When my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac I had no idea what to do. I live in the South where everything comes battered and fried. All the items I kept on hand for quick breakfasts or snacks- like cereal- included gluten. As we tried to adapt, we hit several snags. The non-gluten- free members of the family didn’t like the new gluten free dishes. I regularly got complaints of, “What is this?” And, the cost! Wow! Who knew removing an ingredient could add so much to the price? It gave new meaning to the “whole paycheck” phrase. After several years, I’ve learned to create dishes no one knows is gluten free and how to save money in the process. This week on Gluten Free Fridays we are sharing the easy way to Stock a Gluten Free Kitchen.
How To Stock A Gluten-Free Kitchen
1. Use “naturally gluten free” ingredients. Fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables are gluten free! Chop up veggies and fruits to use as snacks. Some of my favorite ideas:
*Buy extra ripe bananas and freeze them to use for smoothies or in recipes like this Vegan Peach Sherbet. They can also be dipped in melted chocolate to make easy frozen dipped bananas.
*During the summer, buy in season veggies when they are lower cost. You can get great deals at Farmer’s Markets. Add a little seasoning to the veggies, wrap them in aluminum foil and add them to the grill when you are cooking burgers. One of our favorites is this Elote recipe (Mexican Street Corn.)
* When veggies are in season, purchase extra, chop them up and freeze them to have on hand for quick additions to recipes.
2. Use cornstarch. This is a great thickening agent. It can be used in soups, stews, casseroles, puddings and more. I substitute it in my recipes that use flour as a thickening agent. (Note: You can’t substitute cornstarch for flour in baking.)
3. Use Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour. Gluten free baking used to intimidate me. Each recipe called for four to five types of flour plus several different types of thickeners. Then, I discovered the joy of 1 to 1 Baking Flour. It can be used to replace flour in the exact same measurements. If a recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, I substitute 2 cups of 1 to 1 Baking Flour. Not only does it keep my kitchen from becoming cluttered with 5 different types of flours, it is cheaper than purchasing all those flours and mixing them together. Even better, it’s easy to find, unlike some of the other flours. You can usually find it on the same shelf as the flour in grocery stores or big box stores. Use them in recipes like these Gluten Free Tea Cakes.
4. Use Gluten Free Cake Mix. Remember the baking hiatus I just talked about? I thought my kids would never be able to have desserts again. Then, I attended a Gluten-Free Trade show and sat in on a session about saying money when all your groceries had to be gluten free. She suggested using a boxed cake mix. Having tried boxed Gluten Free cake mixes in the past, I knew some brands didn’t meet my cake making standards. Then, she suggested “doctoring” the cake mixes by adding ingredients to make them tastier. I came home and experimented with a cake mix and used it to create my “Basic Vanilla Cake recipe.” No one can tell it’s not gluten free! I also use cake mix in recipes that call for cake mix as toppings, like these Lemon Raspberry Gooey Cake Bars, or to make Cake like cookies.
5. Use Gluten Free Baking Mix. Think you will never have quick bread, pancakes, waffles or muffins again? The Gluten Free Baking Mix is the answer. It can be substituted in recipes that call for Bisquick, although the texture is a little denser than traditional recipes. I usually swap it out on an equal basis. For example, if a recipe calls for one cup of Baking mix, I substitute one cup of Gluten Free Baking Mix. It’s also easy to find, usually located near the traditional baking mixes and Bisquick.
These are the ingredients that are must-haves in my Gluten Free Kitchen. They’ve made cooking so much easier; saving me time, space and money! If you are just getting started in the Gluten Free lifestyle, this is a good start as you build your supplies.
What is your Must Have Item you always keep stocked in your Gluten Free Kitchen?