Were you on the Gluten-Free train when it first became popular? If so, we’re sorry. Most early adopters of gluten-free products had to put up with an array of chalky, gloopy and downright disgusting gluten-free alternatives. Some of these were so unappetizing that it had many of those flirting with a gluten-free lifestyle heading for the hills and never looking back. Our chefs at Caesar’s had tasted their fair share of gluten-free pasta disasters and vowed to never produce a gluten-free meal unless they tasted as good or better than our beloved wheat-filled noodles. So we set out to experimenting with a personal passion, as many of our family members are gluten-intolerant.

First, we sourced wheat-flour alternatives from every corner of the globe, took all of the ingredients into the kitchen and got to cooking. Some of the gluten-free pastas you may have tried include:

  • Corn flour
  • Quinoa flour
  • Arrowroot powder
  • Brown rice flour
  • Potato starch
  • Tapioca flour
  • Coconut or almond flour

When it comes to gluten-free pastas, they usually fall into one of two categories: “single origin” or “mixed starch” – not the catchiest of names, but we’ll take what we can get. The problem with single origin pastas is that they lack the nuance of mixed starch pastas. Rice flour pasta can get slimy if cooked even a minute too long, or stay too hard if undercooked (we think of them as the avocados of the pasta world). Straight corn pastas can take on too much corn flavor and overpower a dish, and no one wants a corny pasta (aaaaand…we’ve met our dad joke quota for this post). Other types can become gritty, flavorless or downright flabby. We weren’t prepared to accept any of these outcomes, so we got to mixing. After a lot of trial and error, we came upon a few noodle recipes that gave us the bite of your favorite mac and cheese, the bounce of springy pasta salad noodle and the perfect flavor to compliment the ingredients in our Caesar’s Kitchen entrees.

What did we do? For our entrees like the Gluten Free Beef and 3 Cheese Bolognese or Gluten Free Buffalo Style Chicken Mac & Cheese, we used a combination of rice flour, corn flours, tapioca and potato starches to create noodles that have a flavor and texture indistinguishable from the noodles you grew up with. We’d love to give you the recipe, but the lawyers wouldn’t let us. For our Potato Gnocchi, we mixed in rice flour with potato to create a fluffy, chewy gnocchi nugget that pairs like a dream with your favorite pesto or alfredo sauce.

We’d like to formally invite you to a place you never thought possible, a world where gluten-free and delicious live together in harmony. It took years of hard work and a frankly disturbing increase to our research budget, but we feel strongly that we’ve changed the game here.  At Caesar’s Kitchen, we believe that you shouldn’t have to choose between your health and your taste buds.

 

Psst! Here’s a secret: you can take almost any meal to the next level if you’re smart about your choice of beverage. Take it from us, the right wine can turn dinner at home into an event to look forward to. If beer is more your speed, with more than 6300 breweries in the United States (and more in Canada), finding the perfect brew to go with your Caesar’s Kitchen entree can be an exciting challenge. We don’t want to spoil of the fun of experimenting, but to help you get started, we bribed our favorite Sommelier for a few suggestions. Presented for your eating enjoyment, here is your Caesar’s Kitchen Guide to Wine and Beer. You’re welcome.

Braised Brisket Ravioli with Sauteed Vegetables: Opt for a young fruity Sangiovese, a Calatayud Garnacha or a juicy Chilean Syrah the fruit forward notes will balance well with the rich flavors of the brisket.

Beef and Three Cheese Bolognese:  The regions that work well with this dish would be something super tuscan, an Argentine Bonarda or West Coast Merlot

Chorizo Sausage Mac and Cheese: A spicy Aussie Shiraz is the #1 match to chorizo, a classic style Porter could also work as long as it’s subtle on the roasted malt

Buffalo Style Chicken Mac and Cheese: Try for a white with this one. A not too sweet Riesling, or a South African Chenin Blanc, or a Belgian wit beer

Asiago and Mushroom Penne:  A dry white like a Vin Soave, Torrontes, or Rias Baixas (definitely keep it old world) would pair well with the richness of this creamy sauce

Spring Snap Pea Reginetti: Try something light here like a New Zealand Sauv Blanc, Vinho Verde, or Gruner Veltliner.  A sour beer would work as well, the acidity contrast is a match for veggies and peppers in general

If you’re anything like us, every time you pass the produce aisle you can hear the voice of your mother behind you, quietly reminding you to eat your vegetables. If you’re a dutiful child, you may even pick up a box of mixed greens and a token head of broccoli to tote home, where it will sit in your fridge until the box of greens develops its own ecosystem and the broccoli fills your kitchen with off-gas funk. Best case scenario, you manage a salad or a stir fry before the whole veggie operation turns into a rotting mess.

