Italian Creamy Pasta and Broccoli Gluten free

Here is a yummy and fairly simple gluten free casserole recipe. It has everything-carbs, dairy, vegetable, and protein, all in one yummy dish!

Gluten free Italian Creamy Pasta and Broccoli

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2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp non-GMO cornstarch
3 cups GF chicken broth (Trader Joes has a gluten free chicken broth that is also organic, if you don’t make your own because this can be hard to find gluten free!)
8 oz package of cream cheese
1-2 Tbsp GF Italian Dressing Mix (I make my own with a mixture of mostly parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, with a little oregano, salt, and pepper. the original recipe calls for celery flakes and thyme but it tastes fine without, as I didn’t have those on hand)
1 chicken breast, cooked
1 box of GF pasta (I prefer the quinoa-corn blend, because the brown rice bran pasta taste is a bit strong)
1 bag frozen broccoli or 1 head of fresh, steamed
mozzarella cheese for topping

1. Cook the chicken (we just cook or grill lots of chicken in strips at a time and keep it in the freezer, so we can always speed up recipes some with this!)

2. Cook the GF pasta.

3. Steam or microwave the broccoli.

4. Mix the seasonings in a small bowl and sit aside.

5. Melt the butter, then add the cornstarch to make a rue. 

6. Then add the chicken broth and bring it to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken.

7. Add the cream cheese and seasonings. Simmer until a creamy consistency.

8. Add the cooked chicken and the broccoli to the creamy sauce.  Mix with the pasta in a 9×11 casserole pan.  Top with mozzarella cheese and bake about 20-30 minutes at 350.

Tips for reheating: add some extra chicken broth to keep the pasta from drying out.

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French toast – yummy gluten free breakfast!

Breakfast is a difficult meal for me to enjoy–with a pork and a gluten allergy, it’s often just eggs or turkey bacon left as wholesome breakfast choices.  I’m experimenting with some gluten free pancake mixes, but GF french toast is even easier and a yummy treat! 

Simply Defrost/toast your choice of gluten free bread (I used Rudi’s soft white this time) and dip in it egg! 

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Cook in a pan with some oil or butter!

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Top with butter or syrup and voila! Yummy, fast, gluten free breakfast.

Taco night, an easy GF dinner

So tonight it was taco night–this is a fairly normal meal that can be made gluten free easily, with just a few careful choices! 

ImageWe cook 100% beef in homemade taco seasoning, as many commercial taco seasonings aren’t gluten free (making your own is easy: just cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and some salt).  Pick hard corn tacos with no gluten ingredients or GF soft tortillas (if you warm them, warm them on parchment paper in the oven to prevent cross contamination)–Kroger’s brand of hard tacos had no questionable ingredients, but isn’t certified Gluten free. 

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We served the taco meat with mexican cheese (most brands use potato or corn starch to keep shredded cheese from sticking together, these are safe–but if a brand lists modified food starch, it wouldn’t necessarily be safe), sour cream (be sure the brand you buy doesn’t have a gluten thickener, like modified food starch–I buy Daisy because it doesn’t), salsa (again, check that it’s gluten free), and lettuce. (Kroger did not compensate me for this review, I just buy store brand ingredients when they are more affordable and safe.)

         So, if you’re trying to come up with some gluten free meal ideas for yourself or friends/family, tacos are an easily place to start!

Mama Melrose Gluten free at Hollywood Studios

This was one of my favorite meals of the entire trip!  I had found out they had gluten free chicken parmesan and therefore had been looking forward to it for some time now!  When we got to the restaurant, we were seated promptly.  The chef came out to discuss my options, and I told him I was hoping for the gluten free chicken parmesan, but I was also allergic to pork and peanuts and that I was hoping for the tomato sauce on the side (I was having some acid issues). Image

The gluten free rolls, (the new GNI brand I believe) were heated fairly well but hardened as they cooled until they were almost inedible. The butter was unsalted and needed salt badly for some flavor.

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The chef was so reassuring, telling me he would need to pan cook the chicken instead of grilling it because the pork is grilled. He apparently then broiled the chicken with the cheese on top, to make it perfectly melted, served on top of very yummy pasta that I would swear wasn’t gluten free if I didn’t know better by not getting sick!
The waitress was not super knowledgeable or attentive, I had to ask for separate butter for my gluten free rolls without being offered it, and she didn’t check on us again after the bread delivery until the end of the meal (someone else delivered our food).

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This restaurant was also quite affordable (at least by Disney standards), with this meal coming in as quite filling at only $18, keeping in mind most fast food choices in the park are at least $10.  Also if you eat at quick service, it typically requires a long wait for allergy needs and doesn’t have air conditioning–which was a MUCH welcome need in a park where almost everything is outside in the heat.  Despite what they try to make you think with this snowman on display around the corner from the restaurant, it was HOT!

