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Quick Dinners For Family With Numerous Allergies And Celiac Disease?
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Because of severe allergies and Celiac disease, if my three daughters, husband and I all want to sit down to dinner together and eat the same meal, we have to avoid wheat, gluten, eggs, milk, soy, most legumes, fish, shellfish, nuts, peanuts & beef. Is anyone else in a similar situation? What do you do on those nights when you are so tired, don't feel like cooking for an hour, and would really love to order in? Is it possible? Right now, we only know of one affordable take out restaurant, and it's getting kind of monotonous to get food from there since we go there once a week every weekend as our special night out. I feel so confined to the kitchen. I enjoy cooking, but this is exhausting. We were coping pretty well until my youngest was diagnosed with Celiac disease this summer. Also, I feel like I'm relying on a lot of junk food like tortilla chips to make eating fun. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Also, besides having restaurants flatly refuse to serve us, I now have friends and family members who say, "We can't have you over, we wouldn't know what to serve you." Sometimes they chuckle, I'm guessing because they feel awkward, or maybe that's supposed to be a joke. One family did have us over for dinner since the Celiac diagnosis, which was so nice of them, but we supplied a lot of the meal. I guess we'll always have to have a backpack of goodies with us from now on. I try to focus on other things besides food when we see friends, but it's surprising how many social events center around food.

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I made up a quick casserole once that was amazingly good. I bought Hormel's oven roasted turkey in the brown package. (I called them and they insist it is totally gluten free.) I cut up the turkey in dices. Then I quickly steamed some organic frozen peas. I added the diced turkey in the same saucepan with the drained peas and added a can of THAI coconut milk. I added some salt and "safe" onion powder and just heated it through without simmering. The sauce was creamy, flavorful and thick and made a great "chicken a la king" of sorts to put over something like brown rice (you've made ahead). My picky family liked it a lot. The whole thing probably took under 10 minutes and used only one pan. Or if potatoes are OK, you could have some cooked and diced (peelings on for extra nutrition) ahead and add it to the casserole. Then it would stand alone and wouldn't need to be poured over anything. Other steamed vegetables could always be added too.

I can't have dairy and I really miss it. The THAI coconut milk makes a pretty good substitute for creamy sauces and even other dairy applications.

OOp's! Does your nut allergy include COCONUTS?????? Never crossed my mind when I read your post. Sorry if it does. :(

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For me the key is planning ahead. On the weekends when I have extra time I might make a batch of soup or extra of whatever meal I am making that night. I pop it into the freezer to have on hand for those nights when the schedule falls apart.

It sounds like you are feeling a little overwhelmed by everything, I am sorry. I hope you find the support and answers you need on this website. There are many people on here that have other allergies or intolerences.

Hez

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I can't have dairy and I really miss it. The THAI coconut milk makes a pretty good substitute for creamy sauces and even other dairy applications.

Read labels carefully! The regular THAI coconut milk contains soy lecithin, but the lite version doesn't (at least, last I checked).

Jeanne

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I know. Sorry, I should have mentioned that. I was using the regular before I noticed that little detail. The regular also uses xanthan gum which can be a problem for those of us allergic to corn. The lite uses guar gum and no lecithin. Go figure. You can't trust anybody. :D

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Because of severe allergies and Celiac disease, if my three daughters, husband and I all want to sit down to dinner together and eat the same meal, we have to avoid wheat, gluten, eggs, milk, soy, most legumes, fish, shellfish, nuts, peanuts & beef. Is anyone else in a similar situation? What do you do on those nights when you are so tired, don't feel like cooking for an hour, and would really love to order in? Is it possible?

Make timebake and your slow cooker your best friends. You can spend a few minutes in the morning and have dinner ready in 10 minutes when you get home from work. I don't have quite as many restrictions, but close.

Here are some ideas:

Chicken (or venison) slow cooked in barbecue sauce, served with rice and salad.

