The alternating tart and tangy flavor notes in my gluten free ranch salsa chicken pasta inject a new level of sophistication into this twist of the classic dish. A substantial comfort food meal for four people, this recipe’s a company’s-coming-over keeper that’s ready in just 1 hour. Yep and screaming loud yay…
And Just Like That Now There’s Gluten Free Ranch Salsa Chicken Pasta…
My mom was the very first person to tell me about salsa chicken. It was years and years ago now, when she was going through her stove-top pressure cooker phase. She made it with both boneless chicken breasts, and on-the-bone chicken, too. Both ways she made it were yum-delicious to me. So, I made a point to stay over for dinner every time I caught a whiff of the zesty salsa chicken smells coming out of her kitchen. Yep.
Since I lived alone for years during that period, I also cooked salsa chicken for myself at home. It’s easy, it’s just about foolproof, and it cooked down just fine in like one of the 4 hand-me-down pots that I had in my possession at the time. Truth.
I all but forgot about salsa chicken for the past several years. It was just one of those recipes that slipped my mind, probably because I’ve been focusing on cooking and re-creating south Louisiana dishes throughout my last 7-plus year gluten free lifestyle.
But, last year Mark and I started going to a new church. And we started getting invited to stay for church lunches after the services. Well, a sister in Christ of mine, Jessica, often makes salsa chicken for the get-togethers.
And I immediately fell back in love with it. And so did Mark. In fact, one Sunday I went straight home from eating it at church, and made a big pot of it for dinner that night. So now salsa chicken is back in our regular menu rotation, and we usually eat it over rice.
So as I was having it for dinner one night, the recipe development side of my brain started to think about how good the salsa chicken would be with ranch dressing. Then, I thought about how good it would all taste with gluten free pasta. It would be sooo easy if I just baked it in the oven, and then added cheese (cheese, y’all!!!). Now, I couldn’t get this new recipe for gluten free ranch chicken salsa pasta made fast enough…
My Gluten Free Ranch Salsa Chicken Pasta Has the ‘Wow’ Factor, Y’all…
I have to admit that this gluten free ranch salsa chicken pasta is one of the easiest recipe development exercises that I’ve ever had in my kitchen. Yep. Almost too easy, really, for something that ended up tasting like I just brought it home from a restaurant.
The cool ranch dressing and cheese mixtures balances the deep, intense salsa flavor to perfection. And the gluten free pasta, y’all. I cooked it 3 quarters of the way on the stove. Then, I drained it, and stirred it into the sauce before popping it back into the oven until the noodles were done.
And y’all!! Each piece of pasta plumped up with sauce, which injected each bite with layered flavor bomb explosions that at first heated, then cooled our palates. Amazing…
This gluten free ranch salsa chicken pasta has the kind of ‘wow’ factor that makes people think you slaved over a steaming hot stove all the day long. Yep. But, between you and me, it’s any easy, breezy 1-hour recipe that’s a snap to throw together with what you have on hand. Share with those who need your stick-to-your-ribs comfort food love. And see y’all on the yum side…
- 10 ounces gluten free pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil
- 3 whole boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch cubes
- salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 24 ounces mild salsa
- 1 cup ranch dressing
- ½ cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cook gluten free pasta to ¾ time as stated on the package's directions.
- Drain pasta, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet with butter or cooking oil.
- Season the cubed chicken with SP&C, cumin, cilantro, and garlic powder.
- Lay the chicken on the bottom of the skillet.
- Pour the salsa over the chicken.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from oven.
- Mix the ranch dressing and cheese until well-combined.
- Add the drained pasta and ranch dressing mixture to the skillet.
- Stir until all of the ingredients are well-incorporated.
- Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
- Broil for 2 minutes, if desired, to brown the top of the gluten free ranch salsa chicken pasta.