This gluten-free rub for blackened baked chicken with rotini is a perfect recipe for any Valentine dinner.
Have any of you ever been on a blind date before? Maybe one that turned out particularly good? Almost 14 years ago, I married my first and only blind date. I was nervous, but not nervous enough.
This post was written in the summer of 2017. I used the same photos, but just enhanced them, and the same love story ❤️.
We agreed to meet at a local pub. I remember waiting in the parking lot, making sure I had an escape plan in case a freak showed up. I was going to meet some friends at another local bar close by if the guy was weird or what not. I’d go to the ladies room, then run out the kitchen.
Explaining my intentions to the pub host made me feel more at ease. Although not able to hold in her belly laugh from my halfwit nature, she was willing to help out with the secret plan.
First, a man showed up. Seeing him from a distance, I sneakily walked to the exterior of the pub close to a crowd of smoking college kids. Wanting to mingle in so this dude couldn’t see me.
The host asked for his name, then guided him into the bar area. I was so anxious and sweaty. The guy looked like a cross between Gerard Depardieu and the Incredible Hulk. But with a bald head. And glasses. And delicate lady hands.
I knew it was time to maybe ditch this date. I seriously couldn’t believe I was on a blind date! I always said I would never ever go on one. What was I even thinking? And then all of a sudden I hear the hostess from the corner ask in a sweet tone, “Are you Rich?” to another dude, that just appeared out of nowhere. I couldn’t see his face, but peered over to get a glimpse of his figure.
It was good. Real good. No girly hands. In fact, he was extremely muscular and I was a little scared. Thick necks have never been my thing. The host appeared before me, explained that Rich had arrived, then summoned me over to the front door. I walked in and there he was, waiting right inside.
We had a great time and stayed talking for a long while. At the end of the night, he walked me to my car and gave me a short, sweet kiss goodnight. I managed to lean back and set off a car alarm when he did this. At the same time, it instantly began raining.
After the date I called my oldest sister. She just laughed at me over the phone. Telling me it sounded like I was smitten. I argued this, then dreamt about Rich that night.
We dated for 14 months before getting engaged. At one point in our relationship he was offered a job on the East coast. I thought this was it. Another failed relationship that would fade away instantly. Plus, at a Colts game just a few weeks before this job offer, I accidentally blabbed ‘I love you!’ after an awesome touchdown. He hugged me back and didn’t say anything. Quite embarrassed, I just kept drinking.
Rich explained later that he would never say ‘I love you’ back to anyone unless it were going to be the person he married. He then said it back to me right then. And told me he declined the job offer that would take him far away. So, he was staying. And I obliged.
It’s been a fine road, with bumps and smooth sailing. Fourteen plus years in seems actually like it’s only been about eight years in. So, maybe that’s a good sign. I know that I couldn’t imagine anything different.
Tips On Making This Gluten-Free Blackened Baked Chicken Recipe:
This is an awesome recipe for plain, gluten-free baked chicken with Rotini pasta. It’s easy and kinda light. There is a kick to the seasoning, as cayenne shines a bit here. But one thing that is great about the taste is the tomato powder that’s incorporated into this rub!
I’m not a fan of paprika really. I love the way it changes the color of a dish and love using it for searing and or grilling. It creates this excellent, crusty and beautiful coat on meat. Other than that, however, I don’t like the way it tastes while baking. If you use it, check out Spicely. Their spices are all certified gluten-free. Not all spices are gluten-free, so this is something to keep in mind.
So, substituting this with tomato powder really helps. You can literally make your own tomato powder at home. No joke. You can dry sun-dried tomatoes completely. When those are good and completely dried through, you can grind them down to powder. Easy peasy.
The tomato powder flavor is sweet and just so luxurious. Be sure to pour that pan juice all over your meat when your finished cooking. These sun-dried tomatoes pictured are store bought. Infused with oil and Italian herbs. I poured that oil over the pasta as well. And used BellaVitano crumbles to top this dish off. You can read my latest posts here and here, about a BellaVitano obsession I picked up.
A gluten-free baked chicken with Rotini that’s perfect for Valentine’s Day dinner. And super easy! This dish is simple and great. It’s versatile and timeless. Hot and oh so sweet. Kinda like my blind date.
To the best blind date I’ve ever had. Or ever will. There’s nowhere in life I’d rather be than with you.
You’ve blessed me and showed me how to see life, and all that I was blind to before. And still manage to do it. Happy Valentine’s Day, Ricardo. ❤️
Gluten-Free Blackened Chicken With Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Rotini
- 2 thick chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons butter Melted
- 1/2 tablespoon tomato powder
- 1/4 tablespoon cayenne pepper For less heat, use 1 teaspoon
- 1/4 tablespoons sugar cane
- 1/4 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme
- 1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 tablespoon freshly ground peppercorn
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Add all dry ingredients to a medium sized bowl and mix.
- In another medium sized bowl, melt butter.
- Pat dry chicken breasts very well, then dip thoroughly in melted butter. Then press chicken into dry mixture on both sides, coating completely.
- Lay chicken breasts in a lightly oiled cast iron skillet, not touching each other. Place skillet in oven for about 20 minutes to cook, or until internal temp reaches 165.
- When finished cooking, immediately take skillet out of oven and turn off heat.Quickly put chicken onto a plate and tent with aluminum foil. Let rest for about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Slice up and enjoy with gluten-free pasta of your choice! NOTE: I seasoned gluten-free rotini (Barilla sells gluten-free rotini) with BellaVitano cheese chunks and sun-dried tomatoes with Italian herbs. This goes perfectly with the chicken.