Win over your taste buds with this bold and robust Gluten Free Chicken Sausage and Bell Pepper Pasta. Using precooked chicken sausage assures this meal will be on the table in about 30 minutes!
ME BEFORE THE RECIPE…
I am one proud mama today! Both my girls received stellar reviews on their report cards this past quarter. I may have shed a happy tear or two…or none…but if I was a normal human being with normal emotions I may have cried tears of pure joy.
More impressive than the academic scores themselves was the fact that Braelyn’s report card arrived home intact. That child that gets into anything and everything and NEVER lets any news fly over her head, and she didn’t even touch the paper before handing it to me on the way home from the bus stop. Guess someone is learning to manage her impulses. That or she plain old forgot about it. The latter is more likely.
She’s beyond excited to be part of the “Pricipal’s List” again because they provide the students with a pizza party. Last quarter I didn’t want her to miss out so I baked a personal sized frozen gluten free pizza at home before rushing over to her awards ceremony/pizza party. I got a little distracted while getting ready and burnt the pizza to a crisp in the toaster oven. Ooops.
So as all the other kiddos were enjoying freshly baked delivery pizza, Braelyn was gagging down a blackened piece of cardboard that her wanna-be-chef mama so lovingly brought her. Funny thing is, once she was done eating, the principal made an announcement that there was a gluten free pizza for those with food allergies. WHAT?!
Braelyn was the only one with gluten issues and since she had already eaten my crap, the principal sent us home with the whole dang pizza for leftovers. SCORE!!! We’re hoping for the same luck this time around. Thank you to my kiddos’ elementary school for providing our family with dinner!
I’ll have to say, I was just as dazzled with Emry’s report card as I was Braelyn’s. LOVE me some Emry girl, but if this mama’s being honest…school just ain’t her thing. I mean, she LOVES school: her friends, recess, her teacher, recess, lunch, recess, art, recess…you get my point. She’s not necessarily my over achiever when it comes to the academic portion. In fact, we toyed with the idea of holding her back a year since she has an August birthday.
Well, turns out I’m wrong because GIRL IS ON FIRE! She is totally catching on to all the reading, writing, and arithmetic. Her teacher says she is right where she needs to be with her academic understanding. Woot woot!
So basically, these two kiddos deserve the world in my book. Oh wait, we just celebrated Christmas AND Braelyn’s birthday and are now knee deep in their loot of gifts. I can’t take any more stuff around here.
How about we settle for a favorite meal instead? That seems more up my alley. And plus, the point of a delicious meal is for it to disappear, so I won’t have to worry about this reward lingering around the house too long.
HERE COMES THE RECIPE…
Speaking of favorite meals, I think we may have a new winner dinner in our house. I just made this Gluten Free Chicken Sausage Bell Pepper Pasta and my kids inhaled it like ravenous beasts.
You know, sometimes I legitimately make my kids hungry before dinner by refusing excess snacks, just so I can watch them scarf down their meal and pretend it was a direct reflection of my culinary skills. In reality, they’re probably just so hungry that it wouldn’t matter much what I put in front of them.
But this meal is different. This meal my kids ate TWO nights in a row without a single complaint. I lie. There was one complaint. On the second night there wasn’t enough pasta left for second helpings. That produced some nasty scowls.
Emry was in absolute heaven eating this pasta because it contains three of her favorite foods: pasta (obviously), bacon, and sausage. Sausage is new on the list because I think this is her first time eating it. But since it initially looks like a hotdog before slicing, she was sold from the beginning. Poor kid never gets hotdogs. So neglected.
The base of this pasta sauce comes from sauteing red and orange bell peppers, along with onions, in bacon fat. Oh, don’t judge. Bacon fat is the cat’s meow. I mean, as long as you don’t drink the stuff regularly, a little bacon fat ain’t gonna hurt no one. And plus, after cooking the bacon for crumbling on top of the pasta, it would be a shame to just throw it out. No, not a shame…more like a crime.
Once the peppers and onions are nice and tender, you caramelize them in some red wine and then add all the yummy traditional marinara type ingredients like tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. And just to make sure you really eat your veggies with this meal, I threw in some baby spinach leaves. Because if you’re going to be eating bacon and “hotdogs”, you might as well balance it out with some greens.
You can use whatever sausage you like in this recipe. If you want to go all out traditional Italian sausage, go for it. I opted for chicken sausage that was remarkably tasty. It had very little ingredients in it, all of which I could pronounce and understand, which made me feel all that much better about eating it.
Instead of just cooking the sausage with the rest of the sauce, I browned it beforehand to give it a little more texture and flavor. Then I tossed it back in the sauce to warm through right before serving. It was perfect.
Besides being darn tasty, this meal went a long way with our family. Coupled with some roasted broccolini, this pasta with the hearty sauce was surprisingly filling. A half cup of noodles and a spoonful of sauce is about all you need once it’s topped with shredded cheese bacon peices. You’ll definitely WANT seconds but you won’t necessarily NEED seconds, if you know what I mean.
So honor somebody you’re proud of with this tasty meal. Not only will they feel special, but they’ll feel FULL-y loved indeed. Keeping the New Year strong with another yummy meal!
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY…
- Gluten Free Creamy Lemon, Caper and Spinach Pasta
- Gluten Free Italian Sausage Pepper Pasta
- Vegetarian Zucchini Pasta Sauce
- Gluten Free Classic Meat Lasagna
- Gluten Free Cucumber, Spinach and Feta Pasta Salad
- 4 slices uncooked bacon, diced (I use kitchen shears to snip off pieces)
- 1 package gluten free fully cooked chicken sausage, flavor of choice (12 oz.), sliced into ½" rounds
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon pepper, divided
- ¼ cup red cooking wine
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes (15 oz.)
- 1 can tomato paste (6 oz.)
- 1½ cups water
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar, depending on preference
- ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus more for garnishing
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 package gluten free thin spaghetti noodles, or noodles of choice (12 oz.)
- freshly grated parmesan or mozzarella cheese
- Prepare all meat and veggies by chopping, dicing, and mincing. Set aside for future use.
- Begin boiling salted water for cooking pasta.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Once pan is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles, drop bacon pieces in. Cook, stirring occasionally to avoid burning, until fat is rendered and bacon pieces are cooked through.
- Remove bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel to drain fat. Place skillet with excess bacon grease back on stove top. Add sausage rounds to skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until browned. Remove sausage and set on a plate.
- Add bell peppers and onions to skillet and reduce heat to just below medium. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning, until onions are browning. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir to coat. Add cooking wine and cook until liquid is reduced, about 4-5 minutes more.
- Add minced garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar or coconut sugar, and Italian seasoning. Stir to combine. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Once done simmering, add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions.
- Remove lid from skillet and add spinach, parsley, and browned sausage rounds. Simmer uncovered for 5-7 minutes more until spinach is tender and sauce has reached desired consistency. If sauce is too thick, add a little pasta water from your boiling pot. Season sauce to taste with remaining ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and red pepper flakes.
- To serve, top cooked spaghetti with sauce, freshly grated cheese, bacon pieces, and chopped parsley leaves.