One Skillet Easy Gluten Free Meal-Not Really a Recipe and Staying Sane Through the Holidays

I love cooking, I really do.

Recipes, now, not so much.  I like to have an idea, and then riff of it and adapt it to what I have handy and what I feel like.

Hence, not really a recipe.

Cooking can be really easy.

That’s what I try to convey.  There is no right or wrong (although we all have recipe fails from time to time) just not-so-good attempts.  And that’s okay, that’s how we learn.  As the holiday madness fun approaches, it becomes even more important for us to fuel ourselves well.

It doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming.

These daily meals are what really matter in the big scheme if things.  You can have lots of treats on Christmahanakwanzakah if you eat well the other 360 days of the year that aren’t holidays.  (I shared some tips on getting through those holi-days and staying healthy and gluten free here.)  But for every other day…

When you distill it down to the most basic components, a meal is:
  • a protein (like meat/poultry/fish/dairy)
  • a green/fibrous veggie (too many to list)
  • a healthy fat (could be built in to your protein if you have a fattier cut of meat or fatty fish like salmon, or additional like grassfed butter or coconut or olive oil)
  • maybe a starchier carbohydrate like fruit, rice, potato, sweet potato, corn, gluten free oatmeal, etc.  I reserve these for when I’ve “earned” them such as after a training session with weights.  I train in the morning, so most of my later in the day meals are proteins and fat, with perhaps some fruit.  (If you want more information on maximizing your meals, check out my free nutrition guide.)

Meals don’t have to be complicated at all.  One of my favorite people, Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, (who creates amazingly beautiful recipes and has a cookbook coming out soon) shares how she keeps it simple every day, and eats well.

Shirley at Gluten Free Easily has a PDF handout you can print that lists 50 meals that are naturally gluten free or can be made easily with gluten free ingredients.

Don’t make it hard.  If you have the urge to make a complicated, multi step project on a weekend, have at it.  But during the week, when time is a premium, prepare ahead for healthy eating success, and keep it simple.

Yes, we’re getting to the not really a recipe.

Dinner. Quick and easy like.

Here’s what I had:

I had on hand a pound of grass fed ground beef.

I always have frozen veggies.

I always have fresh garlic.

I always have balsamic vinegar.

I also always have tomato paste, I find it very handy and adds a lot of flavor.  I like Amore’s double strength tomato paste in a tube.

Double concentrated tomato-y goodness

It’s in the supermarket aisle with the jarred and canned stuff.  This takes up a lot less room, and makes dishes less watery, which I like.   You still get the flavor and the lycopene though.

So here’s what I did:
  • Brown the ground beef in the skillet.
  • Put browned ground beef into a bowl for a minute.
  • Use a garlic press to smush a garlic clove into the fat rendered from the beef.
  • Cook the garlic a little to brown it.
  • Throw in a bag of frozen veggies (I used a California blend, which was broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.)
  • Heat the veggies to defrost and warm them thru.
  • Add the beef back in.
  • Squeeze in a big squeeze of tomato paste (like 4 toothbrushes full if you pretend it’s toothpaste)
  • Add a couple glugs of balsamic vinegar.
  • Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste.
  • Give it a good stir.
  • Allow to simmer about 5-10 minutes to reduce or as long as you can stand it because you’re hungry.
  • Serve and enjoy!

That’s it.  Nothing complicated about it.  You can use this same no-stress method to cook any protein and veggie combo.  Chicken breast cut into chunks, pork tenderloin into medallions, shrimp, whatever you have.  You can use the tomato and balsamic combo, or you can use apple cider vinegar and an all fruit preserves and get fruity.  Gluten free tamari and rice vinegar with ginger for an oriental kick.

Got it?  Good!  Go forth and eat well, simply.

What’s your favorite, easy, throw together meal?

Filed Under: Gluten Freenutritionrecipes


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  1. Hello, my favorite “anti-recipe girl”! :-) Great post, Erin! Look at that meal … it’s just right. Just follow the guidelines for the components and you can’t go wrong as you’ve shown! Thanks so much for sharing my 50 gfe meals, too. It’s much appreciated! I’m speaking at our local free clinic again tomorrow evening and that will be one of my reference sheets that I’ll spend a lot of time on. One has to get people thinking along those lines for economy, simplicity, and health The ordering of those, and the specific ingredients used, can change depending upon one’s focus, of course, but they work for all. :-)

    I know we’re all waiting anxiously for Amy’s cookbook–not long now! ;-)


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  3. Erin says:

    Hi Shirley!
    It just doesn’t have to be hard. That’s the biggest thing I’d like people to realize, that making a meal, a GOOD meal, a healthy, naturally gluten free meal, doesn’t have to be had :)
    Thank you for providing such a great resource and continuing to spread the gfe word!

  4. [...] Gluten Free Fitness Makes a Super Easy and Healthy Dish [...]

  5. Hi Erin;

    Just added your blog to my list of 140+ GF blogs over at the Crispy Cook. Check the link on the right hand side of my blog to see the updated list. Have a lovely Thanksgiving.

  6. Erin says:

    Awesome thank you very much! I will be posting about that incredible resource this weekend.

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