Pancake or Waffles - SE just did a "lets waffle everything" series
Tacos, burritos, or fajitas - lots of assembly for little hands to help
Dips! Guacamole, hummus, tzatziki, yogurt dip with fruits and veggies
Ravioli with wonton wrappers
I second Pumpkin pie. But also, what about a chocolate-mousse-ish pie with a marshmallow-y meringue topping? Sort of a play on s'mores.
My Dad wraps each naked ear of corn in a slice of bacon (just use a toothpick at either end to get it to stay) then throws it onto the grill. Best of all worlds. Plus: Bacon.
We still get Quaker Corn Bran Squares up here in Canada - not sure if it's the same, though.
Wow. Delicious! I just made this to try ramps for the first time, and wow. Thanks Kenji!
Ooh! I love "Pinky Swear"!
Also - congrats, and that drink sounds pretty yummy. Sorry I don't have any names to suggest.
I think of grilled cheese much like pizza. You start with your three basics: bread, cheese, butter and grill them (or in pizza's case, dough, cheese, sauce and bake them). Then you can add toppings/filling as you see fit. If you start taking away those three basics, then we need to have a chat.
Personally, I prefer my grilled cheese plain, and my pizza topped. But that's just me.
Not to push you over to another site, but I know theKitchn is focusing on cocktails this week. Might be worth checking out to see if any ideas inspire you.
My first thought: "Ooh! Breakfast appetizers!"
Which led to thinking:
Breakfast (or Brunch) Tapas Party! Think these beautiful little tacos, mini pancakes, mini waffles, fruit and cheese on skewers, mini-muffins, donut holes, tiny quiches, toasted bagel chips (sliced so they make tiny medallions) topped with lox and cream cheese, smoothies and fresh squeezed juices in shot glasses...
Make ham stock and use to make polenta - top with pulled pork and serve with a dark, leafy side salad.
I went GF about 7 years ago, and the first little while was extremely daunting. I also went through a phase of soy (and all other beans) and dairy free, too. It was rough, to say the least, but it definitely got easier in time. I read all my labels, every time I purchased an item, and I learned that some brands are better (and safer) than others.
In terms of baking - I found muffins and brownies to be the most forgiving. Cookies never quite turned out, but I struggle with them regardless.
I never found a GF bread that seemed worth it, so I usually just opted to "miss it" and have something else instead. Rice paper wraps and corn tortillas might make good swap-ins, just be sure to check labels!
You probably know this already, but watch for Hydrolized Plant Protein/Starch when you're looking at soup bases, etc - it will often be wheat or soy based. Barley Malt extract is another one that sneaks its way into all kinds of things, putting them on the no-go list.
As for Thanksgiving - it really isn't so bad!
Corn-bread/rice stuffing. Or by this point you may have found a GF bread that doesn't resemble particle board - the texture won't be as crucial here, anyways.
Crack an egg into the mashed potatoes to make up for the creaminess you'll miss from using a rice/almond milk. Or better yet, make the crispy potato recipe that was floating around here and mash sweet potato instead - won't need the butter.
Fry your brussel sprouts (another Kenji one I think)
...I could go on.... post again closer to turkey day!
Couple different approaches I think:
Go for a walk to the grocery store, leave your phone behind if you can. Pick up whatever strikes you. Snacks, something fancy, ingredients for an old standby, breakfast for dinner, etc. just wander and enjoy. Sometimes spinning your wheels in a rut only makes it worse. Walk home and enjoy!
Pick a project - I think Kenji talked about this before. Find something that you've always wanted to try, or made before but "never have time" anymore, whatever it is. Then get to it!
If you have someone who could use a food-hug, think of what they'd like. Baked goods, jam, a spice rub, a whole care package, etc. and get to work. Sometimes getting inspired is easier when it's going to someone else. Altruism is one of the most powerful mood enhancers around. We feel good when we do good for others.
Quesadilla Nachos - make quesadillas, cut into triangles, disperse on baking sheet, top as nachos, bake, enjoy. Haven't tried it yet, but now I want to.
All great ideas above.
Also maybe consider meals you can make once and reheat as leftovers throughout the week. The recipes might be a bit more time consuming and involved upfront, but they'll save you prepping every meal.
Bean soups and stews
Grain or pasta salads
Use it to make:
Polenta or grits
Split pea soup
Bean soup or chili
Rice - especially for fried rice
@Meister - would a taste-test for the "less-evil drinkable 'cheapish' options" be feasible in the near future? This way those of us on tighter budgets can have a little help figuring out which beans really are on the no-no list, and which ones are coffee-future friendly to buy and coffee-now friendly to drink while still being coffee-budget friendly, too.
I don't know if this is will work or not, I haven't tried it, but what about Coke? Apparently it can scrub anything off anything. Maybe try soaking the pan in it then give it a good scrub.
Slice them up and cook into scrambled eggs, an omelet or a fritata.
We also used to use deli meat ends and odd pieces for 'calzones' with lots of cheese and pizza sauce.
I'd say something warm and hearty with the makings of a good vegetable-heavy salad. I always crave "real" food and lots of veggies after travel, no matter how long I've been away.
My judgement might not be very trustworthy at the moment as I'm at a point in the sick phase that renders those Ricola cough drops 'yummy,' but this soup kicks butt! I'm calling it Sniper Soup from now on, because I'm pretty sure it would take out anything in its path.
What about maybe including some "things you might have missed" lists, too? The stuff that might have been overlooked due to time constraints, or didn't quite get the attention it deserved, etc.
Thanks for all the help guys! I gave it a go - worst case it doesn't work. Will report back soon!
Empanadas! You can make a few different kinds, they freeze great, and just need to be baked. Assemble them, freeze them on a tray and pack them in bags according to variety with baking instructions. They're portable, delicious (even when cold), and not a casserole!
I also second the veggies/something fresh, and freezing already portioned cookie dough.
What about homemade granola or snack bars? Sure, it's not a meal, but it'll help fill in the gaps for when schedules are a little off and they just need "something".
Rhubarb. Saw it once this year at the grocery store and thought "I have to remember to get it at the Farmers Market." Never happened.
Caipirinias! Or I'd second the lime curd - would make a great homemade gift if you're missing anyone on your list.
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