Do you like to cook, or is it a necessary evil?
For me it can go either way. I love to cook, but there are days that I’m just not into it or don’t have the time.
Here are my “not in the mood today” tips to help you get easy gluten-free meals on the table without a whole lot of fuss.
Ever watch those TV chefs and their “15 minute meals” ?
The reason those recipes take you and I more time is that those chefs have the prep all done in advance.
Take that prep off the table and make easy gluten-free meals with convenient products like these:*
Anything that saves you knife work will also save you time.
*Always check labels to ensure there is no added gluten.
Leftovers get a bad rap, but I think they are the best time saver.
You’re cooking anyway, so why not make extra and save yourself some time tomorrow or the next day, or even next week or next month?
Here are 3 ways to make your leftovers work for you:
There's nothing wrong with pulling every container out of the fridge one night a week and letting everyone make up their own microwave meal.
My Mom called this “clean out the fridge night". It’s a great time and sanity saver for those crazy nights when you’re late getting home from work, kids need to be chauffeured to their activities and cooking is not happening.
Leftovers can be the basis of a whole new and simple and scrumptious gluten-free dinner.
Just stick your head in the fridge and see what sparks your imagination.
The biggest complaint I hear about leftovers is that we get tired of the same thing after a few days. Freeze it and go back to it later when you have a craving.
What could be easier than pulling a ready made gluten-free meal out of the freezer and sticking it in the oven or microwave?
I’m not a big fan of filling the cupboard with lots of small appliances that you’ll never use. But, a few carefully chosen items can be big time savers.
The most used appliance in my kitchen next to the stove top is the indoor grill. Grilled meats are healthy and so simple and fast. You can grill a small steak in 4 - 7 minutes, a chicken breast in 6 - 10 or a hamburger in about 5.
When the kids were small and both of us worked full time the crock pot got a work out several times a week.
Do all the prep the night before then turn it on in the morning and you’ll come home to the smell of dinner waiting for you to dish it up. It’s like having a personal chef who does the cooking while you’re at work and has dinner ready when you walk in the door.
You may already have a blender, but for soups and sauces the immersion blender is a huge time saver.
You blend right in the pot. There's no pouring back and forth. There's no hot liquid blowing up in your face when you forget to take the little handle thingy out of the lid. (Yes that actually happened in chef school.)
I don’t own one of these but I have a few friends who swear by them.
Instant pots are a fairly recent invention but if they were around when I was raising my family I’d have been all over it. I think it would have given the crock pot some stiff competition.
Here are some instant pot recipes for you to try*.
*These are not my recipes. Most are naturally gluten-free or easily converted.
Making everything in one pan saves time cooking and especially saves time cleaning up.
Investing in a pan that can go from the stove top to the oven will simplify your life immeasurably. You can even cook your rice in the same pan.
Here are some easy gluten-free meal ideas to get you started.
Sheet pan meals, roasts, and braises are easy and delicious. Stick the pan in the oven, set the timer and walk away.
Cooking time may be 45 min to an hour, but you’re not doing anything during that time. Have a shower, check on the kids’ homework, do a quick tidy or just relax for a few minutes after a long day. Then pull dinner out of the oven and serve.
Here are some easy ideas to try.
Here are some sheet pan recipes for you to try.*
*These are not my recipes. Most are naturally gluten-free or easily converted.
Yes you need protein in your diet. No it doesn’t always have to come from meat.
We eat more meat than we need and probably more than is healthy. Consider going meatless one day a week to simplify and cut the cost.
Try these ideas:
Kind of the opposite of number 6 but you can totally do easy gluten-free meals with just a protein and a vegetable. It's healthy, simple, filling and keto friendly. Here are a few ideas:
Don't know where to start? Consider taking a class.
You can find something online or your local community college likely has cooking classes for beginners. You can sign up and have some fun. Take a friend or maybe make one there.
It doesn't have to be a gluten-free cooking class. Your teacher can help you with substitutions. All you need is a little confidence and you'll be making your own easy gluten-free meals in no time.
Once you learn the basics of gluten free cooking you'll find you can look in the fridge or pantry and come up with something interesting and tasty. There are just a few basic techniques for cooking meat and vegetables. Learn them and you can use them over and over with different ingredients.
With these tools in your belt meal time becomes a fun exercise in creativity instead of something to dread.
One word of caution, next to dairy, eggs are one of the more common food intolerances that go along with celiac disease. Go here for more on celiac and other food intolerances
Eggs may just be the perfect food. They are high in protein, iron, Vitamin A, D, E and a host of minerals. Eggs make a great meat substitute and they are quick and easy to prepare.
Don’t worry about cholesterol. There is absolutely no correlation between the number of eggs consumed and heart disease1.
A frittata makes a simple and delicious gluten-free dinner and is a great way to use up leftover veggies and meat.
Or why not just scramble up a big pan-full of eggs and top with some grated cheddar. Add a side of steamed broccoli and a slice of gluten free whole grain toast. What could be better? Try some of these ideas:
Saving the best for last. My absolute favorite time and stress saving easy gluten-free meal tip – recycle your recipes.
Pick a few recipes that you like, memorize them, and stick with them.
You may think your family will get bored, but they won’t. We humans crave structure and predictability and the family will like it too. If your week looks more or less the same they will know what to expect and will start to look forward to the meal of the day. When you get bored, then you can learn a new recipe and add it to the rotation.
I remember growing up, my mom always cooked something special on Sunday because she had the time. This was the day we’d have a roast beef or pork or chicken with all the fixings.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were simple meals and Thursday was “clean out the fridge day” where we would finish up all the leftovers from the week. It was like a buffet where you could choose whatever you wanted from the bowls on the counter.
Friday was takeout day. It was a treat for us and Mom’s day off. She’d worked hard all week and we enjoyed being able to leave the healthy home cooking behind to enjoy pizza or burgers.
Consider the plan below as a guide then make one that will work for you and your family.*
*If you have a takeout place
near you that you trust to make a safe gluten free meal. If not, go with tacos or burgers at home. Go here to find tips for safe restaurant
I'd love to hear if you enjoyed this tips and found them helpful. I'd love to hear your suggestions too. What are your go to "easy gluten-free meals"? Go here to join the conversation.
1. MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Eggs and cholesterol: What to know. Medical News Today. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/are-eggs-bad-for-cholesterol#are-eggs-unhealthy
Home > Naturally Gluten-Free Meals > Easy gluten-free meals