Archive for Salads

Aug
24

Menu Plan for Non-GF Houseguests

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Do you ever struggle to figure out what foods to serve to visiting friends and family who aren’t on a gluten-free diet? You want them to like what you’re serving, but you don’t buy or cook with gluten. Last week we had family come to town to stay with us while they toured the area. We added two adults and two small kids to our meal plans. None of our guests were gluten-free, so I thought I’d share with you what we did for meals.

I tried to fix meals that are naturally gluten-free. I also tried to keep meals simple enough to satisfy the kids‘ taste buds. And some days, we went sightseeing with them and got back late, so we needed meals that were quick to fix. I didn’t cook and bake as much as I wanted to for them. The kids probably wouldn’t appreciate more elaborate meals anyway. Instead, I spent more time catching up with family I don’t get to see very often.

Breakfast Items

  • Cereal – We had a lot of varieties on hand: Koala Crisp, Panda Puffs, Honey Nut Chex, Rice Chex, Cinnamon Chex, Brown Rice Crisps, Brown Rice Crisps with Berries, Cocoa Pebbles, Fruity Pebbles.
  • Waffles
  • Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
  • Yogurt
  • Fruit – blueberries seemed to be the favorite, but we also had bananas, strawberries, cherries, and apples.

Lunch

  • Sandwiches – My cousin bought regular bread for sandwiches, so we had to be careful about cross-contamination. My cousin used a clean spoon to scoop out the peanut butter and jelly to avoid getting bread crumbs in the jars. (Thanks for understanding, Lorie!) And, plates, utensils and preparation area were cleaned thoroughly. For more gluten-free sandwich ideas, check out my post on alternatives for bread.
  • Cheese slices
  • Pepperoni and bologna
  • Hot dogs
  • Crackers
  • Fruit
  • Chips: corn chips, tortilla chips, potato chips

Snacks & Desserts

Dinners

Monday – Boston Market
Yep, we cheated the first evening and picked up food at Boston Market on the way home from afternoon activities. Boston Market is a great place to find gluten-free meals. We ordered a chicken family meal with mashed potatoes, corn, and steamed vegetables. I also got an additional rotisserie chicken to make sure we had enough. (For a limited time, it’s only $1.99 to add on to your order!)  It’s always great to have extra chicken to use in other meals later in the week, too. Check out their menu with gluten content indicated. If you don’t have a Boston Market located near you, check out some of these other restaurants with gluten-free menus.

Tuesday – Flank Steak
Flank steak marinated in a gluten-free soy sauce with ginger, garlic, and molasses was grilled and then thinly sliced. We served it with a tossed salad, corn-on-the-cob, and steak-cut french fries.

Wednesday – Chicken Tacos
Another day out sightseeing, so I put chicken in the slow-cooker in the morning and had Mexican chicken ready when we got home. We quickly heated corn tortillas and crispy shells to serve with chopped lettuce, tomato, onion, black olives, black beans, and shredded cheese.

Thursday – Bonefish Grill
Our family visitors generously offered to take us out for dinner. We talked about local restaurants that have gluten-free menus and they decided to try Bonefish Grill, since it was new to them. It’s my son’s favorite restaurant. The only GF item on the kids’ menu is grilled chicken, so that’s what he gets, along with steamed vegetables with no seasoning. He cleans his plate every time, which is saying a lot for my skinny little Celiac. 🙂 My husband and I always start dinner with the Saucy Shrimp appetizer. For dinner, I had the Ahi Tuna with mango salsa served with jasmine rice and steamed vegetables (no seasoning). It was so good! Another favorite of mine on their gluten-free menu is Lily’s chicken (topped with spinach, artichoke and goat cheese) with garlic mashed potatoes.

Friday – Southwestern Chicken Salad
After eating so much at Thursday’s dinner at Bonefish, I was ready for a lighter meal. So, we used leftovers from Wednesday’s meal to build our own salads. The kids didn’t exactly eat salads, but they ate some of the ingredients separately. We also had some hot dogs to heat up for the kids. Hot dogs with cheese in a corn tortilla always works well.

Saturday – Hamburgers
I was told this was a favorite of my cousin’s daughter, so we decided to have hamburgers one night. I was a little concerned about serving gluten-free buns to those used to eating the glutenous ones, but it wasn’t a problem. The youngest kids didn’t want buns, one wanted bread instead of a bun, and the adults enjoyed our favorite GF rolls: Against the Grain. I made a red potato and green bean salad for the adults, and served steamed green beans and French fries for the kids. OK, the adults ate the fries, too. 🙂

Sunday – Leftovers
We had a great time with family, but their vacation time was over. With our guests gone, we tried to finish up the leftovers in the refrigerator.

Need more menu ideas?

