Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gluten Free Cooking Tips #7 -- 7 Frugal Hints

Cooking Tip#7
7 Frugal Gluten Free Cooking Tips

Just because you’re gluten free doesn’t mean cooking has to be difficult. You can still take shortcuts and use some packaged foods to make weeknight meals a little easier.

  1. Canned and frozen veggies are nearly always gluten free, especially if they do not contain additional seasoning and they are nearly always a frugal option.
  2. RICE! Jasmine rice, Arborio rice, Basmati rice, Red Rice, Black Rice, etc… rice is cheap. Nearly all kinds are cost effective and it’s easy to cook.
  3. Canned beans are cheap. Dry beans are cheaper but they take forever to cook. Need dry beans that cook fast? Buy lentils… super cheap and you like beans they make a great meal.
  4. Once or twice a month roast a chicken. You can average at least 2 meals from the meat of a 3-4 pound chicken (which generally costs about $5-$7), then you can make healthy homemade chicken stock from the carcass.
  5. Take advantage of in-season fruits and vegetables. They will usually be on sale at the grocery store when they are readily available. One of my favorite meals, especially in the summer, is simply having fresh steamed sweet corn, sliced tomatoes, and sautéed zucchini or yellow squash.
  6. Use your freezer if you have one. Saving and freezing leftovers in single portion containers is the perfect solution for weekday lunches and evenings when you don’t want to cook. Don’t have a freezer? Have a weekly dinner swap night with friends or neighbors.
  7. Make a weekly menu plan. Even if you don’t follow it exactly, you’ll have a much better idea of what meals you can make throughout the week. You’ll save money by eating at home, and your meals will automatically be more healthy and safely gluten free. 

Reader’s Tip of the Day:
“Don’t give up if something doesn’t work out the first time. Cooking takes patience and practice and you will become better and better at it as you gain more experience.” – Jennifer Y. of  AGirlWhoLovesCupcakes.

Please visit each topic in "10 Days of Gluten Free"
From: May 7th - May 18th

10 Days Gluten Free GIVEAWAY!
Included with this awesome series is a giveaway on each blog once the two weeks are over! I will be giving away a brand new copy of Carol Fenster's cookbook, "100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes." This is one of my FAVORITE gluten free cookbooks with an awesome collection of Carol's absolute best recipes.

The Giveaway Nitty Gritty: 
  • This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents 18 and older. 
  • You are allowed one entry per "10 Days of Gluten Free" blog post for a total of 10 entries on this blog. 
  • Enter by leaving a comment (WITH an email address to contact you) on this post (and other 10 Days of GF posts). 
  • The giveaway begins May 7, 2012 and ends at 11:59 pm eastern time on May 18, 2012. 
  • No purchase is necessary. 
  • Odds of winning are based on the number of entries. 
  • The winner will be randomly chosen and will be contacted by email. 
  • The winner will have 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly chosen
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  1. Dried beans can be very easy. Just soak overnight and then use in whatever dish you want. I find sauteed or roasted fresh farmer's market veggies, with some beans thrown in during the last few minutes of cooking, with lots of seasonings, makes a great side dish with a boost of protein. Be sure and do a search online for specific directions for the beans you have. Whole Foods is a great source for bulk dried beans and lentils.

  2. Carrie & Cindy--thanks great ideas...

  3. I tend to keep frozen vegetables in my freezer at all times and I freeze extra desserts so I don't feel pressured to eat them quickly. I also have a whole bunch of canned beans, though I do want to try cooking dried ones because I know that it is cheaper.
    I also use a lot of rice, quinoa and (usually corn) pasta as a based. Rice and quinoa are good because they can fill you up. These are all useful because all you have to do is throw together something is go with them- a tomato sauce from canned tomatoes, beans and corn tortillas for tacos, some sort of stew- and dinner is done.

  4. I love going to my local farmer's markets and getting inexpensive fruits and veggies. Great tips!

  5. Thanks for the tips!


  6. Great tips!
    I have just discovered Arborio rice (I cook it with some cheese sauce Risotto style) and my daughter likes it more than "old" mac n cheese!


  7. Being a super-lazy cook, I was delighted to discover that dried beans do not have to be soaked to be good. If you've got a slow-cooker (and if you don't, get one fast,) you can add rinsed beans, onion, garlic cloves, a whole hot pepper if you like, and water, then just turn it to low. This is an all day or over night time frame, but it does not require your attention at all. The onion and garlic can be left whole or chopped. You can even use dried onion flakes.

    After the beans have softened, add salt and tomatoes if you like. That's it. Of course, you can get as fancy as you want, but you don't have to. It is easy, easy, easy. And the best part is everyone will think you've done something amazing. I was asked to bring beans to friends and family's get-togethers for years and used exactly this method.

    1. love it!! I love all these different ways people prepare and eat rice & beans!! I miss them! lol

  8. I plan my menu for a month at a time. It helps a lot when it is time to cook or shop. You can bottle your own dry beans in a pressure cooker to have at a moments notice and make it cheaper. bellistoncj@msn.com

    1. Bonnie's comment just reminded me that beans can be frozen, too. Frozen beans are especially good for soups or refried beans, even for adding to chili.

  9. I've found the meal planning to be a necessity, now that I can't really eat out locally with any degree of safety.

  10. I love the dinner swap idea!! 2gr8ful2@gmail.com

  11. We have a freezer and have a big garden, so do a lot of canning a freezing. When I make cakes cookies,etc...I freeze and only take out what we need for that day.

  12. I need to start saving for an extra freezer!!
    ufg8trj at yahoo dot com

  13. I actually do all those tips...I feel pretty good about myself now. ;)

    pauladecaria(at) yahoo.com

  14. We've always used equal parts canned and frozen vegetables; however, our insurance's wellness counselor thinks that all canned veggies are from the devil. She says that they have to much sodium for anyone. She doesn't really like frozen veggies. I think that she lives in Utopia. People who live in rural areas can't possibly give up both canned and frozen veggies for good. Can they? What are your thoughts??

  15. I make a pound or two of beans at a time. I soak overnight & then slow cook or simmer, as the long & slow method helps breakdown the substances that cause flatulence. It takes the same amount of time whether I make a cup of beans, or a whole bag. So, I cook up a pound or two and then divvy them up into 2 cup portions, which is the same as a can of beans. Then, I have them ready to dump into any recipe but without the can to recycle afterwards.

  16. I am going to have to try cooking beans in my crock pot. Thanks for the hints and giveaway. cindym119@gmail.com

  17. Not having a plan is the worst thing that can happen on a day to day basis on a GF diet. So I menu plan as much as possible. Now if I could just make all my food once a month I would really be on top of it!!

  18. More great tips. Thank you!