Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Topping

I think gluten-free versions of “cream of anything” soups are like unicorns. Very expensive unicorns. I’ve heard rumors of companies like Progresso making GF cream of mushroom soup, but haven’t found it at my local store. And I use soups like this so infrequently, it doesn’t make sense to order from my usual sources.

Luckily, I stumbled across a great Smitten Kitchen version of a green bean casserole with homemade mushroom sauce that was easily (easily!) converted to gluten-free. Add crispy fried onions, and you’ve got yourself that most traditional of Thanksgiving dishes — one nobody will ever know is GF. Though they will know it’s incredibly delicious!

Vietnamese-Style Pancakes

Let me say this: I am addicted to these pancakes. Completely, totally, wholly addicted. I could eat these every single day. And I would be happy.

You can make these as easy as you want or as complicated as you want. I go for easy, meaning I use leftover meats instead of cooking them on the spot — this lets me make these quickly during the week. In addition to the rice flour and turmeric batter, the ingredients include various veggies cut/chopped/julienned into to small pieces, some meat (I often use leftover shrimp or meatballs), and some bean sprouts if you choose. Top with a spicy dipping sauce, and you are in heaven. Trust me.

The trick to cooking these pancakes is to let them get very well-done on the edges. The undersides will be crispy, and the thin batter cooks all the way through quickly.

Chicken, Sausage, and Spinach Lasagna

It should be obvious by now that I love meals that result in lots of yummy leftovers. Lasagna fits that need perfectly. It’s such a flexible dish — there are so many ways to make it, it can be made ahead of time and popped in the oven later, and it’s a great dish for those nights when it’s your turn to host your book club.

Because my local grocery stores don’t carry gluten-free lasagna noodles, I bought a case from Amazon.com. The price was fantastic, and knowing I have the noodles handy opens up a wide range of of possibilities…including lasagna roll-ups and cupcakes! Once you have your favorite base recipe, it’s easy to try different serving ideas.

I know that most people think of red meat sauce and loads of cheese when they think lasagna (I know I do), but this recipe takes the dish in a whole different direction. You can continue with the Italian flavor profile, mix in a little Mexican or Southwest American, or go wild with Caribbean spices. Whatever tickles your palate.

Gluten-Free Fried Chicken

I don’t remember how many years ago it was, but one of my friends brought Kentucky Fried Chicken to our monthly bookclub meeting. Prior to this, the height of decadence in bookclub came in the form of our local so, so bad-for-you Chinese restaurant. With the exception of our vegetarian member, everyone, after noting they hadn’t had KFC in years, dug into the chicken. And the biscuits.

Before long, fried chicken became a regular feature at bookclub. And I am not ashamed to say the one thing I regretted most about going gluten-free was…yes, no more KFC. Which meant I had to get over my fear of frying.

Needless to say, making fried chicken is a personal thing. Everyone has a recipe they swear by. The trick is to gussy up the flour mixture with herbs and spices and tasty stuff to give it lots of flavor. The other trick is to use really hot (350 degrees) oil to get a good seal on the chicken — that way the juiciness stays in while the oil stays out.

You can fry in a deep fryer, on the stove in a deep skillet or Dutch oven, or even bake this version of fried chicken. And, of course, make it your own by mixing up the seasonings to your own taste. And while you can use any and all part of the chicken, remember that breasts tend to dry out more than legs and thighs.

Mushroom Gravy

Mushroom gravy is a one of those things — it can be vegetarian or meat-based, depending on your mood. It can be smooth or chunky, depending on your mood. I personally love it on the chunky side with meatloaf.

As with all gravies, the key to making a flavorful, richly colored gravy is a roux. And patience. You need to stir your flour and oil over medium-high heat until it is a rich caramel brown. This cooks off the raw taste of the rice flour and adds additional flavor.

[box type=”note” border=”full”]The amount of mushroom and onion in this recipe seems massive. It is! But they will cook down to a reasonable level very quickly. And please note that the rice flour thickens quickly. You may need to add additional liquid to make it pourable![/box]

Basic Turkey or Chicken Gravy

One thing gluten-free eaters need to be wary of is gravy. So often it’s made with wheat flour, meaning we often eat our mashed potatoes, turkey, and other dishes dry. Yet making gluten-free gravy is so easy, it doesn’t need to be saved for holiday meals. This gravy tastes so good, you’ll be the only one who knows it’s gluten-free.

This recipe assumes you’re using a whole roasted bird, complete with giblets. If this isn’t the case for you, skip the steps involved with making a broth and just use a flavorful stock. Having made this for several Thanksgivings, the one thing I can say with certainty is that while it’s a lot of work in the beginning, it comes together quickly while the turkey is resting!

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