In the beginning we were at a loss as to how to satisfy our family’s appetites and dietary needs on a gluten-free diet, so we buried ourselves in one cookbook after another and diligently followed recipe directions on preparing daily meals, snacks and desserts. But despite wonderfully illustrated samples and easy-to-follow recipe directions, the end result was not to our liking. Taste was lacking. Chewing consistency wasn’t there. Color was absent. Preparation time was extended and because not all family members needed a gluten free diet, we were out of space trying to maintain two separate kitchens, and separate meals for one became somewhat of a conspicuous event.
Then it dawned on us. Why not simply go with the variety of meals that we prepared before gluten-free was required but substitute ingredients containing gluten with gluten-free ingredients. Would it work? Indeed, it did and so successful has the conversion been that we would like to share these recipes with everyone who has a gluten-free need.
Here at GF Home Cooking.com you’ll find home style meals. Nothing fancy. You start off with bacon & eggs for breakfast, move on to a hamburger and potato salad for lunch and finish with Ziti w/chicken & broccoli for dinner. Then top it off with a piece of apple pie and ice cream for dessert.
Most important, these meals can be enjoyed by everyone whether Celiac requiring a gluten-free meal or gluten-free by choice. Naturally, all ingredients used in these recipes are gluten-free but you can’t tell the difference between the same meal with gluten or without.
And with many new gluten-free offerings now in the marketplace, we have included some of those as well – just to add to the variety. It’s home style cooking at its best with some top quality, commercially produced products tossed in to offer a more complete, a more satisfying listing of menu items.
So, if you are a beginner, don’t despair. Whether a newlywed, a student, a single who likes to entertain or a Mom or Dad who now needs to learn a new way of doing what you have been doing all along – have confidence and you’ll succeed beyond expectation. Any recipe is a basic starting point. Substitute ingredients to suit your particular tastes or those for whom you are cooking and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to become an expert in gluten-free cooking.
Below is a collection of our Tips and thoughts on what items make it easier to adapt the cooking transition from food & beverage items that contain gluten to gluten-free cooking. While some items are obviously part of your kitchen, others might not be so we would like to share our experience in using basic kitchen items as well as what we try to keep stocked for ready use in our pantry.
We have a GF Pantry page here where we list out details on the items we keep in our Pantry as well and we often post information on our Blog regarding even more specific items so please check those out as well.
Large Refrigerator: Most Gluten-Free items that you will either make on your own or purchase will not have preservatives in the basic recipe so once baked or you open the seal, you will need to refrigerate the item which will crowd what is normally in the fridge so you may even require a second refrigerator. We started with purchasing a small -dorm style refrigerator and it wasn’t long before we ended up with a 2nd full size one in our basement.
While most kitchen refrigerators have a freezer compartment that will accommodate a moderate number of items you may want to consider operating a separate freezer to keep needed items for defrost, ready to use. Extra soups, broths, bread and bagels are examples of what you will need to freeze.
Countertop Toaster: Kitchen space is usually limited but we suggest using two separate toasters if toasting is split between a gluten free diet vs. non-gluten. The risk of cross-contamination by using a 4-slot toaster is what you want to avoid. Counter space is usually at a premium so our initial solution was a toaster oven for gluten-free items, and a smaller 2 slice toaster oven for non-GF. We also found having a Countertop toaster dedicated to just GF items helped us with piece-of-mind for a number of quick dishes.
Microwave Oven: A basic kitchen item that is used frequently. Be sure that when defrosting or heating up a gluten item that the glass tray is wiped before laying on the gluten-free item to avoid cross-contamination.
Storage of gluten free food items: Safe from cross-contamination storage containers need to be used when saving unused gluten free food items. We developed a system where we had color coded containers specific for gluten-free items.
Cutlery Items: Knives, forks, spoons, fry pans, pots, casserole dishes, ladles, tongs, spatula, whisk, cutting board, grater, peeler and all cooking items need to be free from the risk of cross-contamination. We had originally kept separate baking dishes (including pans, pots) but found that it wasn’t necessary as they were well washed anyway in between uses. We do maintain a few dedicated cake and bread pans, but for the most part we use them now interchangeably.
Good luck and let us hear from you. Your comments and input will be more than appreciated.