Tag Archives: time saver

Pollo Verde

Pollo Verde will now be my meal of choice for my easiest and most delicious dinner.  I even plan to serve it next time we have guests over.  With 2 ingredients, it couldn’t be simpler, but the taste is amazing!

To prepare, place chicken breasts in the crock pot and cover with 1/2 – 1 jar of a gluten-free Salsa Verde.  Cook for 6-8 hours on low.  When chicken is done and tender, take it out, and shred it with a fork.  Then, put the shredded chicken back into the crock pot and mix in with the juices and salsa.

Serve in warmed corn tortillas (heated on a hot skillet until browned) and top with chopped onion, cilantro, avocado, and a squeeze of fresh lime.

That’s it!  My family loves this meal.  It’s healthy, fresh, and reminds me of street tacos from Mexico.  Enjoy!

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Whole Foods Gluten-free Bakehouse


If you live near a Whole Foods, take advantage of their special Gluten-free Bakehouse section, which offers amazing products including breads, muffins, pie crusts (for pies or quiche!), pizza crusts (my favorite), desserts, biscuits, hamburger buns (can’t wait to try these!), and granola.  They are usually in the freezer section of the store.  They aren’t cheap, but they are delicious, and they just might save you in a pinch when you can’t or don’t want to bake your own treats.

If you go to this website, you will find a list of all their products with a link at the bottom for nutritional information for all of them.

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Marinated Veggies

Never underestimate simplicity, especially with food.  Often, I will serve raw, fresh veggies as sides to a meal.  There’s nothing healthier or easier.  You can serve them with dipping sauce, on a skewer, or with Italian Dressing drizzled over the top and a dash of salt, pepper, and oregano.

Simple.  Pretty.  Easy.  Nutritious.  My kind of cooking.

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Traveling Gluten-Free

Traveling takes a little more forethought and planning when you’re eating gluten-free.  You can’t just stop at any old restaurant along the way or even assume that there will a place to eat in the airport.  There are many places that will work, but just in case, I always keep a good stash of food with us.  In fact, having safe food at hand is so important that I pack food before clothes, because we all know that it’s never good to see Mommy the kids in a full-blown hunger melt down.

It’s helpful to carry along food that can pack and keep well.  For car rides, I pack lots of apples, Nature Valley Almond Crunch bars, several types of trail mix, cheddar rice cakes with Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese Spread (and plastic knives), chocolate rice cakes with a jar of peanut butter, and Honey Rice Chex.

For plane trips, I bring an entire food carry-on with Almond Crunch bars, apples, rice cakes, a package of Hormel Naturals deli meat packed inside a large Ziploc bag with an ice pack in it, and trail mix.  Be careful of anything “liquid”.  This includes peanut butter in a jar, and I know from experience that airport security has no sympathy for under-privileged gluten-free eaters.  They’ll take that peanut butter right out of your bag, no matter how much you beg.  Usually you can find fruit and Lay’s chips in an airport if you need it too.  And, most hamburger places can accomodate you if needed.

I plan enough food to last us the trip, then if we do find a restaurant where we can eat, it’s a bonus.  If not, we’re still set.

If we’re in the car, I’ll even pack food for our stay.  We traveled 5 hours away a few weeks ago to visit friends for 2 days, and I had more food sacks than suitcases.

If we’re flying somewhere, I visit the grocery store once we get there to stock up.  You can buy a cooler there, fill it up, and eat most meals that way.  We’ve even brought an electric skillet and a crock pot with us to cook in hotel rooms, and most rooms have microwaves now.  That means you could eat cereal, microwave eggs, or gluten-free oatmeal for breakfast.  Lunch could be microwave quesadillas or rice cakes with meat and cheese, chips and fruit.  And dinner could be your restaurant meals.  Dinner could also be canned chili with Fritos, quesadillas, Taco Salad with canned beans, or Baked Potatoes.

Even though it seems daunting, planning is the key.  You just have to get used to putting food into your agenda.  And, you have to prepare yourself to be a traveling grocery store, which means you may need an extra suitcase just for food.  In the end though, it’s cheaper than eating out, usually healthier anyway, and much more peaceful knowing you’re prepared.

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Pancakes

There’s just something cozy about pancakes for breakfast.  I love mixing, flipping, and stacking them on my kids’ plates.  It makes me feel very domestic, and it gives me points for “Mother of the Year”.  (I need all the points I can muster in the domestic part of the competition.)

My favorite gluten-free pancakes are from a mix by Pamela’s, appropriately called “Baking and Pancake Mix”.  They’re nice and fluffy and have great taste and texture.

