How to Live Gluten-Free on a Budget: 10 Tips + 2 Recipes

Potatoes are gluten free
Farmers' market potatoes. Gluten-free and budget friendly.


How to live gluten-free on a budget? It's a legitimate concern. I feel your pain. $7.95 for a gluten-free baking mix? Ouch.

There's a lot of chit chat lately about food budgets, food prices, and stretching a dollar. Budget talk is in the air. Eating in and cooking from scratch is a trend now. And for those of us living gluten-free, a  trend unlikely to burn out soon. 

So if- like me- you are struggling to balance your cranky budget, here are ten tips and tricks to stretch the green and keep it tasty.







10 Gluten-Free Living on a Budget Tips


1. This, you know already. Buy pantry items on sale. Beans. Rice. Canned tomatoes. Canned pumpkin. Quinoa. Gluten-free pasta. Stock up when you can. And buy in bulk. 

2. Eat more vegetarian and vegan meals. Cut down on meat and browse my Vegetarian and Vegan Index for some budget-friendly inspiration. My Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas are super popular- and muy delicioso. Not to mention my Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie and the all-time classic comfort food Baked Mac + Cheese (I even have a vegan version: The Best Vegan Mac + Cheese, my personal favorite). Vegetarian can also be sexy- try my Vegetarian Putanesca on for size. Shop at the Farmers' market for seasonal inspiration and budget friendly prices.

3. Make your own snacks instead of buying pre-packaged. You can make twice as much hummus for less than half the price. Try my Jalapeno Lime Hummus recipe, or classic Hummus Tahini. Make your own snack chips out of stale corn tortillas and brown rice tortillas- here's how to make your own chips. Easy. Make your own pesto, too. And if basil is outrageously expensive- try cilantro, parsley and mint. It makes a wonderful pesto with pecans (cheaper than pine nuts).

4. Use more potatoes. They're amazingly versatile. You can make a soul warming- and filling- soup Potato Leek Soup for very little investment. You can make a baked Idaho potato- or a sweet potato- the center of a meal rather than a side dish. Top it with a scoop of leftover Santa Fe Chicken Chili, or veggies like my Balsamic Roasted Veggie Smothered Potato. Top a baked sweet potato with my Melted Peppers and Dags. Easy and cheap. Buy them at your local Farmers Market.

5. Eat breakfast for dinner (this was my old too-tired-to-cook trick when the kids were little). Make an 1-2-3 omelette with eggs and left over blue corn chips and call it a Blue Chip Fritatta. Make pancakes. Or Pumpkin Waffles. Or a simple Fried Egg and Pesto on Toast. Bake up a spaghetti quiche-pie with leftover pasta and veggies and call it an Autumn Pasta Fritatta. Find more brunch, quiche and egg recipes here.

6. Pasta is goddess sent. Even though gluten-free pasta runs a tad more expensive than regular old grocery store spaghetti, you can often buy in bulk and save. Ask your grocer for a case discount. My favorite family style pasta recipes are my Italian Meatballs and Spaghetti, and easy Italian Ragu, my almost retro Tuna and Artichoke Pasta, my Jazzed Up Turkey Tetrazzini- with, you guessed it, leftover turkey. My Penne Arrabiata is so easy- with diced tomatoes and green chiles.

8. Make soup. I'm tellin' ya, a pot of soup can save you. And if you make it a slow cooker, you save energy costs (I read somewhere that using a slow cooker to make a meal uses the same amount of energy as a light bulb). I have lots of soups, stews and chili recipes in my archives because they're a personal favorite. We're big on soup. Mulligatawny is good enough for company (and it won't break the budget). My Big Easy Chili is just that. Easy, And pretty cheap- if you buy the beans on sale. Use leftover chicken and make my Roasted Corn Chowder with Chicken and Cilantro. Hardly a sacrifice. Browse more soup recipes here.

9. Make your own broth- don't bother buying expensive gluten-free broths. Make your own with water. Fill a pot. Toss in some old celery sticks that have been hanging around, a couple of bendy carrots, a piece of onion, some garlic and a shake of herbs. Sea salt. Cover. Simmer. Strain. Boom. Broth. And you know what's in it.

