HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Help! Gluten-free dish to make for new neighbors.

My usual standby dishes are lasagna or spaghetti and meatballs. She said that she just can't have regular pasta or bread.

I was hoping to make a "main" dish for them to have or freeze for future use. I apologize for being too lazy to look it up but it is late and I'm tired. I'd like to have some ideas by 2pm tomorrow before I go grocery shopping.

Thanks for any and all suggestions!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Moussaka.
    Gumbo with rice.

    1. hmm trying to stay close to your "go to" dishes because you want to be yourself

      I have never made porcupine meatballs - but I want too - they seem fun and with rice as the "filler" they are gluten free - its a typical "church cook book" recipe but Paula Dean's will do for reference http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pa...

      Or in place of lasagna - go Mexican and do Enchiladas - same basic concept - but corn tortillas instead of pasta - and... spicy! (as you want it to be) reheats well and always a favorite in my world. You can be as DIY as you want. Use a lot of short cuts or go from scratch, local, in season. - a wonderfully flexible dish that is satisfying from cans from the quick-mart or from farmers market bounty. From CHOW

      1 Reply
      1. re: JTPhilly

        My first thought was a mexican lasagna kind of dish too- really easy crowd pleaser.

      2. Chili, oven fried chicken, hamburgers.

        1. arroz con pollo - or any kind of baked chicken with rice or potatoes. Not necessarily freeze-able but it'll definitely make for a good dinner. chicken strips sautéed with peppers and onions, or pepper steak or beef with broc - any Chinese dish (just watch the ingredients) with rice

          1. I've made lasagna with GF noodles for years and it tastes just as good as made with wheat lasagna noodles. I boil GF (brown rice) noodles for about 5 min just to make them pliable and then layer as usual, whatever your usual is, and bake as usual.

            1 Reply
            1. re: herby

              herby, I have a question for you. Do you find gf pasta dishes reheat well? A friend who is a terrific home cook and has a child with celiac disease warned me about saving leftover gf mac and cheese that I had brought to a potluck. It was good enough to fool everyone but the gf Mom who I clued in. I had found this true when I made a low fat mac and cheese so I was not surprised at the news that gf was also a bad reheat.


            2. Why not just do one of your "go to" dishes with gluten free noodles?

              Another possibility that freezes well is enchiladas with corn tortillas (check the packaging to make sure GF).

              1. Ask the question on the appropriate board, Special Diets.

                But frankly, these days I would not give something homemade to a new neighbor. If Chowhound posts are indicative of the general population, there are more germaphobes around than ever. Chances are fairly good that she will thank you, then throw out this food gift from the stranger to her that is you. Sounds like you offered already, and her reply was that pasta and bread are no-nos. Maybe so, or maybe that was her way of dissuading you from making anything. And where gluten-free diets are a fad for the worried well probably as often as they are for legitimate medical reasons, that tips the new neighbors even further into the "likely to chuck it" column. Give them a plant, herbs, or flowers, home-picked or purchased.

                7 Replies
                1. re: greygarious

                  Disagree that people are being pushed to the special diets board constantly....and not nicely.

                  Agree that it will most likely be chucked. I don't even eat things from my very best friends houses. A plant or herbs is lovely.

                  1. re: LaLa

                    You don't eat food prepared by your best friends? What?

                      1. re: LaLa

                        I'm just trying to wrap my head around this. You have never been invited to someones house for dinner? Or do you just refuse? Are your best friends germophobic as well so they understand? Do you not eat in restaurants?

                        I'm sorry, a lot of questions but it's something hard for me to understand. The older I get the more germophobic I am. Such as looking at a bake sale display at the school and wondering about who might have made those things and how clean was their kitchen. However, with friends and family it's never an issue. And I'm a food gift giver. I make homemade food gifts every Christmas. Jams, chocolates, cookies...everyone I know loves them. I don't have the cleanest house in the world and I have a dog so I'm sure you wouldn't eat anything I made! However I don't put my dogs feet in the cookie dough so nothing to worry about! ;-)

                        1. re: Jpan99

                          The hard truth is this: Unless you SEE the recipients of your food gifts eating them, you have NO idea what became of the food. Nobody's going to tell you that they threw it away.