If I’m going to go to the trouble of mixing, flipping, and stacking in the wee hours of the morning, I don’t just make enough for one meal either.  I make the whole darn thing.  You can put them in the freezer, pull them out one by one, and get that pancake feeling anytime you want.  And, that gives you point in the “wonderfully smart and ‘with it’ department.”  🙂

(As a side note, if you happen to need a good dairy-free pancake mix, I’ve also enjoyed Kinnikinnick’s brand.)


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Meal Plan 2

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You’re going to LOVE this meal plan!  It’s full of short-cuts!

Day 1:  Grilled Steak or Chicken

Day 2: Stir-Fry

Day 3: Chicken Tostadas

Day 4: Italian Soup

Day 5: Barbeque Ribs

Day 6: Black Bean and Veggie Quesadillas

Day 7: Breakfast Burritos

Instructions:

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Day 1:  Grill steak or chicken using McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Grill enough for 2 dinners worth.  We’ll use the leftovers for Tostadas.

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Day 2:  (and this is brilliant!) Stir-Fry

Chop veggies that we will use for 3 dinners- Stir-fry, Quesadillas, and Italian Soup.  🙂  I used 6 small zucchini, a clove of garlic, an onion, about 4 cups of mushrooms, 4 large tomatoes, and 2 red peppers.  You could substitute any veggie you wanted to replace these (except you really need the tomato): squash, carrots, fresh spinach, cauliflower, …

DSC_0665Saute the onion and garlic first until soft, then add the firm vegetables.  Don’t add the tomato yet.

When veggies are done, take out 1/3 of them to use for Stir-Fry tonight.  Season with ginger powder, cayenne pepper, and soy sauce, and serve over rice.

Take out 1/2 of what’s left in skillet and put in a storage container to cool.  Mix in seasonings for Quesadillas: cumin, chili powder, and a little oregano. Put in fridge for later.

Now, add tomatoes to skillet and saute until softened.  I also added chopped fresh basil.  Put this into a storage container to cool.  We’ll make the soup from this later.

Day 3:  Tostadas, using meat from day 1

Get crispy tostada shells.  I use Mission.  Layer fixins on top: sour cream, guacamole, sliced grilled meat from day 1, cheese, salsa, lettuce, tomato.  Serve with sliced oranges.

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Day 4:  Italian Soup

Put pre-cooked veggies from day 2 in a soup pot.  Add 2 cans of Spicy V-8 juice, a can of white beans, and italian seasonings.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top.  Serve with garlic toast.

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Day 5: Ribs

Spray oven pan with cooking spray.  Put ribs in pan and season both sides with McCormick Grill Mates Steak Rub.  Pour GF Barbecue Sauce on top to coat.  Kraft Original is GF.  Bake at 225 for 8-10 hours, uncovered.  That’s it!  Serve with potato salad or Ore Ida french fries and a green salad.

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Day 6:  Black Bean and Veggie Quesadillas

Use Mexican seasoned veggies from day 2.  Make Quesadillas using veggies, a can of black beans, and cheese.  Serve with raw carrots and Ranch dip.

Day 7: Breakfast Burritos

Cook 1 pound breakfast sausage in skillet, crumbled up.  Drain fat.  Add 8-10 beaten eggs and scramble until done.  Serve in corn tortillas with cheese and salsa.  Serve with fruit salad and orange juice.

ENJOY!!!

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Your Freezer is Your Friend

DSC_0279This shelf holding frozen meals is one of my best friends.  It makes me happy.  It supports me when I’m down.  And, it comes along beside me when I’m short on time and feeds me dinner.

All I have to do is spend about an hour once a month nurturing this shelf, and it will treat me right several times a week.

Here are my tricks.

When meat goes on sale (I buy mine at Sprouts), I haul it home, trim it up, and put 4 portions worth for our family into freezer bags.  This was the end result from my recent trip.  All this meat will last us a month!  And, all I have to now is take it from the freezer and make a meal!

DSC_0607 I usually put chicken in plain, just sticking the portions into baggies.  For ground beef, I cook some to put into bags for tacos, enchiladas, beef stroganoff, chili, etc..  I also mix a giant bowl with meat, cooked rice, Italian herbs, eggs, salt and pepper, and Worshteshire sauce, which I then shape into a meat loaf and family portions of meatballs.  It is so easy to just pull out meat in the morning and be ready for a speedy dinner prep in the afternoon.  And, it saves so much time to cook all the ground beef at once or trim all the chicken at once instead of doing it each time you need it.

I have 2 shelves in my freezer for meats, one for plain meats that I need to do something with before cooking, and 1 for ready-made dinners (meatballs).

So, I guess I have a 2 best friends helping me out.

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