Roast chicken, potatoes and carrots - cooked on timebake at 325, set to come on 90 minutes before you get home.

Ground turkey, onion, bite-sized pieces of potatoes and carrots, garlic, salt, pepper and water stirred together and cooked in slow cooker all day.

Boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces, browned with onion. Simmer in a can of coconut milk, seasoned with curry powder and salt, until tender. Serve over rice. Can also add diced apple, carrots and raisins.

Not slow cooked, but really fast:

Tacos minus the cheese.

Pizza minus the cheese.

Spaghetti.

Turkey meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Chicken simmered in enchilada sauce, served with rice.

Chicken salad, with homemade or other gluten-free croutons and dressing that you can eat.

Also, look in the cooking and baking tips section for threads on easy recipes - many will fit your needs.

Good luck! It is do-able and it will get easier!

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Great ideas lonewolf, and I also want to add that a pressure cooker has become my best friend. They are not so scary as the old kind. The new models are digital and so easy. You can make a whole chicken in 30 minutes and not a mess to clean either. So easy and there are recipes online and a number of nice ideas on a thread I started on here -that people gave me-I made baked chicken in it tonight on the little rack and it comes out so tender and moist and perfect everytime. With a microwave, an oven, a slow cooker, maybe a george foreman type grill, and a pressure cooker, some good recipes, you can do anything with a minimum of clean up (that is important too when you feel like something the cat dragged in, lol)

I also recommend: stuffed potatoes-bake in microwave, remove the potato from the skins, mash with rice milk, clarified butter and season, then restuff and brown in oven.

Make ahead meal parts like freezing chicken chunks for fajitas and chicken salad or other dishes. Make a whole roast and shred it for bbq sandwiches in a hurry. Brown and freeze hamburger for quick meals in recipe sized portions. Make up some portions of baking mixes using what flours and ingredients you know are safe and alter regular recipes to use the substitutions.

For substituting nuts, I use Enjoy Life granola, for soy sauce, beef broth soy recipe (on here in recipe section), for milk, rice milk, for cheese-like taste, I use clarified butter and gluten-free bread crumbs browned lightly to sprinkle on things, or crushed potato chips. This is good for topping pizza or spaghetti if you need something a little salty. For sour cream, I have used sheep yogurt with no problem-just strain and salt a little for potatoes and tacos.

I hope you get some useful, good ideas and can get a little break from being "chained to the stove" --I feel like that sometimes too. Take care.Edit__I forgot you said no beef--try ground turkey or even some stores have buffalo now too.

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What do you do on those nights when you are so tired, don't feel like cooking for an hour, and would really love to order in?

I totally understand! Sometimes I cook large meals like a chicken or a roast and make up little dinners and eat them for a few days. Then I get a break from cooking.

Here are some recipes that I use:

http://www.glutenfreeforum.com/index.php?showtopic=13319

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For something really really lazy, I take broth (or use boullion), chicken breast, and rice noodles. Don't add the rice noodles until the chicken's done cooking in the broth (I generally cube boneless/skinless breast, but whatever is fine), and then just cook until the noodles are done.

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I made up a quick casserole once that was amazingly good. I bought Hormel's oven roasted turkey in the brown package. (I called them and they insist it is totally gluten free.) I cut up the turkey in dices. Then I quickly steamed some organic frozen peas. I added the diced turkey in the same saucepan with the drained peas and added a can of THAI coconut milk. I added some salt and "safe" onion powder and just heated it through without simmering. The sauce was creamy, flavorful and thick and made a great "chicken a la king" of sorts to put over something like brown rice (you've made ahead). My picky family liked it a lot. The whole thing probably took under 10 minutes and used only one pan. Or if potatoes are OK, you could have some cooked and diced (peelings on for extra nutrition) ahead and add it to the casserole. Then it would stand alone and wouldn't need to be poured over anything. Other steamed vegetables could always be added too.

