Gluten Free Sausage Cheese Ball Appetizers

These little one bite appetizers are the bomb!  Proof that gluten free does not have to be complicated, this easy recipe is perfect for all your party and game day get togethers.  You may want to make a double batch, they’re that good!

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I used Premio Mild Italian Sausage in this recipe, but you can change it up and use a sweet or hot sausage, just check ingredients for gluten.

For the pancake/biscuit mix I used and recommend Better Batter.  It works well in this recipe, and no one will know it’s gluten free!  Plus, this mix has so many other uses, you know the extra won’t go to waste.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. onion, small dice
  • 2 tbsp. celery, small dice
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup mild cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp. gluten free pancake/biscuit mix
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 6 oz. mild Italian sausage (about 2 links), casing removed
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup gluten free BBQ sauce, for serving

Preparation:

Chop the onion and celery into 1/4″ pcs.  Add to a small nonstick skillet with 1 tsp. olive oil and cook over medium heat until translucent.  Set aside to cool.

In the same skillet, partially cook the sausage.

Transfer the sausage, onion and celery to an electric chopper and pulse a few times to break it up.

Mix the cheese, pancake/biscuit mix, garlic powder and crushed red pepper together in a small bowl.

Add the sausage, onion and celery mixture with 1/4 cup egg whites.

Using your hands, gently toss and mix everything together without squeezing.

Preheat the oven to 375º.  Line a sheet pan with foil and mist with cooking spray.  Form 1-inch meatballs and arrange them on the sheet pan with space in between.

Bake for 15 minutes, turning once.

Drain on paper towels.

Transfer to a serving tray with your favorite gluten free BBQ sauce for dipping.  You can prepare ahead and reheat in the microwave before serving.

Notes ♪♫ This post was inspired by a recipe on Taste of Home.  That’s right, you don’t always need a gluten free recipe or special cookbook.  In fact, only one ingredient substitute was needed to make this recipe gluten free, and you can whip up a batch in under an hour!

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Hasselback Chicken Breast

How many times a week do you cook chicken?  If you’re like me, it’s at least once every few days.  In fact, I have some 30 recipes and counting on the blog that are made with chicken!  Fried, baked, broiled, grilled.  Chicken soup, chicken pasta, chicken pizza.  And this.

The inspiration for today’s recipe was of course the Hasselback potato.  With bacon and colorful veggies tucked into the fanned out chicken cutlets, it makes quite the fun and impressive presentation!

Dinner for 2 (we found them quite filling and saved half for lunch the next day!)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, 8 oz. each
  • 1/4 sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 slices of bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
  • olive oil
  • gluten free Italian seasoning
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • cooking spray
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400º.  Line a baking sheet with foil and mist with cooking spray.  Cut the veggies into uniform thin slices or ribbons.

Arrange the chicken breasts on the prepared baking sheet and cut horizontal slits about 3/4 inch apart, be careful not to cut all the way through.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

Into each pocket, place one slice of onion, 1 slice of mushroom, 1 piece of bacon and 1 slice of bell pepper.  Press down gently to secure them in place.

Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and sprinkle liberally with Parmesan cheese.

And that’s it!  Now just bake for 25 minutes at 400º.

Come closer, take a look!  Can you smell it?  It was absolutely delicious!

Notes ♪♫  I tried this recipe a couple of ways.  On my first attempt I cooked the veggies before stuffing the chicken.  It turned out ok, but I found the chicken was far more tender and juicy when the veggies and bacon were not cooked in advance.

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Gluten Free Sausage and Hash Brown Casserole

Breakfast casseroles are my go-to for morning entertaining or a light dinner.  Easy and convenient, this recipe is the perfect size for a small gathering, but you can double it for larger families (or bigger appetites).  Gluten free with no oddball ingredients to purchase, just prep the night before and bake in the morning!

9 servings

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Ingredients:

I love that you can vary the ingredients and have something a little different each time.  Today I’m using a mild Italian chicken sausage, but you can sub a spicier sausage, ham or bacon.  Shredded hash brown potatoes will give you a smoother consistency, or use the cubed for more definition.  Cheddar is a classic choice for this casserole, but any cheese will work.  I used my favorite, gruyere.  Colorful veggies like bell pepper and broccoli can be added, but be sure to cook them in advance to remove some of their moisture.  With extra veggies you may need to extend the cook time.

Ingredients…

Preparation:

Coarsely chop the sausage, or pulse in an electric chopper.

Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a nonstick skillet and brown the sausage.  Set aside to cool.

Combine the hash browns and sausage with half of the cheese and mix thoroughly.

Beat the eggs with the milk and seasoning.

Mist an 8 x 8″ square glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread the potato and sausage mixture evenly in the dish and pour the egg mixture over everything.  Top with the remaining cheese and sprinkle with paprika.

