Get GF Food on the Table FAST: 10 Quick & Easy Ideas That Really Work

Get GF Food on the Table FAST: 10 Quick & Easy Ideas That Really Work

Since my new cookbook, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy: 100 Recipes For the Food You Love—Fast!, is coming out in a few short weeks (an early print copy is even on its way to me right right right now!), I thought I’d give you a sneak peak at the sort of advice & recipes you can expect to see in it. Not to mention why you might like to buy a copy, even if you already have My First Cookbook.

Much of this information is in the new book in one form or another. Here’s a peak behind the curtain, with the official publication date of November 6 just 33 days away! But if you preorder, you will almost certainly receive it by the end of this month:

1. Pick a focal point, and build the meal around it. Not every part of the meal has to be perfect – or even homemade. But if you’re building a meal around the bread (say, with sandwiches or heroes), that’s where you put your effort. No one will notice or care that all they’re eating for dinner is sliced turkey sandwiches if you serve it to them on a freshly made gluten-free yeast free English muffin (page 55 of My New Cookbook – at least that was the page in the page proofs!).

**UPDATE: The Yeast-Free English Muffins recipe is definitely on page 55. I just got my early copy in the mail!!**

2. Stock your freezer with a few days’ supply of frozen vegetables, to fill in when you’re caught out. Some vegetables freeze super well, like French green beans (haricot vert), especially when they’re frozen in a bag that allows them to move about, instead of a box that can pinch and squeeze.

3. Eggs (especially fried eggs) can turn a side dish (like some simple fried rice with some veg) into a satisfying meal.

4. Master a few favorite dishes to take the sting out of planning a whole week’s worth of meals. Practice new about-to-be-favorites on the weekend, when you’re not as rushed … and you’re not super hungry.

5. Poach some boneless chicken in store-bought prepared chicken stock, add some cornstarch to create a sauce, and serve it with an easy starch like pasta and frozen veg. By the way, poaching chicken in chicken stock always seems a little bit unfair to the chicken. Like I’m making it into a cannibal or something. I may or may not be completely alone in this.

6. Consider investing in a pressure cooker. What they can turn out in 20 minutes flat is nothing short of epic. And, rest assured, they no longer are in danger of exploding from built-up pressure. Practice safe cooking! I’m here for you.

7. If you are down to the wire and you’re still not sure what you’re going to make, don’t panic. Just set a large pot of water to boil. Take a breath, have a glass of wine and let your mind wander. Decide on pasta or boiling small potatoes, and you’re just minutes away. Choose rice, and just pour off some of the hot water, estimate the volume and add that volume of rice. Cover the pot, lower to a simmer and set a timer for 16 minutes. Fluff and serve. Works.every.time.

8. Always keep a tightly wrapped disk of gluten-free pie crust in your refrigerator (or at least in your freezer). Wrap some protein in it. Instant celebratory meal.

9. Bake a week’s supply of gluten-free sandwich bread every weekend. For my family, that’s 2 loaves of bread. Slice and freeze half of whatever you make (for me, 1 loaf). Use the rest fresh over 2-3 days, then slice and freeze anything that remains. Pull slices out of the freezer and defrost with a light toast before making sandwiches with it. If you’re skittish about baking your own yeast bread, start with the White Sandwich Bread on page 104 of My First Cookbook.

10. Learn how to boil gluten-free pasta al dente so it can be made ahead—and even reheated. Don’t know how to do that? Always end up with gooey gummy rice pasta? I have a no-fail method. Wanna learn?


If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of My Cookbooks! I can’t keep the blog going without your support, and the new book is coming out so soon!

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  • October 16, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    Pre-ordered the new book and can’t wait for it to get here!! :)

  • RebeccaM :)
    October 13, 2012 at 4:05 AM

    Ordered and pre-ordered, respectively! I made your yeast raised glazed doughnuts recently (twice!) and am eternally grateful :) I have an egg allergy too so have to swap in egg substitute for a few things but find your recipes great :)

  • Sloluckystyle
    October 12, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    I have the first and pre ordered the second and use most of the recipes you post. Always turn out perfect and I am so grateful. Thank you. Can’t wait to get my second book delivered.

  • Tanya
    October 11, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    Hi Nicole. Are the muffins supposed to be that toasty? They look very dark to me, a little burnt almost. I’m not trying to criticize, I just need to know. I’m somewhat insecure about gluten-free baking so if it’s supposed to be darker than I’m used to it’ll be good for me to know. Thanks in advance.

    • gfshoestring
      October 12, 2012 at 8:09 AM

      Hi, Tanya,
      They are seared in a cast iron pan before being baked in the oven. You don’t sound insecure about gluten-free baking, Tanya. Quite the contrary.

      • Tanya
        October 17, 2012 at 4:56 PM

        Thanks so much for replying. Seared muffins sound really interesting and delicious. (I like really toasty bready things.) You are too sweet, but I am indeed insecure about gf baking. I bought some muffin rings many months ago with the intent to make some English muffins and I still haven’t found the courage to try it! Since the recipe in your new book will be yeast free, I’m going to wait and try it once I have the book. Yeast scares me. Although I love love love the white bread in your first book. I also tried the bagels once and they didn’t rise, but they were still really good. Anyway, I look forward to the new book. :)

  • October 11, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    Love the advice and I can’t wait for your new book!  I bake your Sandwich Bread every single Tuesday morning- slice it and we eat off of it all week!  It is my ALL TIME favorite GF bread- thanks for that!

    • gfshoestring
      October 12, 2012 at 8:08 AM

      I love that you have a Tuesday morning White Sandwich Bread ritual! Sounds perfect. Thank you so much for your kindness and support, Jess!
      xoxo Nicole

  • j_bell84
    October 11, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    I can’t wait for your new book to come out! Also looking forward to how to cook pasta. I can get the al dente part, its the reheating that I always have trouble with.

    • gfshoestring
      October 11, 2012 at 6:59 PM

      I have a whole nutty method, j_bell. Hopefully it will be useful to you!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Peggy Ford0518
    October 11, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Looking forward to the pasta cooking instructions as well!  I love pasta but mine doesn’t always come out right and I don’t llike it mushy either.  Thanks, Nicole, for all that you do for us.  I’ll be buying all your cookbooks as they come out!  It would be great to have one on just clone recipes!  Love, love, love English Muffins!  One of my favorite breakfast meals consisted of an English Muffin egg & cheese sandwich similar to the Eng McMuffin but home made!  Haven’t had one in so, so, so long!!!  :-)

    • gfshoestring
      October 11, 2012 at 7:01 PM

      Peggy, you’re always so supportive & gracious! Thank you so much for that. You can absolutely use these English muffins for an Egg McMuffin-style breakfast. I’ve done it myself – and it’s really good! Just another few weeks, and you should have all the tools you need. Just turn to page 55 … oh and pick up some English muffin rings! Mine are made by Fox Run. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • October 11, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    I can’t wait to read about #10! Th I’m getting better about choosing and cooking decent GF pasta,

    • gfshoestring
      October 11, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      Well, then, Dana, you’re in luck. #10 will be on the blog. I didn’t actually even think to include that info in the new cookbook, since it was only rather recently that I realized what a problem this was for many. It doesn’t matter nearly as much what the pasta is made of as how you cook it. Stay tuned!
      xoxo Nicole

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