GFCF Recipes

GFCF Recipes


The GFCF Restaurant Guide

Ok -- here it is, as promised. This is the start of my free online restaurant guide. It is only a guide. You must -- I repeat, must -- check these places on your own. The info here will arm with you with valuable knowledge but every restaurant has its own practices and each store within a chain is managed differently. So, be careful.

I will continue updating this as I learn more. Let me tell you what I've found. I've determined a lot of places will tell you that they have GFCF food, but they don't tell you that it's prepared along with non-GFCF food, so there is a cross-contact issue. Be careful of that -- always ask!

By the way, what we're really concerned about here is called "cross-contact," not cross contamination. But, you'll notice that I slip back and forth on that phrasing. Forgive me.

Also, many restaurants are heading toward having Gluten Free Menus, but not GFCF menus. It's not the same, of course.

Below is my list. Next to each is a grade, just like in school, A-F. I've provided web links and allergen details with my explanation next to each so you understand.

Applebee's - F
Allergen info online: No
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: No, according to a corporate official. This -- from them: "Thank you for your recent request for a list of gluten, dairy, and soy free menu items available at Applebee's. Due to the frequency in which we change our menus, as well as the small risk of cross-contamination, we can not provide the list you requested."

Arby's - D
Allergen info online: yes,
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: NO -- while the homestyle fries and potato cakes are listed as gluten/dairy free, make sure to read the fine print. All the fried foods are cooked together -- with the foods having gluten and casein. From the website: "When checking food allergens, it is important to know all of our fried products may be cooked using shared frying oil."

Burger King - B
Allergen info online: yes - go to and type "allergens" in the search box.
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: Yes. French fries are cooked in a dedicated fryer. Plain burger and grilled chicken also cooked on a broiler. Mott's applesauce. I checked our local BK and indeed they used a dedicated fryer. More info:

Chick Fil A - B
Allergen info online: yes, go to and you'll see links to both "allergens" and "gluten." NOTE - CHICK FIL A USES PEANUT OIL. They have gluten-free waffle fries, which others have told me are fried alone. I HAVE NOT confirmed this yet with the company. I'm waiting for their response to my question.
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: ??

Chili's - B-minus
Allergen info online: yes,
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: Yes, BUT they warn people with serious food issues to avoid ALL fried foods because of cross contamination. And, they do not guarantee that they can make their food entirely free of the item that you're intolerant/allergic too, even if it's on the special menu list. So, be warned.

Damon's Grill - D
Allergen info online: yes,
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: Yes -- I contacted Damon's as we wanted to try them on an upcoming trip. The fries are gluten-free but cooked in a common fryer with other foods that have gluten. So, you may want to avoid those. But, the company says the following foods should have no cross-contact issues: steak, salmon, grilled chicken, ribs, baked potato, vegetables, salad and applesauce.

Denny's - D
Allergen info online: yes,
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: NO -- I spoke with a corporate nutrition manager who said although the stores are supposed to cook fries separate, for example, they most times are not. Burgers and chicken cooked on the same grill as other stuff. So, there are serious concerns here.

Eat N Park (PA, OH, WV) - A
Allergen info online: yes, it has a celiac menu
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: yes and if you want fries, try asking for baked fries since the oil shares foods, a district manager says.

Houlihan's - D
Allergen info online: No
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: They say to ask when you order about having special items made. Do so at your own risk though.

Kings Family Restaurants - D
Allergen info online: no
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: A district manager by telephone says they can if you work through local store managers. I've not tested this yet at our local Kings.

Longhorn Steakhouse - A-minus
Allergen info online: yes,
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: Yes, but cooking is not in a gluten-free kitchen. No fries on gluten-free menu. Developing a new menu soon.

Mitchell's Fish Market - A
Allergen info online: yes, a gluten-free menu
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: yes - mostly for adults.

Olive Garden - F
Allergen info online: No
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: No. From them, "We appreciate your desire to know which menu items may fit with the allergen constraints of your diet. At this time, our nutritional database does not include the type of detailed information you need."

Outback Steakhouse - A-minus
Allergen info online: yes, a gluten-free menu
Gluten-casein free foods without cross-contamination: yes (but no fries for children)

PF Changs China Bistro - A-minus
Allergen info online: yes
Gluten-casein free foods without cross-contamination: yes, mostly for adults.

Red Robin - A
Allergen info online: no, but can be emailed by request.
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: Yes, but not guaranteed. I'm hearing online that every store does it differently. At mine, they fry the fries in one fryer, breaded items in another and fish in a third. They also have a food-allergy system so orders with restrictions are flagged and people cooking know about it. With some allergies, they'll even put on special gloves while cooking that food. Some stores have a gluten-free menu sheet available.

Sonic America's Drive-In - F
Allergen info online: No.
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: No. I called. They checked. Basically, the pickles are OK.

Steak N Shake - D
Allergen info online: yes,
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: Likely not -- they're good about listing all the foods and the steakburger and fries are free and clear. However, they openly tell us cross contamination is a problem. "Please be advised that many menu items may be made with equipment also used to make menu items containing milk, peanuts, wheat, eggs, tree nuts, soy and/or fish."

