Tag Archives: Trader Joe’s

Two weeks of meals

14 Dec
With some extra planning, we've been able to make gluten free work for us.

With some extra planning, we’ve been able to make gluten free work for us. These biscuits are made with a gluten-free Bisquick mix. We made a set that were not gluten free for the rest of us and froze the leftover gluten free biscuits for future meals.

I know some of you have missed our bi-weekly menus for your own meal planning inspiration, and I’m glad to say that it’s back this week!

We’ve been working within the parameters of our family’s needs, with the most recent addition of a member of our family eating gluten free. Although it takes some advanced planning, there’s so much available out there for people who are on a gluten free diet, that we’ve been able to make it all come together every night without making a separate meal for anyone. Sometimes we need to use a separate pasta or change our recipe a bit, but so far, so good.

Without further ado, here’s two weeks of kid-friendly, gluten free meals for you:

  1. Shepherd’s Pie: We use ground turkey for this meal, which tends to be lower in fat and this recipe is already gluten free except for the packet of gravy we use. However, Alex doesn’t use the gravy to begin with, so we didn’t need to do much to this recipe in the way of modifications.
  2. Tacos: Hard taco shells are corn-based and we found a gluten-free taco seasoning mix to add to the ground turkey. However, in the past we’ve also made our own taco seasoning mix. There are soft white or yellow corn taco shells that are gluten free, but so far, we prefer the hard shells. The fixings (lettuce, tomato, cheese, low fat sour cream, and refried beans) are all gluten free.
  3. Corned Beef and cabbage: It’s not just for St. Patrick’s Day, you know! We try to pick the least fatty cut we can, and trim off much of the fat when we cook it. The plain, boiled veggies (cabbage, potatoes, onions, celery and carrots) are all low fat and gluten free.
  4. Sloppy Joes: This was a quick meal for only a portion of us that were home one Friday night. I bought gluten free rolls (which she didn’t like so she just ate the meat without them) and the sloppy joe mix is out of a can over ground turkey.
  5. Nicoise: This is totally gluten free: olives, hard boiled eggs, green beans, tuna and red potatoes. The dressing is olive oil and balsamic vinegar, all were gluten free. It’s a low fat meal and can be served with bread or biscuits on the side. We have a bag of frozen gluten free biscuits on hand.

    We've tried both the orange cheese and the white cheese versions of Annie's and it's been well received both times.

    We’ve tried both the orange cheese and the white cheese versions of Annie’s and it’s been well received both times.

  6. Macaroni and Cheese and hot dogs: We’d started out planning a homemade version, but due to time constraints we had to use boxed mac and cheese. We had Annie’s Gluten Free on hand and we use turkey hot dogs and we keep gluten free hot dog rolls in our freezer.
  7. Chicken Soup: This is a homemade soup in which we used a gluten free pasta as the base, along with the usual chicken and vegetables. We have a bakery here called A&J’s Bakery which specializes in allergy free foods, and I have found everything I need there, if I can’t find it in a store. For this meal we used a small pasta that I found there. Up to that point, I’d only found large gluten free pastas (like penne) which was too big for soup. This pasta was imported from Italy, so it was pricey, but it was a corn pasta rather than a white pasta and it was perfect for this soup. Although I wouldn’t use it for my weekly pasta meals on a regular basis, I’d buy it as needed for soups like this one. We used the whole box and made the whole soup gluten free, rather than trying to make a big batch and a small batch, but we could have done that too.
  8. California chicken sandwiches: This is just grilled chicken with cheese and avocado. It can be had on a roll or on the plate, with our without the toppings. It’s a DIY chicken and everyone has it how they like it, but we had gluten free rolls available if needed.meatloaf burgers 4
  9. Meatloaf Burgers: This recipe is a family favorite and everyone loves it. The only thing I did differently was take the bread crumbs out of the mix. It made them a bit softer, but the end result was the same. In the future if I purchase a gluten free bread crumb, I could throw some back in, but they were fine without.
  10. London Broil: This was on a night not everyone was home for dinner so there wasn’t a lot of menu modifying to be done. This is marinated and served with onions, mushrooms and peppers as well as some side dishes (usually a rice or a couscous).
  11. Homemade Pizza: For this we made two homemade pizzas and bought one gluten free pizza from Trader Joes’ which was cheese, sliced tomatoes and sauce. Thumbs up on this, so it’ll be an addition to our Friday night Pizza Night meals.
  12. Chicken Marsala: To modify this dish to be gluten free, the chicken was not breaded and the sauce was made with cornstarch instead of flour. I actually liked the sauce better. We served it over pasta and made one pasta gluten free and the rest not. This is a favorite meal of mine, personally, so I was glad to see it easily modified.The rest of our meals consisted of leftovers one night and another hot dog/hamburger night using gluten free buns with french fries which were baked and are already gluten free, and salad.So for our first two full weeks of meal planning with our new needs, we were in good shape and we’re all able to eat one meal, all together, and no one is feeling hungry or slighted or as if they can only eat salad and water every day or night.

