One of the ways that I have been able to manage my time with such a large family and still manage to have dinner on the table is to do most of my cooking in batches of freezer meals. When our son had to begin a gluten-free diet, I had to make changes to my usual freezer meal recipes to accommodate his new food sensitivities.
There are certain considerations to be aware of when converting a regular freezer meal recipe to a gluten-free one. I’m sure there are some that I have not considered here, but these are what works for me when making freezer meals for my family.
The most critical thing to know to be able to convert regular recipes into gluten-free recipes is how to read labels to find hidden gluten. Gluten can be called many things and it’s important to be able to identify it. Here is a list of ingredients to be on the lookout for if you are trying to avoid gluten.
Another thing to be aware of is that the consistency of gluten-free items can be very different than non-gluten-free, so for certain recipes, you will have to experiment.
For pasta, I prefer Tinkyada brand because it maintains its shape well and doesn’t seem to get as mushy like some other brands. The other trick I’ve found with pasta when it comes to gluten-free freezer meals is to either cook it to just under what you normally would before including it in the freezer meal or to leave it uncooked and attach it to the bag and then cook it normally and add it on the day you serve the meal.
When it comes to things such as tortillas, the gluten-free varieties don’t always hold up well to being in a freezer meal. I have yet to find a recipe that works for gluten-free burritos in the freezer. I have personally used Udi’s gluten-free tortillas in some of my freezer meals and had them turn out and have also used corn tortillas. I suggest you experiment to find what works best with each recipe.
When I make freezer meals, I generally plan ahead and make one or two month’s worth of meals. This is done over one or two days. I often do it in a small group or with a friend. Just a week ago, my friend Christie and I made 110 freezer meals (55 each) in just over two days. I have it down to a system! You first need to plan it out, then need to get everything prepared, and finally, execute it on what I call The Big Day. It’s a lot of work, but so worth it! I love not having to think about what I’m going to make for supper for the next few months!
There are some ingredients that seem to be very popular in freezer meal recipes. However, you need to be careful when avoiding gluten.
Ingredients to be cautious of for gluten-free diets:
Dry Onion Soup Mix
Most of the store-bought versions of this contain gluten. There are some versions that are gluten-free but you need to read the labels very carefully. At a bulk bin store near me, they carry a gluten-free dry onion soup mix. Alternatively, you can also make your own using a recipe such as this one.
There are condensed soups available to purchase such as Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup from Pacific Natural or Amy’s Organic Cream of Tomato. There are also recipes readily available online for making your own cream soups such as this one for cream of mushroom soup because gluten is usually found in most condensed soups.
Some of the common sauces often called for in freezer meal recipes usually contain gluten. These include soy sauce and hoisin sauce. Be careful to choose a brand of soy sauce or hoisin sauce that does not contain gluten.
Many seasonings, especially seasoning blends contain gluten. A lot of my freezer meal recipes call for taco seasoning. Most taco seasonings contain gluten, but there is a tex mex seasoning blend that does not contain gluten. This can be substituted for taco seasoning without compromising flavor. Again, you can also make your own taco seasoning mix. This is my recipe for homemade gluten-free taco seasoning.
I buy many of my seasoning blends through Epicure Selections, as they have really wonderful spice blends and mixes and they are gluten-free. Many are also sodium-free which is a preference of mine because then I have control over how much salt I add to the dishes.
Gluten-Free Freezer Meal Plan
Our gluten-free freezer meal plan includes 5 of our tried and true recipes, shopping lists, prep lists, and printable labels.
Of course, for the fastest freezer meal recipes (enabling you to assemble 10 meals in just one hour), check out my Chicken Dump and Beef Dump Recipes. All of the recipes include gluten-free instructions.
A list of our gluten-free freezer meals:
- Slow-Cooker Mixed Bean Casserole
- 5 Chicken Dump Recipes
- 5 More Chicken Dump Recipes
- 5 Beef Dump Recipes
- Freezer to Crock Pot Chicken Taco Soup
- Gluten-Free Stuffed Peppers
- Crock Pot Pizza Casserole
- Better Than it Sounds Prune and Olive Chicken
- Freezer Vegetable Pesto Minestrone
- Sloppy Joes
- Spanish Rice Casserole
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas
- Beef and Corn Casserole