The Ideal Meal To Fit All The Family’s Medical Dietary Needs

May 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Gluten Free Recipes


It’s my party and I can cry if I want to, cry if I want to; you would cry too if you had to make a meal to fit all medical dietary issues!

You have the whole family coming over and everyone has a different medical issue. Grandpa can’t have salt because of his high blood pressure. Gramma needs low sugar and low calories because of her diabetes. Brother’s wife from California is a vegan and eats no meat or dairy, which includes butter! Cousin Jane just found out she has Celiac Disease and can’t eat gluten found in wheat, barley, rye, and enriched white flour.

Oh my gosh! It’s just too much to handle. Forget it. You never want to commit to a dinner party ever again!

Fret not. Wipe your tears away. There is a very easy, healthy, and tasty food preparation solution. Vegetables and rice! I know, it may sound totally unappetizing, but trust me, it’s delicious how I prepare it.

Before we get to dinner, let’s put out some hors d’oeuvres. People have come a long way and they are hungry now.

Healthy filling appetizers and snacks I put out for guests of all ages and tastes are:

  • sliced apples, celery, and peanut butter
  • gluten free crackers and artichoke bruschetta
  • black jumbo olives
  • gouda cheese
  • avocado guacamole dip and corn chips
  • mini carrots

Some beverages I like to offer are red wine, fresh squeezed juice, cocktails, milk, and water.

Two hours before your guests arrive, prepare rice, enough for as many guests as you have. Lean towards the side of wetter softer long cooked rice. This takes about 45 minutes: read the instructions on the rice you have selected. Brown rice will impress your vegan guest and is healthier than white rice that may be stripped of nutrients, but if you are on a budget, white rice is considerably cheaper and still a tasty fine option.

For this meal, you can choose whatever vegetables you like, you are the chef. As I wrote in my last post, I had a box of mystery vegetables delivered to my house, so I used some of the contents of that, plus some other ingredients I bought at the store.

The vegetables pictured here that I used to serve four people are:

  • mini carrots, 4 per person
  • zucchini large, 1 for four
  • onion, about 1 tablespoon’s worth per person
  • broccoli, handful per person
  • mushrooms small, 3 per person
  • fresh cilantro, big handful per four people

Put two fast circles of olive oil in a big frying pan, a pan big enough for however many servings you have to make that will fit all the vegetables and the rice! Warm the pan on medium heat.

Cut up everything to bite size. Start cutting the hardest vegetables first and tossing them into the pan as you cut them. The order I have listed my vegetables is the order I put mine in the pan. If the pan gets too hot and starts burning the food, please reduce the heat to low. The vegetables should be soft and slightly browned. It will take 20 to 45 minutes depending on your pan, your heat, and your vegetables. Stay with the food. You don’t want to burn it. Let it sit, as long as it is safe, but keep it turning.

Use a screen so the moisture can escape, not a lid. Vegetables have a lot of moisture and if it doesn’t escape, you will have a very soupy strange dish. The screen also helps to keep in the heat and is essential to softening your veggies without burning them.

If the vegetables stick to the pan, add more olive oil.

Once all your veggies are cooking, add your spices:

  • pepper, a little
  • paprika, a nice thin layer over all the veggies
  • lemon large, squeeze 1/2 per four people — lemon is requisite for flavor in this meal!
  • garlic powder or diced garlic clove
  • (salt) if you don’t have a high blood pressure guest
  • (butter) 3 tablespoons if you don’t have dairy or weight issues

After you add your spices, stir it up and cook for a few minutes, then you can add your cooked rice. Add a little bit more spices to the rice, as needed, and add the second half of the lemon squeezed onto the rice.

*If dairy is not an issue, add four tablespoons of parmesan cheese and another handful of grated white cheese, at your selection, like Jack or Gouda. Cover the food evenly with it in the pan, let it fry there a bit, then stir.

Time flies when you are cooking a feast. Just give yourself 2 hours to be safe and ready when your guests come. The actual cooking time for all this is about 1 hour of your attention. You can set the pan aside and then reheat it for five minutes at meal time and serve.

It’s really easy: in short, you just make rice, set it aside, cut a bunch of veggies, toss ’em into the pan with olive oil and some spices, mix it all up, and voila! You can change this up however you like.

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