Gluten-free Lunches on the Go

As the year winds down, packing lunches seems more and more daunting each day. Some of you may already have finished school for the year, but up here in the Boston area we still have a couple more weeks to go. Then (we hope!) the 2nd wind comes in to continue to pack lunches for camp or family picnics or the office.

Having a child with celiac disease, when we go on road trips or day trips, I often have to pack lunch because we cannot trust that we will find a place that has gluten-free meals. I like to use leftovers when I can and have lists of what my options are for lunches to help take the stress out of it. Here are some ideas for you:

Leftovers can be delicious! Make these Apricot Wings for dinner or appetizers then enjoy them for lunch the next day!

Quesadillas are the perfect on-the-go lunch. I use Rubbermaid Lunch Blocks containers most days for the kids school lunches and on road trips.

Leftover barbecue chicken makes a great lunch. The crackers pictured are one of my favorite gluten-free crackers – Van’s Lots of Everything Crackers.

Wegman’s has snack size yogurts, which fit perfectly into the kids’ lunch boxes. Throw in some lunch meat and Lance’s cheese crackers and the kids are happy 🙂

My children often want a variety in their lunch. If I give them one thing, like leftover pasta in a thermos, they like it but say that they need more than one item to eat 😉 Kielbasa, blueberries, my favorite crackers and a common accompaniment some carrots or peppers and hummus, give them enough to choose from.

As a sweet treat on the road or to bring with my son to a birthday party, I use Ziploc round screw top containers to carry a cupcake. I try to make a batch regularly and keep them in the freezer to pull out when needed, but in a pinch Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s both carry delicious gluten-free cupcakes.

What are your favorite on the go lunches and sweet treats?

Honey Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs

Chicken again? Definitely! I have been making a version of this roasted chicken recipe for years. It is SO EASY. It only has 6 ingredients, including salt, pepper and olive oil! I make it to entertain with or just on a weeknight for my family.  This feeds my family of 5 with enough for leftovers! Bonus, if you keep scrolling, I have a great recipe to transform the leftovers.

Honey Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

About 3 pounds of chicken thighs (brined if you like)

¼ cup of lemon juice

3 Tablespoons of honey

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dry off the chicken thighs. Whisk together lemon juice, honey and olive oil in a medium sized bowl. Coat chicken with mixture and place in a roasting pan. Cook covered for 20 minutes, rotate pan and then cook for 30 more minutes uncovered. (Reserve juices in roasting pan for leftover recipe below)

To keep it simple, I recently served this with a new favorite product from Wegman’s, 90 Second Steamables, Savory Long Grain and Wild Rice, which one of my 6 year olds made by himself (2 bags for our family) and microwave in a bag green beans, which the other 6 year old made. The clean plate club was full that night!

This also made an incredible leftover dish based on an old favorite from Bertucci’s, Chicken Broccoli and Rigatoni in Cream sauce. I used the juices from the roast chicken above with a dash of pepper and some milk for the sauce. Heat the juices and keep adding a little milk at a time, until it tastes the way you want it. Cut up the remaining chicken and a head of broccoli. Toss everything together with your favorite pasta and it is a delicious meal!

What ways to do you like to cook chicken? How do you use your leftovers? We learn from each other, so comment and let me know!

Here are some of my other favorite chicken recipes:

Spatchcocked Herb Roasted Chicken

One Pot Roast Chicken with Tomato Sauce

Apricot Glazed Chicken Wings

Sweet Potato Two Ways

Sweet potatoes can be a great side dish or the star of the meal. They can be fancy or very simple. They can be baked, topped with marshmallows, made into fries or create an amazing soup.

This sweet potato side dish is the perfect comfort food on a cold winter night.

Sweet Potato Gratin

Ingredients

3 large sweet potatoes, thinly sliced

1/3 cup of unsalted butter

1/3 cup flour (I use Gluten-Free Cup4Cup)

1 teaspoon of dijon mustard

1 teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

3 springs of thyme

3 cups of milk

4 ounces of cream cheese or 3 tablespoons of mascarpone

12 ounces of shredded cheddar, divided, save about 4 ounces for the top

Directions

Boil slices of sweet potatoes for about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Make béchamel: melt butter, add flour, mustard and herbs. Whisk for 2-3 minutes. Whisk milk in. Add cream cheese and combine. Take off heat and mix in cheddar. Make layers, one of potatoes, one béchamel and repeat. Cover top with rest of cheddar and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes if you want to melt the cheese more. If you have extra béchamel sauce, freeze it and add it to quinoa or rice another time.

Serve at Valentines day with a grilled steak or barbecued salmon and a fresh salad.

I love to be able to create more than one meal out of the same ingredient. Especially one that completely hides the fact that I’m using leftovers. That way it is more likely that my family will eat it 🙂

Sweet potato and zucchini enchiladas

Ingredients

4-6 tortillas (I like to use Joseph’s gluten free flour tortillas)

1 1/2 to 2 cups of leftover sweet potato gratin

1 large zucchini, shredded

4 ounces of shredded cheddar

chili powder

1 to 1 1/2 cups of tomatillo salsa or your favorite enchilada sauce

Directions

Preheat oven to 300. In a casserole dish, pour tomatillo salsa or enchilada sauce to cover the bottom. In each tortilla place 3 to 4 Tablespoons of the gratin, 1 Tablespoon of the shredded zucchini and sprinkle with chili powder (about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon), roll and place in dish.

Repeat until you have used up your ingredients.

Pour more of the enchilada sauce over all the rolled tortillas. Top with shredded cheddar.

Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes at the end if you would like to melt the cheese any further.

