Tag Archives: wheat-free

Tune into this Tuna Casserole Recipe

21 Nov

Although tuna casserole is considered a comfort food for many, I didn’t grow up on this stuff. On special occasions my dad would make a mean meatloaf; and at times as an after-school snack, I’d make mac and cheese from the box. That’s pretty much as far as it goes for traditional American comfort foods with me. I bought a couple of cans of Starkist Albacore tuna from Safeway the other day and had no idea what I would do with them. I thought about making a tuna salad but that would entail looking for substitute mayonnaise. So I researched instead on tuna casseroles without wheat, dairy, eggs, or nuts. It’s pretty tough to find one that matches to a tee.

The first result on Google for “gluten-free, dairy-free tuna casserole” was from food.com with pretty good reviews (5 stars from 5 reviewers). It uses an olive oil based mayonnaise. (So I guess I could make a tuna salad – there is a olive oil based mayonnaise – who knew?!) The second result came from a Celiac Disease website and it used a non-dairy cream of mushroom soup and non-dairy cheese. (Hmm learning about new dairy-free products everyday). Wholefoods rounded out the 3rd result, but it did not get a good review, only 1 star from 1 reviewer.

With those recipes in mind, I went out and bought a jar of egg-free mayonnaise and shredded non-dairy cheese, but forgot about the non-dairy cream of mushroom soup. However, I was still not “feeling” it with the recipes. So I continued down the Google result list and came across Dance While You Cook’s Stellar Tuna Casserole – and I stopped looking.

This recipe was so detailed and came with pictures that it looked like something I could do. It did take a few more pots and pans than my usual wok, but I followed her preparation method pretty closely and my tuna casserole came out fantastic. I have to work on Mantou, I do not think he likes peas, but he liked the tuna, noodles, and mushrooms. My husband went for 3 servings!

It’s better if you follow her detailed instructions on her website. She provide pictures too. However I did have to make some alterations to the ingredients mentioned in her recipe

  • 16 oz rice pasta  <— I had an opened pack of Tinkyada rice noodles but it wasn’t enough so I also added some quinoa pasta (I think Mantou preferred the rice pasta) – you can pretty much use any kind of pasta)
  • 3C almond milk <– can’t do nuts, so I used unsweetened coconut milk beverage from Trader Joe’s
  • 2 TBS cooking sherry <– didn’t have any sherry so substituted Michu rice wine
  • potato chips or sliced almonds <– no potato chips, if there were I would eat them in one seating, also we’re nut free so no almonds. I had some Glutino bread crumbs in the pantry so used that instead.
  • paprika <– could have sworn I had paprika but it was cayenne pepper. Probably should stick with paprika here.

Ok, so check out Dance While You Can’s version of tuna casserole. It’s another keeper but it does take some effort and time to prepare.

Hawaii in Tahoe

15 Aug

On our last night in Lake Tahoe my family wanted to go down to Stateline to enjoy a last hurrah of a meal together. It’s kind of tradition to go for a buffet. The “best” one in Tahoe at least for the views is at the Harrah’s casino. Usually I would jump at the occasion, especially since my little brother said he would pick up the check. But was it worth the $26.99/person price?

In the end my husband and I just couldn’t justify the price of the meal. For one thing we weren’t sure what food items we would be able to eat. Even though my sister called ahead to get an itemized menu and all of it sounded really good. I really wanted to go with the family since it would have been our only night out.

Instead we went to a “Hawaiian, American” restaurant on the California side called Freshies Restaurant and Bar. I wouldn’t call it Hawaiian fare per se but the atmosphere was really tropical and fresh. I even ordered a very refreshing tropical sounding drink called the Tahitian Limeade – coconut juice with limeade. The outside deck was awesome, it was a great day and we had a good view of the lake.

They were very allergy-friendly and it wasn’t difficult to order. We had kimchi – which was very spicy but good and the My tri-fries – (yams, sweet potatoes, Russet potatoes) sprinkled with a Caribbean spice. By the way they use Organic Rice Bran Oil, never even heard of it before.

