Well, for anyone following this blog (I think there are only two of you right now ;) ) it has been more than a week since I said I would post a gluten free $5 meal. I could lay out a bunch of excuses, but the truth is, this hasn’t been my highest priority. After 3 years of waiting, I am finally in a position to start an in-home preschool!!! Wahoo!! Okay, I know this has nothing to do with meals for five bucks, but it’s a very exciting thing to me and I just needed a moment to celebrate. So, because of my preschool starting this fall, I have been pretty busy writing a curriculum, buying supplies, doing paperwork, etc. Plus, I only started this blog a few months ago and I’m still trying to get used to the whole, writing often thing. Hopefully my two followers will forgive me. :) Thanks guys!
Now, on to some serious gluten free-ness. In typical five bucks a meal fashion, this meal is pretty darn easy. As long as you can brown some ground beef and cook some pasta, you can make this tasty meal. First, get some water boiling to cook 1/2 lb. of gluten free pasta. I did not take a picture of this because I’m assuming you all know what a pot of boiling water looks like. If not, I probably can’t help you. :) Note: if you are new to gluten free, Tinkyada is a great brand of gluten free pasta. Most grocery stores sell it now. It will either be next to the regular pasta or it will be in a special gluten free section. If it says “gluten free” on the label, you are definitely safe using it. Also, if you live near a Winco, they have both gluten free brown rice pasta and white rice pasta in their bulk section for a pretty reasonable price. They often have more of a selection than that, too, but it depends on the Winco near you.
Next, brown some ground beef.
When it is all cooked, you will add some ingredients.
Oh yeah, if your water is boiling, put in your pasta. I used elbow macaroni, but you can use whatever kind you want. Also, no, my pasta is not gluten free. That’s because no one in my home needs to eat gluten free. I do have relatives that need to eat gluten free though and as long as you use gluten free pasta and gluten free spaghetti sauce, I can assure you that this will be a gluten free meal.
Now, add about 2 Tbsp of brown sugar and 1/2 – 3/4 jar of spaghetti sauce to the meat. I think all Prego sauces are gluten free. If you are not sure, just check the label because if they are gluten free, it will say it on the label. There are actually lots of gluten free spaghetti sauces out there, but Prego is always a safe choice.
Don’t be fooled by the amount of sauce in the skillet. I added a bunch more than that after I took the picture. I like spaghetti sauce a lot, so I definitely used closer to 3/4 jar of spaghetti sauce, but you can adjust that for your own preferences. Blend everything together until it is nice and saucy.
Hopefully your pasta is done now. If not, just put your meat on low until the pasta is done. When it is done, drain it like normal and pour it straight into the skillet with the meat sauce. If your skillet is not big enough, you could also pour the meat mixture into the pasta. Mix it all together until that pasta is nice and coated.
Beautiful, right? And here is a close up.
This meal is great because it is extremely simple, it is less than five dollars, it is gluten free, AND it is also dairy free. Well, as long as you use a spaghetti sauce that has no cheese it is. It seems like there are a lot of people who must eat gluten free and dairy free so this meal is perfect for them. Plus, it’s easy. I know I already said that, but really, can it be said too much?
Gluten Free Simple Goulash, $4.25
1/2 lb. gluten free pasta ($ .65)
1 lb. ground beef ($2)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar ($ .10)
3/4 jar gluten free spaghetti sauce ($1.50)
Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions. Brown the ground beef. Add brown sugar and spaghetti sauce and mix together thoroughly. After pasta is cooked and drained, add it to the ground beef mixture. Again, mix together thoroughly.
Tips to make this healthier: If you like bell peppers and mushrooms, this would taste great with some of them diced and added to the meat mixture. You could also add a salad or any other kind of vegetable or fruit that you want on the side. Rather than using a jar of spaghetti sauce, you could make your own spaghetti sauce and use that. If you have a problem with the brown sugar, you could substitute it with honey or agave. You could also just leave the brown sugar out altogether, but then it would just be spaghetti. You could also use brown rice pasta (or whole wheat pasta for a non-gluten free version) to get in a whole grain.