                          1. re: greygarious

                            I'm going to have to just let this go. We clearly live in two different worlds. I like my world better!

                            1. re: Jpan99

                              Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to buy at the bake sale. I'd let my neighbor's dog lick my ice cream cone without a moment's hesitation, then finish it myself. But I have learned that I am in the minority.

                2. How about stuffed peppers? You can make them with rice and meat and spices and cheese and tomatoes/tomato sauce, and forgo the bread crumb topping. And you can freeze them.

                  1. This is a dish from Lidia Bastianich. I don't remember which cook book specifically. It's basically lasagna but instead of pasta, you layer it with polenta. It's so delicious. This particular recipe uses a mushroom ragu, but you could easily go with your usual meat sauce to layer it.


                    Just be sure that any ingredients like the tomato paste are gluten free (I imagine most of them are).

                    1. If your standby is lasagna I would do eggplant (bread with some gluten free crackers) to replace noodles so you know it's good bc it's your usually recipe

                      1. It's a lovely thought but people who can't eat gluten must be extremely careful and if there's any doubt, they'll pass. So here's another vote for a non-food item. (And btw not all GF noodles are created equal--some are just plain nasty. Just subbing may not work well--some work better in certain dishes.)

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Erika L

                          I think you can certainly make food for gluten free eaters. Just keep it simple, straightforward meats and vegetables, rice.

                          1. re: Erika L

                            if the neighbor has celiac she would have been firm about dissuading the op from cooking due to potential cross-contamination. if she avoids wheat or eats low-carb that's something very manageable.

                            warm weather is approaching in my neck of the woods. i'd go for something lighter like crustless quiche, wish can have an infinite variety of fillings and freezes beautifully.

                            spaghetti and meatballs seems a weird thing to freeze, but if you make great sauce, give her some of that and she can do what she likes with it. a pretty jar of duxelles or lemon curd would be lovely too.

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              I am pretty bold but I definitely would be "firm" with a NEW neighbor. She just won't eat it.

                              1. re: LaLa

                                people with allergies NEED to be upfront if others are offering foods. if you were deathly allergic to nuts am quite sure you would let the op know to save her the effort of baking banana-nut-loaf that would only go in the trash.


                                why do so many on here assume food from kindly neighbors is poisonous?


                                my perspective is simply it's onerous having to deal with a ready-made meal you may not like. while unpacking. in a new home. in a new place. and being polite to somebody you barely know but may want to know in the future. or not.

                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                  I don't think it is poisonous but over my many , many years in other people's houses I know that about 75% of people's homes are NASTY.

                                  1. re: LaLa

                                    while my house is very, very clean, i don't have friends with NASTY homes. have been in a few, sure, but never for dinner.

                                    so, do you simply refuse any and all invitations?

                          2. Nice soup - maybe corn chowder

                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                If I had celiacs or gluten sensitivies the last thing I would trust is take out Thai from a place I hadn't vetted. Nor is take out Thai something I think of buying and freezing for later.

                                That said when new neighbors move in I usually bring some kind of potted herb and a basket of local items including menus from our favorite take-out places. Moving into a new house, especially with kids, is stressful. Knowing where get good take-out or delivery can be a life saver.

                                The people we bought our current house left us a basket that included local honey and jam along with take out menus and a map with things like speciality markets and their favorite restaurants highlighted. We loved it and have been doing the same since. Of course that was before smart phones and Gps. Do folks even know how to read maps anymore?

                                1. re: foodieX2

                                  What a serious reply. If I had a new neighbor/stranger offering to make me a home cooked meal, I too would accept it graciously, knowing I would eventually lie and tell them it was delicious and toss it in the trash.