For more Gluten-Free Menus, visit this week’s Gluten-Free Menu Swap, hosted by Manda at Aspargus Thin. Her theme this week is grapes. This weekend I made a very tasty Chicken Salad using grapes and leftover chicken from Boston Market.  Thanks to Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness for continuing to organize the Gluten-Free Menu Swap.

As always, there are hundreds more menu plans (not necessarily gluten-free) at OrgJunkie.com.

Aug
22

Not My Mom’s Chicken Salad

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IMG_4235xIn an effort to use up leftover chicken in the refrigerator, I decided to make a chicken salad. I intended to make my mom’s wonderful recipe, but found that I was missing some key ingredients from it. So, I started to modify the recipe to use up the ingredients I had in the kitchen and accommodate the gluten-free diet, too. By the time I was done tweaking, it was nothing like the salad my mom used to make. It turned out just as good, but with a completely different taste. It made a tasty chicken salad sandwich (on gluten-free bread, of course), but was also great just served on green leaf lettuce.

Chicken Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

Dressing:
3/4 Cup Mayonnaise
3/4 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt

Salad:
2 Cups chicken, cooked and chopped
2 TBSP onion, finely chopped
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1/4 Cup sweet pickle relish
1 Cup red seedless grapes, each cut in half
1/2 Cup (about 3 oz.) pine nuts, lightly toasted

Directions:

  1. Mix dressing ingredients well and refrigerate.
  2. Combine all salad ingredients, except the pine nuts. Pour dressing over salad ingredients and mix well, but gently.
  3. Serve on gluten-free bread, rolls, or a bed of lettuce.
  4. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts on top.

Additional Notes:

  • To toast the pine nuts, place in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat. Using a spoon or spatula, push them around in the skillet for about five minutes – just until they’re golden and fragrant. Don’t walk away, they can burn quickly if the heat gets too high.
  • This is best after chilling in the refrigerator overnight, so go ahead and mix it all up the day before. However, to keep the pine nuts a little crispier, you may want to wait until just before serving to sprinkle on the pine nuts.
  • Makes 4-6 sandwiches or salads.
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Aug
07

Corn and Black Bean Salad

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IMG_3401x.
Here’s another quick and easy recipe that’s great to make for parties, especially a Mexican fiesta. Everyone will love the fresh flavors and the bright colors. You can serve it as a dip with corn or tortilla chips, but I think it’s best as a side salad. It’s also great added to Southwestern Chicken Salads, rice bowls and even as a filler in tacos. I’ve made this salad with several variations. Here’s what I put in it the last time I made it:

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Corn and Black Bean Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

4 Cups (about 16 oz.) frozen whole kernel corn
1 can (15.5 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 Cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 Cup (about 4 – 6) green onions, sliced
1/4 Cup red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 2-3 fresh limes
3 TBSP vegetable oil
1 TBSP ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium tomato, chopped and added right before serving

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except the tomato.
  2. Cover and chill the salad for a couple hours or even overnight.
  3. Add the tomatoes and stir gently right before serving.

Additional Notes:

  • Adding the tomatoes right before serving, prevents the salad from getting too watery and the tomatoes from getting mushy.
  • If you don’t want to bother with adding the tomatoes at the end: chop up a sweet red pepper instead and mix it in with all the other ingredients before you chill it.

For more gluten-free recipes with onions, check out this week’s Friday Foodie Fix at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.

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IMG_4047xI was never a big fan of salads as a child. As I got older, I began to appreciate all the fresh vegetables. And since going gluten-free, my body seems to better handle all the fiber. Recently, this salad has become a favorite of mine.

The ingredients are layered in a 9 x 13 pan, covered with my own dill dressing, and topped with shredded cheese and bacon bits. It’s perfect for entertaining or taking to parties. It makes 12 large servings and you can make it the night before. I love to make it for dinner and have leftovers for lunch later in the week. You can choose your favorite salad ingredients and even your favorite dressing, but here is what I do:

Seven-Layer Salad

Ingredients:

2 Cups lettuce, chopped (iceberg, Romaine, Cosmopolitan — you choose)
2 Cups baby spinach
2 Cups frozen peas
1 cucumber, sliced and quartered
1 Cup (8 oz.) diced ham
2 Cups (4-6 oz.) cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz. bacon (8-10 slices), fried crispy and crumbled into bits
Creamy Dill Salad Dressing (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. IMG_4027xCover bottom of 9 x 13 pan with chopped lettuce, then add layers of baby spinach, chopped cucumber, peas, and diced ham. This should make the salad almost fill up to the top of the pan.
  2. Next, pour and spread the dressing evenly over the salad.
  3. Top salad with shredded cheese and bacon bits.
  4. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. The salad can be chilled for an hour, or even overnight.

