Gluten Free Kitchen Tips

In my opinion, it's okay to get help from some store bought products to short-cut your nightly dinner prep. After all, who has the time to make a from-scratch meal every night? I'm just happy to get a good-tasting, healthy, gluten free dinner on the table for my family most nights. Judging from the multitude of "cheat" and "hack" recipes out there, I'm in good company! So here's a quick and easy down-home Southern dinner that you can make in about an hour, with a little help from Aleia's, Bisquick, and Gillian's -- and a recipe found on the Internet that I adapted to be gluten free. Having been a fan of Aleia's gluten free cookies, stuffing, and pre-made breadcrumbs and Panko coating for a long time, I was thrilled to recently find their "extra crispy" Coat & Crunch mix (similar to Shake-n-Bake) to use on meat. So I set out to make a dinner with this healthier version of "fried" chicken, baked in the oven. And what's the perfect companion to crispy chicken? Why, biscuits, of course! I can't say I've tasted a better gluten free biscuit than the ones I've made using the recipe on Bisquick's own gluten... Read more →


We're a decade into the growth of the gluten free "marketplace," thanks to increased awareness of Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity -- and improving rates of diagnosis. Not only has "gluten free" become a household term, in many cases it's become a dietary "trend." For those of us personally affected by Celiac or gluten sensitivity, this is a mixed blessing -- as many have discussed in recent years. While demand for gluten free meals in restaurants eventually gives us more choice, the situation does come with pitfalls. First and foremost is the need to ensure that any restaurant with a gluten free menu knows not just what ingredients are used in their recipes...but how to safely prepare the meal without putting you at risk from gluten cross contamination. Another less serious -- but still frustrating -- challenge is being able to separate those restaurants that make the most basic (and often less-than-appetizing) substitutions or omissions to claim that a menu item is gluten free from restaurants that work hard to surprise and delight their gluten free diners with well-thought-out, flavorful offerings. (Check out the creative layered Beet Salad, with goat cheese, candied walnuts, and caramelized onions from Burtons Grill, below.)... Read more →


With the Holidays winding down and winter in full swing, perhaps you'd like to put something on the calendar to look forward to...something to get you through the winter doldrums. The Inn on Randolph, the top rated B&B in Napa, California's wine country, occasionally hosts gluten-free cooking and baking classes over a weekend at the Inn. This time, it's a three day class back by popular demand...taught by their Executive Chef Paul Fields, from January 29-31. Known for his innovative gluten-free breakfasts, Chef Paul will share his techniques, as well as one of his most-requested recipes! The meals at the Inn are entirely gluten-free all the time (the owner herself has been gluten free for years), so they have perfected the art of wonderful gluten-free cuisine! Staying at this recently renovated and luxurious inn is the perfect balance of Old World Victorian charm and modern amenities. You'll enjoy an evening reception, cooking classes, delicious breakfasts, a wine tasting, and free time to explore the area's wineries and many gluten-free friendly restaurants. You can view the full itinerary here. This is a great opportunity to beat the winter doldrums and treat yourself to a fun and informative weekend kicking up your... Read more →


Whenever our family dines at our local Chinese restaurant, we take along a bottle of San-J's gluten free, low-sodium Tamari Sauce. The chef is happy to use it and knows to make our order in a clean wok using the tamari as a substitution for traditional soy sauce. The taste is indistinguishable. (The cool thing is that San-J also sells individual-sized travel packets of their gluten free tamari, which is perfect when you don't want to -- or can't -- haul your own bottle of tamari around. A while back, San-J also came out with a full line of gluten free cooking sauces that make creating an Asian-inspired meal at home a breeze. I've used their Orange Sauce and Thai Peanut Sauce before, both as a dressing/marinade for chicken -- with great results. Last night, I decided to use their Mongolian Sauce to make Mongolian Beef, which I figured would be a hit with my family. The "recipe," if you even want to call it that, is right on the back of the bottle of San-J Mongolian Sauce. All told, I used 7 ingredients to make dinner: Asian stir-fry oil, corn starch, beef pre-cut for stir fry, the Mongolian sauce,... Read more →


What type of gluten free traveler are you? Are you the type that likes to dine out when on vacation -- or do you prefer to get a place with a kitchen and do your own cooking? I know people have strong opinions on this…and certainly, there are those of you who prefer to stay safe by handling most of your own food preparation when on vacation. I, on the other hand, enjoy the thrill of finding new gluten-free friendly spots each time we travel. While it does take a bit of time to do the research to find the best and safest restaurants (I always start by reading reviews on sites like our own GlutenFreeTravelSite), I cook all the time at home and like to leave the cooking to someone else while on vacation. With that said, there are certainly times when we've traveled somewhere where there just wasn't anyplace safe for gluten free folks to eat…and also times we've traveled to a place where any restaurant was hard to find. That was the case this past weekend when our family took a ski trip to Timberline in Davis, West Virginia. Our sons' Boy Scout Troop had planned a... Read more →


