Category Archives: Triumphs

GL Mac & Cheese

Last night, I made gluten-free macaroni & cheese for dinner. I used quinoa flour pasta, rice flour to thicken the sauce and gluten-free breadcrumbs for the crunchy topping. Over all the taste was great! My sister joined us and she and my husband didn’t like the “grainy texture” from the breadcrumbs I used on top. Well, let them eat wheat!

 

Products I used:

 

Ancient Harvest Quinoa SuperGrain Pasta ($2.88 / 8 ounce box at Foods for Living)

quinoa pastaThis may be my new favorite pasta (wheat or no wheat). It has a great clean taste and not at all like the gummy taste that I was finding in rice flour pasta. I’m looking forward to trying this again.

 

 

 

Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour ($3.79 / 24 ounce bag at Meijer)

I have just been using straight rice flour substituting it for all-purpose flour, brown-rice-flourbut I need to experiment more with this. I find that rice flour has a bit of graininess to it that I don’t always enjoy. I see that most gluten-free products are a mixture of flours and often use potato starch. My next project is to start playing around with ratios to find what I like best.

 

Gillian’s Foods Bread Crumbs ($5.65 / 12 ounce container at Foods for Living)

breadcrumbsThese were the deal breaker for my family. I didn’t mind them, but agree a better substitute can be found. Cooks Illustrated never likes commercial breadcrumbs and always recommends making your own from “good quality white bread” in the food processor. I will try this next time.

 

 

Now you are probably interested in my recipe. I don’t have one, but this is how I make my mac & cheese:

 

I cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions. I usually cook 16 ounces dry pasta. Drain.

 

I melt a stick of butter in a large pot (I usually use the one I cooked the pasta in). When melted, I whisk in about 1/2 cup of flour. Allow that to cook a few minutes, whisking frequently to cook out the flour taste. I then slowly whisk in milk until I make the amount of sauce I want and cook until it is the right consistency (no longer thin). I probably use about 3 – 4 cups of milk. I prefer to have a really saucy mac & cheese, so make a large amount of sauce.

 

Salt and pepper the sauce and add about 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. Once this is well blended, I add about 2 – 4 cups of grated cheese, one handful at a time. I like to grate my own versus purchasing pre-shredded cheeses. Depending on my mood, I will use a variety of types. My favorite old standby is sharp cheddar. I like the sharper, stronger flavored cheeses because milder cheeses tend to fade against the pasta.

 

Once all the cheese is incorporated, I turn this mixture out into a greased baking dish. Melt about 4 tablespoons butter and mix in 1/2 cup or so of breadcrumbs. Sprinkle this over the top of the casserole. (This step can be omitted, I like the crunch.)

 

Bake 30 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven until hot and bubbly. If the top hasn’t browned, I turn on the broiler just for about 1 minute, watching to make sure it doesn’t burn.

 

This casserole will serve 8 and freezes beautifully. Bon Appetit!

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And we are off and running….

This weekend went fairly well. I was 99% gluten free, I started working out again and am already feeling better (maybe it is the placebo effect?!).  My crowning moment was Saturday evening when out with friends, I skipped on pizza. I did have one bite of Leo’s cheesy bread, but just one bite. I ate before I left the house because I knew everyone would be eating pizza. And pizza is one of my FAVORITE foods, so it was a big triumph for me to pass it by.

 

I tried two gluten free products this weekend that I really enjoyed:

 

Glutino Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks

GlutinoPretselsYum! These tasted exactly like regular pretzel sticks with a great buttery flavor.

Purchased at Lake Lansing Meijer ($4.99/14 oz bag)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Redbridge Gluten Free Beer by Anheuser-Busch

redbridgeI was surprised by this beer. I was expecting a light, taste-less beer much like the typical light beer. But I was pleasantly surprised. It was mellow, but had a nice hoppy taste. It is made from sorghum instead of wheat or barely. According to their website, there are 17 establishments in the Lansing area that carry it.

Purchased at Goodrich’s Shop-Rite ($7.39/6-pack + tax & deposit)

 

I know there are other gluten-free beers available and am excited to try others. If you have any GF beer favorites, I would be very interested to hear about them.