Cover tightly with foil and be sure to mist the foil with cooking spray first to prevent sticking.  Refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, take the dish out of the refrigerator at least one half hour before baking (so the glass doesn’t crack).  Preheat the oven to 350º.  Remove the foil and bake for 1 hour.  If needed, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.  Note, other items baking at the same time will lengthen the cook time.

The casserole will be golden brown with the sides pulling away from the baking dish.  Check the center with a toothpick, it should come out dry.

This casserole is a complete meal but you can serve it with a nice fruit salad, bacon or ham.  Don’t fight over the corners!

Notes ♪♫ Frozen hash brown potatoes are a great convenience, but always check the label for gluten containing ingredients, especially if they are seasoned.  Today there are so many options for gluten free sausage, ham and bacon.  You should have no problem finding one that your family will enjoy.  Always be careful with spice blends, and grate your own cheese for best flavor and no unwanted additives.

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Gluten Free Stuffed Peppers

Bell peppers are available year-round and come in so many beautiful colors!  We really love these Italian style stuffed peppers, so I decided to make a few.  The sausage and rice stuffing is delicious and can stand on its own as a casserole.  Since it can be made ahead, this is a nice easy meal to have when you get home from work.  Choose peppers that are uniform in size, and check that they can stand upright.

For a really special touch, try using my homemade Mushroom Soup and homemade Italian Sausage in this recipe, both are fabulous!  Of course, you can use store bought if you like, just make sure the ingredients are gluten free.    

This recipe will yield enough stuffing for 4 medium peppers.  In this post I am stuffing 2 peppers and serving the rest as a casserole.

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Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup long grain brown rice (uncooked) 
  • 1-1/2 cups gluten free Lower Sodium or Unsalted Chicken broth 
  • olive oil 
  • 1/2 sweet onion diced 
  • 3  garlic cloves minced 
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 8 oz. gluten free  Italian Sausage, casings removed
  • 1-1/2 cups gluten free Mushroom Soup 
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk, plus more as needed 
  • paprika 
  • 1/3 cup shredded gruyere cheese 
  • 1/3 cup gluten free  Italian breadcrumbs 

_____________________________________

  • 4 bell peppers, color of your choice 
  • 1/4 cup grated gruyere or Parmesan cheese 
  • 1/4 cup gluten free Italian breadcrumbs 
  • 2 cups purchased marinara sauce for serving or-
    • 1 medium can tomato sauce
    • 1/4 cup onion
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1 tsp. brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. each basil, oregano and marjoram
    • salt and pepper to taste 

Preparation: 

Cook the rice in the chicken broth.  I used long grain brown rice which takes about 50 minutes to cook, so I gave it a 35-minute head start before adding to the casserole. 

Next heat a deep, oven proof skillet to medium low and add the onions, mushrooms and garlic with a little olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Push the veggies to the side, leaving a space in the center of the pan and add the sausage.

Break up the meat with a spatula to brown it all over, then stir into the veggies.

When the rice has simmered for 35 minutes, add it to the skillet along with any broth that has not been absorbed.  Add the Mushroom Soup and 1/4 cup milk.

Sprinkle the top with paprika and place the skillet in a 350° oven.  Bake for 30 minutes uncovered. 

While the casserole is baking, make a small batch of marinara (or heat up prepared sauce).  Heat olive oil in a small saucepan, and begin cooking the onion and garlic, stir frequently until the onions are translucent.

Add 1 can of tomato sauce, 14.5 oz.  Season with basil, oregano, marjoram, ground pepper and 1 tsp. of brown sugar.

Simmer on very low heat while the casserole finishes cooking.

Stir the casserole after 30 minutes and add an additional 1/4 cup milk if it appears dry.  Continue baking for another 30 minutes.  The casserole should be set but moist.

Sprinkle the top with the Gruyere cheese and breadcrumbs. 

Broil on low for 5 minutes or just until the top is nicely browned.  You can prepare up to this point a day ahead.

Cut the tops off the bell peppers and remove the ribs and seeds.

Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes.

Use tongs to remove the peppers from the water, and set them aside on paper towels to drain and cool. 

Arrange the cooled peppers in a baking dish coated with cooking spray and spoon in the stuffing.

Top with more cheese and breadcrumbs, then bake for 35 minutes at 350°.

Finish under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, just until the tops are browned. 

Remember I said the stuffing can stand alone as a casserole?  For those who don’t care for the peppers you can set aside some stuffing and simply top with cheese and breadcrumbs and finish under the broiler.  It’s delicious!

Serve with marinara sauce as a main course or side.  The peppers freeze well.  Just cool to room temperature and wrap them in foil, then store in freezer safe bags.

Notes ♪♫ I used Aleia’s gluten free Italian breadcrumbs in this recipe.  My favorite gluten free breadcrumbs, I always have them on hand in my pantry.

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