Chicken, Sausage and Rice Casserole

Whenever I make this flavorful casserole for a family dinner it gets rave reviews!  Chicken drumsticks and Italian sausage come together with ingredients straight from the pantry, and you can use any veggies you have on hand!  It’s easy and economical too.  You can do most of the prep a day ahead and bake the next day.  And that bacon breadcrumb topping- wow!  It really gives this dish an extra punch of flavor, texture and crunch!

4-6 Servings

This post contains affiliate links.



Brown rice takes about 50 minutes to cook, so start that first.  Simmer 3/4 cup rice in 1-3/4 cups chicken broth and 1/4 tsp. seasoning of choice.

For the topping, coarsely chop the bacon, cook and drain on paper towels, reserving the fat in the pan.

Crumble the bacon, or place in an electric chopper and pulse a few times to make bacon bits.

Add 1/3 cup of gluten free breadcrumbs to the skillet with the bacon fat and stir over low heat.  Add back the crumbled bacon and stir well to combine.  Set aside to cool, then mix with 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese for topping.

I love Aleia’s Gluten Free Breadcrumbs and I use this brand almost exclusively in my recipes.  I promise, your family won’t even know they are gluten free!

In the same skillet, brown the chicken on all sides in a little olive oil.  Season both sides with salt and pepper.

Place browned chicken in a braising pan or Dutch oven, add ¼ cup white wine and 1/4 cup chicken broth.  Cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate, remove meat from the bones and sprinkle with paprika.  Strain the liquid from the pan and reserve for later.

Slice the sausage and brown in olive oil.  You can use store bought sausage or check out my recipe for homemade sausage patties!  If using purchased sausage, always check labels for gluten containing ingredients.

Pulse the cooked sausage a few times in the chopper and set aside.

Wipe the braising pan or Dutch oven clean.  Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and add the veggies.  Season and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add back the sausage and stir well.

Now add the chicken and cooked rice.  Measure the reserved liquid and add enough chicken broth to equal 1-1/2 cups.  Combine with 1/4 cup milk and pour over the chicken and rice mixture.

Tip: Prepare the meal up to this point a day ahead.  Cover and refrigerate.  

Preheat the oven to 350º.  You can bake the casserole in the same pan, or transfer to a pretty casserole dish for a nicer presentation.  Note, if you made the casserole in the advance, take it out of the refrigerator and leave on the counter for at least 30 minutes (don’t place a refrigerated glass baking dish directly into a hot oven, it may shatter).

Spread the breadcrumb mixture over the casserole and bake uncovered for 45 minutes.

The liquid will bubble and thicken to create a nice sauce.  I like to finish it off under the broiler, 3 minutes on low.  Watch that it doesn’t burn!

Let it rest a few minutes to set up, then garnish with fresh herbs (or dried herbs) and bring it right to the table.

Notes ♪♫ Remember, you can substitute any veggies you like in this recipe.  Once I went out on a limb and used eggplant.  Surprise, the reaction ranged from “I loved it” to “I didn’t even know it was in there”! Try broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus or zucchini.  Use what you have on hand, use what you like!

Print This Post Print This Post

Gluten Free Seafood Paella

Today I’m making Paella, the amazing Valencian rice dish infused with aromatic saffron.  There are several variations of Paella, that may include chicken, pork, or seafood.  It can also be made vegetarian, or a blend of the above.

This paella is all about the seafood.  I used shrimp and scallops from my freezer pantry and fresh mussels that I purchased the same day.  I did add a link of Andouille sausage, because I love the heat it brings to this recipe.

You don’t need a paella pan to make this dish.  A large, nonstick skillet with a cover works just as well.  You can find reasonably priced pans on Amazon (like THIS ONE) that will get the job done.  If you don’t have a universal lid, you will want to get a pan with a lid.

This post contains affiliate links.