Wendy's - D
Allergen info online: yes,
Gluten-casein free foods without cross contamination: NO -- check the nutrition menu carefully. Even though some things don't have gluten, they are cross-contaminated, including french fries. Chili seems OK though.


Healthy GFCF pancakes

I'm going to post two recipes this week that are very similar -- one's for cookies and the other, pancakes. Today, it's the pancakes. It's a slight variation of my standard pancake recipe. I add applesauce and ground flax seed.

So, here it is:

2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tbsp applesauce (I used Mott's)
Dash of cinnamon
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1/3 cup CF milk or water (I used Darifree liquid)
2-3 tbsp more of Darifree, depending on consistancy

Mix dry stuff. Add liquids. Blend together. Heat a tsp of oil on a skillet. When hot, dump by the tbsp. Flip when browned on one side.


Allergen listing for Herr's products

Hey guys -- just came across this today on the web and thought I'd share. It's the allergen listing for Herr's snacks -- chips, etc. Herr's products are mostly sold in the eastern U.S. The allergen page, which you can link to by clicking here, is very useful. Until now, I've relied almost completely on Frito Lay products because Frito Lay is very good about listing allergens. It's good to have choices.


A handy store-bought soup broth -- free of everything

As you know by now, I like to point out products I come across that help make our lives easier and healthier. It's so difficult finding food that you trust is free of the allergens and ingredients that we, and our kids, are intolerant to. I found Kitchen Basics broths one day at our regular supermarket as I looked for a soup for my kids. Couldn't find one in the organic section that I really trusted was free of MSG, gluten and dairy. (Amazing, isn't it?) So, I glanced without much hope at the soups in the regular soup aisle. And there it was. Clearly marked on the box -- no MSG, no glutens, no dairy, no soy. Wow! I bought it.

I generally make my own broth at home and freeze it for later use. But, it's good to know I can grab this at the local store when I'm in a rush.


Burger King wins the gluten-free test

So, I plan to post my results for finding restaurants that really can provide -- safely -- gluten and casein free food, and even soy free. Consider this an interim report as I've found something surprising on the fast-food front. I checked Wendy's, McDonalds, Burger King and Arby's to see if I could buy a burger (no bun) and fries for my kids at any of them. I'd always heard that you couldn't. Well, you can. Burger King specifically fries its fries in a dedicated fryer -- or the restaurants are supposed to. However, the chain has a policy and it's detailed on its website - find it by going here and clicking on 'Allergens'. The allergen listing online even shows potential cross contamination risks. I spoke with the company's nutrition guru. They are organized. Still, she -- and I -- recommend calling the store manager to make sure they really are doing this. She also told me a plain burger is OK on the gfcf diet -- they're cooked on a broiler. So is the grilled chicken, plain. They have Mott's applesauce and soon, will sell apple slices shaped like fries. I visited my local BK last night to test this out. I spoke with the manager. He clearly knew the policy and said his restaurant followed that setup. I visited his restaurant and indeed they were. I bought some fries for the kids.

None of the others are suitable. McDonalds fries have gluten. We all know that story. Wendy's has dairy in its fries. Arby's meat is OK but not the fries. I'll post my complete restaurant findings next week.


Coming -- a GFCF restaurant guide

Sorry for not posting much this week. I've been busy at home with some personal things. I had a recipe failure -- a pumpkin recipe really flopped. But, I'm in the process of doing something very exciting that will benefit many of you. I've been discouraged trying to find a restaurant that I could take my kids to eat -- just a burger and fries. I know it's not the healthiest nutrionally and some may object to that. But, I think it will be very healthy mentally. They've not been to a restaurant and most places, just like the supermarket, don't make it easy. So, I've set out to research all of the restaurants in our area just like I researched food products a couple of years ago. I called, wrote and badgered every company that makes the foods my kids eat to determine exactly what's in them. I made them back up their ingredients. I'm doing the same thing with the restaurants. And, I have some surprising results. So, what I plan to do in the next week is post a listing of all the restaurants and tell people whether they provide detailed allergen/gluten info online, if they provide a phone contact for nutrition info, and what food items they say are OK for BOTH gluten and casein. I'm also asking about soy. There are a few lists online that you'll easily find but they don't really include a lot of places. I'll provide links to those lists also.

I'll provide the basic results from my searching. You'll need to do the rest. And, I'll mention now, that I think it would be an excellent idea to double-check with your local restaurant as to how they handle the foods. I think they all do it differently. It appears to me that some are more mindful than others and may actually train employees. I personally will not take my kids anywhere until I've spoken with the local manager and walk away satisfied that they really know what they're doing. At the least, the list will help guide you in the right directions and give you quick links to helpful info. I hope you too can enjoy a night out with your family. Look for the list sometime after the weekend, maybe on Monday.


