I do not know when all of the intolerance for gluten has developed, but I am learning about more and more people living a gluten-free lifestyle. Whether that decision is by necessity or by choice, the good news is that there are a lot of gluten-free options and your dinner menu never has to suffer for lack of gluten.
I hosted a dinner party and one of the guests was gluten free. At first, I was worried that the meal would be lacking something or I would have to prepare many different dishes. Not so. Everything was great and we all agreed that the gluten-free bread was the best part. It was even better than regular bread.
Don’t fret if you know someone avoiding gluten. Just take a few minutes and think of all the many alternate foods you can serve. There are so many great options, but always read the labels, as gluten is hidden in many pre-prepared products.
Roasted or Grilled Spatch-cocked Chicken
To spatch-cock or butterfly a whole chicken, simply use heavy duty scissors or poultry shears and cut down either side of the bird’s back removing the spine. Turn the bird over and press down on the breast to flatten out the bird. It should lay pretty flat on the surface.
1 whole chicken, about 3-4 lbs., spatch-cocked or butterflied
1 T. olive oil
Seasoning mixture of garlic salt, rosemary, oregano, parsley, and black pepper (any seasoning combination will work.)
Rinse and dry bird and rub with lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle very generously with seasoning on both sides. Allow the chicken to sit at room temperature for a few minutes while you pre-heat oven to 425 or the grill to medium. If grilling, cook the bird breast side down for about 10 minutes watching for flare-ups. Turn bird over and cook on medium to low heat until internal thermometer reached 150-160 degrees or about 40 minutes. If roasting in the oven, place bird, breast side up in a heavy duty roasting pan and bake for about 45 minutes until internal temperature reached 150-160.
Allow chicken to rest for about 10-15 minutes before carving. Do not tent or cover chicken as this will soften the crispy skin.
Roasted or Grilled Vegetables with Quinoa
Quinoa is an ancient gluten-free grain that has a delicious nutty flavor. You can buy it in a box and cook it according to the package instructions or you can buy it in bulk, rinse it, and cook it in lightly salted water for about 30 minutes. Drain and toss with the roasted vegetable and Kalamata olive dressing.
To make Kalamata olive vinaigrette:
In a blender or food processor, combine 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 2/3 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Process until thoroughly combined. Set aside or make at least one day ahead.
To roast or grill vegetables:
You can use any vegetables you like for this recipe but these are a few of my favorites. I select several kinds and love a colorful mixture.
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 eggplant, sliced into rounds
1 red or orange bell pepper, cut in large pieces
1 yellow squash, sliced in half lengthwise
1 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
1 red onion, sliced into circles or quartered
Toss vegetables with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and grill on high or roast in a pre-heated 450 degree oven until all are slightly charred and cooked to al’dente. Chop vegetables and toss with cooked quinoa and the Kalamata olive vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Mustard – Dill Vinaigrette
This is a delicious and fresh salad dressing. Many store bought dressings will have gluten added.
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 T. fresh dill chopped or 1 tbsp. dried
3 T. Dijon mustard
2 cloves, garlic pressed
2 teaspoon sugar.
Combine all ingredients above and then slowly whisk in 1 ½ cups of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve over your favorite salad greens.
Gluten Free Rolls (or better known in our house as Dominque’s cheese bread)
There is always one recipe that I insist that you make and this is it!! The ingredients might be different but they’re relatively easy to find and it’s very easy to make.
2 ½ cups of tapioca flour
½ cup milk
2 T. oil
1 T. butter
½ T. salt
2 ½ cups of shredded mozzarella cheese or a mixture of mozzarella and Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Measure the tapioca flour in a mixing bowl and set aside. Heat milk, oil, butter, and salt until salt dissolves. Poor hot liquid into bowl with tapioca flour and mix it on medium speed for two minutes. With mixer running, add the cheese and mix for about another 30 seconds. Continue to beat and add the egg. Mix for another 30 seconds and make sure it has a smooth appearance.
Pinch pieces of dough about the size of a golf ball and roll into a ball. Place each on a greased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Bake in a preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes.
Baked Sweet Potatoes
I don’t know why something so simple and obvious can sometimes escape me, but sweet potatoes are gluten-free and are always a great addition. We hosted a large group for Easter lunch and many guests were gluten free. The sweet potatoes were a big hit with adult and kids alike.
Scrub and place sweet potatoes on a foil lined cookie sheet in a preheated 375 degree oven. Roast until they are soft enough to peel, about 45 minutes.
Peel the sweet potatoes and put in a casserole dish. Cover and keep warm. Serve the sweet potatoes plain and allow guests to top with their choice of butter, brown sugar, toasted pecans, marshmallows, whatever is a family favorite.
Rustic Tuscan White Bean and Kale Soup
This is a very hearty soup and is perfect for feeding a large crowd. Double or triple the recipe as needed.
2 t.s olive oil
1 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely diced
2 to 4 cloves of fresh garlic minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 - 15 ounce cans of cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 t. chopped fresh rosemary
2 large bunches of fresh kale, washed, spines removed and roughly chopped
64 ounces chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
In a large stock pot, cook Italian sausage in 2 t.s of olive oil and break sausage into small pieces. Add onions, carrots, celery, and bay leaves. Cook approximately 10 minutes. Add garlic and beans and cook for an additional five minutes. Add kale and cook until it becomes slightly wilted. Add chicken stock and season with salt and pepper and cover with a lid. Gently simmer for about 45 minutes.
Soup tastes better the second day.
Serve with some grated fresh Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and a drizzle of rosemary lemon olive oil.*
* To make rosemary lemon olive oil: combined the zest of one lemon, 1 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, one large rosemary sprig, and 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, sliced. Combine all ingredients in store in the fridge at least three days before serving.
Panna Cotta with fruit sauce
This is a lighter dessert that my children used to call “congealed cream.” It is so yummy and a perfect dessert with a strong cup of coffee.
2 T.s water
1 package or ¼ ounce unflavored powdered gelatin (found near the Jello section)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half and half
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin gently over surface of water. Allow to bloom or rest for about 5 minutes. Do not stir.
Combine cream, half and half, sugar and vanilla in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to cool to 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, microwave the gelatin mixture for about 20-30 seconds or just enough to dissolve gelatin. Whisk gelatin mixture into cream. Pour about ½ cup of mixture into separate ramekins or small glass bowls. Refrigerate overnight to set.
Serve cold with a small amount of fruit sauce on top.
Fresh strawberry or raspberry sauce:
1 pint fresh strawberries or raspberries
¼ cup sugar
2 T.s water
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and puree in a food processor. Strain sauce though a fine mesh sieve. Refrigerate until chilled and ready to serve.