I hope everyone had a fun & happy Labor Day weekend! Being on vacation meant I barely even noticed it was a long weekend—in fact, I barely know what day of the week it is! But that is the glory of vacation, isn’t it.
In my last trip update I told you about our adventures through Iceland and Austria. Now, that story is already just a memory that seems long gone. It’s amazing how much stuff you can pack into one day when you want to! We have done so much that the days have flown by. Since that update, we’ve hopped a bus to Prague, returned, and driven down to Val di Fassa, where we are staying in a cabin in the heart of the Dolomites.
We have been working up mega appetites, too! Biking the valleys here is more than just a short jaunt, and the climbing gives way to some of the most breathtaking views I’ve seen. We have not been eating 100% Paleo, but you know what they say — when in Rome! And we’re almost in Rome. Gelato? Mmm, yes please.
Luckily, our cabin does have a kitchen, so most evenings I get to do one of my favorite things: make dinner for everyone! The kitchen is rustic to say the least, with a real wood burning oven and stove. I love cooking on it… everything gets an old-fashioned homey flavor. This Rustic Chicken Parmesan is the best dinner we’ve had all week. Was that me in the kitchen eating this straight from the serving spoon? I guess you’ll never know…
Here are some pictures from the last week— jump below for the recipe for Rustic Chicken Parmesan. (Is that real parmesan? Yes! I mentioned we are close to Rome, right?).
Serves: 4-5 | Total Time:
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 large or 3-4 small garlic cloves
- 3-4 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 sixteen-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 vine-ripe tomatoes
- 1/2 cup small red bell pepper, diced
- Salt & Pepper
- 2 tablespoons dried Italian Herb mix (You may also use fresh herbs, to taste)
- 2 pounds chicken breasts
- 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
- 1 cup parmesan cheese in thin slices of shredded
- Heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Dice the onion and minced the garlic. Add them to the pan.Sprinkle with a small amount of salt to speed cooking time. Once the onions begin to brown, add the red wine. Scrape the bottom of the pot to deglaze.
- Add the canned tomatoes to the pot. Dice the fresh tomatoes, and add them to the pot along with the bell pepper. Bring to a simmer. Add herb blend, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cover.
- In a skillet, heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chicken to the pan once the oil it hot. Once the chicken is browned on one side, flip it over. Cook the chicken through. Then use a fork or tongs to remove the chicken from the skillet. Once cool enough to handle, cut the chicken breast into strips.
- Add another teaspoon of oil to the skillet. Once melted, swirl the oil around to coat. Working in batches, cook the eggplant: place the eggplant in a single layer in the skillet, heat until browned on one side. Flip. Heat on the other side until cooked browned on both sides. (Just look for a nice sear on the outside— eggplant will continue to cook once casserole is layered). Repeat until all the eggplant is browned, adding coconut oil as needed to prevent sticking.
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Build the casserole: layer ingredients in the following order: 1 layer of eggplant, 1 layer of chicken, 1/2 of the sauce, 1/2 cup of cheese, 1 layer of eggplant, remaining sauce, and finally the remaining cheese.
- Place casserole in oven. Bake 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. Serve hot with a glass of red wine.