Italian Casserole

So, I know it has been a while, and I’m I sorry! I say this all the time when my schedule is hectic, but I’ve been living off of paleo “fast food” the past few weeks–salads and frittatas. If anyone tells you that eating paleo on the go is too hard, they’re neglecting to experiment with these two dishes. They’re versatile (frittata and salad combinations are seriously limitless!), easy to pack, and can be eaten cold.

Anyway, enough with my rant, here’s an Italian casserole, almost a lasagna, for you to try!

Italian Casserole
1 eggplant, peeled and sliced vertically
1 zucchini, peeled (you can leave the skin on if you want) and sliced vertically
1 bunch of spinach leaves
1 bunch of basil leaves
1 bell pepper, diced
1-2 packages of mushrooms, sliced
Meat sauce (recipe here) (I made mine in the slow cooker in advance)
Extras: olive oil, Italian seasoning, pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prep your eggplant and zucchini. Dry roast them in the oven for about 5-10 minutes, then flip over. Brush with a little olive oil if you want. Remove from oven when dried out, then set oven to 350 degrees F.

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Prep your other veggies.

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In a casserole dish, place a layer of meat sauce (I should have used a larger dish!)

Begin to layer your roasted eggplant.

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Once your eggplant is layered, add more veggies.

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Add a layer of meat sauce.

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Add a layer of zucchini.

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Then finish it off with another layer of meat sauce.

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Place dish in oven for 20-30 minutes to cook vegetables.

The finished product is a little liquidy (and not too pretty), but you can drain that out. There are a lot if big flavors in this yummy dish.

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Walnut Pesto Chicken Two Ways

I decided to play around in the kitchen today. I love pesto, too bad it’s not paleo. Today I did a play on pesto and made it two different ways to see which way I preferred. Use the pesto as a marinade or over zucchini pasta.

Walnut Pesto Chicken Two Ways
-Chicken breast cutlets and chicken thighs
-About 1 cup raw walnuts
-1 whole bunch of fresh basil
-About 1/4 to 1/2 a bunch of fresh parsley
-2-4 Tablespoons of minced garlic
-1 stalk of green onion
-Half a shallot
-Olive oil
-Seasonings to taste: Italian seasoning, salt and pepper

Throw everything (minus the chicken) with a little bit of olive oil in a blender or food processor. Slowly add more olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency. Check for seasonings.

Pour pesto into a container and add your chicken. Allow to marinade.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. And preheat a grill.

Heat a little fat of choice in an oven-safe pan. Allow the pan to heat thoroughly. Put your chicken thighs in the pan and allow them sear. Flip then throw in the oven to finish off.

While the chicken thighs are in the oven, place the chicken breast cutlets on your grill and finish them there.

Serve with the veggies of your choice. I served mine with grilled eggplant.

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Spicy Lemon Herb Chicken and Ratatouille

I impressed myself with this one. I had no idea what to make for dinner, and I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store after finishing my wod at RC Crossfit. I figured there would be something I could pull together from what I had at home.

The spicy lemon herb chicken was a no-brainer. I had plenty of chicken in the freezer and an abundance of fresh lemons in my fruit bowl (I left a bag of freshly-picked lemons at RCCF, have you been grabbing them??!). I knew I could bring the two together easily, but I had no idea what to do for a side dish. I looked at the vegetables I had in the fridge–leftover unadulterated eggplant from yesterday’s recipe, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and lonely little zucchini glared at me. Then it hit me, ratatouille!!

Today’s recipe is super easy. You can cook the ratatouille while the chicken is in the oven. I used chicken tenderloins so they cooked up super quickly. Enjoy!

Lemon Chicken

  • Olive oil
  • 5 chicken tenderloins
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Seasonings to taste: Garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasonings, lemon pepper, crushed red pepper flakes (I use a blend from Sprouts), salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Put a little olive oil in the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange your chicken tenderloins. Season liberally then squeeze about half of the lemon juice over the chicken. Place in the oven. The chicken tenderloins took about 20-30 minutes. Halfway through, I flipped them, lightly seasoned the other side and squeezed the rest of the lemon juice over the chicken.

Ratatouille (The amounts I used are in the paragraphs, makes about 2-4 servings–two generous servings, four small servings)

  • Olive oil or other fat of choice (I have this amazing olive oil infused with garlic and this other amazing olive oil infused with basil.)
  • Eggplant (about 3 or 4 leftover medallions from yesterday’s eggplant recipe), diced
  • Zucchini (1 small little guy), diced
  • Bell Peppers (half of one green, though any color would be fantastic), diced
  • Carrots (half of a carrot, leftover from the chicken wrap slaw), diced
  • Tomatoes (one and a half), diced
  • Fresh parsley or other herb of choice (optional, I used about a Tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley)
  • Seasonings to taste: Garlic salt, pepper, Italian seasonings, lemon juice

*There are a few ways to make ratatouille. I didn’t want my vegetables to turn into mush, so I went with the slightly more time consuming method. I will cover the other method in the variations.

Heat a pan with a little bit of your fat of choice. Grab a clean bowl to keep nearby.

Add your eggplant to the hot pan and season lightly with your Italian seasonings, pepper, and a little bit of salt.

We will be salting and seasoning the veggies throughout, so don’t oversalt or overseason. You just want the salt and seasonings to help bring out some of the moisture and get a little flavor on your veggies.

Once the eggplant is just slightly cooked, remove from the pan and place in your bowl. Set aside.

You may need to add more oil to your pan between veggies. Use your own discretion. Add the diced zucchini to the hot pan. Season lightly. The hotter your pan, the better color and carmelization you can get on your veggies. Once your zucchini is nice and carmelized, remove and place in the bowl with the eggplant you set aside.

Re-oil your pan if necessary, add your diced peppers and lightly season. Remove and set aside with the eggplant and zucchini once they’re slightly softened.

Repeat the above steps with your carrots. Once they’re caramelized, remove. Ideally, your carrots will still have a little bite to them.

Now, add your tomatoes to the pan and repeat. These should be heated the longest to fully break them down and almost create a sauce. Once your tomatoes have thoroughly mushed, add the veggies you had set aside. Season to taste. This was when I added a splash of lemon juice to impart some acidity to the dish and tie my ratatouille to my chicken.

Dinner’s done!! Enjoy.