So how are you supposed to fill out the bottom of the food pyramid without letting your veggies rot, one slimy handful of spinach at a time? Good news: a study out of the UK has shown that veggies frozen right when they are picked retain their nutrients longer than those you see sitting in your grocery store.

Vegetables that are picked and frozen the same day can retain up to 45% more nutrients than the ones you find in the produce section. What does this mean for you? Many Caesar’s Kitchen entrees are chock full of tasty and good for you veggies that could have a leg up on even your finest Farmer’s Market fare. For example, the fresh spring peas in our Spring Snap Pea Reginetti may contain 45% more Vitamin C than the snap peas you see piled in the plastic product tub under neon lights.

At Caesar’s Kitchen, we work with our farmers to ensure our veggies are harvested and frozen using methods that help each morsel retain quality, nutrients and flavor. Turns out your frozen meal not only makes your stomach happy, it might even satisfy that maternal voice telling you to eat your vegetables.  

Looking for a meal option that not only tastes great but can help you check off the “I didn’t eat total garbage today” box? Here are some of our favorite veg-packed meals comin’ out of Caesar’s Kitchen:

  • Gluten-Free Vegetable Lasagna: This savory selection trades in the meat for a filling combo of spinach, carrots, broccoli and mushrooms
  • Organic Tuscan Style Ravioli: Never warmed to the taste of things that are good for you? We’ve got you covered. This blend of spinach, mushrooms and tomato combined with four kinds of cheese will have your taste buds dancing
  • Spring Snap Pea Reginetti Pasta: This is the Holy Grail of our veggie lineup. Eaten warm or eaten cold, this is a spring buffet of good-and-good-for-you options including bell peppers, leeks, green beans, and snap peas

Source: Why Frozen Veggies Are Fresher than Fresh. Daily Mail – UK. 3.05.10.

When it comes to dinner, it is a sad irony of modern life that we have more choices than any people who have ever lived, but less time to enjoy our meals. What started at the drive-through window has crept into our kitchens, and it seems like speed is the secret ingredient of every recipe. From electric pressure cookers to the army of meal prep services competing for your subscription money, there are a lot of ways to spend less time in the kitchen and more time doing what you love. The problem is that no one can afford to eat prepped meals every day, and instant cookers are only fast until you factor in the time you spend prepping and trying to scrub those puppies clean. For those of us who want to eat like adults but don’t have time to become a chef, Caesar’s Kitchen is here to help.

Frozen meals have come a long way from the “TV dinner” wasteland you remember from your younger days.  We’re using real braised, sautéed, roasted and simmered ingredients. Then we freeze it to seal in the flavor. Frozen food is everywhere now, and it’s crazy good. We hate to break it to you, but chances are the food you’re eating in a restaurant has spent some amount of time already frozen. That’s great news because it means even you–the person who Googled “toaster oven  fire help help help”–can eat restaurant-quality meals with basically no effort. Here’s how:

  1.  Get on your phone, play something from the workout mix you never listen to. Loud.
  2.  Grab a Caesar’s Kitchen entrée of your choosing. (We know that there are other brands, but we tried them, and frankly they aren’t that great.) Throw that bad boy in the microwave and start the timer. That countdown on the microwave is all the time you have to MacGyver something delicious using only the stuff hanging around in your kitchen. You can do this!
  3. You may not know this, but if you put lettuce on plate with any kind of bottled dressing, you have made a salad.  Try it. Congratulations, your meal is now officially two courses.
  4. Slice up that avocado you saw when you were getting the lettuce, put it on your salad and you have yourself what we foodies call a “healthy fat.” If you don’t have an avocado handy, chiffonade your lettuce for an extra fancy salad.
  5. Remember the spice rack you got as a gift from someone who believed in you? Find it!  Pick one. Our recommendation? Try some red pepper flakes on your Buffalo Style Chicken Mac & Cheese or some Rosemary on your Chicken Lasagna.  Were you ever curious what “herbs de provence” tastes like? Buckle up, because tonight is the night we find out.
  6. When the timer beeps, pull your Caesar’s Kitchen meal out of the microwave.  Taking care not to burn yourself, scoop or slide the entire contents of the package onto the fanciest dish you have. This is the most important step. If you’ve ever seen even one episode of a cooking show in passing, you know that taking a towel to wipe up your messy splatter around the edge of the dish can turn any meal from lunch-lady sloppy into a culinary masterpiece. Try it now, thank us later.
  7. Time to find your garnish. Don’t think you have one? We beg to differ. Open your junk drawer and grab a couple of those parmesan packets from your last pizza delivery to sprinkle on top of your Chicken Lasagne. Grab a lemon wedge (the kind you threw in your last cocktail) and zest some of the rind onto our Asiago and Mushroom Penne. Worst case scenario, mosey on over to the cutie next door and ask to borrow some Basil. We promise, they’ll be impressed.
  8. Using your hand, gently pat yourself on the shoulder. You did it!