                                  1. re: Bellachefa

                                    why the hell would you throw it out?

                                    i bake for neighbors all the time and i know they eat the stuff. nobody has died.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                      not really liking your tone

                                      I hope you didn't mean to sound so abrasive.

                                      1. re: Bellachefa

                                        there is no "tone" on the internet.

                                        seriously. why would you accept something, presumably with a smile, only to throw it out? it's hypocritical and wasteful.

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                          thank you for suggesting I'm a hypocritical waster

                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                            I'm with hoytoy on this one. :-)

                                            I cook for neighbors all the time. If I hear one has tossed anything before trying they'll never get another meal from me.

                                            I have one neighbor that played that game.

                                            On the otherhand I have a neighbor whose 20 y.o daughter CONSTANTLY is begging me to make her pot stickers at least once a month.

                                            I gave the recipe to her parents and their not very expansive recipe base is not keen in seeing it's inclusion is my guess.

                                            Like others, give the neighbors and nice quart of homemade pasta sauce sans spaghettia or check out your local farmers markets and see what locavore foods they have. Mine has lots of honey, chow-chow and a guy up the street pressure cans and sells BBQ sauce.

                                            At least it lets them know you are a foodie.

                                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                                fwiw, i am not the one suggesting throwing an act of kindness in the garbage.

                                                sorry, but am still not understanding you. do you truly think a "new" neighbor would try to harm you with food?

                                                must be the same neighbor that puts pins in apples for trick-or-treaters.

                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                  Hotoy, you've been on CH a long time. Surely you have read at least *some* of the legion of posts from people who will not even eat food prepared by friends, much less folks they don't know. They won't partake in workplace potlucks, won't eat food from homes with cats or dogs, etc. So while they make nice, acting properly appreciative, maybe even asking for the recipe (which they will never use), that batch of whatever is going to be thrown out. They don't even have a dog to feed it to.

                                                  At best, if it's something like cookies, they might take it to work and leave it there. These germaphobes don't believe the new neighbor would purposely poison them. They just don't have confidence in the level of sanitation in homes other than their own. They may even *know* that their fears are groundless. Knowing that a phobia is absurd does not cure the sufferer; this is a true psychological illness.

                                                  Then there are the "eat-to-live" people - the type for whom the new "Soylent" product was created. They are, poor dears, a minority. But gifting them with your homemade food is like giving the proverbial bicycle to a fish.

                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                    honestly, i skip lots of those threads, but you're right, people can be all kinds of crazy, lol.

                                                    i guess i would make some other excuse rather than falsely accept a gift only to toss it.

                                  2. Thanks for the feedback everyone. I decided not to bother making anything since the general consensus is that it would be thrown away. That's fine. Less work for me.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Njchicaa

                                      Spoke to them again tonight for quite awhile. They are very religious so I suspected that maybe they didn't drink. At one point the husband said "we are still waiting for your dinner delivery!" and I said "sorry, I did some research on gluten-free and realized I was in over my head. I decided on just a wine basket but you guys don't drink..."

                                      At that point they both told me they absolutely do drink wine and then showed me the recent improvement in their kitchen for a built-in 42 bottle wine fridge. So they are getting some wine as a welcome-to-the-neighborhood gift.

                                      1. re: Njchicaa

                                        Yeah! So glad you spoke to them again and very happy to hear the hubby was waiting for his dish! See, don't believe the naysayers that think everyone throws food gifts away. I believe they are in the minority.

                                        1. re: Jpan99

                                          i agree. i think most in this thread were encouraging of your effort to give something home-made. :)

                                    2. how serious is the GF issue? is it celiac? if so i'd be concerned about accidental cross-contamination and maybe just bring flowers or wine.

                                      1. I sometimes cook for a GF friend and my best product so far was lasagna---I used GF lasagna noodles made from rice. Found them in the GF department of a standard chain supermarket.