Additional Notes:

  • IMG_4034xChoose your ingredients carefully. Tomatoes don’t do well overnight: they add too much water to the salad. If you want tomatoes in your salad, I suggest adding them right before serving.
  • No need to defrost the peas. They defrost quickly in the refrigerator and help keep the salad cool.
  • Other ingredients to consider: Green onions and celery add great flavor. Red cabbage, carrots, and yellow sweet peppers add bursts of color.

Creamy Dill Dressing

Ingredients:

1 Cup mayonnaise
1 Cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP dried dill weed

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.
  2. Keep chilled.

Additional Notes:

  • Feel free to add fresh herbs from your garden instead of dried dill, but you may want to increase the amount for freshly chopped herbs.
  • I’ve recently been introduced to delicious Greek yogurt and found that it makes a thicker, creamy dressing — perfect for this recipe. For a thinner dressing use plain yogurt, or consider adding a couple tablespoons of milk.

Notable Links:

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Jun
29

Gluten-Free Menu Swap – June 29

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menu-swap-009This week I’m hosting the Gluten-Free Menu Swap. Thanks to Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness for keeping it going. I chose balsamic vinegar as the theme ingredient this week for two reasons: One, because it is acceptable for most diets (Balsamic vinegar is generally considered to be gluten-free, however some may have additives such as coloring, so it’s always a good idea to check the label for ingredients.); And two, because I seem to be using it a lot lately. It must be all the fresh fruits and vegetables that are available during the summer.

Balsamic Vinegar adds such a nice flavor to foods, actually enhancing the natural flavors and balancing out the tastes of sweet and sour. It can be used in salad dressings, sauces, marinades, or on fruit, fish, steaks, and more. And, according to wikipedia traditional balsamic vinegar has excellent digestive properties. Balsamic vinegar is more expensive than your typical red wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar. And the range of prices can vary as much as the cost of wine. I settle for the lower cost balsamic vinegar at $3 per 16 oz. bottle, but have seen some for $14 per 8 oz. bottle. Fortunately, a little bit goes a long way in recipes.

Here are some recipes I’ve made with balsamic vinegar:

Baked Salmon with a Balsamic Glaze

Berry Fruit Salad

Red Potato and Green Bean Salad

Slow-Cooked Balsamic Carrots

Here’s what we’re having for dinner this week:

Monday – Crockpot Chicken
Whole chicken cooked in the slow cooker with garlic and onion. Serving with mashed potatoes and broccoli.

Tuesday – Baked Salmon with a Balsamic Glaze
Serving with pearl quinoa and Brussels sprouts.

Wednesday – Hamburger Stroganoff
Hamburger, bacon, and mushrooms cooked with a creamy chicken soup and served atop wide noodles. Serving with asparagus with balsamic vinegar.

Thursday – Seven-layer Salad
This is a one-dish meal with a variety of ingredients (seven, if you want to be precise) — diced ham, bacon, fresh or frozen peas, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, green onion — and topped with a creamy dill dressing.

Friday – Fish and Chips
Hoping to try a recipe for gluten-free fish and chips. Serving with Berry Fruit Salad.

Saturday – Cheeseburgers
Grilling burgers and serving with corn-on-cob and potatoes cooked on the grill.

SundayLeftovers
Any leftovers still in the refrigerator come out for everyone to choose their own meal.

And here’s what some gluten-free friends are having this week:

Like me, Kimberly at Gluten-Free is Life also has salmon on the menu this week. And her Caprese salad with balsamic gastrique sounds yummy. Looks like she also has plans to try out the new Betty Crocker gluten-free yellow cake mix. I’m looking forward to seeing her review of it, since I haven’t tried it yet. Be sure to check out her full week’s menu on her website.

Planning for warmer weather, Elizabeth at Modern Gal is putting salads and other meals chilled or served at room temperature on this week’s menu. I’m especially interested in her Thai chicken salad, but everything on her menu looks great.

Lots of enticing meals on JoAnn’s menu plan: The picture she posted of BBQ Chicken Pizza is making me drool. She’s got fish tacos planned for Friday and breakfast quiche planned for dinner on Sunday. More of her meals, with recipes linked for most, are at My Experiment in Gluten Free Living.

Sorry to hear that Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness is allergic to balsamic vinegar. But never mind that, she always has interesting, flavorful recipes to share, and her menu this week is no exception. She’s making Thai Coconut sauce to go with turkey and a Roasted Tomato and Carmelized Onion Soup. She’s also planning to try my Raspberry Divinity Tarts. I’m anxious to hear how the recipe works for her.

If you’re still looking for more meal ideas, be sure to check out I’m an Organizing Junkie where hundreds of people post links to their weekly menus (not all gluten-free).

Kristine at Glutenfreeda submitted this recipe for Roasted Strawberries With Wine & Balsamic Vinegar Sauce.

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