Project Creative Condiment: Gluten & Allergen Free Customized Grilling
by Kathleen Reale
On busy weekday nights it can be tough to come up with dinner ideas that are satisfying to the whole family with a quick & easy clean-up. Throw into the mix various food allergies or celiac disease, and you start to feel like a short order cook while preparing two to three different meals every night!
Fret no more. An easy dinner solution is a grill night that allows everyone to “customize” their grillables with the condiments of their choice. Condiments are so much more than the basic ketchup and mustard. With a little creativity and inventiveness you can make a traditional hotdog into a make-your own masterpiece in no time at all!
Some of the more favorite allergen and gluten free grillables to start with include chicken, fish, steak, portabella mushrooms, sausage and hotdogs. For those that have stayed clear of sausages and hotdogs due to so many brands containing gluten and other food allergens, make sure that you check out the John Morrell line of “Worry Free” items that include smoked sausages and hotdogs. These items are free of major allergens including milk, fish, soy, gluten, nuts and eggs.
After you decide what grillables you are starting with, decide on a few condiments that allows each family member to spice up and customize their main course. Be sure that you include some kid friendly condiments (the basic ketchup, yellow mustards, barbeque sauce, honey mustard and chili) and also some adult favorites too (chutneys, salsas, and onion relishes). Before you know it dinner will be done, bellies will be full and clean-up will only consist of shutting off the grill!
Following are some pointers in using creative condiments during your grill-night dinner:
- Think Ahead: Make sure that you prepare and prep the condiments ahead of time whenever possible. Chop the onions and prepare the chili in a slow-cooker in the morning. Think ahead in order to make meal time prep as simple as firing up the grill.
- No-Cook: Make sure that you include one or two “no-cook” condiments (such as canned sauerkraut and salsa) to make dinner as effortless as possible.
- Turn Vegetables & Fruit into Condiments. Chopping up vegetables and fruits into fun bite sized pieces or salsas allows little fingers the chance to sprinkle or spoon them on top of hotdogs and hamburgers, encouraging children to choose and eat more vegetables.
- Line ‘Em Up: Set up a “condiment bar” on the picnic table or kitchen table. This encourages the kids to select on their own and try new healthy foods. Let the older kid’s build their own burger or hotdog. Make sure that you keep foods containing allergens away from the other foods and always use separate utensils to avoid cross-contamination.
- Two Time the Condiments. Make a batch of chili to top allergen-free hotdogs at dinner and make extra for the next day’s lunches. Or when you whip up a batch of Sweet & Spicy Peach Salsa to top your dinner-time grilled fish, make a bit more for the following evening’s salad topper.
- Need some Condiment Ideas? Try the list below for some crowd-pleasing choices:
Some favorite kid condiments:
- Green Relish
- Classic Tomato Relish
- Chopped pickles
- Shredded Cheddar
- BBQ Sauce
Some favorite adult condiments:
- All of the above… plus…
- Honey & Whole Grain Mustards
- Spiced Mayonnaises
- Grilled Onion Slices
- Crumbled cheeses (goat, feta)
- Sautéed mushrooms