Easy Meals, G-Free Style

First, a big round of applause for the delicious Diane Eblin for hosting this fun series, 30 Days30 Days to Easy Gluten Free Living of Gluten-free Eating. If you don’t know Diane, you should!  She’s always hosting neat events that bring people, information, passion and resources together.  She was even kind enough to make me her “Food Rock Star” a few days ago, which was quite an honor.

The posts in the 30 days series have been great info–so far, grocery shopping tips, getting started, smoothies, and I’m planning to make yesterday’s Cherry and Almond Power Bars ASAP!  And of course, the key to gluten-free blogging is that through sharing our combined interests, passions, ideas, experiences, friendship and of course, recipes, we make it easier for anyone with Celiac or gluten-intolerance to live well.

Easy meals are key. They’re vital when you’re just getting started, but I’m a strong believer that everyone should have a few meals they can whip up in 5-10 min or less just in case–because life happens, we do occasionally burn something, have something go bad, drop dinner, find the cat lovingly licking the salmon, whatever. We’re talking meals that fall into the category of assembly rather than “cooking” per se.

Just an example–we’re selling our house and thus cleaning out the freezer and pantry, so I have less on hand than usual. I went to make dinner on Friday and the broccoli was brown and icky. Grrr. So plan B. No frozen broccoli. OK, plan C. Make a vat of greens and make Coconut Curried Greens. And as I admired the luscious smelling pot, the sauce was too thin, so I thought I’d thicken with some coconut flour. Long story short, instead I added brown rice flour, which I’m allergic to. Believe it or not, I’ve not done that before in 7 years.

And there I sat, looking at this glorious pot of greens which was totally off-limits, and knowing that I didn’t have something quick in the freezer to thaw.

OK, woman on a mission! On to plan D, AKA the pantry. Cannellini beans, tuna in olive oil, drained canned diced tomatoes (I love Eden brand–BPA free), a few Kalamata olives and a few fresh basil leaves. Super quick, super easy, and very, very yummy. Massive feline approval, too, which is not always a plus. Cheryl does the happy dance, and even has enough for leftovers the next day.

So what is on your list of simple easy pantry staples? Here’s a list of 50+ ideas I give clients to get thoughts moving:Basic GF Meals 2011 Now, I have clients ranging from ardent carnivores to hardcore vegans, and I do have a dairy-free list too, but the point of the list is that anyone and everyone can find a few things that either fit, or inspire other thoughts. Everything on the list is SIMPLE, accessible, and contains very few specialty items, because many folks aren’t huge cooks beforehand and are looking forward to survival. And I figure if you can get the point of a recipe across in 2-3 lines, it’s pretty easy.

And the most ironic part?  Shirley of GFE has a list of 50 easy gluten-free meals on her site, too, and we have very few overlaps, so that puts you at about 100.

What are your favorite quick and easy fall-backs? Let me know in the comments section.

And stay tuned for the rest of days of the series at the HQTRS on Diane’s site.

About Cheryl Harris

Life played a funny trick on me. I've studied nutrition for years, and much to my surprise, found out that I could manage many of my health issues via diet. I've been GF for years, and I've got a bunch of allergies and sensitivities. But it definitely doesn't keep me from cooking, baking and enjoying my food. Thanks for stopping by.
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27 Responses to Easy Meals, G-Free Style

  1. Great post with real life examples, Cheryl! I’m a big believer in putting one’s pantry to use in coming up with simple, but healthy and delicious meals. I think that many can appreciate such meals in fine dining estalishments and tapas bars, but forget about serving similar meals in their own homes. Thanks for the link love, dear! Now I’m off to check out your list of 50! Oh, and you’re totally right about Diane … she is one of the very best leaders in our gluten-free community! LOVE this series that she created. Who isn’t for easy gluten-free living? Most of us who have been doing it for a while have made it as easy as possible, so it’s great to share AND get ideas from others! 🙂


  2. Hey Cheryl–The link for your 50 meals doesn’t work. Hope it’s a quick fix as I know so many readers will want to reference it!


  3. Cheryl says:

    It works from my computer here, but I’m working today. I will troubleshoot and try on another one.
    and if anyone can (or can’t) open the link, please let me know in comments. It’s a pdf.

  4. What a wonderful list!!! I love the idea of Salsa Soup! I’m printing this list as I often get stuck in my ruts. Thank you!!

    My favorite quick and easy fall back is hummus and veggie sticks, apples and almond butter, and bananas and peanut butter.

  5. Shirley, thanks so much for the heads up–link fixed! Re: Diane, I am constantly amazed at how many amazing people I meet blogging.

    Glad you like it. I love salsa in any form.

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  7. Ricki says:

    Love the logical progression from plan to plan (and so sorry you couldn’t have the greens–that is one of my favorite recipes of yours!). Around here, when we’re stuck, I always make raw kale salad: chopped kale “massaged” with avocado, lemon, olive oil, which simultaneously makes the creamy dressing. You can add chopped tomato, green onion, grated carrot–whatever’s on hand. Another favorite is chickpea flour pancakes with lots of chopped veggies in them, topped with avocado. Delish!

  8. Just checked out the listing, Cheryl … it’s great! Love that you have actual mini-recipes included. 🙂 I agree with Heather that this listing is a great reference for when you can’t think or want to try something new. We all get stuck from time to time. Now if we could just get Sweet Baby Ray folks to get rid of that HFCS. 😉 And I need chickpea flour! Ricki’s idea of healthy spur-of-the-moment pancakes is a great one! 🙂


  9. Ricki, I love socca! I need to experiment in making it w/the beans rather than the flour.

    Shirley, personally we adore Dinosour BBQ http://www.dinosaurbarbque.com which doesn’t have HCFS, but it’s also not as widely available.

  10. What a great resource, Cheryl. Something to satisfy everyone.

  11. Debi says:

    Great list, Cheryl! And thanks for the BPA-free info on the Eden tomatoes! I always use fresh even when canned is called for because of the BPA factor. Now, I can buy canned tomatoes again!

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  13. For me, wheat-free tamari for making stir-fries is a staple pantry item, along with white and brown rice. We also try to keep some plain tomato sauce on hand for a quick night of spaghetti (with brown rice pasta if g-free of course!).

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  15. I love this comment of yours!
    “We’re talking meals that fall into the category of assembly rather than “cooking” per se.”
    That hits the target and really sums up the point of “easy meals.” We’re on the same wavelength with our staple pantry ingredients, Cheryl. I always have Eden Organics cannellini beans, tomatoes, etc. on hand for quicky meals. Rice bowls (Buddha Bowls) are easy and you can throw anything into those and they taste great. Like Alisa, I often have cooked brown rice in the fridge for easy “assembly.” And the wheat free tamari as well.
    Great post with a ton of good ideas!

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  17. What a great post and I agree, easy meals are key! Great resource.

  18. Alta says:

    I love your curried greens recipe! So sorry for the boo-boo. What are you doing with rice flour in your pantry if you can’t have it, may I ask? Love the final solution to the problem. Sounds like it was tasty!

  19. Thanks, Wendy!

    Glad to help! I do my very best to minimize BPA by using frozen and using Ball jars.

    Great suggestion!

    Thanks for your thoughts–we keep frozen rice, and that works perfectly for DH.
    Yahoo for easy assembly!

    I’ve been a recipe taster for Ricki and Amy’s books and a few others who have used brown rice flour so I do keep it around for when I’m reviewing. I have so many intolerances, but I am only strict about keeping wheat out of XC’s harm.

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