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kdean823

Help Needed For Newbie

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Hi. I'm not Celiac, but highly suspicious that I'm gluten sensitive, so I want to give the gluten free diet a try to see if I get benefits from it. However, I am a BIG bread/pasta/casserole eater, and this is going to be tough. I'm also not supre big on cooking, and that's why we like the casseroles. I am loving looking thru the recipes, but everything here seems to be baked goods. :) Not that that's a bad thing, but I don't think it will sustain me! LOL Anyway, I'm on a budget, too. Aren't we all. What my question is is this: What are the essential staples I must get? How about recommended gluten-free pastas that taste good? I'm seeing things listed that I never suspected had gluten in them...like HAM and chicken broth??? So, I am thinking I need something to tell me the most common ingredients to watch for. I know the obvious...wheat, flour. Can you point me to a place that would have a great list? As far as ingredients,what I'm seeing is a mix of flours, xanthum gum, potato and tapioca starches coming up the most frequently. I was at Meijer today and saw a selection of gluten-free products/flours. Are they more reasonably priced than at a place like Whole Foods?

Thanks for any assistance!

Kym

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Welcome, I too am fairly new and I have done lots on internet research, This is a wonderful site for all the info you are asking for. I have also looked at celiac list serve and they have some of the lists your are asking about. Baking flours and some other items are much cheaper at Asian or Indian markets if you have any in your area. Good Luck

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If you're a casserole person, I'd say meatloaf and roast chicken will be your best friends. I've seen a few meatloaf recipes made with rice instead of bread crumbs. For recipe ideas, what I did was go to Allrecipes and type 'gluten free' in the search function. You'll get all kinds of stuff, from nachos to pie. There's also a recipe section on the homepage of this site. As for pasta, We like Tinkiyada the best usually. I also found a cheaper brand at one of my local grcoeries, but I've never seen it anywhere else. It's called Notta Pasta and is very good. But DONT get Deboles, I made that mistake!

Oh, super easy mac&cheese from the oven:

3tbs butter

2 1/2 cups macaroni

1tsp salt

1tsp black pepper

1 (8 ounce) package cheddar cheese, shredded

4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Melt butter in oven in 9x13 baking dish. When liquid, stir in DRY macaroni, salt and pepper until coated. Sprinkle cheese over macaroni. Do not stir. Pour milk over all evenly, again, DO NOT STIR. Do not cover. Bake for one hour in preheated oven. No stirring.

I usually add some gruyere shredded and some ground mustard, maybe I'll add onions next time. But what this does to the noodles is beyond heavenly, my boyfriend bugs me to make this all the time. I buy cheese in bulk now and make double servings. You might want to do a search on crockpot recipes at Allrecipes too. Epicurious is a good recipe site too.

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When I was starting out, I bought every kind of flour I saw listed in a recipe. Well, most of that flour just sat there and was never used. I found most of my attempts at gluten free baking didn't come out very well. My daughter is also allergic to dairy and eggs so that could be one reason why. I had to make substitutions that didn't necessarily work.

So what do I buy now? Mainly a four flour mix that can be used in most recipes. Brown rice flour, white rice flour, cornstarch, sweet rice flour (can get for less money in the Asian food section) and some Xanthan gum. I also don't bake much from scratch any more. It's just easier to use mixes. I like the Namaste brand for most things. Their pizza crust is really good.

One problem I have with many of the mixes is the amount they make. I do not need a whole cake since my daughter is the only one who eats it. My extended family is really picky when it comes to cakes and things and there is no one kind they will all eat. For most birthdays it is a combination of mini cakes, half cakes, cupcakes, etc. from various bakeries. I don't like cake no matter the kind. Luckily there is a local bakery here that sells their gluten-free cupcakes at the nearby grocery store so if there is a party, I just buy her a single cupcake. Expensive, yes. But in the end it saves me money because I'm not making a whole cake just to throw most of it away.

For pasta, we like Tinkyada. We also like some of the corn pastas, but I can't recall any brands off the top of my head. It seems the corn pasta reheats better if there are leftovers. We've tried some of the pastas made with bean flour and didn't care for the taste of those, even though we are bean lovers.

For lunch meats, you'll often find they are more expensive if they are gluten free. Budding is one of the cheaper brands that is safe. I'm not sure about the chicken though. Daughter can't eat that one but it might be one of her other food allergies in that case and not the gluten. The turkey, ham and beef are all safe. For broth, look to the organic brands but always check the labels because some of those might contain gluten.

If money is an issue, try to eat rice based things once or twice a week. Rice is cheaper than rice or corn pasta, especially if you buy big bags of it. We sometimes have a quick Spanish rice using canned or dried beans cooked from scratch, combined with chopped onion, bell pepper, tomato sauce, chili powder and maybe some cooked ground beef. We use nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor but you can add real cheese if you are not allergic.

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I've been there too! It's hard starting out, I just did it a few months ago. I dont' think there's a complete compiled list here. But there are a lot of companys which volunteer this information.

I would contact or look at the websites for all your favorite products. I was able to do that when I first started and found out a lot of the things I bought were already/or naturally gluten free. There are alot of companies out there that volunteer this information, like Kraft, Hormel, Dietz & Watson just to name a few.

Obvious things to look for are wheat, gluten, etc. But not so obvious (and this causes much debate here) are things like Modified Food Starch - I would say steer clear if it's not labelled as "corn" or something afterwards. I've noticed too that anything that has a hydrolized protien is suspect. I have not investigated why, but I'm sure its the procees or something.

Basics on flours...white rice, brown rice, sorghum so far are my favorite flours....I use white rice most and mix it with the others when a recipe needs a deeper flavor. Sorghum actually smells like wheat flour to me...and I love it in breads and stuff. Experiment. Experiment.

I'm a huge pasta nut too. My two favorites are Tinkyada Pasta Joy and Trader Joes. Trader Joes - if you have one near you - is a lot cheaper, costing $2/lb vs. $3 or $4 for the Tinkyada. Although, for a truly special dish, I will always shell out the extra for the Tinkyada it's so good. My kids actually like it BETTER than regular pasta.

Be careful of cereals that you think would be okay like Rice Crispies or Rice Chex or even Corn Flakes. Anything that uses a malt sweetner will have barley in it which is a no no grain. I found out the hard way.

Don't eat out for a month or two until you get into a groove with the diet. It's REALLY hard to eat out, but if you master the diet you can do everything YOU can to minimize your risk of exposing yourself to hidden gluten.

GOOD LUCK. Come here often, folks here are awesome and Scott has surely gathered so much information on the subject that you could not get thru it all if you tried. Try the recipe section too....I have tried three of them so far from there and all three were HUGE successes that even my gluten eating friends had no clue that they were eating gluten free.

:)

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Hi - You can find good recipe threads here and here.

Your best bet for pasta is Tinkyada. It's actually really good. Other staples you should get include a gluten-free flour mix (Bob's Red Mill will work) and xanthan gum. I've recently discovered sweet rice flour works well as a bredding on fish and chicken. Other than that I wouldn't go too crazy on the flours, unless you're really into baking.

A good list of safe and forbidden ingredients can be found on the home page of celiac.com. Good luck :)

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