Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gluten Free during Football Season

Fall is officially here - and in our household that means football season has officially started! Sunday afternoon is now reserved for Giants games (with the occasional Patriots game thrown in as well). And, of course, with football comes snacks. Lots and lots of blissfully unhealthy snacks that taste amazing and, if eaten liberally, cause muffin top later on.

Most of the time we enjoy gluten free pizza and beer, sometimes with hot wings as well. We're partial to Bard's beers and frying hot wings with Frank's Red Hot. (Gluten free and one of my favorite foods). During 1 PM games, we'll do chips and Hel-uv-a Good French Onion dip or else salsa con queso.

Still, having the exact same thing every week gets old, so I've got some new ideas -- best of all, they're easy! You'll notice no measurements in here -- because no matter what you do, the chances are good that it'll come out well!

I found a great recipe for flatlander chili that I used at New Years. I'll brown some ground beef, and then toss everything else in the crockpot to cook for a few hours. Served with hot sauce, monterey jack cheese and chips on the side, it tastes amazing, makes great "football food" and if you make portions like I do, you'll have leftovers for the rest of the week so no more cooking!

I link to the recipe from my New Years' blog.

Another great junk food, and so easy! I pick up (naturally gluten free) corn tortilla chips. Brown some ground beef, and add that, beans, black onions, jalapeno peppers, and tons of monterey jack cheese (I like using the monterey jack with jalapenos). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and cook them until the cheese is melted, then top with fresh tomatoes and iceburg lettuce. Serve with sour cream, and guacamole on the side. Yum!

Speaking of guacamole - it's super easy. Mash up avocadoes, add diced red onions, chopped tomatoes, garlic, and cilantro. Mix with lime juice and add lime slices as a garnish.

Red Beans and Rice
OK, I've got a confession to make. This is one of my staple potluck foods. It's easy, relatively healthy, everyone loves it, you can make it on the cheap, and you can throw almost anything into the recipe. It heats up well (I like leftovers better, the flavors have more of a chance to mix), and is always a big hit. It heats up well in the crockpot so is very transportable. I always use brown rice, dark red kidney beans, salsa, and then any veggies I have on hand or feel like: green pepper, red onion, corn, diced tomatoes, etc. etc. etc. Serve with sour cream and monterey jack cheese, and the piece de resistance to make it acceptable "football food?" Use Tostitos scoops instead of a spoon.

Loaded Fries
We haven't done this one for football season yet, but it's pretty simple in concept. Buy frozen steak fries and cook them in a deep fryer, add cheese and crumbled bacon, and melt in the oven. Serve with ranch dressing to dip on the side.

For something only slightly healthier, do a loaded baked potato. It's still junky enough to pass as gameday food.

Hot Dogs
OK - this is for those days when you don't want to cook. Get some gluten free hot dogs (I only buy kosher hot dogs, too -- like Hebrew National) and cut them up into small pieces. Heat up some BBQ sauce in the crockpot, and let the hot dog pieces heat up with the sauce. Let people serve themselves -- I usually serve them with toothpicks as utensils.

NOTE: Since this isn't filling, I'll usually put out cheese, pepperoni and gluten free crackers too.

Modified Rangoons
OK, the Honest Weight Co-Op sells asian rice paper rolls that are gluten free. A package of them contains something like 100 sheets and they'll last forever. Take those rolls and follow the instructions on the package wetting them and drying them out. While they're drying, mix up cream cheese, green onion, tiny canned shrimp, and a bit of gluten free soy sauce. Place the cream cheese mixture in the rice paper rolls and fry in canola oil. Use your judgment, but we do about 3-4 minutes per "rangoon." I serve with a dipping sauce made from honey, pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce and cornstarch. It sounds gross, but works well!

I don't think I need to explain any more here - ground beef, seasonings, gluten free bread crumbs optional, tomato sauce, and crockpot. Always a good hit. I like Gillian's Italian bread crumbs.

OK - So hopefully these ideas give you a couple of suggestions for when it's your turn to host game day. They're all very easily made gluten free.

Next week - I'll talk about all the healthy cooking I do the rest of the week to make up for unhealthy Sundays!!!

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