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Cheesy Smoked Sausage & Rice Skillet

Tonight, why not enjoy a spiced up Cheesy Smoked Sausage & Rice Skillet, made all in one pan. (Don’t panic: The fresh jalapeños on top are not part of the recipe; they’re just for decoration to break up the sunset sea of sausage & salsa rice.)

Take that, single lonely & sad red bell pepper in the fridge which needed to be used up: This Cheesy Smoked Sausage and Rice Skillet was the perfect place to put you!

I really needed comfort food yesterday, so started looking around at what I could make with the ingredients I had on hand. Rice? Check. Cheese? Always. Salsa? Yup. Spicy smoked sausage? Hey, now we’re talking. I wasn’t feeling like rice & beans, though, so went a slightly different direction by adding corn and sweet bell peppers to contrast with the rest of the spicy goodness here.

plate of cheesy smoked sausage and rice topped with jalapenos

So, I ended up with a pan full of spiced up salsa rice, chock full of sausage & cheese and deliciously spicy, yet with pops of sweetness throughout from corn and red bell pepper. Oh yes, please! Comfort food on a plate: Exactly what I was going for here.

cheddar jalapeno sausage

On my last trip to ALDI I impulse bought this jalapeño & cheddar smoked sausage, which is a seasonal special buy right now. This package of smoked sausage links has so much kicked up cheddar-jalapeño flavor as an added bonus. What a fortuitous find, indeed.

The spicier sausage really brought this recipe together (although I did remove the decorative fresh jalapeños from the top before serving). If you are sensitive to heat, though, go ahead and substitute regular smoked sausage; you might also omit crushed red pepper from the recipe.

Cheesy Smoked Sausage & Rice Skillet

cheesy sausage skillet ingredients

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil
14 oz smoked sausage links, sliced into coins (I used jalapeño cheddar — see Note)
1/2 of a medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
2 tsp minced garlic (about 4 small cloves)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
Sea salt, to taste
1 can corn, drained
2 cups salsa
1/2 cup water
1-1.5 cups Mexican blend or cheddar shredded cheese (see Note)

Directions

chop the onion bell pepper and sausage

Cut up the sausage, onion, garlic (if not using pre-minced), and red bell pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat for one minute.

Add the sausage, onions, and bell peppers to the skillet. Cook for 7-8 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, or until the onions and peppers are softened.

opening a jar of salsa with a jarkey

Meanwhile: Drain the corn, measure out your rice, and open the salsa, getting everything ready for the next step. (By the way: I’m so happy with my new-ish easy jar opening Jarkey shown here; it’s saved me so much time & frustration!)

add rice and seasonings to the pan

Once the veggies are softened, stir in the rice, garlic, salt, and spices. Saute for another minute to briefly toast the rice.

Stir in the salsa, water, and corn. Increase the heat under the pan and bring everything to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium (or medium-low, if your burners are more powerful than mine; you want it bubbling gently). Cover the skillet. Let everything simmer untouched for about 25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and has absorbed most of the liquid.

stir cheese into the skillet

Take off the lid and stir the rice. Make sure the rice is cooked (if not, pop the lid back on for a bit), then stir in the cheese until melted.

Serve topped with optional chopped green onion.

Note: I used jalapeño cheddar sausage, for an extra kick! This recipe turned out a bit spicy — but if you are sensitive to spice, you can substitute regular smoked sausage, use a mild salsa, and/or omit the crushed red pepper. I also used 1.5 cups of cheese because I wanted it extra cheesy; if you aren’t feeling that, though, 1 cup should do you.

So much flavor simmered into this skillet

Plate of salsa rice with cheese and smoked sausage

I made this rice & sausage skillet in the early afternoon (because: high school sports), and just couldn’t wait all afternoon to come back home and eat it for dinner. Soooo much flavor, and this meal does reheat really nicely. It would be a great choice for meal prep at the beginning of the week, and I’m already plotting ahead to have more for lunch today.

Cheesy smoked sausage & rice skillet is naturally gluten free; just ensure that the brand of smoked sausage you use is. And, you have to love a one pot meal for fewer dishes, if nothing else!

Cheesy Smoked Sausage & Rice Skillet, printable recipe

Cheesy Smoked Sausage & Rice Skillet

Tonight, why not enjoy a spiced up Cheesy Smoked Sausage & Rice Skillet, made all in one pan. (Don’t panic: The fresh jalapeños on top are not part of the recipe; they’re just for decoration to break up the sunset sea of sausage & salsa rice.)
Course dinner
Cuisine one pot meal
Keyword one pot meal, rice, salsa, smoked sausage
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 14 oz smoked sausage links sliced into coins (I used jalapeño cheddar — see Note)
  • 1/2 of a medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 2 tsp minced garlic about 4 small cloves
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 can corn drained
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-1.5 cups Mexican blend or cheddar shredded cheese see Note

Instructions

  • Cut up the sausage, onion, garlic (if not using pre-minced), and red bell pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat for one minute.
  • Add the sausage, onions, and bell peppers to the skillet. Cook for 7-8 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, or until the onions and peppers are softened.
  • Meanwhile: Drain the corn, measure out your rice, and open the salsa, getting everything ready for the next step.
  • Once the veggies are softened, stir in the rice, garlic, salt, and spices. Saute for another minute to briefly toast the rice.
  • Stir in the salsa, water, and corn. Increase the heat under the pan and bring everything to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium (or medium-low, if your burners are more powerful than mine; you want it bubbling gently). Cover the skillet. Let everything simmer untouched for about 25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and has absorbed most of the liquid.
  • Take off the lid and stir the rice. Make sure the rice is cooked (if not, pop the lid back on for a bit), then stir in the cheese until melted.
  • Serve topped with optional chopped green onion.

Notes

I used jalapeño cheddar sausage, for an extra kick! This recipe turned out a bit spicy — but if you are sensitive to spice, you can substitute regular smoked sausage, use a mild salsa, and/or omit the crushed red pepper. I also used 1.5 cups of cheese because I wanted it extra cheesy; if you aren’t feeling that, though, 1 cup should do you.

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