10. Remix leftovers. Don't just reheat  leftovers in the microwave. Get creative with leftover rice, quinoa, stews and chili. Combine leftover veggies and chicken for soup. Throw in leftover salad greens. Toss in some carrots. Add a scoop of rice. Save leftover chili (like my Two Artists Chili) and bake it with rice the next day for a fabulous Baked Chili Casserole (pictured above). Make a fabulous Brown Sugar Meatloaf and smashed potatoes and the next day turn leftovers into a tasty pie (see below for recipes). Make a potato soup into a fish chowder the next day by adding a can of wild salmon and some frozen corn. Use leftover rice and chicken and add some garlic and frozen spinach to make my Chicken Spinach Rice Bake. And of course- the obvious favorite around here- make Mexican. Use leftover chicken, beef or turkey to make enchiladas.

Got a few more tips?

Share them in comments. We'd love to here more. And if you've blogged about your own Cooking within a Budget Tips- feel free to leave a link in the comments.



Two Gluten-Free Budget Friendly Recipes:


Gluten-free turkey meatloaf recipe with a brown sugar glaze.

Brown Sugar Glazed Turkey Meatloaf Recipe


Meatloaf gets a bad rap. I'm not sure why (it's one of the most popular entrees at the trendy Ivy restaurant in Santa Monica). And every time I make a meatloaf it is devoured with gusto. Or maybe my family is simply crazy for old fashioned comfort food. My latest variation for gluten-free meatloaf is to use cornbread to make gluten-free breadcrumbs. This makes for an amazingly flavorful and moist meatloaf that cozies up rather well to my favorite Brown Sugar Glaze.


Ingredients:

1 3/4 lbs. ground turkey
1 small sweet or red onion, peeled
1 medium to large carrot, peeled, trimmed
3 cloves fresh peeled garlic
1/2 cup good tasting tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon molasses
1 organic free-range egg (or omit for egg-free and use 1 more tablespoon molasses)
3/4 cup gluten-free cornbread crumbs
A pinch of nutmeg
A pinch of cinnamon
1 teaspoon thyme
Sea salt and pepper, to taste


Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Put the ground turkey into a large bowl and using a fork or spoon, break it apart it a bit.

Roughly chop the onion and carrot into same sized chunks and place them into a food processor; add the garlic; pulse until the veggies are uniformly diced- fine- not too chunky; add them to the turkey. Toss lightly with a spoon or fork to quickly distribute the veggies. Add the ketchup, molasses, egg (if using), cornbread crumbs, spices and thyme. Mix it all up using a light touch; try not to over-mix it into mush (over-mixing makes for a dense loaf).

If the mixture is too dry at this point, add a little more ketchup. If it feels too wet, add more cornbread crumbs. You want a nice stick-together balance.

Spoon the meatloaf mixture into a standard size loaf pan and firmly press into place, smoothing and rounding the top of the loaf so that the sides are lower than the edge of the loaf pan (you don't want the glaze spilling over the sides later on).

Bake in a pre-heated oven for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, make your brown sugar glaze.



Brown Sugar Meatloaf Glaze


Instructions:
 

Stir to combine:

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, to taste
1 teaspoon honey mustard
A small pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon

At the 45 minute mark, remove the loaf from the oven.

Spoon the glaze mixture on top of the loaf.

Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F. Allow the cooked loaf to cool for ten minutes or so before slicing and serving. Serves 4 to 6.

Use leftovers for pie.


Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

All images & content are copyright protected, all rights reserved. Please do not use our images or content without prior permission. Thank you. 


Leftover meatloaf make fabulous Shepherd's Pie.

Easy Meatloaf Shepherd's Pie Recipe


How much meatloaf you have left over determines the amount of vegetables you add to the filling in order to stretch it to serve four. Here's a basic template.


Ingredients:

For the filling you'll need:

Leftover meatloaf, crumbled
1/2 to 3/4 cup corn kernels
1/2 to 3/4 cup baby peas
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes with juice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
A pinch of dried thyme, nutmeg and cinnamon, to taste

For the topping:

About two cups of cooked potatoes or non-mayo potato salad
Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Dill or parsley for the top


Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Place the leftover meatloaf in a bowl. Add the corn, baby peas, carrots, diced tomatoes and balsamic vinegar; mix to combine. Season with thyme, nutmeg and cinnamon, to taste. Mix and spoon into a single casserole dish or individual gratin dishes.

Top with cooked leftover mashed potatoes, or vinegar potato salad. Sprinkle with dill, sea salt and pepper.

Bake until heated through and bubbling- about 30 to 35 minutes or so (depending upon how cold the leftovers were when you assembled your pie).

Serves 4.

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com


All images & content are copyright protected, all rights reserved. Please do not use our images or content without prior permission. Thank you.