My Gluten Free Girlfriend

Gluten Free Recipes & Reviews

Easy Gluten Free Sausage Chili

bowl of chili

Easy Gluten Free Sausage Chili
  • 1 lb bag dried red beans or 3 cans cooked red beans
  • 2 rolls Gwaltney or other gluten free mild sausage
  • 2 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can rotel tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 3 green peppers
  • 2 jalapenos or chiles deseeded and diced (optional)
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp smoked paprika
  1. Rinse red beans and cover with 2 inches hot water in the bottom of your stock pot. Bring them to a low boil uncovered for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and cover pot. Leave covered for around an hour. This will quick soak your beans for cooking in the chili.
  3. Fry up the two rolls of sausage.
  4. Open the cans of tomatoes and Rotel.
  5. Roughly chop the onion and green peppers.
  6. Deseed and finely dice the chilis or jalapenos.
  7. Throw everything except the spices in a large stock pot on the stove. (I like to save the spices for the last 15 to 30 minutes of cooking so the flavors don't get lost.)
  8. Bring pot to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Simmer covered for around 2 hours stirring occasionally.
  9. Around the 2 hour mark test the beans for doneness. If they are to your liking go ahead and add the spices. Simmer for an additional 15 to 30 minutes.


Buona Vs. Portillo’s – The Battle for the Best Italian Beef

Recently we spent a few weeks visiting friends in the Chicago area. I knew one of the foods I had to try in chicago was italian beef. My friends husband is celiac and reccomended Portillo’s as a must try spot. During my googling of the best gluten free italain beef places I found a thread debating weather Buona Beef or Portillo’s had better gluten free italian beef. Of course we had to try both places.

Since our thoughts on each place were the same I thought I would approach this post a little differently. I wrote the review on Buona and let Alan write the review for Portillo’s. Here’s what we thought.

Buona Beef

7417 S Cass Ave
Darien, IL
(630) 963-2333

Buona Beef Italian Beef

Buona Beef Italian Beef

First things first, Buona Beef has gluten free flat bread that can be used for all of their sandwiches and as crust for their pizzas. I’ve read it is good but due to other allergies I did not want to chance trying it. That’s ok though. We wanted to order the exact same meal at both restaurants for a fair review.Alan and I both ordered the Naked Combo Bowl. This comes with Buona Beef, sausage, peppers (I got sweet and hot) and mozzarella cheese.The restaurant was quiet and comfortable when we walked in. When we ordered I almost forgot to tell the cashier I had Celiac. Thankfully Alan spoke up. The cashier said he was glad we alerted him since they take special precautions to keep things gluten free. He went on to explain that they change gloves, clean surfaces, and a few other things that I have since forgotten. I was very confident that my meal would be safe.

At Buona Beef your order is taken and you pick a table. The cashier brings the food out to you when it is ready and checks on you for drink refills etc throughout your meal. This was a nice touch at a semi fast food restaurant (they have a drive thru).

On to the food.

I have never eaten italian beef and did not know really what to expect. The bowls came out smelling wonderful. The beef was tender and there was quite a bit of it. I had to ask the cashier where the cheese was and he informed me that they put it between the meat so it melts really well. I thought that was a neat trick. The beef came in a thin gravy that was so flavorful Alan drank his, and mine, when we were done eating. I kept saying throughout the meal how I wanted to eat this and only this for the rest of my life.

I loved both the sweet and hot the gardineria as well. They were full of sliced carrots, green olives, onions, and sweet and hot peppers.

We will be back in Chicago area in a few weeks and along with Chicago’s Pizza I am definitely going to be stopping back at Buona Beef.

Now I’ll let Alan take the wheel.

Rating by Laurie Clark: 5.0 stars


15900 Harlem Ave
Tinley Park, IL
(708) 444-1000



We aren’t quite sure why this place is as busy as it is. Perhaps our experience was unique, maybe other people enjoy this place. Our visit, however, made this one of the worst places we have ever eaten.We were staying with some friends, one of which is also a celiac, and joined them for dinner at Portillo’s. When we arrive, the drive through line was backed up at least 20 cars deep. Inside, the wait was much shorter, and we were placing our order almost immediately. The greeter took our order of Beef Combo in a cup with peppers and cheese, written on a brown bag – not very green of them – which we handed to the cashier a minute or two later. A manager had to assist in translation, and stated what was written on the bag was “all wrong”. After making corrections on a new bag, and telling the cashier how to enter the order, the manager left; leaving the cashier to stumble through entering the information into the order screen.We made sure to mention that the order was gluten free, which Portillo’s website states they can handle, assuming at least glove changes would be done, but the cashier informed us after paying that the manager stated “gluten free could not be guaranteed”. Normally, this is where we would ask for a refund and eat somewhere else but, as our friends have never had an issue, we decided to press on.

