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Cheap, Easy, Gluten-Free Recipes

Updated on January 4, 2014

Tasty Gluten Free Dinners

You'll forget you're eating gluten free with these super simple and tasty meals. Too many times we feel cheated when we look in the cupboard and see all the foods we can't eat. With a little research, and a lot of help from this lens, you can fix meals that satisfy your hunger. What are you in the mood for? Mexican? Italian? What about good old Comfort Food? You don't have to have cheerless, uninspired meals just because you can't have bread or crackers or pasta anymore! Read on for some tasty tips and sensible meal plans that not only will make you happy, but your family will enjoy too. They won't even notice that you have effectively removed gluten from their evening meal.

Gluten Free Basics

The Least You Need to Know About Gluten

If you're here, you probably already know all about gluten, but just in case you are one of the unlucky few who developed a gluten-intolerance, and can no longer enjoy the foods you once loved, here is an overview.

Gluten is like the glue that holds many baked goods together. It is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Any flours derived from these grains will have gluten in them! What are some foods made with wheat flour? It seems like ALL of them!

Flour tortillas, wheat and white bread, Twinkies, pretzels, graham crackers, pastas, cookies, cakes, brownies, pie crust, Bisquick and so on and so forth. It's discouraging when you think about it!

GF Meals You Can Make and ENJOY - Cooking GF Meals Isn't Impossible!

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Seasoned meat, such as ribs, served with mashed potatoes and greens with a light vinaigrette is completely gluten-free, and oh so delicious.Soup is a little bit tricky. If you're avoiding ALL forms of gluten, you can't use some bouillons. You'll have to use chicken stock instead.Mexican food is God's gift to those suffering gluten intolerance. Corn tortillas stuffed with cheese, chicken, onions and smothered in enchilada sauceGrilled seasoned shrimp with a Greek salad. Toss the greens with feta cheese and an oily Greek dressing. Scrumptious!Adding beans to your taco meat will bulk up your meal and add fiber and texture as well. Plus, beans are filling and tasty.
Seasoned meat, such as ribs, served with mashed potatoes and greens with a light vinaigrette is completely gluten-free, and oh so delicious.
Seasoned meat, such as ribs, served with mashed potatoes and greens with a light vinaigrette is completely gluten-free, and oh so delicious.
Soup is a little bit tricky. If you're avoiding ALL forms of gluten, you can't use some bouillons. You'll have to use chicken stock instead.
Soup is a little bit tricky. If you're avoiding ALL forms of gluten, you can't use some bouillons. You'll have to use chicken stock instead.
Mexican food is God's gift to those suffering gluten intolerance. Corn tortillas stuffed with cheese, chicken, onions and smothered in enchilada sauce
Mexican food is God's gift to those suffering gluten intolerance. Corn tortillas stuffed with cheese, chicken, onions and smothered in enchilada sauce
Grilled seasoned shrimp with a Greek salad. Toss the greens with feta cheese and an oily Greek dressing. Scrumptious!
Grilled seasoned shrimp with a Greek salad. Toss the greens with feta cheese and an oily Greek dressing. Scrumptious!
Adding beans to your taco meat will bulk up your meal and add fiber and texture as well. Plus, beans are filling and tasty.
Adding beans to your taco meat will bulk up your meal and add fiber and texture as well. Plus, beans are filling and tasty.

Foods to Avoid When Avoiding Gluten - You Can Read Ingredient Labels, But Here is a Basic Rundown

At first glance, it seems like once you're avoiding gluten, you won't ever be able to enjoy meals again. We'll remedy that in the next section.

  • Bread, Wheat and White
  • Pretzels
  • Crackers
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Biscuits
  • Rolls
  • Cookies
  • Cake, Cupcakes
  • Snack Cakes
  • Pastas, Spaghetti, Lasagna, Rotini, Macaroni etc.

Books to Help - Supplement Your Cookbook Selection

Try these titles

5 Days to 5 Pounds Gone: Your Guide to the Easiest Weight Loss
5 Days to 5 Pounds Gone: Your Guide to the Easiest Weight Loss

I actually lost five pounds following the guidelines in this book!

 
Taco Night, Flour for the rest
Taco Night, Flour for the rest

The Recipes

Typical Sit-Down Dinners That Also Happen to Be Gluten Free

Mexican Meal

corn tortillas, warmed and soft, OR crispy taco shells, OR crispy tostada shells, OR crushed corn tortilla chips

2 cups shredded cheese

shredded lettuce

chopped tomatoes and onions

seasoned ground beef with beans (kidney or black)

sour cream and guacamole for garnish, as well as salsa or taco sauce

lime juice

Everyone fills their taco with desired ingredients and eats until full! The lime juice works as a natural flavor enhancer. My husband loves to crush chips and make a huge taco salad. If I eat it this way, I like some Ranch dressing!

Add some black beans too
Add some black beans too

Authentic Tortilla Soup

Don't Forget the Avocados

This is my favorite recipe of all time. If I had a corn intolerance, I don't know what I would do.

3 medium tomatoes

6 cups of chicken stock

1/2 onion

1/4 cup oil (olive or canola is fine)

1 tablespoon cumin

salt to taste

fried tortilla strips

avocado, sour cream, shredded cheese for garnish

The trick is to char your veggies first. Halve the tomatoes, put with onion under broiler under black. Peel black layer off, throw tomatoes and onion into blender along with 1/4 cup of oil and cumin. Whir until pureed. Pour tomato mixture into simmering chicken stock and season. Serve over tortilla strips. You can add the avocado directly to the soup if you want, or garnish later.

