It’s been exactly a year since I was diagnosed with celiac disease, and I remember very well the panic I had when I learned I couldn’t eat gluten. I also remember my last stupid breakfast before I got the news. I ordered eggs. Not waffles, not pancakes, not syrupy French toast. Eggs. What a HUGE missed opportunity.
Anyway, it was challenging that first month trying to figure out how to eat without gluten. I man, really, what else is there? (Please don’t say quinoa.) I had my go-to recipes that were gluten-filled, and I had not yet learned the ins and outs of gluten-free pasta, flours, recipes. And then with all the crying, well, it was hard to get on the Internets and read.
So I’ve decided to give you, perhaps the newly diagnosed celiac, the newly gluten-free, or the old-ly gluten-free that’s looking for a little inspiration, a week in gluten-free dinners. At least, my five-day work week, and it was pretty delish. Not as good as Chicago style pizza — I’ll be honest with you. But still, these five gluten-free meals do not suck.
(By the way, if you’re a newbie, you can’t gorge on gluten on the weekends after being good all week long. I asked.)
Gluten-Free Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash, Spinach & Bacon
After way too much experimenting with gluten-free pastas, my husband and I (and the kids, if they had any clue about anything, like, ever) have decided we’re fans of the corn pasta. Luckily Trader Joe’s just came out with a huge new line of gluten-free corn pastas and that’s what we used for one of our favorite pre-diagnosis recipes.
My friend Melissa first introduced us to a version of this, but we’ve experimented and created our own mix here of amazeballs flavors.
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 1 hour, plus 15 minutes
1 package gluten-free pasta
1 butternut squash
6 slices bacon
1 head of fresh spinach
3 sprigs fresh Rosemary
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus some for drizzling
Salt and pepper
Parmesan for garnish
1. Begin by roasting your butternut squash. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If you buy cubed, simply throw it on a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil over all squash cubes, salt and pepper, and cover in a generous amount of rosemary, de-stemmed. If you have a whole butternut squash, halve it, clean it, and drizzle olive oil over each side. Do the same with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, checking for texture.
2. Put pasta on to boil when you have about 10 minutes remaining on the squash.
3. In the meantime, cook bacon and let it cool to crumble.
A word on bacon: We used to be big fans 0f the turkey bacon, which totally works in this recipe. But recently we’ve slid back into the old traditional pork fatty kind. Mostly because we just use it as an accent in a meal, so it’s not like we’re shoving four or five sticks down our throats. Okay, sometimes on the weekend we do. Okay, I do.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet and add garlic to cook until soft and slightly brown. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add cooked squash and pasta as they become ready. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle bacon over the dish and remove it from heat. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.
Makes: 8 servings
Both of these dishes are regulars at our table. Especially when we’re watching the sugar, dairy, gluten, and whatever other delicious things that are totally bad for us. I swear, they’re awesome.
As you have seen earlier this week, this amazing, healthy, totally gluten-free dish kicked off our 2012 with freaking bang. I plan on making this, oh, just about every week until my skin turns orange.
Pork Loin with Mustard Sauce
I might have overdone it with the pork, as I was all about flavor, flavor, flavor! So I not only brined this pork loin, but created a delicious mustard sauce as well. Really, you can do one or the other and have masses of flavor.
If you go with brine, simply put pork loin in a gallon Ziploc bag, add 1/2 cup of sea salt, rosemary (or oregano, or marjoram — your choice!), 1/4 cup citrus juice (orange, lemon, or lime), 1 tablespoon of pepper and fill the bag with water. Let it set for 2 hours — 8 hours then throw it on the grill.
Pork news! The most amazing news in pork this year, was that trichinosis is on the wane. Still, you should cook your pork to 145 degrees, and let it set for three minutes before serving.
Now for the sauce!
Gluten-Free Mustard Sauce
adapted from epicurious
Prep time: 7 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (1 to 2)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup country-style Dijon mustard, gluten-free (Trader Joe’s has a gluten-free Dijon)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1. Melt butter in skillet and add shallots. Cook until soft.
2. Add chicken broth and any drippings from your pork that’s cooking and mix together, bringing to a boil. Let cook for two minutes.
3. Add mustard and cream and return to a boil, then add lemon juice and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.