top and cover with as much mozzarella cheese as you like. Bake in a 425 degree oven until the cheese is melted and voila!
Gluten Free Chicken Chowmein
One of my favorites and most missed foods is Chinese food. I make my own Chicken Chowmein.
1. Cook boneless chicken breasts until done - lightly brown in frying pan then boil until thoroughly cooked. After boiling cut into smaller pieces, divide in half and reserve liquid.
2. Wash and clean celery and slice, clean onion and cut into slices. Make sure celery is dry before frying. Lightly cook sliced celery and onions in olive oil until soft.
3. In a large pot mix celery, onions and 1/2 cooked chicken breasts
4. Add Tamari (gluten free soy sauce) for color and taste,
5. Add enough gluten free chicken broth to the liquid you already have to make a good sauce for your chow mein.
6. Add a teaspoon or two of ginger to taste as well. Boil just until well blended.
7. I like to add a can of Progresso French Onion Soup, which is actually beef but it gives the chowmein that authentic taste. It does contain milk though so those that are lactose intolerant may want to omit this step.
6. Once chicken, celery, onions and broth are blended mix corn starch with water and add to mixture. Bring to a boil to thicken sauce and you have home made, gluten free chowmein.
Serve over rice. I like to make large batches to freeze or share with my in-laws.
This is just the very tip of the gluten free iceberg. My daughter makes me a flourless chocolate cake out of chickpeas that is to die for. Search the Internet, look for cookbooks, and you'll find lots of really good stuff to eat, honest.
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- Living with Celiac, How I Cope
Celiac Disease, what is it? What do you do about it? What foods can you eat - what foods will you want to eat?