An epic, company-worthy meal, my brand new best ever gluten free cheesy chicken broccoli pasta of course starts off with the browned Cajun trinity, y'all! A 5-minute marinated chicken tenders, steamed broccoli, al dente GF penne pasta, and an easy homemade cheese sauce round off the yum-delicious ingredients list. Then, a quick 15-minute oven bake intermingles all the flavors. And gives this easy gluten free kid-friendly dinner recipe its perfectly browned finishing touch. Yep and yay...
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The End of the Stupid Hot South Louisiana Summer Called For This Easy Gluten Free Dinner Recipe. Yep.
The last few weeks have been pure torture down here, y'all!! One hundred degree temperatures, with humidity as high as the Throne of Heaven!! We've been hot. We've been sweaty. And we've been all kinds of sticky after being outside for just a few minutes.
And I've been sneaking into my closet lately, literally cleaning the dust off of my boots. Waiting, hoping, praying for our soon return to calming, cooling weather. And eyeing my favorite sweaters and long-sleeved shirts. And lingering WAY too long in my air conditioned closet for the blessed hope of the end-of-south-Louisiana-summer-relief. Yep.
I loved, loved, loved eating my cold summer salad treats. But, my heart knows that its now time to get back to the business of eating my favorite comfort foods, too. So, I broke out my current favorite cast iron skillet. And I used what I had on hand in my fridge and freezer to create this best ever gluten free cheesy chicken broccoli pasta.
And it was sooo good that we ate it all up before I could even snap a shot!! So, I just HAD to make another batch of this gluten free cheesy chicken broccoli pasta that would actually get photographed and presented to you for your delicious dining enjoyment, too!! 🙂
How to Make the Best Ever Gluten Free Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Pasta Easy and Breezy...
Start the best ever gluten free cheesy chicken broccoli pasta by making a quick, 5-minute marinade for the cubed chicken tenders. Then, steam fresh or frozen broccoli florets, and set aside. (I used the microwave to steam frozen broccoli florets.)
You'll also want to boil water, and cook your gluten free penne pasta to al dente.
Next, brown the Cajun trinity of onion, bell pepper and celery in a cast iron skillet. Add the chicken, and cook down until lightly browned. Then, add garlic during the last few minutes of cooking time. Do NOT drain, cause it's all going to come together perfectly, trust me!!
Now, make a blond roux by mixing butter or oil with a bit of tapioca flour in a separate saucepan:
Then, scoop up a few tablespoons of the veggie/chicken pan drippings:
And stir them right into the blond gluten free roux:
Add milk and cheeses:
And cook down until really melty:
Pour the steamed broccoli into the chicken/Cajun trinity mixture:
Then pour the cheese sauce and cooked gluten free penne pasta on top:
And stir all the best ever gluten free cheesy chicken broccoli pasta ingredients until well-combined in the skillet. Wipe down any excess cheesiness along the sides, if desired, and then bake:
And what comes out in the oven just 15 minutes later is true at-home restaurant quality deliciousness, y'all!!
The perfectly melted cheese sauce covers every single inch of the dish. And the chicken tenders cubes really take to the quick marinade, giving you meat bite after meat bite of oh sooo tender succulence.
The steamed broccoli stays just as super soft as the perfectly cooked pasta. And the browned Cajun trinity and garlic bits inject each spoonful of this gluten free cheesy chicken broccoli pasta with a deep earthiness that really warms your heart as it subdues your spirit.
After two tasting sessions in just one week, this dish is now on the permanent Liner household menu rotation. Just as perfect while sitting under a summer air conditioning vent as it is for a warm-me-up cool weather treat, this best ever gluten free cheesy broccoli pasta lives up to its name, y'all.
Trust me...once you make this once, you'll make it again and again and again.
Share with those who stand by your side during the fiery trials of life, and celebrate with you when the storms finally calm themselves into submission. And see y'all on the yum side...
Best Ever Gluten Free Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Casserole
- 1 ½ pounds fresh chicken tenders, cubed
For the Chicken Tender Marinade
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon butter or oil
- 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
For the Best Ever Gluten Free Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Pasta
- 3 cups dry gluten free penne pasta
- 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen broccoli florets
- 3 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ green bell pepper, chopped
- ⅓ cup gluten free chicken broth or water, if needed, see instructions
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
- liberal shake of salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper
For the Grain Free Cheese Sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 tablespoon tapioca flour
- 2 to 3 tablespoons pan drippings, see instructions
- 1 ½ to 2 cups milk
- 1 ½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 ½ cups shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
- sprinkling of salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper
- Stir all of the chicken tender marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Submerge the chicken tenders cubes in the marinade. Set aside.
- Cook the dry gluten free penne pasta to al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Steam the fresh or frozen broccoli florets, and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Brown the Cajun trinity of onion, bell pepper and celery in the butter or oil a 12-inch cast iron skillet.
- When the trinity is almost browned, add the marinated chicken tender cubes, and cook for a few minutes on each side, until cooked throughout. The chicken should release some water while browning. If it does not add, add about ⅓ cup of gluten free chicken broth or water, and cover for a few minutes until the added liquid reduces by about half.
- Add the garlic to the skillet. . Cook for 1 additional minute. Pour the steamed broccoli florets into the skillet, and toss to combine.
- Pour the butter into a saucepan. When melted, add the tapioca flour and stir until a blond roux is achieved.
- Use a spoon to transfer about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the pan drippings from the cast iron skillet into the saucepan.
- Stir until the drippings are well-combined into the roux.
- Add the milk and cheeses. Cook until almost all of the cheese melts. Season with SP&C, if desired.
- Pour the cheese sauce and the cooked GF pasta into the cast iron skillet. Stir until all of the ingredients are very well-combined.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbly, and the pasta is very tender.
- Wait 5 minutes before serving.