Gluten Free Cajun Chicken and Rice

By Megan 

There was a night a few weeks ago that I spontaneously invited one of the army couples we know over for dinner.  I usually invite people over before I even know if I can make a recipe stretch from 2 to 4 servings, but hey it keeps life exciting right!?  This particular recipe was very forgiving as most rice recipes are as far as serving sizes; it made my spontaneous invitation a breeze to accommodate.  Plus it was delicious! So delicious, in fact, that the girl who had come over told me she wanted more of my cajun chicken soon while I was grocery shopping with her today.  I thought this generous compliment warranted me posting the recipe to the blog.  Hope you enjoy!


The recipe calls for chicken drumsticks and thighs, but since I don’t eat meat and I knew I was serving three other adults I thought it would just be easier to use chicken breasts.  Plus my husband enjoys chicken breasts the most….so I am biased to using them in recipes.  The chicken is sprinkled with cajun seasoning and browned on both sides in an oiled skillet.


Set aside the chicken to rest and deglaze the skillet with chicken broth.  Add the rice, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, thyme and turmeric.  Allow to cook for just a few minutes and be sure to get all those yummy brown bits off the bottom of the skillet.


Prepare a 13×9 inch baking dish with some cooking spray, then just simply pour the veggies and rice from the skillet into the baking dish.  Place the browned chicken over the top, cover with foil, and place in the oven to cook for an hour.  So delicious and so easy to tweak to serve a crowd!


Tip: I used arborio rice.  This rice soaks up all the yummy juices and tastes rich and creamy with hardly any added fat.

Cajun Chicken & Rice:

4 Chicken Drumsticks, skin removed

4 Chicken Thighs, skin removed

2 tsp Cajun Seasoning

3/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp Vegetable oil

1 can (14 ounces) chicken broth

1 cup uncooked rice ( more if you want to make the recipe stretch

1 medium green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. dried Thyme

1/4 tsp. ground turmeric

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat 13×9 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray

2. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with cajun seasoning and salt. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 8-10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove from skillet.

3. Add broth to skillet; bring to a boil, scraping brown bits from bottom of skillet. Stir in rice, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, thyme, and turmeric. Pour into prepared baking dish. Place chicken on top. Cover tightly with foil. Bake 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through.

One Pot Tomato Basil Rice

My favorite things to make are those that have very few ingredients, but each ingredient is so exceptional in its taste that you can pick out each flavor in the dish.  This dish is one of those masterpieces that becomes a staple in your summer cooking.  Incredibly easy and yet richly flavored, this dish is made in just one pot.   It’s also pretty foolproof as evidenced by the fact that I got distracted halfway through with my girls who decided to snag the bottle of cleaner I had just used to wipe up some meat drippings so they could “clean” each other off.  Somehow, the rice still tasted amazing even though I let it cook too long and didn’t stir it.     It is a balance of creaminess from a rich tomato broth and brightness from fresh basil.  A perfect summer side dish.

Simply start with one cup of rice and two cups of water in a medium size pot.  I chose Arborio rice (I know, it’s supposed to be used in risotto, but I think it works with this preparation too).  You could also use long grain white rice or even brown rice.


Add some thinly sliced onion, chopped garlic, quartered tomatoes and olive oil.


Allow the mixture to come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  The vegetables will create a broth that is absorbed into the rice.


Stir every so often and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.


Serve it in bowls drizzled with olive oil, and topped with shredded basil and parmesan.  Eat and repeat because it’s too hard to resist.


One Pot Tomato Basil Rice (adapted from Smitten Kitchen–serves 4)


1 cup long grain rice, brown rice, arborio rice or farro

2 cups water

1/2 white onion halved and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

9 oz cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes or whatever you have on hand

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1/4 cup shredded basil


Add the rice, water, onion, garlic, tomatoes and 1 tbsp olive oil to a medium size pot.  Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes (depending on the grain you have chosen), stirring halfway through.  Once the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, divide into 4 bowls and top each bowl with 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tbsp parmesan, and 1 tbsp shredded basil.

Southwestern Brown Rice Salad

I have a confession.  I am not a fan of brown rice.  I feel like I should be because it is the holy grail of health foods, but something about it just says “meh” to me.  I keep trying to find a way that I will actually eat it and enjoy it, and you know what, I think I may have hit the jackpot today.  This salad is so full of flavor that I hardly even noticed that I was eating brown rice.  It has a southwestern flare that works wonderfully as a side dish but has enough substance that it could stand on its own as a light meal.  Suddenly, brown rice is looking a whole lot more appealing!

Start by cooking the rice according to the package directions.  Once the water is fully absorbed, sprinkle the rice with a few teaspoons of vinegar and allow to cool.  In the meantime, wisk together lime juice, honey, cumin, olive oil and salt and pepper in a small bowl.  This will serve as the dressing for the salad.


Once the rice has cooled, add some scallions, cilantro and cherry tomatoes to the rice.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss thoroughly to coat the rice.


You can store the salad in the fridge for several hours until you are ready to serve it.  Right before serving, slice an avocado and add it to the salad.


Southwestern Brown Rice Salad (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

1 1/2 cups brown rice

2 tsp salt

2 tsp vinegar

2 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp honey

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp grated lime zest

2 tbsp lime juice

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 avocado cut into cubes

5 scallions, minced

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro


Cook the rice according to the package directions.  While still warm, sprinkle the rice with the vinegar.  Allow the rice to cool.  Meanwhile, stir the olive oil, honey, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, cumin and salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Once the rice is cool, add the scallions, cilantro and tomatoes.  Pour the dressing mixture over the rice and gently fold together until the rice is coated.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Right before serving, cut up the avocado and gently fold it into the salad.  Serve the salad cold or at room temperature.