  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2-1/2 cups gluten free chicken stock, room temperature
  • big pinch of saffron
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • ——————————————–
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 link gluten free Andouille sausage, cut into thin coins
  • sprinkle of paprika
  • ——————————————–
  • 8 large raw shrimp, defrosted
  • 8 large sea scallops, defrosted
  • 1 lb. mussels, scrubbed and rinsed
  • fresh Italian parsley for garnish


Rinse the mussels thoroughly under cool water.  Discard any that are cracked or remain open after rinsing.  Defrost the shrimp and scallops.  Peel and devein the shrimp.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet.  Stir in the shallots and cook gently for 1 minute.

Add the rice, stirring to coat with the oil and butter.  After 30 seconds add 1/2 cup of white wine.

Stir constantly, allowing the wine to evaporate.  When most of the liquid has been absorbed, begin adding the chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time.  With the first addition of broth, add the saffron, bay leaves, thyme and turmeric.

Continue adding the chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time.  Stir frequently, and when most of the liquid has been absorbed add the next 1/2 cup.

After 20 minutes the rice should be nearly done.  Add the garlic, Andouille sausage, and all of the veggies.  Sprinkle with paprika and cook for 5-10 minutes.

Don’t add broth after this point, as the veggies and seafood will release their own liquid.

Add the shrimp and scallops at the very end of the cook time, when the rice is done, and veggies are tender.

Stir together and cook for one minute, then add all of the mussels.  Cover and cook for 6 minutes or until the mussels open.

(Important: If any mussels do not open, discard them).

To serve, ladle the paella into wide bowls and garnish with parsley.

Notes ♪♫ Saffron is considered the most important spice in a traditional paella.  It gives the rice a beautiful golden color and distinctive flavor.  Although expensive, I always keep some on hand and use it sparingly in recipes like this one.  If you are looking for a more budget friendly alternative, try using turmeric instead of, or in addition to the saffron as I’ve done in this recipe.


Print This Post Print This Post

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.

This post contains affiliate links.


  • 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 


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.

Print This Post Print This Post

Basic Risotto Recipe

Rice is a staple of the gluten free diet, and Risotto is always a favorite for family dinners and special occasions.  Some might shy away from making Risotto because it requires constant attention.  True, you cannot just put the lid on and walk away, but it’s worth the effort for this very special treat.  This basic preparation is one that you must have in your recipe box!  Once you have mastered a basic risotto you can use it as an elegant side or as a base for another dish.  Check out some of my favorite Risotto recipes here.

2-3 servings


  • ½ cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 2 tbsp. Butter, divided
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 32 oz. Carton gluten free chicken broth at room temperature (start with a full carton but you won’t need all of it)
  • Fresh chives, or chive seasoning for garnish


When making risotto, be sure that your chicken broth is warm or at least at room temperature.  You want it to come to temperature quickly when adding it to the rice.

To get started, melt 1 tbsp. butter in a heavy skillet or sauce pot on medium low heat.  Add the shallot and stir to coat with butter.

Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes.

Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat with butter for 1 minute.  Add the white wine and stir constantly until most of the wine has evaporated.

Next add 1 ladle (about ½ cup) of chicken broth.

Stir frequently, and when the rice has absorbed most of the broth add another ladle.

Continue adding the broth, 1 ladle at a time stirring constantly until absorbed and the rice is finished, about 30 minutes.  Don’t walk away!

When it’s almost finished, season with salt, pepper and chives.

Finish with a pat of butter.

This basic recipe is a great jumping off place for some amazing risotto dishes.  You can stir in grated cheese, sauteed mushrooms, even butternut squash puree!  Check out some of my favorite risotto recipes here!

Notes ♪♫ Carnaroli Rice is widely regarded as the best for making risotto and it is worth seeking out if you can’t find it at the grocery store.  It is a high quality short grain rice with a wonderful texture that is perfect for making risotto that is creamy but firm.  If you cannot find Carnaroli rice, then substitute Arborio.

Print This Post Print This Post