Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's for Dinner?

Thanks to my mother in-law, we have a new grill! She had been saying for a while we needed to pick one out for a wedding gift, and we finally did it last week. After assembling the grill for 3 hours... we were finally ready to put it to use.

He was excited, can't you tell?

I'm planning on using the grill for dinner every night, because that means Reagan cooks! :)

I planned all of our meals this week around the grill. Which leads me to my next point...

The first question I always get asked when people find out that I am now on a gluten and lactose free diet is, "Oh my gosh! What does your husband eat?? Do you cook two dinners every night?? That must be so hard!"

No, Reagan doesn't starve.  No, I don't cook two dinners every night. Yes, it can be challenging. Thankfully, Reagan is not picky at all, and tries anything I cook. (Black bean brownies included!)  He also understands that happy (not sick from gluten) wife = happy life. But, really.

What it basically comes down to is meal planning. I have to research, read, and plan for our meals each week.  All of this takes some time, especially if I have to find ingredient substitutes for recipes. We eat at home 90% of the time, since finding gluten free options at a restaurant can be difficult. We also have a Sprouts here in Lubbock where I can find lots of gluten free goodness. 

So, what do we eat for dinner? Protein, vegetables, and some type of GF starch (quinoa, brown rice, corn tortillas, etc.) Reagan still eats regular bread/rolls, cheese, and milk. He still has pizza every Sunday night, and I just eat something different or make myself a GF pizza.  Basically, we eat a lot less processed food than normal.

We have some good meals planned for this week, so I thought I'd share.

Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Mozzarella and Pesto
serves 4
Adapted from Eat, Live, Run

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 large ball fresh mozzarella, cut into four slices (I used regular slices)
Pesto (homemade or store bought)

1. Place chicken and one cup balsamic vinegar in a large plastic bag. Seal bag tightly and place in fridge to marinate for one hour.  (Don't marinate overnight or for a long period of time, the acid in the vinegar may break down the chicken breast, forming a mushy texture.)

2. Place the other cup of balsamic vinegar in a small pot on the stove and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering for about 15 minutes, until vinegar has reduced and is thick like syrup.  Take off stove and let cool while you cook the chicken breasts.

3. After the chicken has finished marinating, preheat the grill (or a grill pan). Grill chicken breasts until cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. Put one slice of cheese on each chicken breast and leave on grill until it melts.  Remove chicken and place on a plate. 

4. Top each chicken breast with a dollop of pesto and drizzle balsamic reduction over top.

*This fits into my restrictions except the cheese. I just leave it off!

Spicy Crockpot Sweet Potatoes
serves 6
Adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

3 lbs. sweet potatoes (3 or 4 large)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Non-stick spray for crockpot
Salt & pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons ground coriander
1 Tablespoon ground fennel (this is a powerful spice, so I use a little less)
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 Tablespoon cayenne pepper (use more or less, depending on how spicy you want your potatoes)

1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes.  Put sweet potatoes in a large plastic bag, add 2 T olive oil and spices.  Seal bag and distribute oil and spices until the potatoes are coated.

2. Spray inside of crockpot with non-stick spray. Put sweet potatoes in crockpot and cook on high for 3 hours. Stir occaisonally to prevent burning on the bottom.

3. Mash slightly if desired, and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

*Sweet potatoes can be cut and mixed with oil and spices earlier in the day. Cooked sweet potatoes can be kept in the crockpot on low or keep warm for a few hours if needed.

These recipes are proof that gluten free doesn't have to be terrible. I would make both of these regardless of being on a gluten free diet!

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