I know, I know, you’re thinking I’m a madwoman! But actually, eating a gluten-free dinner just isn’t that hard, especially at home.
Entertaining at home in summer is great because of the humble barbecue. I was never a huge fan of barbecues until I started to eat gluten-free food. Just think about it – meat, salads, potato salads. How easy is that? Yes, there are still pasta salads and bread for the sausages, and you do have to be careful of cross-contamination from others using soy sauce or gluten-containing products in their marinades, or salad dressings. But if you’re the one making the potato salad, you can make sure the mayonnaise is gluten-free, and then you’ve got a lovely meal! Here’s a tip about making a potato salad a little healthier – use half mayonnaise and half light sour cream or natural yoghurt. It tastes divine, and is a lighter option. Another great secret? Gluten-free sausages are actually FAR nicer than normal ones, and there is now a huge range readily available at the supermarket. The great thing about barbecues is they’re so quick and easy that you can do them often. I especially like a roast vege salad done on the barbecue – courgettes, eggplant, capsicum and in spring, asparagus with some fresh herbs and a light dressing of oil and lemon juice.
Of course, it’s winter at the moment, so if you’re entertaining at home, another great idea is the roast dinner. This doesn’t need to be an unhealthy option. I think we all know that meat doesn’t need additional fat to roast in – you can use water with a dash of wine and seasonings like garlic and herbs. Kumara and potatoes roast well with oven spray, and you can do a roast vegetable salad (pumpkin, kumara, carrot, parsnip, beetroot) rather than traditional separate roast vegetables. Gravy is very easy to make from scratch. Remove the meat from the roasting dish and place the roasting dish on an element on the stove top (of course, the roasting dish needs to be metal!). To the meat scrapings, add a couple of tablespoons of cornflour or glutinous rice flour and stir through. Use some of the water from any green vegetables you cook and blend all together. Add additional herbs, salt and pepper, or a dash of wine for extra flavour.
A real staple for us, especially in winter, is the use of our crockpot. This is great for casseroles, which we eat with baked or mashed potatoes or rice. This works really well for those evenings when we have people going in multiple directions at once. I often assemble everything in the crockpot the night before and then just turn it on in the morning before work. It’s great coming home to the smell of a casserole! We also use the crockpot to make a very tender corned beef. Add a tablespoon of brown sugar, a tablespoon of white vinegar, a few peppercorns, an onion chopped into quarters and a couple of carrots to the crockpot as well, and cover the beef with water. We eat the corned beef as is with mashed potato, or if we have time, make a corned beef hash with mashed potato and cabbage or spinach and dry-fry it to make a nice crispy top or bottom.
Some other options are nachos, chilli beef and my personal favourite, a curry! Served with rice and poppadums (not all are gluten-free, so check the ingredients, but a lot of them are), this is a great and warming dinner. I also have a nice Moroccan beef (or chicken) recipe which is a staple in our house that we serve on brown rice or quinoa.
I’ve been on the Coeliac Society website a bit recently, and they have added a gluten-free dining out guide. You can choose your region, the type of food you’re looking for and the type of establishment you’re interested in (café, restaurant etc). They’re still building the database at the moment, but it’s going to be a very useful tool for all of us! See the Dining Guide here.
What are your options for easy dinners for the family? I’m always keen to try new things!
Well, I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough this last week! I’m down 10.5kg, have lost 15cm off my waist and 10cm off my hips and bust. I’m certainly starting to notice the difference in terms of my clothes (back into my smaller jeans!) and my knees are feeling a lot better. It’s only taking one person to zip me into my waterpolo togs, which is a nice change from having two daughters squidge me in! I’m about half way to my goal weight, and am finding that it is not too arduous. The whole family is benefiting as well, I think. We’ve always eaten reasonably healthily at home, but I think our portions have been a bit large. Remembering the whole dividing the plate into quarters – one half vegetables, one quarter carbohydrates and one quarter protein – is really helpful!
For those wanting more information on coeliac disease, check out the NZ Coeliac Society website www.coeliac.org.nz.
This blog is the opinion and experiences of its author and should not be taken as medical or dietetic advice. Healthy Food Guide has not verified the content and cannot endorse any advice given. Healthy Food Guide recommends seeking professional health advice for specific complaints or symptoms.