LAKE FOREST, CALIFORNIA – When the “lazy, hazy” days of summer come to a close, many families of school age children brace for the “insanely hectic” days of fall. In addition to back-to-school, there’s also back-to-soccer, back-to-scouts, back-to-art lessons, music lessons, football, karate, and all of the myriad extra-curricular activities in which children are involved. Between working, driving carpools and keeping up with household chores, many parents give up on the notion of cooking dinner and opt for fast food or pizza instead.
For the millions of families with food allergic children, however, the only safe option is often a home cooked meal. But who has time to cook?
Two popular food allergy cookbooks by food allergy mom and author Linda Coss help solve this problem. Ms. Coss understands the challenges of getting a home cooked meal on the table in the midst of competing time demands. She wrote “What’s to Eat? The Milk-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Food Allergy Cookbook” and “What Else is to Eat? The Dairy-, Egg, and Nut-Free Food Allergy Cookbook” with this common issue in mind. Both books contain many options for quick and easy meals and entrees that the whole family will enjoy.
“It’s not necessary to prepare a separate meal for your food-allergic child and then pick up something else for the rest of the family,” explains Ms. Coss. “These books contain a total of over 255 recipes for everything from main dishes and side dishes to baked goods and breakfast foods – all completely free of milk, egg, and nut ingredients.”
The following sample recipes have been reprinted with permission from “What Else is to Eat? The Dairy-, Egg-, and Nut-Free Food Allergy Cookbook,” by Linda Marienhoff Coss.
Sloppy Joe Wraps
These kid-pleasing wraps are perfect for a quick dinner or hot lunch.
Preparation and cooking time: 17 to 20 minutes
1/2 of a small zucchini
2 green onions (scallions)
1 pound extra lean ground beef
1/2 cup chili sauce (the type that is similar to ketchup, not the spicy variety with chile peppers)
3 tablespoons firmly packed pure cane dark brown sugar
6 (8-inch-diameter) whole wheat tortillas
Trim ends off zucchini. Finely chop zucchini; you should have 1/2 cup. Thinly slice green onions (including green tops). Place ground beef and prepared vegetables in a 12-inch skillet. Cook over medium-high heat about 5 minutes or until beef is completely cooked through (with no pink or red showing), stirring frequently and breaking beef into small pieces as it cooks. Drain and discard fat.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together chili sauce and brown sugar; add to ground beef mixture and cook over medium-high heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove skillet from heat.
Place tortillas on microwave-safe plate; microwave on high for 30 seconds or until warm. To assemble wraps spoon 1/2 cup of meat mixture onto each tortilla. Fold bottom half of tortillas up, and then fold each side in towards the center. Serve immediately.
Makes 3 to 6 servings (1 to 2 wraps each).
Four Ingredient Chicken
Too tired to cook? Don’t worry! Pair up this easy chicken with a fresh green salad for a simple, elegant, and fuss-free dinner.
Preparation time: 7 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons dairy- and egg-free Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan with dairy-free non-stick cooking spray.
Place oil and mustard in a small bowl or measuring cup; mix well with a fork or small wire whisk. Place chicken in a single layer in prepared pan. Brush mustard mixture onto both sides of chicken. Chop rosemary and sprinkle over chicken. Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork. Serve hot.
Makes 4 servings (1 chicken breast half each).
Apricot Glazed Salmon
In this salmon dish a layer of garlic makes a nice counterpoint to the sweet apricot glaze.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
2 tablespoons sugar-free apricot fruit spread
1-1/2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 pound salmon filet, about 1-inch thick
1-1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Preheat broiler. Cover broiler pan with aluminum foil.
To make apricot glaze place apricot fruit spread and honey in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds or until liquefied; stir in vinegar and then set aside.
Place salmon, skin side down, on prepared broiler pan. Place garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; mix well and then spread evenly over salmon. Broil for 6 minutes. Spread apricot glaze evenly over salmon. Broil for an additional 4 minutes or until done; serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings (4 ounces each).