It's just waiting for bacon...
It's just waiting for bacon...

Baked Potatoes

With All the Fixin's

Baked potatoes

For toppings:

sour cream

scallions

crumbled bacon

shredded cheese

steamed broccoli

cheese sauce (check for gluten content or make your own)

chopped ham

Load up and enjoy! You forgot how easy it is to do this, didn't you?

Tangy juice with mild cheese
Tangy juice with mild cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

Wait a Minute...I Thought We Were Avoiding Pastas?

Sometimes you just gotta eat mac and cheese! You can still have it. Purchase a box of quinoa pasta. It is gluten free. It cooks up a little al dente, but works great. You don't have to get macaroni shape noodles, either, you can get shells or whatever. Then you need to make a roux. But not with wheat/white flour!

Roux:

1 Tablespoon of a brown rice/tapioca rice flour

1 Tablespoon butter or margarine

1 Cup of milk

Melt butter and add flour. Whisk briskly and add gently warmed milk to the paste.

Cheese sauce:

Add shredded cheese to the base sauce. You may need as much as two cups to get a good flavor.

Pour cheese sauce over cooked noodles and enjoy. Serve with a green salad and cranberry juice for nice color.

Toppings, toppings, toppings
Toppings, toppings, toppings

Hawaiin Haystacks

Perfect for families: everyone can add what they want!

Cooked rice, enough for your family

Chicken sauce: canned chicken breast, or leftover cooked chicken. Make a roux then add one cup of chicken stock. Cook until thick, add the chicken.

Toppings:

coconut

cheese

scallions

chopped tomatoes

chopped olives

chopped nuts

pineapple

chopped onions or celery

raisins

Serve rice with chicken sauce, then top to your liking. So satisfying!

Gluten Free Foods for Your Kitchen - These Are All Brands I Have Tried and LOVE

Macaroni and Cheese, pretzels, sandwich bread...all things I thought I'd lost forever. Search no more...

Udi's Gluten-Free White Sandwich Bread, 12 Ounce
Udi's Gluten-Free White Sandwich Bread, 12 Ounce

Find this at your local health food store for less. Or buy a whole case of it and freeze!

 
Glutino Gluten Free Pretzel Twists, 8-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12)
Glutino Gluten Free Pretzel Twists, 8-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12)

I adore these pretzels. I've read reviews, and people who don't have to avoid gluten love these too. They're crispy!

 
Amy's Rice Macaroni & Cheese, Gluten-Free, Organic, 9-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)
Amy's Rice Macaroni & Cheese, Gluten-Free, Organic, 9-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)

Again, you'll want to find this locally, unless you have a deep freeze. This is so good, you won't miss the regular.

 

Find Unique GF Stuff on eBay - I've found things on eBay I never expected to see

Check the different brands known for GF food. You may discover your next favorite meal!

Beautiful Beans

Healthful, Filling and Gluten Free

It might be time to revisit the meals of our grandparents' childhoods.

Beans featured heavily in those days. They are cheap and plentiful, and are so healthful too!

The photo shows a traditional pinto bean pot with bacon. What are some other bean recipes?

Northern beans with ham and carrots

Mixed bean soup or Five bean soup

Red beans and rice

Refried beans and tortillas

Lentil soup with hot dogs

Three bean salad

The cheapest way to prepare beans is to buy them dried, soak them then cook them in pressure cooker or slow cooker. But canned beans aren't exactly expensive, and so pre-cooked beans are the easiest to cook with.

I love to soak my great northern beans (the white ones) then cook them for fifteen minutes in the pressure cooker with some water and dehydrated carrots. I add some cooked ham bits later, as putting salt in the pressure cooker will cause the beans' hard shell to close up and not absorb the water properly. Delicious! And a little goes a long way with beans too.

Lentils are super easy to cook with. They cook up in no time, and they have a lovely flavor without a lot of seasoning. I rinse them and cook them in a pot with canned diced tomatoes, sliced carrots (those take longer to cook to soft), diced onion and some hot dogs. Italian seasoning goes well with this dish.

If you're running out of GF cooking ideas, give beans another look! They're so inexpensive and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Three bean salad for example, presents colorful beans in a tangy cold fashion with a satisfying bite.

Tell me about your favorite GF foods or recipes. If you have learned something new on here, please give me a like or a thumbs up! Thanks for all comments too.

Add Your Fave Recipes or Ingredients Here - Isn't Udi wonderful? I love their blueberry muffins!

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    • VictoriaHolt profile image
      Author

      VictoriaHolt 3 years ago

      @Lynn Klobuchar: Agreed! Sometimes DH and look at each other and laugh. Otherwise we might start crying!

    • Lynn Klobuchar profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 3 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

      Hi there--

      If you enjoy a browse through a cookbook as much as I do take a look at the review I did on Nicole Hunn's Gluten Free on a Shoestring: Quick and Easy. I am in awe of you as you cook for 6 kids -- I thought 3 was a challenge! I work with students with ASD and am looking so forward to reading your lenses. Humor just makes so many things more manageable.