by Gaby Talarico

Gluten sensitivity is not only felt by the APS-1 community, but it is also slowly becoming a very well-known and common ailment amongst the American population. Whether the reason for the recent surge is that the allergy has manifested, or that we are now just starting to understand how to diagnose it doesn’t matter. What does matter is how we deal with food choices related to this difficult allergy. Luckily, in the past few years, companies have also seen this trend and have started to create products catered to this community. However, even with new selections in the bread and pasta aisles, it is still difficult to cook on a gluten free diet. Although I do not follow a full gluten free diet, I like to experiment with being gluten free and showing others easy recipes that they can also cook at home on my website www.foodiewithflavor.com, which is connected to my Instagram @foodiewithflavor.

Before I show you a recipe that any home cook could follow, let me begin with telling you what gluten sensitivity is. First off…one myth I would like to de-bug is that gluten sensitivity is another name for having Celiac disease. But, not all gluten sensitivities are necessarily Celiac disease. Celiac disease, a genetically inherited autoimmune disorder, also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy or celiac sprue, is “an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye” (Mayo Clinic). This immune response damages the small intestine, and overtime, can cause the lining to become fully damaged leading to malabsorption issues (i.e., the failure to absorb important nutrients in the body). Due to possible small intestine damage, most people with Celiac disease try to stay 100% gluten free and take precautions to have their food prepared in a safe and sterile environment where nothing has come in contact with gluten containing products.

On the other hand, having gluten sensitivity is not as severe or as strict as Celiac disease, but it is still an important and debilitating allergy nonetheless. Having gluten sensitivity means that consuming large or small amounts of gluten upsets the stomach and body as a whole. A lot of Americans today are finding they have this sensitivity by going on a gluten-free diet and then re-introducing gluten into their diet. Others find that sometimes cutting gluten out of their diet helps them with energy levels and overall feeling better. Of course, this is all up to interpretation if cutting out gluten is the sole reason why these people feel better, but if it is working for them, then I say…why not?! I, myself, cut down on gluten products some days and use alternatives. Of course, I do not cut gluten out entirely…just lessen the amount. For me specifically, this diet helps with my energy levels and is a good balance for what I think my body needs. I want to reiterate that ever BODY is different, I am not a registered nutritionist…so one diet may not work for everyone. However, I will challenge those to explore introducing gluten-free alternatives and see how you feel…you may be surprised!

With that being said, I would like to give you your first gluten-free recipe to try! This recipe is great for gluten and non-gluten eaters. I put the gluten-free alternative options in the ingredient list. This recipe is comforting, easy and healthy too! It will take you a max of 30 minutes to prepare and you will definitely have people coming back for seconds. I want to help show you that being gluten-free doesn’t mean you have to be flavor-free; you can have an amazing meal on this restrictive diet. Let me show you how!

Crispy Baked Chicken Parm (GF Option!)

If you are craving chicken parm and don’t want to break the bank and your waistline, then this recipe is for you! Not only is this a healthier version of chicken parm, it is also SO EASY! In no time you will have dinner for 6 people, and you will not have to worry about disposing any frying oil. I love that after you bread the chicken, the only work you have to do is flipping it and topping the chicken with sauce and cheese. I also like that this recipe is a short cook time because the chicken pieces are thin. A fast, healthy, flavorful recipe, with the option to be gluten free, for your family and friends to enjoy.

Recipe:

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggs – whisked
  • 3 Chicken Breasts – cut in half and pounded thin or 6 thinly sliced chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs or Gluten Free Bread Crumbs for a GF option
  • 1 cup Panko or Gluten Free Panko for a Gluten Free Option
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Dried Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • Your Favorite Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Bag Shredded Low-Fat Mozzarella Cheese
  • Spray Canola Oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cooking sheet with canola oil or light cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs (or GF option), panko (or GF option), salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and cheese. In a smaller bowl whisk the eggs.
  3. Dip the chicken pieces in the whisked eggs, and then evenly coat in the breadcrumb mixture. Then, place the chicken pieces evenly on the sheet tray.
  4. Cook for 13-14 min or until lightly browned on the bottom side of the chicken. Then flip the chicken, top with 2-3 tbsp of your favorite tomato sauce and sprinkle with part skim mozzarella cheese. Cook for an additional 2-3 min or until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately with spaghetti, spaghetti squash or gluten free pasta!

Work Cited:

“Celiac Disease.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 Oct. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/celiac-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352220.

Talarico, Gaby. “Crispy Baked Chicken Parm (GF Option!).” Foodie with Flavor, 8 May 2021, www.foodiewithflavor.com/post/crispy-baked-chicken-parm.

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