I am emotional about food, too, so I hurt to watch my son go through this. At first we tried to all eat GFCF when we were around Henry, but there were two problems with this: it was an expensive way to feed a family of 7 and it didn't taste good. I gradually moved to frequently preparing two meals or two desserts so that Henry could partake with us while we ate our old favorite stuff. I did hold off on making things that were his favorites if he couldn't have them, at least until the holidays hit.
I was thrilled, recently, to find this GFCF cookbook put out by Silvana Nardone, called Cooking for Isaiah. Silvana is a foodie like me, only more so:) She is the founding editor-in-chief for Everyday with Rachel Ray (among other impressive gigs). She loves to nurture and bond with her family around good, homemade food. And she wasn't about to let her son, Isaiah's, gluten and dairy intolerances stop her from doing that. Her cookbook starts out with their story (don't you love a cookbook with a story?) and then her own recipe for an all-purpose gluten-free flour and a gluten-free pancake mix. These two flour mixes are used throughout her cookbook, but they can also stand in for all-purpose flour in other recipes. I love that she researched and tried all the options available on the market and tells you which are the best products for her recipes.
Anyhow, we are loving the recipes. Henry had a chocolate birthday cake (adapted) from the cookbook. Gluten -lovers and -eschewers alike gobbled it down (I did a base of her chocolate cake with an Irish mint frozen yogurt-- Henry can sometimes tolerate yogurt-- and her chocolate whipped frosting, frozen). Please don't look too closely at the picture, as the I was rushing when I put the frosting on and it was still a bit too warm for the frozen cake.
We also devoured her Frito-crusted chicken fingers with honey mustard aioli, and the Spaghetti & Meatballs with Garlic Crumbs was so good I made it again only a few days later. I'm going to share that recipe with you here, but if you or someone you love is Gluten-Free, you have got to get this cookbook! And if not, never fear! She has the gluten- and dairy-filled substitutions listed as well!
Spaghetti & Meatballs with Garlic Crumbs
Adapted to serve 8 people if a few of them are not big into meatballs (read: my family)
- 1 pound ground beef or chuck
- 1 small onion, grated
- 5 cloves garlic-- 2 grated, 2 smashed, 1 chopped
- 1 cup rice cereal crumbs (I used Rice Chex)
- 1/2 cup rice milk (or regular milk)
- 1 large egg
- 6 T. flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 package corn or rice spaghetti
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, or less if you have a wimpy family like mine
Combine the beef, onion, chopped garlic, 1/2 cup cereal crumbs, milk, egg, 2 T parsley and 1 tsp salt. Shape into meatballs. (I make 16 small meatballs, Silvana makes 8 large meatballs to serve 4 people).
In a large saucepan, heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat. Add the smashed garlic and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Submerge the meatballs in the sauce, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
Cook your pasta until al dente. Drain and toss with the sauce.
The garlic crumbs are what really elevate this dish! Heat the remaining 1 T. olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the grated garlic, remaining 1/2 cup cereal crumbs, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook until toasted, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Don't get impatient because you want that nice toast, but don't walk away either, or they might get too toasty (like mine did the second time around). Sprinkle them liberally over your meatballs and sauce and over your salad if you like as well! They add such a nice crunch.