Tackling the challenge of making meals your children will eat is one of parenting’s biggest dilemmas, but it isn’t insurmountable. However, it does take a bit of effort to get used to buying rice flour instead of wheat flour, or finding suitable alternatives to ingredients in recipes your grandmother handed down to you. Thanks to doctors, nutritionists, parents and many other caring individuals who understand the obstacles that go along with managing food allergies, there are ways to cope. Here are two simple, good-tasting recipes that kids will love.
Who doesn’t love pizza? Start with the right pizza dough and you’re halfway there. (Diary free, egg free, nut free, adaptable for wheat allergy)
1 tablespoon (12 g) active yeast
2/3 cup (80 g) white or brown rice flour
½ cup (60 g) tapioca flour
2 tablespoons (16 g) corn, tapioca, or arrowroot starch
½ teaspoon (3 g) salt
1 tablespoon (7 g) unflavored gelatin
1 teaspoon (1.4 g) dried basil
2/3 cup (160 ml) warm water
1 tablespoon (13 g) sugar
1 teaspoon (4.5 ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) cider vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 C, or gas mark 7)
2. In a mixer, blend all ingredients on low speed. Scrape sides down. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Liberally sprinkle rice flour on dough and then press dough into a lightly greased 12-inch (30-cm) pizza pan, continuing to sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking to hands.
3. Bake pizza crust for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. After you add the sauce and toppings, bake for an additional 20 minutes or more until the top is nicely browned.
Yield: 1 pizza crust
Make this a family event and let the kids help. Put out small bowls of jarred tomato sauce, sliced tomatoes, turkey pepperoni (be sure there is no dairy on the ingredient list), black olives, mushrooms, red pepper, green pepper, broccoli and dairy free soy cheese. (Note: Be extra careful about the “soy cheese you use; a lot of brands contain casein, a derivative of milk.)
Very few kids will say no to macaroni and cheese, a comfort food the whole family can enjoy. Dairy free, egg free, nut free, adaptable to wheat free.
Classic Mac ‘n Cheese
½ pound (60 g) elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions, drained (You may substitute wheat free pasta)
1½ cup (354 ml) soy or rice milk, slightly warmed on stove top
4 tablespoons (14 g) dairy free margarine
¼ cup (59 g) unbleached all-purpose or gluten-free flour blend
½ teaspoon (2.46 g) dry mustard
1 ¼ (6.23 g) teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon (1.23 g) freshly ground pepper
1 cup (236 g) dairy free cheddar cheese, shredded
In a medium saucepan, melt dairy free margarine over moderately low heat. Add flour and whisk for 1 minute. Add 1 c. of the warmed soy milk and whisk constantly for 3 minutes until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of the spoon. Add the dairy free cheese and stir with a wooden spoon for about five minutes. Then add the remaining ½ cup warmed milk, salt, pepper and dry mustard. Stir until the dairy free cheese is nearly melted, about five minutes. Once the cheese sauce is smooth and melted, add the drained, cooked macaroni or pasta. Stir and serve.
That all-too-familiar question: “What’s for dinner?” doesn’t have to be a stress trigger. Planning ahead and making sure you have your pantry stocked with the alternative ingredients you need, can make cooking for your food-allergic family members easier, healthier and more enjoyable.
“Allergy Proof Recipes for Kids”, Fair Winds Press foodallergymama.com