Tips to Make Your Gluten Free Cooking Easier
If you have the following kitchen equipment and special pantry items on hand, it’ll make your GF cooking life a whole lot easier.
- As you prepare a variety of menu ingredients you’ll find that it’s practical to make more of certain items and freeze the overage for future use. A somewhat small above/below freezer compartment in a normal kitchen refrigerator is OK but it’ll get crowded so we’re suggesting that you have a small (or large) freezer available.
- A Counter Top Toaster
- Kitchen space is usually limited but we suggest having two toasters if your family is split between those that require gluten free diets and those that do not. Cross-contamination is always an important consideration so to avoid the possibility of that happening, two toasters are better than one 4-slice model.
- A Microwave Oven
- We use it time and time again for defrosting frozen meats, breads, rolls, bagels, broths and for baking potatoes. A necessary counter top item.
- GF Flour
- Bob’s Red Mill gluten free products, found in many national supermarkets and specialty stores, include a gluten free all-purpose flour that we use when frying fish or thickening sauces. We don’t use it for baking cakes, bread, cookies, pancakes, etc. as those items are now available in gluten free form from major producers and that saves the hassle of starting from scratch.
- Corn Starch
- We use this for many recipes and you’ll want a quantity in your kitchen pantry. For thickening gravies and sauces, use ½ the quantity called for flour but dissolve it in a small amount of cold water before adding to your recipe.
- Sandwich Bread
- We’ve tried countless recipes for baking bread with marginal success – and often frustratingly so. Whole Foods produces a packaged bread mix under their brand 365 and it’s very easy to make if you follow the simple directions by adding a couple of common ingredients and bake according to instructions in a regular loaf pan.
- Hamburger Buns
- These are made using Bette Hagman’s recipe which are the most ‘authentic’ buns that we have had the pleasure of baking.
- Bread Crumbs
- We use them all the time. For a coating when frying chicken; for a topping on our macaroni & cheese; for a filler when making meat balls; for tightening up a meat loaf; for a 50/50 batter w/flour for frying fish – endless uses and they are an essential part of your kitchen pantry needs.
- Always have frozen bagels at the ready and we prefer the brand San Gluten Free Bagels purchased at Whole Foods or many super/specialty markets. Prepare them with cream cheese, make a bacon & eggs sandwich, with jelly or any one of a hundred different ways.
- Broths – Chicken, Beef & Vegetable
- You’ll need a supply of these for our recipes and they’re easy to make and easy to store – frozen. Freeze them in ice cube trays or in 1 quart zip lock freezer bags and defrost as needed.
- Always have a variety on hand as for us, pastas are a staple.
- Pie Crusts
- We always have 2 or 3 gluten free pie crusts in the freezer bought from Whole Foods or Gillian’s. Whole Foods’ pie diameter is somewhat larger and deeper than Gillian’s and therefore can hold more apples, pumpkin pie mix, chicken pot pie ingredients, etc.
- Chicken Tenderloins
- We buy 5 pound bags of frozen Perdue chicken tenderloins at Costco’s or BJ’s and use them for fried chicken nuggets, chicken tenders, in Chinese stir fry recipes, added to vegetable soups to make quick chicken soup and countless more recipes.
- Stir Fry Vegetables, Frozen
- At Costco’s they sell 5.5 pound bags but depending on your anticipated use, you may want to buy smaller bags at your local supermarket but they come in handy when making Chinese dishes or you want to add vegetables to steak tip buns, etc.
- Shrimp, Frozen
- Any quantity, any size (medium to large preferred) are useful when making white pasta sauces, in Chinese recipes or as grilled/fried appetizers.
Preparing & Storage of often used items and ingredients
It will make your life a whole lot easier if you have some basic ingredients and food items already prepared for use at a moments notice. Bread, buns, broths and sauces come to mind. Toast for the morning breakfast, a hamburger bun for lunch, spaghetti sauce for dinner to name a few so we would like to offer these items for you to prepare and you’ll freeze up what’s not used. Remember, these gluten free items have no preservatives incorporated in the recipes so you'll either consume as made or freeze for future use.