I can't have dairy and I really miss it. The THAI coconut milk makes a pretty good substitute for creamy sauces and even other dairy applications.

OOp's! Does your nut allergy include COCONUTS?????? Never crossed my mind when I read your post. Sorry if it does. :(

I forget, are you allergic to tree nuts? I make nice rich cream sauces by whirling in the blender 1/4 cup of blanched almonds per cup of water (drizzle in the water to get a smooth "batter", don't add all at once). The almond milk makes it creamy and the finely pureed almond thickens the sauce.

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My favorite is the already roasted chicken's at my local supermarket. Check to make sure yours are safe, of course. But mine is and I pick up one at least once a week!

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I thought of a couple of other easy to fix meals.

Turkey burgers, on lettuce or gluten-free bread, Bush's baked beans, chips or frozen fries, carrot sticks, apples

Hot dogs, beans, "tater tot" type potatoes, etc.

Chicken breast tenderloins, marinaded for just a few minutes in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and spices of choice, grilled on the barbecue for 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve with salad and rice.

Make up a big batch of chicken/vegetable soup (or other) on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and enjoy it one or more nights during the coming week.

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Make up a big batch of chicken/vegetable soup (or other) on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and enjoy it one or more nights during the coming week.

Or freeze to enjoy for weeks! :)

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You might check into pouch cooking. Bascially you're making a packet and putting in things like meat, veggies, maybe rice noodles, spices and set them into the oven to cook for awhile. You can customize them for each eater.

It was a good episode on Good Eats. Here's a synopsis of that show:

http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Season7/EA1G08.htm

And a transcript of the show: http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Season7/Pouch/Pouch.htm

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Potato patties.

I keep a bag of instant potato flakes and mix them with canned meat of some sort (keep the juice) and a little bit of almond milk if necessary to make a moist mash. I add enough rice flour to make a pattie and fry it in olive oil. You could also add shredded veggies or maybe even canned veggies.

I also cook up instant mashed potatoes using veggie or chicken broth (in a can) and stir in canned chicken or turkey.

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Wow! Thanks everyone for all of the good advice. I love the idea of using some salty crumbs such as potato chips for topping things to add a little variety. Also, it sounds like I need some new equipment, like a pressure cooker and a grill. My husband has been helping a lot by roasting chicken or pork on Sundays so we have leftovers for a few days, but this past weekend we didn't get around to that. I'm trying a casserole tonight (substituted broccoli for the peas since I have one allergic to those). I like the idea of coconut milk in a casserole (we're not allergic to coconut). I have been experimenting with that a bit, but I never would have thought of making a casserole with it. Perhaps rice milk will work, too. I think I also have to use more mashed potatoes. Before my youngest was diagnosed with Celiac disease, I didn't cook too many potatoes (or much meat, for that matter). I never realized how creative one could be with potato flakes! I'm definitely going to try those potato patties. Also, we can have soy lethicin. Our allergist said that lethicin is a carbohydrate and not dangerous for the daughter with a soy allergy (maybe because it's not as severe?), but the daughters with the milk allergies can't have butter or goat milk. Hmm, I never thought of trying buffalo meat. Maybe we can have that.

I feel like I'm relearning how to cook. I guess ordering in is a thing of the past. Thanks to all for the yummy sounding dishes and the encouragement.

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I sympathize with you, I'm in a similar boat!

Almost all pre-packaged foods, as you know (including store bought chickens, which can be SO yummy), even if they are gluten free, have soy in them. Its frustrating.

I don't have a lot of good advice. just wanted to say that I understand and I know its frustrating and annoying. My best advice, which you already know, is to make things in large batches and freeze. When I could eat rice, I did rice in my rice cooker, often. I loved it and it was so simple...never had to worry. Also, tinkyada pasta was a life saver for me. But no, I wouldn't trust eating out too much...just something to move on from. :(

Good luck. Your family is lucky that you are so diligent. xoxo

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