My goal is to please. When my girlfriend asked me for a meal plan that could work with her dietary restrictions and her busy schedule, I jumped on the challenge. Her needs: a working mom with 3 young children. She wanted meals that could be prepared in the crockpot to easily be able to feed her family when she got home from work. And they had to be gluten-free.
Many people with Celiac disease can't just run through the drive-thru when they are in a rush for dinner. Gluten, even in the smallest amounts (say, a brief cross-contamination with gluten-containing ingredients) can cause distress. Thankfully, there are some amazing gluten-free food blogs in internet land! Between recipes from blogging friends and searching through Pinterest, I was able to come up with a plan that would suit both my girlfriend's needs, and follow my food philosophy.
When I think about cooking in the crockpot, I want more than just soups and stews. I want variety in colors, textures and flavors. I went in search of recipes that the whole family could enjoy, with just a little prep, including flipping the switch on the crockpot to "on". These recipes are so good, even people without dietary restrictions will love them!
Easy Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili from Layers of Happiness
I strive to have Meatless Mondays each week, this special meal plan is no different. Leftover chili can be frozen, or can top a baked potato for lunch the next day. Kids will love hot dogs (just check the labels for hidden gluten) topped with this chili.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos from My Gluten-Free Kitchen
Start this chicken in the morning to get a jump on Taco Tuesday. Make sure you have corn tortillas (crunchy or soft), lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and guacamole on hand to make quick taco bar at dinner time.
Chicken Tortilla-less soup from PCOS Boss
Any leftover chicken from the night before will be put to great use in a flavorful gluten-free and paleo-approved soup. Kids don't dig soup? How about nachos? Sauté shredded zucchini and onion, then warm your chicken in it. The kids will get some hidden extra veggies in a gooey-cheesy dinner!
Crock Pot Turkey and Rice Stuffed Peppers from Honey, Ghee and Me
My rule for my kids when I make stuffed vegetables is that they have to 1)try the vegetable "vessel" and 2)if they don't like it, they have to still eat the filling. These stuffed peppers require no pre-cooking of ingredients, making them a perfect slow-cooker recipe. These stuffed peppers essentially make a giant porcupine meatball inside their pepper vessel, keeping them extra moist. I would top these with a bit of tomato sauce to make them extra kid-friendly.
Slow-Cooker Southern BBQ Beef from The Baking Beauties
This recipe suggests serving this sweet and sticky barbeque beef on gluten-free rolls, but how about serving it alongside baked beans, coleslaw, and gluten-free cornbread for a southern smorgasbord? Shredded BBQ beef is a crowd pleaser, and another excellent recipe to freeze the leftovers for another day.
Start the crock pot Friday night before bed with these Slow-Cooker Cheesy Bacon Ranch Potatoes (from Damn Delicious) to wake up to a ready made breakfast. Serve with scrambled eggs and you have an easy meal you don't have to work for.
Continue the easy meal theme for dinner with Easy Asian Salmon in Foil (from Jonesin' for Taste), steamed rice, and kid-friendly steamed veggies like carrots, green beans, and broccoli.
Savory Pasta Sauce with Meat from Fearless Dining can easily be adapted to make in the crockpot, just turn it on low for 5-6 hours before serving over gluten-free pasta. Sandi has some amazing tips for keeping your gluten-free pasta from getting mushy. If you don't do pasta, serve this sauce over roasted spaghetti squash or in zucchini boats.
Dinner in the crock pot hopefully means you can find time to make these gluten-free Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins (from Gluten Free Easily) with the kiddos. Strawberry season is starting in Northern California, and I can't get enough of these ruby-red beauties!
Here at Creative Mama Messy House, we are not a gluten-free household, but I'm excited to try some of these recipes out with my family. Do you want to see more gluten-free (or other dietary conscious) dinner plans? Leave your suggestions below in the comments!