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Five frugal gluten free exchanges

While prepackaged gluten free foods are frequently pricey and tasteless , there are items already in your kitchen that will upstage their glutenous counterparts in flavor, price and nutritional value. Here are are few suggestions.

If it can stuff a sub, it can top a tater!
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Try chopped or shredded cabbage instead of pasta. Pasta has replaced cabbage in many modern dishes. It's time to turn back the clock! Chop or shred cabbage and simmer it in a meaty or seasoned broth until it's tender. Top with your favorite spaghetti sauces or garlic and butter. Enjoy! If you're feeling too lazy to chop, rip open a bag or two of cole slaw mix. It doesn't get easier than that.

Let eggs stand in for noodles. Fill an omelet with ricotta cheese and meaty spaghetti sauce and you'd vow you're eating lasagna. It's an instant dinner option. Dub it "Omelet Italienne". Egg drop chicken soup is a savory replacement for chicken noodle soup, and it's packed with protein!

Try gluten free oat flour instead of all purpose wheat flour. It's fine, whole grain, and not too expensive. In baking, try adding one tablespoon of unflavored gelatin or fruit pectin as a binding agent instead of xanthan gum. Pull out your "normal" recipe books again and try your favorites using oat flour. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

Choose Spuds instead of Subs. Let potatoes be your Hero instead of big buns! Anything that fits well on a submarine sandwich will stuff a potato beautifully as well. Philly Cheese Steak Spud. Tuscan Chicken Spud. Hot Ham and Cheese Spud. Pop those taters in the oven and let your imagination run wild!

Chips add all the crunch of crackers or croutons. Tortilla chips are tasty with most spreads and dips. Potato chips top a salad with crispy, crunchy ease. Try sour cream and onion or mesquite barbecue for a surprising burst of flavor!

Don't expect these new options to taste just like the foods you're replacing. Expect something new and exciting you may never have tried while depending on your same, tired old reruns. You may very well like these healthier options so much you'll decide they are better than your old favorites.

Be sure to subscribe to Robyn's columns for more ideas on how to get out of your dietary rut.

We'd love to hear your own gluten free cooking triumphs. Share them with us by leaving your comments below.