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Wow! It’s great gluten-free meals!

It’s getting much easier for consumers to satisfy their gluten-free food desires

by:  - Gluten-free chicken roll-up

As awareness of gluten-free diets continues to grow, more people are searching for ways to make their menus delicious, creative and varied while still staying gluten-free.
   In the past, forgoing gluten was challenging at best and frustrating at worst, due to a lack of available ingredients and products. But that was then. Now, whether it’s gluten intolerance or a goal of healthier eating that drives your meal plans, you can indulge and enjoy great meals from breakfast to dinner (and everything in between).
   The expanding availability of gluten-free substitutes for favorites like tortillas, breads, and pastas means that you don’t need to give up the dishes you love. For truly healthy options, it’s important to look for gluten-free products with shorter ingredient lists filled with familiar items.
   Get your gluten-free menu started with these tips for meals throughout the day. Packed with flavor, nutrition and great ingredients, they'll keep the whole family happy.
   • Breakfast burrito bar. Get the day off to a spicy start with delicious breakfast burritos. Make it an interactive morning event on the weekend with a burrito bar. Set out an array of gluten-free ingredients, like scrambled eggs, beans, vegetables and cheese, for your family to mix and match. Fold it all up in black rice tortillas made by Food For Life, which are highly nutritious — black rice boasts antioxidant levels on par with “superfruits” like acai and blackberries.
   • Dressed-up English muffins. Crispy outside, fluffy inside and topped with delicious, nutritious goodies — what could be a better way to start the day? Try topping yours with mashed avocado that’s been whisked with crushed chili, a splash of lime juice and a pinch of salt. Or, if you like something sweeter, try gluten-free almond butter with raspberries, blackberries or a dash of cinnamon sugar. Gluten-free English muffins are available from Food For Life.
   • Standout sandwiches. Go beyond the basics for your midday meal. Using gluten-free bread, you can create gourmet sandwiches that would cost far more in a restaurant. Rethink tuna salad by using Dijon mustard instead of mayo, and adding capers, diced sundried tomatoes and preserved lemon. Or, go for a veggie extravaganza with Portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, crunchy sprouts and hummus.
   • Seasoned quesadillas. Add a little something extra to your classic quesadilla, that well-loved snack of melted cheese between two gluten-free tortillas. Try adding a variety of cheeses and boosting the flavor with herbs and spice mixes.
   • A new take on pizza. Everyone loves pizza for dinner, especially when they can make it their own. Using gluten-free tortillas, the whole family can create personalized mini-pizzas with thin, crunchy crusts. Simply assemble the toppings of choice and either grill or toast in the oven. For busy nights, it's a meal that's quick, easy and guaranteed to please.
   • Enchiladas. This classic Mexican dish is great for crowds, so if you’re welcoming friends, add it to your menu. Black rice tortillas will add eye-catching color and lots of nutrition, without bringing gluten to the table. Fill the enchiladas with the meat of your choice (such as shredded chicken or beef) as well as rice, beans and grilled onions and peppers. Top with a spiced sauce of roasted tomatoes, as well as Mexican cheese like cotija or chihuahua, and bake.
   Today, gluten-free diets can be every bit as delicious and rich with nutrition - and maybe more so - than other diets. Celebrate the possibilities and find creativeness in your gluten-free kitchen. For more ideas, go to www.foodforlife.com.
   Effortless entertaining
   Tips for
   hosting the perfect al fresco dinner party
   Whether it's in the backyard or on a rooftop, summer is an ideal time to entertain outdoors. The long days and warm nights create the perfect backdrop for a relaxing get-together with family and friends.
   While most love the idea of entertaining, 62 percent wish they did so more often, according to a national survey conducted by Survey.com on behalf of Ecco Domani Wines of Italy. If you're one of those who wish they entertained more, but find the idea overwhelming, below are simple things you can do as host or hostess that will make all the difference in the world.
   • When entertaining, greet your guests with a glass of wine upon arrival — more than half of hosts do, according to the survey. The bright fruit flavors and fresh, approachable style of Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio is an effortless complement to any outdoor party. Its light citrus and delicate floral aromas also make it the perfect partner to a wide range of foods.
   • Cheese and crackers are a go-to for any savvy host. Add fresh fruit like apple slices and grapes and you have easy options for your guests to munch on while they mix and mingle. If you have more than one type of cheese, try labeling them in a unique way. Attach a name tag to a toothpick and stick it into an extra apple or into the cheese directly. Your guests will appreciate the extra touch!
   • Your table settings don't need to be fussy. Keep it trouble-free by using things your already have in your home, but make it fun by mixing and matching your plates. The eclectic assortment will add color and pizzazz to your table. Top off the arrangement by using cloth napkins for a simple, but elegant, touch of style.
   • Serving great wine and food will make an impression on your guests. In fact, three in four people think it’s the wine and food selection that elevates an occasion from ordinary to extraordinary, according to the Ecco Domani survey. Since the grill is a summer staple, choose a refreshing wine that complements grilled meats. For instance, Ecco Domani Moscato will not only pair well with the spicy barbecue, but its light, approachable taste will appeal to all of your friends.
   • End your dinner on a high note by offering your guests something simple and sweet for dessert. For an easy way to make the dish unique, consider serving dessert in glasses you already have around your home, such as martini or wine glasses. You can build layers of fruit and ice cream within the glass to create a treat for the eye, as well as the lips.
   • When dining outdoors, the taste of food and drink is enhanced by scents in the air. Placing aromatic plants such as basil, rosemary, and lavender around the patio will help bring the scents of summer to your table. For an added touch of freshness, you can use the same herbs as ingredients in your food.
   Italian Table Wine (C) 2013 Ecco Domani(R) USA, Hayward, CA., All rights reserved.