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The Key To Easy Meals

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I referenced this in another post but wanted to put it here with some additional information.

The problem with gluten-free food when you're used to cooking "regular" meals is that it takes a long time to think about what to eat and how to prepare it. The answer to this problem (and the key to celiac sanity) is pre-cooking food.

This is a similar concept to "OAMC" - once a month cooking - except that it's not cooking for nearly as long and often not preparing a full meal.

Here's what I do (remember you can always get more, or less, than this - as long as you've got freezer space!)

On grocery day, I buy two packages of ground turkey and a small package of hamburger, ground pork, or gluten-free sausage (or use ground venison from the freezer). I also buy a chicken, some stew beef, whiting fillets, and the occasional roast or whole turkey on sale.

I also buy fresh green peppers, onions, celery, carrots, and garlic (and scotch bonnet peppers but most of you wouldn't touch them!), and rice and potatoes, and an assortment of frozen veggies, canned beans, and tomatoes. And loads of zip-lock bags.

The next morning, I sort out the meat and how I'll cook it. The #1 thing to remember is that everything you cook today will be cooked again - so stop JUST BEFORE it's done! The #2 thing to remember is that ziplocks will freeze in whatever position you put them in, so make sure you lay them flat!

Start by chopping the veggies. Freeze some in small freezer bags. Save the peelings.

Throw a pot of rice on to boil - as much as you can! When it's JUST cooked, cool and package in quart-sized bags.

Mix the ground meats together and add some of the veggies and brown it (you need a big pan, or two smaller ones). Brown the stew meat in another pan, but don't cook it all the way.

Things like the chicken and fish go into the oven or crockpot. I usually season the chicken but leave the fish plain - I freeze half for a Jamaican dish called Brown Stew Fish, and eat the other half as dinner that night with some rice and frozen veggies.

When the ground meats cool, package in small bags. Take Ms. Chicken and cut her up and bag, and then put all the bones and the veggie peelings in another bag - I can usually get 3-5 meals plus a soup off a chicken.

All of this can be done in an hour or so.

Then, when the question is, "What on earth can I eat?" -

:D Baked fish with rice and veggies

:D Brown stew fish

:D Chili: (Crockpot or stove) 1 package cooked ground meat, some extra veggies, 2 cans tomatoes, 2 cans beans, spices

:D Goulash: 1 package cooked ground meat, extra veggies, 2 cans of tomatoes, rice (or just add the former to cooking rice!) Add some cheese...

:D Chicken "stir fry" (heat 1 bag chicken with the frozen veggies and some extra garlic and gluten-free soy sauce, serve over the frz rice)

:D Chicken saag: 1 bag chicken + 2 cans tomatoes + 2 cans spinach + spices (do this one in crock pot), serve over rice

:D tamale pie: mix 1 bag cooked ground meat with some veggies and salsa, and pour gluten-free cornbread over top, bake

:D chicken soup: boil the chicken bones & peelings into stock, drain and discard the solid stuff. Add 1 bag of chicken and some frozen veggies and either pre-cooked rice or noodles.

:D beef stew - toss the pre-cooked beef and onions and peppers in a crock-pot with cut-up potatoes and a little red wine.

and so on. Most of the recipes are really "dump in a pot with other stuff and reheat" - but they're good healthy gluten-free meals.

Because it all freezes well, you can also make the entire meals ahead of time and package them in plastic containers to take to work for lunch.

you can also cook beans, chickpeas, etc., pancakes or waffles, fruit muffins, etc. ahead and freeze them. (works just as well for gluten-free as for wheat recipes!)

Hope this helps someone with sanity! :)

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