GFCF Breakfast cereal bars

This recipe is so great. For one, I like these and will eat them for a quick breakfast on the go. And, the recipe really worked like I had hoped. I should've guessed thought, that only one of my kids would actually eat them. Oh well. That's the way these things go.

This is a recipe for a cereal bar that's very healthy. I found a basic recipe on the web, modified it for GFCF, and added a couple things of my own. Here's how:

1/2 cup honey (or other syrup)
1/2 cup nut butter (I used Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter)
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 cups gluten free rice krispies cereal (I used Barbaras)
1/3 cup raisins (dates would work too)
2 tbsp sunflower seeds (optional)
1-2 tbsp ground flax seed (I used golden flax)

Grease a 13x9 cake pan -- I used organic Spectrum shortening.
Into a pan, heat honey, nut butter and sugar to boil. Stir on medium heat a couple of minutes.
Add the other ingredients and stir until combined.
Dump into the greased pan and use a spatula to press down.
Let cool. After 30 minutes, use a knife or pizza cutter to cut into squares.

I also think pureed raisin or date would work in this for those kids picky about those dried fruits.

Very healthy morning food with the protein in the nut butter, whole grain cereal, fruit and the fiber in the flax.


GFCF mashed potatoes with a hidden surprise

OK -- no new recipe here, but another win (for the parents) on sticking some veggies in everyday food. This one -- mashed potatoes. Again, inspired and based on a recipe in the Deceptively Delicious cookbook. Just modified for GFCF -- and soy free. The added veggie is cauliflower.

Add a 1/4 cup of pureed cauliflower to my mashed potato recipe.

It worked here without a hitch. The only difference in my original recipe, other than the cauliflower, was using some veggie broth and Darifree for liquid.

Again, a great idea, which I modified for the GFCF diet, from Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious cookbook.

I'll try not to bore you with this cookbook, but it's turning into a great help in our home right now.


GFCF Pumpkin cake

I avoided baking with pumpkin, but I'm not sure why. It's actually very convenient. Canned pumpkin (Libby's) is ready to use and affordable. I modified my basic cookie recipe to make a pumpkin cake that's really very healthy, and also could be made into cookie bars.

SORRY -- that I left out the key ingredient in my original posting of this. This version includes everything. The ingredient I forgot? -- pumpkin, of course.

1 cup sorghum flour (or brown rice or chickpea)
1/2 cup tapioca flour (or other starch)
1/2 cup sugar (or other sweetener)
2 tbsp ground flax, golden
2 tsp xanthan gum (or guar gum)
2 tsp baking powder (corn-free, if desired)
1 tsp sea salt (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
2 tbsp. canned pumpkin (I used Libby's)
1/4 cup molasses, honey or cane syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup Darifree or other milk sub

Mix the dry stuff well. Then add the liquids. Mix. You want this to be smoother, but not liquidy.
Beat with blender until mixed, scraping the sides.

Pour into an 8x8 cake pan, greased with shortening (Spectrum organic).

Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.


GFCF banana bread with hidden veggies

Since Christmas, I've been tinkering with recipes based on ideas I found in a new cookbook, Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica Seinfeld (yes, Jerry's wife). This is not an ad and I don't benefit either. But, the premise is interesting: hiding veggies and fruits in everyday food so our kids get the nutritional benefits. This especially is a problem for kids on the autism spectrum, as many of you know. So, I thought I'd give this a try. Neither of my kids are big on veggies or fruit, and they're very rigid about the ones they will eat. So, I've had a few successes and I will share. I will not reprint Seinfeld's recipes here. But, I've modified a few for GFCF land. Here's one that was a big hit tonight for banana bread -- with cauliflower.

- Spectrum organic shortening
- 3/4 cup sorghum flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca starch
- 1/4 cup potato starch
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 egg whites or 1 flax egg
- 1 large banana
- 1/2 cup pureed cauliflower
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 1/4 cup liquid DariFree or milk sub

Puree the cauliflower by steaming or cooking 20 mins. Cut off stems. Puree in blender, food processor or hand mixer.

Heat oven to 350. Coat loaf pan with the shortening.

Mix the dry ingredients.

In a bowl, mash the banana with a fork, then puree with an electric mixer. Add cauliflower mix. Add egg and oil and milk.

Pour into pan. Bake for 30 mins or until toothpick comes out clean.

I serve with icing on top. Or, without the icing for lunches.


Marking it gluten free - finally

Happy New Year everyone! I learned some cool things about everyday foods over the holiday. I've just been in awe of how major companies -- who are driven to find any market edge possible -- have not latched onto the "gluten free" thing yet.

Anyway, I see Tyson chicken is now labeled CLEARLY on the front as being free of antibiotics and hormones and additives. And, it was only priced 20 cents-per-pound more than the store brand. Very cool.
And, our Honeysuckle turkey also had a big "Gluten Free" label slapped right on the front for all to see. So, I bought that simply because of their effort.
I just don't understand why more companies are not taking advantage of this market by making the simplest of efforts -- noting what's gluten-free and what's not. My suspicion is that they don't want to start down the path of revealing what's in their foods.