For the entree, I had two fish tacos (one grilled, the other fried). I was going to get both grilled but the waitress told me that they used brown rice flour in the batter so I switched it up a bit. They were both wrapped in two corn tortillas, with tomatos and lettuce. Delicious! My husband got the Sweet Potato and Quinoa Griddle Cakes which were served with coconut and maple syrup glaze, another great dish!

Unfortunately, we did not get to order from the dessert menu. All their items had an ingredient we were trying to avoid. Our waitress almost got me to get their brownie since it was wheat-free, dairy-free, and nut-free… but alas it had eggs.

It was a great restaurant choice and I’m glad I found it!

Where’s the Wheat in BuckWHEAT

26 Jul

Mantou’s pediatrician read off the results from his 1st blood allergy test (RAST -Allergen-specific IgE antibody test). Class IV for egg whites. Class IV for walnuts. Class II for peanuts. Class II for wheat. The class levels range from a spectrum of 0, where the allergen is absent, to VI, where there is an extremely high level of allergen specific IgE. Class IV is considered Very High, and Class II is considered moderate.  Then he explained what foods I would have to avoid. “Try avoiding the whole egg, even the yolk since you can’t really separate the egg white protein from the yolk”. Ok, can do that. “Even though we only tested for walnuts, since it is a tree-nut, I would avoid eating all tree-nuts”. Oh wow, I just ate a bag of trail mix before I got here. “Peanuts – peanut butter, peanut oil”. Hmm, no more Reese’s peanut butter cups! “Wheat – this one is hard so you can try to avoid it if you can”. Oh that’s easy. Husband then intercedes, “That means no bread – it’s made from flour which is from wheat” WHAT?! I didn’t think I needed the breakdown but that was a very enlightening conversation.

I’m thankful that the ingredients have the allergen label included on the product packaging. In the first couple of months I spent a good deal of time in those grocery aisles looking over the ingredient lists. I concluded it was not worth shopping down the fresh bread aisle and I didn’t think I would ever eat pasta again. There are however special breads in the freezer section like Food for Life‘s Millet or Brown Rice bread. And there’s all kinds of wheat-free pasta – made from corn, brown rice, or quinoa! At first, it was disappointing to find wheat in everything I ate. Cheerios the cereal, the little cute O’s that little kids are always snacking on? Well that has both oats and wheat flour. I ended up giving Mantou Kix as tasty portable cereal snacks. Love my gummies but these ones vary, not all gummies have wheat listed in their ingredients – I prefer the Haribo brand. Well now did you know that buckwheat is not a wheat, they aren’t even related! We’ve had a couple of meals with buckwheat and that stuff is good. I just simmer some in a saucepan with onions and carrots, add some spice like cumin and chili pepper. Then add some pork chops or sausage to the mix. Simple, easy, and Mantou approved.

Making It Wok

18 Jul

The one ingredient that saved me! Yes, that’s a big statement but as a Chinese woman it’s one of those ingredients that just cannot be left out of the pantry. Can you believe regular soy sauce has wheat in it? When I read the ingredients on the soy sauce label, I just stared in disbelief. What am I going to do? I stir-fry everything with a bit of soy and and dash of sesame oil. I am lucky that Mantou isn’t allergic to sesame, phew!

I learned about Tamari very quickly and went to the nearest Asian market near me to find some. I spent a good 20 minutes in the soy sauce aisle reading all the ingredient labels on the soy sauce jars. It was a good day that day when I bought the Wan Ja Shan brand of wheat-free Tamari soy sauce, but when I went back to get another bottle after my first was almost depleted, I was met with a bottle 1/3 of the size that I previously bought! That would be used up in a few days! I could not believe they didn’t carry the large bottle anymore. Now I’m using San-J Gluten-Free Tamari which I buy from Whole Foods.

I make a lot of fried rice at home – minus eggs, and no matter what other ingredients I put in the wok, Mantou is there with his mouth wide open waiting to gobble it up. YUM!