Gluten Free Without Breaking the Bank

Here’s a fun fact anybody who follows a gluten free diet is well aware of: living gluten free is expensive. It just is. No matter which way you slice it, a life free of beloved wheat, rye and barley is not only more difficult but it absolutely kills your wallet.

Since most of us gluten free folks try to minimize our meals out as to avoid cross-contamination and accidental “glutening”, we find ourselves frantically searching the aisles of our local grocery store for gluten free ingredients to prepare our own meals at home. And as the cashier rings us up at the check-out line, we sigh and take out our debit cards, nostalgic for the days of buy-one get-one-free loaves of bread and crackers that cost less than $5 per box.

So what can we do about it? What can we eat that keeps us healthy and doesn’t break the bank?

First, start with the basics: meat, fruits and veggies. All three of these things are naturally gluten free, and staples of a healthy diet anyway! Sure, it may cost a little more to purchase fruit than a box of Oreos, but in the long run your body will thank you and you won’t find yourself getting sick anymore. Meat is a staple of gluten free living in our household. We always have chicken, ground beef and shrimp in the freezer, ready at a moment’s notice for a night of grilling or homemade tacos! (With corn tortillas, of course!)

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You know what else is naturally gluten free? Nuts, eggs and cheese. Looking for a quick snack but not willing to splurge on a $6 box of gluten free crackers? No problem; buy yourself a bag of nuts. Grab yourself some fresh cheese and pop a few cubes whenever you need a snack. Cook up some scrambled eggs in the morning for a quick and delicious gluten free breakfast.

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For those times when you are really craving some delicious carbs, don’t shy away from using coupons! The sting of a $5 bag of bread or $6 box of muffins (4 per pack) won’t hurt quite as much when you can save a buck or two by simply using a coupon. Sign up for emails and promotions from some of the best gluten free companies out there like Rudis, Udi, and Glutino all offer coupons for email subscribers!

Grab a big bag of gluten free flour and prep your favorite snacks from scratch! There are some awesome gluten free flours out there, but many have a price tag to match. (Cup 4 Cup, I’m talking about you) I’ve had some of my best luck with brands like Pamela’s and Bob’s Red Mill. These can easily be substituted for regular flour in almost any recipe and don’t carry the hefty price tag that others do. Not sure what to whip up? Check out Pinterest for some fantastic gluten free recipe inspiration or start following a few gluten free blogs online.
When you really want some delicious processed gluten free food (and let’s face it, we all crave it from time to time), try shopping online. Vitacost.com regularly offers some amazing deals on gluten free products and every order over $50 ships for free. Do yourself a favor and get yourself an Amazon Prime account and enjoy the benefits of free 2-day shipping every time you order some gluten free goodies.

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I won’t sugar coat it for you: you absolutely will spend more money living a gluten free lifestyle. Your friend’s hamburger will almost inevitably cost lot less than the salad you ordered because nothing else on the menu was gluten free. So cook at home as much as you can, saving you the frustration of pricey gluten free menus or places where you might get accidently glutened. And try some of these money saving tricks next time you hit up your local grocery store!

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Buffalo Chicken Pizza – Gluten Free!

When it’s dinner time and your husband is craving pizza (and your last experience with Domino’s Gluten Free Pizza went something like this…), it’s time to head to the fridge and see what ingredients you can scrounge up for a homemade Gluten Free version. This weekend, we did have a Pillsbury Gluten Free Pizza Crust at the house, but we were all out of pizza sauce. This meant it was time to get creative.

So I grabbed the essentials for any quality, Buffalo-inspired, meal: bleu cheese and Frank’s hot sauce. Then I set out to make a delicious Buffalo Chicken Pizza.

What You’ll Need to Make Your Own:
– 1 Gluten Free Pizza Crust (I love Pillsbury and Chebe, but any GF crust will work!)
– 2 Chicken Breasts, cooked and chopped into bite sized pieces
– Frank’s Hot Sauce
– Shredded Cheese
– Bleu Cheese

The process couldn’t be easier! Simply roll out your pizza crust. I always use my handy pizza pan from Williams Sonoma so I get perfectly round pizzas every time. What a fantastic wedding gift idea that was! 😉

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Then spread a layer of bleu cheese over the crust as your sauce. Top the bleu cheese with the chicken, Frank’s and shredded cheese (as desired). Add vegetables if you are feeling a little bit healthier than we were!

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. What comes out is a Buffalo-inspired masterpiece that looks a little something like this:

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Enjoy!

