If you have family members who are gluten intolerant, Thanksgiving can be tough. So many of the traditional favorites are off-limits for them. Most of these ideas are available for pick-up at East Texas grocery stores to make substitutions convenient and cost-effective.

Gluten Free Thanksgiving Starters

This part is easy. Grab a veggie tray and a cheese tray from Brookshire's, Super One or Fresh and just pop off the lid. Jack Daniels, Sweet Baby Ray and Stubbs all make gluten-free bar-b-q sauces. Pour some over Little Smokies in your crock pot for very happy snacking. Or make this quick, easy cheese ball for a homemade treat everyone can enjoy.

Aunt Ida's Cheese Ball

  • 2 pkg cream cheese
  • 1 T Mayo
  • 1 small jar pimentos
  • 1/2 small can diced black olives
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 envelope dry Ranch dressing mix
  • Chopped pecans

Allow cream cheese to soften, then mix with the mayo. Stir in all other ingredients except for pecans. Shape into a ball then roll in pecans and wrap in waxed paper.

Wal-Mart stores in Tyler and Longview carry several different options when it comes to gluten-free crackers. Arrange an assortment around your cheese ball and watch it all disappear.

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Dinner

Your turkey and ham are already gluten-free, just make sure you read the labels on any marinades you intend to use. The sides present more of a challenge. As you prepare dishes for your group, set some ingredients aside. For example, when you cook your white and sweet potatoes, make a little extra and separate a portion before you add ingredients that contain gluten. Here's how to make them still taste good.

  • Add olive oil, chicken broth and parmesan cheese to white potatoes as you mash them.
  • Puree fresh roasted sweet potatoes with apple juice concentrate, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Make a topping of oats, cinnamon, coconut oil and chopped walnuts. Bake until bubbling.
  • Make the dressing with Martha White gluten Free sweet yellow cornbread mix instead of regular cornbread.

Try these gluten-free pull-apart dinner rolls from My Gluten-Free Kitchen. For green bean casserole, use this recipe from Betty Crocker. Or, if your guests don't typically eat the traditional sides, drizzle olive oil on Brussel sprouts and roast them for 30 minutes before time to eat and toss together a green salad.

Thanksgiving Dessert for People With Gluten Sensitivity

Dessert is another challenge since so many of the traditional favorites are baked with wheat flour. East Texas grocery stores have more options than they did five years ago, so you'll probably be able to find something your guests will enjoy. Wal-Mart and Brookshire's stores have gluten-free mixes for brownies, cookies, yellow cake and chocolate cake.

Pillsbury makes a gluten-free flour you can use in pie crust, then make pumpkin pie with pumpkin puree instead of pumpkin pie filling. Or if you don't have time to bake Smallcakes and Nothing Bundt Cakes make gluten-free desserts that look as good as they taste.