(As usual, I was not compensated in any way for my review unfortunately! I would love to be compensated to check out all the lovely Disney gluten free restaurants!  But, these are just my honest thoughts to help others gluten free or with food allergies! It’s also not medical advice.)

Raglan Road Gluten free in Downtown Disney

On our Animal Kingdom day, since we were out of the parks early, we planned to do Downtown Disney. (In addition to some great restaurants, there are some very cool lego statues at the lego store in Downtown Disney, here are just two of them):Legos dragon Legos Snow White

Our dinner plans were at Raglan Road.  Now, I had been dreaming of these gluten free (dairy free also) fish and chips since we found out about it–because even though we’ve made some oven fries or pan fried fish at home since having to be gluten free, I really missed getting these foods out once and a while!

Here’s the outside Raglan Road outside and the inside Raglan Road inside

Overall, their gluten free selection for the main course was decent, but the overall meal was less than impressive after Disney.  At first it was disappointing that there was no GF bread or rolls to have!  Like most people who are gluten free, normally I am used to not having bread when others do, but after so many days of enjoying it at Disney, I had gotten spoiled and was missing it!  But, I was still excited to be able to have fish and chips!  Raglan Road GF fish and chips2

However, it was only one medium piece of fish and fries, for the price ($19)–even at Downtown Disney–I would have expected 2 pieces of fish or 3 smaller ones. Both the fish and the fries were well cooked and it had good flavor (they have a unique batter of chickpea flour and champagne), however I don’t know that it was anything to rave about.  There was also only 1 gluten free dessert–just one lemon mousse type dessert by the waiter’s description and that didn’t sound interesting.  I was surprised and disappointed that since they offer a dedicated gluten free batter and fryer that they don’t do more for bread or desserts!  I would have liked to try the GF onion rings they also offer, but that was too much fried food for one day.

Here are a few more views of Downtown Disney: T-Rex, Rainforest Cafe, and the bar next to Raglan Road, “Hole in the Wall” haha.

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(As usual, I was not compensated in any way for my review unfortunately! I would love to be compensated to check out all the lovely Disney gluten free restaurants!  But, these are just my honest thoughts to help others gluten free or with food allergies! It’s also not medical advice.)

Gluten free on the 4th of July – Cookout Tips

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Independence Day. The 4th of July! For most, a day off to celebrate our nation’s birthday and a reason for cookouts.  (Side note: this is not to overlook those working through this holiday and others: those protecting our country in the military or other emergency personnel–I’ve had those years, but that’s for another day.)  But, if you have gluten intolerance/are celiac, the cookout part gives you reason to pause, even fret!  If you are going to someone else’s, you worry will there be anything you can eat? how much can you bring for yourself and not make the host feel bad? Even if you’re hosting, what about cross contamination of those eating gluten rolls and then handling the food?
 What about if you can have gluten, but a family member or friend can’t? Scroll down to #2 for your tips!

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1.   Well, for me, I try to host so that I know I can have as much control as possible on safe some choices for myself.  I also find, as host or guest that is best to eat as soon as the food is off the grill and get all I want on the first plate, so that the chances of cross contamination are lowest. When I host, I can easily have some gluten free rolls for myself, ensure the hot dogs or hamburgers are gluten free, and at least one hearty gluten free side (baked beans, pasta salad with GF pasta and dressing, etc.), and maybe even a gluten free dessert.  You can suggest easy gluten free sides like fruits or vegetables for others to bring or they can also just bring “normal” unsafe foods and you will still have plenty of options. If you are going to someone else’s cookout, see if you can find out if a meat will be acceptable and if so, just bring your own gluten free buns and a side you can enjoy!
2.   If you have a gluten intolerant family member or friend: if you’re hosting, just ask them what you can have for them or do not be offended if they bring their own things!  If you want to have something safe for them, serve safe choices like 100% beef burgers (turkey and veggie burgers are more likely to be unsafe, check the label on those), plain chicken, or gluten free hot dogs and have foil on hand to grill it in (and don’t touch it with the same spatula!).  Remember sauces,marinades, and seasonings can have gluten, so plain is best if in doubt.  Also, if at all possible, save them the ingredient labels whenever possible, it helps them know if they can have something or not!  If you want to bake something for them, it can be much trickier–you have to use super well cleaned bowl for mixing and then bake it on parchment paper or in cupcake liners!  Sometimes gluten free chips or plain fruits and vegetables are the best safe sides! If you want to have beverages for them, remember most beer and malt beverages are out.  Most sodas are safe, liquors are a bit complicated, but gluten free beer or gluten free hard apple ciders are a good choice.

   Another important thing you can do (as host or guest) is to be careful to not cross contaminate items.  Don’t let the ketchup or mustard tip touch your roll, use a fork to pick up your meat after touching your roll, don’t open your roll where crumbs may fall into another dish.  It can feel like a lot to remember, but it is for the person concerned as well! Do your best and know it’s appreciated. 🙂

I hope this has given you some tips to make the gluten free life easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved!