Friday, August 12, 2011

My Favorite Gluten-Free Brands...

So I've recently had a couple of people asking me about eating gluten-free.  I frequently post reviews of foods I've tried, but this time I want to make a list of my favorite go to foods and brands.

Pasta - Tinkyada  hands down!  It can be found in some regular grocery stores and definitely in stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joes.  Follow the directions when cooking.  If you cook it like I do regular pasta by throwing the pasta in the water and then putting on the stove to boil it won't come out right.

Bread - Rudi's Gluten Free.  Do not confuse with Udi's (nasty).  Rudi's Gluten Free is found in the freezer section.  It is a little harder to find.  Some regular grocery stores carry it and I've found that not all Whole Foods carry it either.  When you bring it home keep it in the freezer and toast it when you are ready to use.  It tastes just like regular bread.  If you don't toast it, the bread is very dry and falls apart easily.

Flour Mix - King Arthur's All Purpose Gluten free flour mix...this is better than having to mix your own flours and makes it much easier to follow regular recipes.

Cake Mix - King Arthur's Chocolate cake...OMG best cake ever and super, super moist.  I think this cake mix is good without frosting on it as well.  This is also a little harder to find in regular grocery stores.  But Whole Foods always has it.

Pretzels - Glutino  I have found this in pretty much any grocery store in the same section as the regular chips and pretzels, but sometimes in the gluten-free section.  Tastes just like regular pretzels.  My kids love them.

Crackers - Again, Glutino...The table crackers are a good substitute for saltines.

Pancakes - Gluten-Free Bisquick.  My kids love pancakes made with this mix too.

Pizza Crust - Udi's this time.  They make personal pizza sized crusts.  They are very good.  I think they would also make good bread for homemade paninis.  There are a lot of crust mixes out there, but I haven't tried any of them yet.  I'm lazy.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chicken Fajitas

I love fajitas, but I don't like big chunky peppers.  I also like A LOT of peppers and onions on my fajitas.  I feel like I never get enough  My kids will eat the chicken, but don't like peppers or onions.  To accommodate all of us I decided to get a little creative in the kitchen.

You will need:
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 red bell peppers; very finely chopped
2 medium sweet or yellow onions; very finely chopped
shredded cheddar cheese
fajita seasoning
flour or corn tortillas

The peppers and onions can be chopped ahead of time. Raw peppers and onions also freeze well.  You could chop them up and freeze them in a freezer bag when you have time so they are ready to go when you want fajitas.  Because I have O.C.D., I chop all my vegetables by hand so each piece is the same size and shape.  But, for those of you without O.C.D., a food chopper or food processor also works.

Cook the rice according to package directions.  While the rice is cooking, add the onions and peppers to a skillet with a small amount of oil.

Saute the onions and peppers over medium heat until soft; stirring frequently.  I sauteed mine for about 20 mintues. When the veggies are softened turn up the heat and cook a little longer to get them slightly browned.   Remove veggies from the pan.

I refuse to cook with raw chicken so I start with frozen chicken breasts, boil them, and then cut them up.  I boiled the chicken the night before and then sliced it up right before heating. Yes, I even shred my cheese by hand.

Put the chicken in the same pan you used for the veggies.  Sprinkle fajita seasoning on the chicken (about 1tsp) and heat through.  Obviously if you use raw chicken this step will take longer than it did for me.

Since I can't eat flour tortillas, I also have to fry the corn tortillas.  The man tried the fajitas with both flour and corn tortillas.  He said he couldn't decide which was better, because the tortillas each had different flavors.  If you decide to try corn tortillas you just heat up some oil in another skillet, put a tortilla in for a minute and flip for a minute.  Stack between paper towels to cut out some of the grease.

To serve: lay a tortilla flat on a plate, add a thin layer of white rice, followed by a layer of shredded cheese.  Put desired amount of chicken in the middle of the tortilla and top with the desired amount of the pepper/onion mixture.  Fold in half and enjoy!

If you cook the chicken and chop the veggies before hand and you aren't using minute rice, the rest of the process should be completed in the time it takes to cook the rice.

Celiac Disease SUCKS!

I do not wish Celiac Disease on anyone.  It sucks.  It sucks even more when you don't find out you have it until you're almost 39.

I will say there are a lot of tasty alternatives for gluten containing food.  For the most part, I have embraced my new wheat free lifestyle.  But, every now and then, I really want to eat "real" food.  For instance when the kids are eating pizza from Pizza Hut.  I can't just grab a slice and go.  If I want to eat at a restaurant I have to send the waitress to the kitchen with a list of items from the menu to find out if they contain gluten or not.  Sometimes I can find the allergen menu online and check it out before hand.

You'd be surprised how many odd things have wheat/gluten in them.  For instance, I bought some fajita seasoning today.  Guess what?  It has wheat in it.  Regular nacho cheese flavored Doritos? Yep, wheat in them too.

I do occasionally eat a piece of regular cake or half the bun on my burger from McDonald's.  I do not tempt fate very often.   I tried that once.  It almost killed me and landed me in the hospital for four days.

So, the next time you go to a cookout and you're eating your hot dog on a bun consider yourself privileged.