Gluten Free Crescent Rolls

Read any of my previous blog posts and you will quickly learn about my love for all things Chebe Bread. Seriously, the stuff is amazing and makes for some killer gluten free recipes! (Including one of my favorites – the Buffalo Chicken Calzone!) But sometimes, you’ve got to stick with the basics. Chebe Bread is fantastic for basic, delicious dinner rolls.

About a week ago, I decided to put a little twist on my Chebe rolls. I was planning a yummy gluten free pasta night for the Hubs and myself – and what would go better with pasta than cresent rolls with cheese and garlic powder? Sounds great, right? Here’s how I did it…

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What you’ll need:
1 box Chebe Bread Mix (I used the Chebe Cheese Bread Mix)
Ingredients for bread (eggs, oil, water)
Melted Butter
Garlic Powder
Cheese

Follow the instructions on the box to prepare the Chebe Bread mix. I never stray from the instructions except to sometimes add just a touch more water if it seems a little too dry.

Once you’re dough is ready, roll it out into a flat circle. Take your melted butter and brush it over the surface of the dough until it is completely covered. Then, sprinkle on some garlic powder (let your taste buds decide how much garlic is too much!)

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After that, cut your circle into triangles, as if you were cutting up a pizza. Sprinkle each triangle with some shredded cheese of your liking.

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Roll up each triangle into a cresent roll and bake at 375 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes.

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The only thing left to do now is enjoy! 🙂

Cheesy Potatoes

So first thing’s first. Confession. I am done with Atkins. Shameful, I know. I lasted only one week. Then I went to Seattle for a business trip. And it all started with a latte. I mean I was in Seattle for goodness sake – I couldn’t skip out on Starbucks when I was in the BIRTHPLACE of Starbucks!!! Then it spread to dinner. I was with customers. I couldn’t NOT have drinks/dessert if THEY were having drinks/dessert… And one thing lead to another and after three days in Seattle, I was just toast. The diet was over.

But boy was it worth it. Seattle was glorious.

I am officially adding Seattle into my list of favorite cities

I am officially adding Seattle to my list of favorite cities

Anyway, I got back to Mississippi on Saturday afternoon. Exhausted from all the work (and fun!) And I realized I had to cook lunch for my in-laws the next day. Ah, Mother’s Day. Luckily, my wonderful husband volunteered to go grocery shopping for me. Isn’t he a doll?! 🙂

Because I was tired and wanted to whip something up quickly that would still be super delicious, I decided to make one of my favorites – cheesy potatoes. Mmmm.

Here’s what you need to make some of your own:
1 bag frozen hash browns
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 16 oz container sour cream
1 bag shredded cheddar cheese

Seriously, could this be any easier?
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix all of the ingredients together. Save 1/2 bag shredded cheddar cheese.
3. Pour into bottom of casserole dish. Cook potatoes for 30 minutes at 350
4. Add the rest of the cheese to the top of the potato casserole
5. Enjoy that cheesy goodness.

Just writing about it makes me excited to eat some leftovers tonight. Mmmm mmm good. 🙂

Gluten Free Enchiladas

This is by far one of my favorite recipes. And the hubby loves these too. So when I got home from work last night, I thought nothing would taste better than some delicious home-made enchiladas. Turns out, I was right.

Ingredients:
3-4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 jar picante sauce – whatever spiciness you prefer
1 block of cream cheese
1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese
Corn tortillas (Gluten-Free!) – If you’re not Gluten Free, feel free to use flour tortillas. 🙂

Heres how to rock these babies:
1. Cut those chicken breasts into tiny pieces – and cook using your method of choice (stovetop, electric wok, you name it – just like in my Buffalo Chicken Casserole recipe…) Cook until the middle is no longer pink.
2. Add the cream cheese and 1/2 bag of cheddar cheese. Stir until melted.
3. Add the jar of picante and stir into the mix. Looks good, right?
4. Grease a large casserole dish.
5. Fill each corn tortilla with the delicious goodness before you. Place crease side down into the casserole dish.
6. Once the dish is full of enchiladas, take the remaining sauce from the mixture (your chicken pieces should all be in tortillas!) and pour it on top of the rows of enchiladas.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
8. Add a layer of shredded cheddar cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
9. Enjoy. Seriously – how easy was that?!

Looking for a more Atkins-friendly version? Skip the tortillas!!! Since I am low-carbing it this week and my hubby is gluten free, I made him enchiladas in corn tortillas and just enjoyed the yummy mixture with a fork. It’s so delicious on it’s own, the tortillas are just a bonus!

Try it and see for yourself!!!