This is a special guest post and chili mac recipe from Beth Hillson, author of Gluten-Free Makeovers. Beyond her blog and book, Beth wears many hats in the gluten-free community – – president of the American Celiac Disease Alliance, a volunteer advocacy group that works on celiac causes such as the FDA gluten-free labeling regulations; editor of a weekly e-newsletter for www.glutenfree.com; and food editor of Living Without Magazine specializing multiple food allergies including gluten, dairy, eggs, and nuts.
When I was diagnosed with celiac disease 35 years ago, I went to culinary school to better understand how food was prepared. I discovered I could remake the recipes so they were safe for my gluten-free diet. As long as I maintained the ratio of ingredients in the original recipe, I could replace regular flour with gluten-free flour and the results were always delicious.
As food editor at Living Without Magazine, I am always thinking “substitution” when we make a recipe and these basic principles I discovered 35 years ago still hold true. We regularly replace the gluten, dairy and sometimes the eggs in our recipes with yummy results.
I think of myself as the champion of substitution these days. But truthfully, it’s mostly about knowing the ingredients to replace. For that I keep a running list of suitable alternatives. I know, for instance, that some butter alternatives contain casein while others are vegan and completely dairy-free. I know that these dairy-free butter substitutions can be cut and frozen to make flakier pie crust and cookies. And I can list the alternatives for milk in order of the ones with the highest protein – – Soy, Hemp, Almond, Rice, and Potato – – for starters.
When one of our readers contacts me with a lengthy list of ingredients they must avoid, I suggest that they make a list of the ingredients theycan have, too, and keep those in mind every time they want to make a recipe. It’s empowering. It makes them feel like the world is full of possibilities. After all, the glass is not empty if you arm yourself with friendly substitutions.
Here is a recipe that has been a favorite with our readers, Quick Macaroni and Cheese. To be honest, I hadn’t tasted macaroni and cheese in many years. Gluten-free/dairy-free versions aren’t standard fare on restaurant menus and making it from scratch—well, let’s just say, it seemed like a lot of work. But this year I gave into my craving and headed to the kitchen to develop a gluten-free, dairy-free version of this universal favorite.
My goal was to make something fast, yet flavorful – – a mac and cheese full of creamy good taste without the time-consuming preparation. I had no desire to stir up a “cream” sauce or shop for ingredients. Instead, I used what I had on hand. Then I melded flavors (and saved time) by using the microwave.
The result? A wonderfully grown-up version of mac and cheese that speaks comfort. This chili mac is so delicious and easy to make, I wonder why I waited so long.
- 3 cups (12 ounces) dried elbow pasta or 3-4 cups (8-10 ounces) other gluten-free short pasta, uncooked
- 3-4 hot or mild chicken, turkey or pork sausages*
- 1-1/2 cups frozen corn
- 1 cup gluten-free, dairy-free chicken stock*
- 2 teaspoons Mexican or dairy-free Taco spice blend
- 2-1/2 cups shredded dairy-free cheese substitute, divided (Daiya is a good soy-free option)
- Lightly oil a deep ovenproof dish (7-1/2x11-inch, 9x13-inch, or 9-inch round).
- Cook pasta in salted water for half the time specified on package. Pasta should be undercooked (slightly opaque but not brittle). Drain and transfer to prepared baking dish.
- While pasta is cooking, remove sausage from its casing and crumble into a well-oiled saucepan. Sauté meat until brown. Add corn, stirring to combine.
- Using a wooden spoon, gently fold meat mixture into pasta.
- Heat chicken stock in the saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add the spice blend and stir well. Remove from heat and add 2 cups cheese substitute. Stir until smooth and pour over pasta. Gently toss to coat.
- Top mixture with remaining cheese substitute. Cover dish with moist paper towel and microwave on medium-high for 5 minutes or until bubbly. Enjoy.
For more of Beth’s recipes, check out her book, Gluten-Free Makeovers.