Your Dinner Dilemma—Solved!

If you're like me, you want to serve your family healthy gluten-free dishes but don't have hours to plan, prep, and cook. I've found that meals that can be "built" work best. For example, tacos, soups, pasta dishes, and salad wraps rule in my home. Our favorite is a chicken and arugula salad wrap (see salad recipe below). 

Before I realized that my younger son had gluten issues, I thought he was just an extremely picky eater. The foods that he would eat were limited. Sometimes he'd like something one week, but not the next. I take pride in my cooking and being able to serve healthy, tasty, kid-friendly meals, but planning family meals had become an exercise in frustration. It seems obvious now that the food we were eating was the problem—not the kid or the cook!

When my younger son and I went gluten free, it was a wonderfully adventurous time for us. We couldn't wait to try the gluten-free versions of pancakes, pretzels, and pasta. 

But as we reveled in the options opening up to us, I noticed that my older teenage son was not exactly basking in the glow of our excitement. He saw his options slipping away.

When I told him that his brother and I were switching to a gluten-free diet, he acted as if I'd just told him we were going to make him take knitting lessons with his grandmother (which, by the way, he would do so as not to hurt her feelings). He asked: "Do I have to do this, too?" I said no, but I also explained that I wouldn't be preparing separate meals. 

In the end, I found a way to accommodate both camps by buying both gluten-free and regular versions of staples such as bread and cereal. But when it comes to a dish like pancakes, everyone goes gluten free. 

I know it can be challenging to come up with new dishes that please everyone at the table. Hopefully, your family will enjoy this dish as much as we do! My family loves this dish because it can be eaten as a salad or stuffed into a gluten-free wrap. The kids can help prepare!

Chicken & Arugula Salad

45 minutes prep & cook time|Serves 4-6

You'll need:

  • 4 chicken breasts, grilled or baked
  • 6 c arugula 
  • 3 Tbsp gluten-free barbecue sauce (our favorite is Bone Suckin' Barbecue Sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar

* Optional toppings:

  • 1 1/2 c cherry tomatoes, chopped 
  • 1/2 c yellow corn kernels (fresh or frozen, thawed and drained)
  • 1/2 c goat cheese, crumbled 
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts 

Directions:

  1. After cooking chicken breasts, allow meat to cool 10 minutes. Shred or chop into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In large serving bowl, add arugula, chicken, and any desired optional toppings.* (Another option is to simply keep toppings on the side so everyone can build their salad the way they like!)
  3. In small bowl, mix together barbecue sauce, vegetable oil, and rice vinegar.
  4. Pour most of dressing over salad, tossing so that dressing coats evenly but does not overly saturate. Save extra dressing for the table in case people want more!

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