My First Gluten Free Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have been able to spend your day with loved ones and enjoy some food without too much guilt.
We got a free 21 lb turkey from Giant this year! If you spent a certain amount and accumulated the points they would give you a free turkey. I saved $31 this way! I wasn’t even trying to earn the free turkey because Giant is fairly expensive, but they do have a good selection of gluten free items.
I thought it would be hard and complicated to make everything gluten free. I tend to over-think things like that. My family is very supportive and was okay with me changing things so I wouldn’t be sick all day. Thankfully everything turned out well, because my husband was sick all day with flu type stuff, so at least one of us could do things.
This morning I finally got around to throwing out all the spices that weren’t gluten free so that we could grab and cook without reading all the labels, EVERY SINGLE TIME. I threw away anything that I couldn’t confirm with Google or had sketchy ingredients like “spices” or “natural flavoring”.
Then I got started on a gluten free version of cream of something (chicken, mushroom, celery or whatever) soup. I was very angry that I couldn’t just open a can of sludge and pour it out in a casserole dish with my potato casserole and green bean casserole. I like easy and fast! This is a totally different way of thinking for me, but is definitely a good thing. I was convinced this would take all morning to get this done. I had two soups to make. I got out all the ingredients (all 4 of them!) and went to town and was done in 3 minutes. It might take a few minutes longer for you if you have an electric stove. I cook with gas and feel like gas cooks faster and more evenly.
If I wasn’t gluten free I would probably still make this for cream soups because it was so easy and MUCH healthier! I hadn’t been able to find gluten free bouillon until I went to Wal-Mart the other day. I found this Broth Base and Seasoning by Orrington Farms, which is pretty yummy and doesn’t have any MSG in it like most bouillon does. I didn’t add salt or pepper because I was adding to the dish (I am not a cook, if this is wrong, please tell me! I’m learning!)
So I used this in place of the cream of chicken soup in a hashbrown casserole, which turned out really well. My aunt always made this casserole growing up, but instead of corn flakes on top, she used potato chips. It’s not very hard to find gluten free potato chips. I used Martin’s with ridges.
I attempted Campbell’s green bean casserole. I used the cream of something soup for the base and cooked it with the green beans. The plan was to let my family have the french fried onions as a topping. Next time I’ll just make myself some green beans and make the casserole the normal way for them. It pretty much was like eating green beans in soup. Weird.
I skipped the stuffing this year because I haven’t found a good gluten free bread yet and didn’t want to change everything on everyone. So my husband made stuffing and they had rolls. Here is my plate: From 12:00, clockwise: Hashbrown casserole, turkey skin (yummy!), turkey and gravy, cranberries from a can and green beans with soup.
I managed to find gluten free gravy and I ate cranberries out of a can, ick. Next year I will be making fresh cranberries, even if I am the only one who eats them. I think it was a good attempt for my first try!
Now I have the turkey bones all crammed into a pot so I can make stock tomorrow. You can thank me later for only showing you a tiny bit of the bones, it was gross, but well worth it to save some money. I keep a lot of things in my chest freezer and I definitely don’t like to waste food. You can freeze 2 cup portions flat in Ziploc bags. Gluten-free stock is $3 a carton on sale. I can make probably 24 cups of stock for $3, instead of getting 4 cups for $3. It’s not hard or very much active work. I’m going to add water to cover the bones, add big chunks of carrots, onions, celery and a 2 bay leaves and leave it. I’ll boil it to start with, skim the gunk off the top and then simmer it for several hours. If I can do it, you can do it.
What do you do to save money when you prepare a big meal?