Next, we waited for our food. And waited. And waited. Our friends were at the table with their food, and we waited. Number 70 was called all throughout our waiting process, we were number 78. We waited. The contents of number 70 were read out – hey, that sounds like our order. We showed the employee our ticket, and found out “they must have wrote the number wrong”. So… our food was ready for a while. We were not happy, but they did at least offer us cake for the problem. You know, cake, to go with the gluten free meals containing an allergy warning on the ticket. Cake.

At this point, we wanted out of the crowd of people waiting on their food, and to eat – we were pretty hungry. We joined our friends, and tried our food. This is where Portillo’s lived up to everything we had experienced thus far. There was no gravy to speak of in the bowl. There was some greasy sludge, but even it was limited. The sausage was dry, with burnt ends, and not very good. The mystery meet in the meal was the same consistency and flavor as steak-um – in fact, if we had to, we would venture to guess that it probably was some off brand frozen beef slices. Very, very greasy off brand beef slices.

The extra peppers – which costs – consisted of two or three small, greasy pepper pieces. As far as the double portion Alan ordered, it looked and felt the same size and weight as the smaller order. Either they screwed up there too, or an extra portion means one slice of steak-um.

Normally, this is where we would some things up in a nice sentence. With Portillo’s, that is simply “Wow.” Wow that any one visit could have everything go so wrong. Needless to say, we won’t be going back. We’ll stick with Buona.

There you have it guys. Buona Beef is the clear winner in our eyes. They had better customer service, better attention to detail, better ability to handle our gluten free meal, much larger portions, and most importantly much much much better tasting food.

Rating by Alan Cook: 1.0 stars

Easy Coconut Flour Mashed Potatoes Recipe Gluten Free and Low Carb

mashed potatoes

I used to LOVE those just add water packages of mashed potatoes. I would add milk instead and feel oh so gourmet. I know that Idahoan brand is still gluten free (as of the writing of this post) but the list of ingredients is staggering and no longer as appealing to me. I am still struggling with finding out what other foods I may have intolerances too. With no insurance that is not an easy task. I have narrowed it down to corn and possibly rice that are the offending stomach ache inducers. My favorite stand by Idahoan potatoes contain corn so I went on a quest to find a good substitute.

I have fallen in love with coconut flour and try to incorporate it into just about everything I make. In an effort to use up the foods that I can no longer eat I made Alan a packet of Idahoan. They smelled incredible. I tried to think of a good substitute for my raging craving and realized I was out of anything even resembling a potato. I knew coconut flour would have a similar consistency from using it in my brownie breakfast cereal. A few big questions remained. Would my Nutiva Organic Coconut Flour be adaptable to a mashed potato flavor? Would coconut flour really make a fitting substitute or just become a gross mess? I think you know the answer since it would be silly for me to write a detailed post about a disaster.

Ok I’ll indulge you… My first attempt at creating coconut flour mashed potatoes smelled terrific. I popped those babies out of the microwave and quickly turned to set the overly hot dish on the counter. Little did I know that at that exact moment my kitchen rug and my little feet would decide to go to war. I tripped on the rug and sent hot potatoes flying all over the floor, my leg, the washing machine, the dryer, the walls, and the refrigerator. I even found some lingering inside a cabinet later that evening. The tiny speck left in the bottom of the bowl was amazing! I promptly cleaned up the mess and tried again. Within minutes I was eating the best mashed potato substitute I could ever dream of.


We LOVED Ovation Bistro and Bar

Ovation Bar and Grill

Ovation Bistro and Bar

42605 US-27
Davenport, FL
(863) 354-6967

The setting was pleasant. It wasn’t too crowded at lunch time. The server understood gluten free. The burgers were big juicy cooked to medium like we asked and delightful. They did my burger with no bun as they do not offer gluten free buns. The wedge salad was tasty with bacon, bleu cheese dressing and balsamic drizzle. I look forward to going back again.

Rating by Laurie Clark: 5.0 stars