HELP—I am at my wit’s end!  Grocery shopping, menu planning and meal preparation has turned into a nightmare at my house.  I consider myself a decent cook.  I learned to cook like my Mother and Grandmothers before me—good old southern style.  But lately, I am struggling with preparing meals for one vegetarian, one newly diagnosed allergy to wheat, cow’s milk, soy, onions, etc. and one very picky eater.  Yikes, give me a break!  I dream of winning the lottery so that I can hire a personal chef.  But in the meantime, I am on my own.

Last night I attempted a gluten-free (rice) penne with a white sauce prepared with gluten-free flour and goat’s milk over chicken.  Sounds great, right?  Well, no one was impressed.  My son with the food allergies, the diplomatic one, assured me that it wasn’t “too bad”, but went on to say he just wasn’t hungry.  My youngest son, Mr. Picky, turned his nose up after one bite and quickly moved on to the leftovers in the refrigerator.  The meal ended up down the disposal.

I am determined to get this right.  So, I gave it another try with a few changes.  First of all, I now realize that you can’t cook gluten-free (rice) pasta like wheat pasta.  If you don’t cook it long enough you end up with tough, chewy pasta.  Or in my case, if cooked too long you end up with mush.   This time around it was just right at approximately 15 minutes at a rolling boil.   The sauce was not bad, but 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese made it much better and helped to camouflage the less than appealing taste of the rice pasta.

This time I cut up the chicken into smaller pieces, sautéed them in garlic, and added a bag of frozen mixed vegetables.  OK, much better and this time I received a seal of approval by both sons.  It is probably not going to be one of their favorite meals, but an acceptable choice for a gluten-free meal after a few adjustments.

Any suggestions or tips are always welcomed.

Side note: Carol’s favorite gluten-free pasta is Tinkyada.  It tastes like real pasta and doesn’t get mushy like some other rice pastas. Love it!