Have you dreamed of getting away to a beautiful and relaxing B&B where every detail is thought of -- including gluten free meals? If you thought a place didn't exist, I'm here to tell you it does...and best of all, it's located in one of the most picturesque and wonderful places in the U.S.: Napa Valley's wine country. Having lived in San Francisco myself many years ago -- and spent numerous weekends venturing up to Napa and Sonoma with my husband -- I can tell you that it's a place like no other. I was so thrilled to learn a year ago that Karen Lynch, gluten free herself for nearly a decade, had restored a historic home and several cottages on a beautiful piece of property in the heart of downtown Napa...and turned it into a B&B called the Inn on Randolph. Although the food served has always been 100% gluten free, Karen didn't initially market the inn that way. But she soon realized her mission must be to make others like her aware that they could find a safe "home away from home" in Napa where they could relax and enjoy wonderful, safe meals as they explore the area.... Read more →


By now, you've likely heard me talk about The Inn on Randolph, a newly renovated and dedicated gluten free B&B in the heart of California's Napa Valley wine growing region. Owner Karen Lynch, gluten free herself for 7 years, has transformed this historic 19th century home into a luxurious and modern retreat. It offers the perfect getaway for gluten free travelers wishing to spend some time in this beautiful part of the country. As a guest at the Inn, you enjoy fabulous gluten free breakfasts and late afternoon appetizers...and you'll have your choice of several nearby restaurants that are just as gluten-free friendly. Karen occasionally hosts special events, and now she's offering a two-day Gluten Free/Allergen Free Baking Class with Master Chef Jeffrey Larsen from March 16-17, 2014. You'll check in at 12:30 on the 16th and then enjoy a lecture on gluten free baking where Chef Larsen will discuss flour varieties, baking techniques and tips, and how to set up a gluten free kitchen. Then you'll participate in a hands-on baking class in which you'll prepare breads, pizza, rolls, hamburger buns, and focaccia. After a break to relax, you'll nibble on gluten free appetizers, followed by dinner and dessert... Read more →


It's Back to School and Back to the Scramble! Today we welcome Aviva Goldfarb, mother of two and the author and founder of The Six O'Clock Scramble®, an online weekly meal planning service and author of a cookbook by the same name. She also has a second cookbook, “SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Meals for Busy Families” Both are available on Amazon.com. Aviva is also a Today Show contributor and frequently appears in media such as the Washington Post, O Magazine, Real Simple, Working Mother, Prevention and more. Aviva's focus is on the family dinner -- and making it easier for busy parents. After all, families who eat dinner together typically have better relationships. Plus, the kids do better in school, are healthier physically and emotionally, and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors like drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. More interesting (and rather alarming) statistics and trends can be found on Aviva's website. By following Aviva's tips below, you'll learn to save time, money, and your sanity! Most of Aviva's recipes are gluten free -- or can be easily adapted to be gluten free. Below she shares two favorite recipes, as well as... Read more →


I've always enjoyed shopping at Wegmans, especially for meat and specialty items. However, the closest one is 20 minutes from my home, so I don't typically shop there on a weekly basis. But two exciting things have happened lately: 1.) Wegmans has a new dedicated area for gluten free products -- shelf stable as well as frozen -- in the center of their store. We've been able to find the majority of our favorite brands and products here, which helps reduce the need for shopping at multiple stores to find the gluten free items our family likes. 2.) I've discovered that many of Wegmans' mouth-watering recipes in their Menu magazine are gluten free -- or can very easily be tailored to be gluten free with some simple substitutions. (Menu magazines are mailed free to you when you sign up for a Wegmans shoppers club loyalty card. Their recipes are also available free online.) As those of you who shop at Wegmans and use their Menu magazine know, their recipes contain many private label products that you can only find at Wegmans -- things like pre-made sauces, marinades, or dressings (one of my favorites is their Lemon and Caper Sauce, which... Read more →


Recently I had the good fortune to be put in touch with Wendy Krakower, a friend of a friend who launched a much-needed allergy-friendly business. It's called The Food Allergy Kitchenware Company, and they sell stainless steel SERVING SPOONS with the words "Gluten Free" or "Peanut Free" stamped on the end of the handle. What a great idea! It makes things abundantly clear to anyone making -- or serving -- multiple meals, some of which may contain an allergen. For example, use them to stir gluten free pasta as you're preparing it -- or to serve items in a buffet setting. Even other family members, visiting relatives, or guests will be able to plainly see which utensil should be used for the Gluten Free or Peanut Free food. Wendy came up with the idea after way too many meals "ruined" (cross-contaminated) by a simple spoon mix-up. Has that ever happened to you? Wendy is planning to expand her line of allergy-friendly cookware, but for right now, the spoons are a great addition to your kitchen -- or a great gift for anyone you know who deals with Celiac Disease, gluten sensitivity, or a peanut allergy in their family. These are... Read more →