The enchiladas would make a great meal for the Super Bowl next weekend! If you haven’t made the gratin, just substitute some mashed sweet potatoes and add some shredded cheddar inside the tortillas.

I’ll be posting more ideas for Valentine’s Day and the Super Bowl over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

Potato Waffles

My kids have been asking me for latkes for the last couple weeks, so I decided to make my version last night, potato waffles. They went very nicely with our leftover slow cooked pork with gravy and acorn squash. Waffles seemed easier so that I wouldn’t have to stand over a pan and could just put the potato mixture in the waffle maker and go about with the other 5 things I was trying to do at the same time.

Potato Waffles

Ingredients

6 to 8 small potatoes (I used a mixture of white and yukon gold potatoes)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 Tablespoons of shredded parmesan

1 Tablespoon GF flour

Directions

Plug in waffle maker and allow it to heat up.  Heat oven to 200 degrees. After you shred potatoes spread them out on towels to dry and wring out all the liquid you can.  In a large bowl mix the potatoes with the remaining ingredients. Scoop about 1/3 of a cup of the mixture for each waffle. Makes about 8 waffles. When the waffle is cooked, place on a baking rack over a sheet pan and place in the 200 degree oven until you are ready to serve. I served it with sour cream and apple sauce.

I had 2 waffle makers going last night. One, my regular 4 square waffle maker and two, the Frozen waffle maker my daughter got for her birthday. So some of our waffles looked like snowflakes 🙂 This is a fun breakfast idea or good way to use up potatoes if you buy too many over the holidays.

Raspberry Lemon and Thyme Tiramisu recipe coming soon…Amazing and simple. Stay tuned!

 

What to do with leftover cod

Now, I usually cringe when I hear the words “leftover fish,” but sometimes there is just too much left that I feel bad throwing it out. We had cod, with the compound butter that I made, alongside the turkey on Thanksgiving. Since there was so much other food, there was about a pound of the cod left. I have made fish chowder in the past, using the leftover mashed potatoes, but wanted to try something different, so I made fish sticks. They were a hit! and SO EASY to make.

I had another post set for this morning with my stuffed Italian meatball recipe, but that will wait. This needed to be shared immediately! Here is the initial, also super easy, cod recipe and then the leftovers turned into fish sticks recipe follows.

Herb Butter Cod

Ingredients

2 pounds of fresh cod/haddock or your favorite firm white fish

4-5 Tablespoons herb butter or unsalted butter and a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme(remove leaves) and salt to your taste.

2 lemons, sliced

herb-cod

Directions

Pre heat over to 375 degrees. Line a baking dish with two pieces of foil, crossed, so that you will be able to fold up the sides and completely cover the fish. Place lemon slices over the bottom and lay the fish on top of the lemon. Dot the fish the with herb butter. Close the foil and place the dish in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the fish flakes easy with a fork and is cooked through.

Homemade Baked Fish Sticks

Ingredients

About 1 pound of cooked cod/haddock or your favorite firm white fish

2 eggs

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, optional

3/4 panko breadcrumbs (use gluten free. I like Ians)

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of pepper

fish-sticks-ready-for-the-oven

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, flake fish add eggs and rosemary and mix together. I find that getting messy and using my hands is the easiest. In a separate bowl mix breadcrumbs, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Now for the even messier part. The fish mixture will be really wet, but shape it as much as you can and roll in the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a sheet pan that you have sprayed with your favorite non-stick spray (I used Trader Joe’s Canola oil spray). Repeat until you are done with all the fish. Spray the tops with the oil spray as well. Bake for 15 minutes, then using a spatula, flip the fish sticks and bake for 10 more minutes.

fish-stick-meal

Easy and used up the leftovers!  Although now I need to find another way to use my leftover mashed potatoes. I’m thinking soup.

Enjoy these easy recipes and stay tuned for a post every day starting December 1st, counting down to the new year! The posts will be filled with easy dinner recipes, gluten-free holiday treats and meals for a crowd that no one will even guess is gluten free! Stay tuned! Share with family and friends! Click on the buttons on the right or down below.

Note: If the photos look upside down on your browser, please know that I’m working on it. Still troubleshooting. Looks fine on Google chrome, but I have heard on Bing or others that the pictures are cockeyed. 🙂

What can I do with Thanksgiving leftovers?

If you and your family do not eat leftovers, send the rest home with someone else because there are people like me, who can eat Thanksgiving leftovers every day. Seriously. Every single day, every meal, I can eat turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, squash and cranberry sauce for the week following Thanksgiving. But for many (MOST) that gets boring. So, here are some ideas to hide it so your family doesn’t even know its leftovers! And as always, it’s good food that happens to be gluten free.

leftover-turkey-sandwich

Changing the flavor profile is the easiest way to disguise the leftovers. You can shred some of the turkey and mix it with your favorite barbecue sauce and serve on leftover rolls or with cornbread stuffing. Add the turkey to jarred Tikka Masala sauce and serve with rice. You can make Asian rice noodles, Italian pasta, Quesadillas or Chili. Using the leftover turkey, squash or vegetables from the veggie tray you can make any of the dishes in my recent Super Easy Pasta Night3 Easy 10 Minute Meal , Taco Tuesday – Step Outside the Taco Shell and Crowd Pleasing Chili posts.

There are so many options! With the ideas and recipe links above you can make your own takeout! Save the money for the holidays 🙂

Happy planning, cooking and try not to stress. Send me your questions for Thanksgiving or for what to do with leftovers! or tell us your leftover ideas! Comment here or send me an email to mammascooking@gmail.com.