The gluten free status of some of Prego's brands has been a hot topic on the celiac message boards this week. It seems that in the process of complying with some "new guidelines" that were issued in October, Prego removed any items from their "safe list" that could possible contain gluten.
As they have reviewed this list, some have been added back. As of yesterday, the following Prego sauces were reportedly gluten free:
Fresh Mushroom Organic Mushroom Organic Tomato Basil Traditional Three Cheese Heart Smart Onion & Garlic Heart Smart Ricotta Parmesan Heart Smart Mushroom Heart Smart Traditional
Organic Tomato Basil
Heart Smart Onion & Garlic
Heart Smart Ricotta Parmesan
Heart Smart Mushroom
Heart Smart Traditional
I don't know about you, but all of this uncertainty, along with Wellshire Farms deceptively calling items gluten free that were not, makes me even more leery of processed mainstream food items.
The fact that Prego has new guidelines and is reviewing their products is a good thing, but what about before these guidelines came along? Did we actually eat some items that we thought were gluten free which in fact were not? And what about the claims of other companies?
I'd venture to say that if you have eaten "mainstream processed foods" you have probably been inadvertently exposed to gluten.
This makes me very thankful for the manufacturers that are certified gluten free and take the extra steps to make sure their claims are true.
It also reinforces our belief that the best, easiest, cheapest, safest way to eat gluten free is to make basic ingredients yourself. Yes, it may seem a lot of work at first to make your own spaghetti sauce when we Americans have been programed to open up a can and warm it up in the microwave.
And the mere thought of having to whip up something from scratch when you walk in the door from work at 6:00 and everyone is looking at your for dinner can seem overwhelming.
Opening a jar of sauce may seem so much more convenient, but not feeling good is definitely not convenient.
Moreover, once you get the hang of it, your pantry will always be stocked with the basic items you need to whip up a sauce or two, you will find you can easily conquer a wonderful homemade spaghetti sauce in 15 minutes or less (same amount of time it takes the noodles to boil) , and you will grow to love the flavor of fresh sauce.
In fact my kids have become processed food snobs! They are so used to the taste of the homemade stuff they simply no longer like the "fake" taste of highly processed foods.
Yogo bites, forget it, they'd rather have a satsumas that are just coming into season.
Frosting from a can, are you kidding - the homemade kind is so much better and you can make it in five minutes.
And in these economic times, can I add that homemade is so much cheaper and, dare we say, "greener."
Now that I have gone on and on about homemade spaghetti sauce, you'd probably like a recipe. Our pantry is always stocked with olive oil, fresh or canned tomatoes, an onion or two and some fresh garlic. Throw these together and you have a basic sauce that can be modified as needed:
Homemade Red Spaghetti Sauce
1 T good olive oil
1 chopped yellow onion
1 ½ t minced garlic
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes or 5 large fresh tomatoes, diced
½ t parsley flakes (or 1 T chopped fresh)
1 ½ t kosher salt
½ t pepper
Heat olive oil in a sauce pan. Add the onion and sauteé over medium heat until translucent, 5 – 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
This sauce can be modified as needed to fit your taste - it is great with meatballs and also works great in homemade enchiladas.
Now it is your turn, what things have you found that it is easier to make homemade??