    Stay tuned as we continue on this journey through the holidays and beyond and thanks for your feedback over the past few weeks as we’ve been at the beginning of this journey!

 

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Muffins

9 Dec
I was temporarily lost without one of the staples in my menu: muffins.

I was temporarily lost without one of the staples in my menu: muffins.

Muffins.

If you are a long-time reader of The Whole Bag of Chips, you know how much I love a good homemade muffin. I like the versatility of being able to serve them after school, for breakfast, for a lunchbox item or for a late night snack.

Going with a gluten free menu for my youngest just before Thanksgiving has led me on a search for all kinds of staples and pantry items as well as for some good recipes to try. The staples and pantry items were immediate needs, as were items for each meal. One Sunday morning rolled around, and I realized my go-to plan for Sunday morning breakfast might be in jeopardy if I couldn’t make muffins.

This ended up being a lifesaver for one of our Sunday mornings

This ended up being a lifesaver for one of our Sunday mornings

Luckily, I’d visited our local Trader Joe’s earlier that week and picked up two bags of an all-purpose flour. I had grabbed two because I don’t often get to Trader Joe’s, and because I am learning quickly that there’s often only enough for one batch of something when it comes to buying gluten free items.

I noticed that the back of this package of flour contained several recipes, and one of them was for an apple cinnamon muffin. I was thrilled. Muffins are a staple here, and I hadn’t yet thought about what to do about that for Alex. When Sunday morning rolled around, I remembered the flour and the recipe on the back side.

As I examined the recipe at home in my kitchen, I was very excited to read that the recipe could be used as written, to make the apple cinnamon muffins, or it could be used as a basic muffin recipe if you took out the cinnamon and you could put in whatever you wanted.

Well of course….she requested that I put in chocolate chips. A girl after my own heart.

The recipe was easy to follow. I had two snack cups of natural applesauce here that I used, which was lucky because I hadn’t planned ahead for this, so I was glad I had it on hand at home already. I used canola oil instead of sunflower oil and skim milk. The recipe was quick and easy to follow and I was able to make 18 muffins, so she ate a few that morning and then I froze the rest. Now, a couple of weeks later, there are only three left, and I’m already thinking of what recipe to make next. I am thinking of using some of our frozen blueberries that we picked in August to make some homemade blueberry muffins.

I was so happy to see this recipe on the back of this package of flour from Trader Joe's.

I was so happy to see this recipe on the back of this package of flour from Trader Joe’s.

This flour was $7.99 a pack, and the muffin recipe used about 3/4 of the pack, so I was glad that I had more than one. I will finish it off and start my next package of flour when I make my next batch of muffins. There was also a pancake recipe on here, but as you saw last Wednesday, we were happy with our Bisquick gluten free pancakes, so for now I’m sticking with that.

If you haven’t found a muffin recipe you like yet, and you’re searching for gluten free, I encourage you to try this one. It did not require anything unusual and the muffins were tasty. All three kids eventually got to have them, and they all gave them a thumbs up each time.

If you have any other good muffin recipes to try that don’t require a ton of unusual ingredients, I’d love to hear about them!