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Make Thanksgiving and Christmas Gluten-Free

How To Make Holiday Foods Safe for Celiac Guests

By

Updated November 21, 2009

Is this your first gluten-free holiday season? Are you a host or hostess with gluten-free guests? Follow these tips for making gluten-free versions of traditional holiday foods. Also, be sure to take at look at our article on How To Prepare for a Gluten-Free Guest.

The Turkey

Make sure you buy a turkey that's free of extra flavorings and additives derived from gluten. Companies that sell gluten-free fresh turkeys include Pilgrim's Pride, Jennie-O (the gravy packets do contain gluten), and Shadybrook Farms. (A longer list of gluten-free turkey brands is available on our Gluten-Free Cooking site.) If the turkey is shrink-wrapped in plastic and there's no "Gluten Free" label on the packaging, call the poultry company before you buy to verify the bird is gluten-free.

Even if the turkey itself is gluten-free, if the stuffing contains gluten, then the turkey is no longer safe for someone with celiac disease. Period.

Stuffing

Use a gluten-free loaf of bread to make breadcrumbs or bread chunks. (You can even use gluten-free cookies if that’s all you have.) Here’s a simple recipe for bread crumbs. Crumble as many gluten-free bread slices as necessary –- about 3 slices per cup of fresh bread crumbs –- onto a cookie sheet and toast the crumbs in a 200 F oven for about an hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so. Let stand in the oven until cool or overnight. If you want very fine crumbs, process them in your food processor or blender. Store leftover crumbs in the freezer.

Breading

As a substitute for bread crumbs, you can use crushed gluten-free corn flakes.

Gravy

Thicken your gravy with cornstarch instead of flour. In general, one tablespoon of cornstarch equals two tablespoons of flour. It’s best to mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon of cold water before adding it to the gravy or sauce. Bear in mind that cornstarch will thicken a liquid almost immediately. (In other words, allow less time for cooking sauce or gravy with cornstarch).

Rolls

Either bake bread from scratch using gluten-free ingredients, or (much easier) buy gluten-free rolls from your supermarket or by mail order.

Cornbread

Follow your favorite cornbread recipe, but use a gluten-free flour mix instead of regular wheat flour.

Pies

  • Use a gluten-free pie crust mix. (My favorite is from the Gluten-Free Pantry).
  • Buy a frozen gluten-free pie crust. (That is, if you're lucky enough to live near a store that sells them!)
  • Make an easy ginger-snap pie crust.
  • Bake your crust from scratch using gluten-free ingredients.
  • Buy or order a ready-made gluten-free pie.

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