Stop number 3: Nashville, TN
We’ve been driving for over 1,000 miles now! Have you ever been to Tennessee? There is really so much to do there; way more then we could see in a few days. The landscape is really pretty with winding highways and mountainous views.
On our way to Nashville we stopped at a nice rest stop along I-40 W near Lancaster, Tennessee. There was a little picnic table and lots of room to stretch our legs.
Getting ready to hit the road again…
Only a few more hours later and we arrived at our first cabin!
It was our anniversary this stop, August 3rd. That’s 3 years married! Seems like we’ve been together forever though. Upon our check-in to the Nashville KOA we received an anniversary surprise thanks to my Mom and Rick. (Thanks guys!!) Instead of the basic cabin we were able to stay in the deluxe cabin! (That includes a bathroom, shower, 2 rooms and microwave!) Not too bad for our first cabin adventure! There was even a grill and cute patio outside.
(Photo by Anthony Atkinson with Ugly’s Beauty)
Niah’s favorite part was this bear carved out of wood next to the house where an old tree must have fallen.
(Photo by Anthony Atkinson with Ugly’s Beauty)
First night is normally a settle in kind of day; depending on what time we get to our destination. So tonight after bringing everything we needed in our car I started dinner on the gas grill.
There was enough room for the cast iron pan and my rice pot. I boiled the Gnocchi and pasta noodles in the rice pot and browned the ground beef in the skillet. I also threw on a can of Pillsbury Croissants in a throw-away pan.
Dinner was a success!
It felt so good to be able to cook outside on the grill and have it come out delicious.
Gnocchi with Meat Sauce
- Ground meat of your choice (or veggies for Vegetarian option-peppers, onions, asparagus/broccoli)
- Pasta sauce
- Croissant rolls or biscuits
- Turn your grill on or light your fire (or other heating source)
- Place pot of water over fire with water, enough for the amount you are cooking. (We used one box of Gnocchi, so we used 2 water bottles worth of water.) Cover and let sit till it starts to boil.
- Warm up your cast iron after you put your water on. Place your choice of meat (or veggies if you’re doing meatless option) in the warmed skillet. Mix until browned.
- Open the biscuts you will be using and place in a trow-away tray. Cover with foil and let cook for 7 minutes depending on your fire. Just keep a watch on them to prevent burning. If you have a grill lid you can close it for a few minutes to help cooking.
- By this time you should have placed your Gnocchi in the boiling water. Cook until tender or follow instructions on cooking time from the box you’re using.
- Drain water from Gnocchi.
- If you wish to combine everything (we did) then, place pasta sauce in the cast iron with the ground meat or veggies and add in your Gnocchi.
- Stir and serve.
During dinner we had an unexpected guest try to join us! There were 2 squirrels and Niah thought they were his new best friends. The rest of the trip he went around trying to chase the squirrels and watched them playing in the trees.
Next morning we searched for a nice local coffee shop to grab a good cup of coffee. Anthony has been finding all the local coffee shops to check out. So far he’s been finding the best spots!
We ended up stopping at Portland Brew Coffee Shop, which in my opinion is must stop if you’re in Nashville, TN.
What We Ordered
Anthony & Brittany – Breve (milk based espresso drink using steamed half & half)
Coffee in hand we headed downtown Nashville to Broadway. Let me just say I like country, Anthony likes country (music), but it’s definitely a little honky-tonk!
We’re big explorers and the only way to really experience the city we’re at is to get out and walk. You get a different view, get to meet local people, and get to see stuff you might otherwise miss if you were just driving through.
Like this waterfront area in downtown Nashville
It was really hot today and after a few hours down walking around we needed to go back to the cabin, rest, and have some lunch.
So while Anthony put Niah down for a nap I made Cast Iron Pizza on the grill for our Anniversary lunch.
Cast Iron Pizza
- Pillsbury Pizza Dough
- Choice of Topping
- Italian Seasoning
- Pizza Sauce or Pasta Sauce
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Your Cast Iron should be seasoned, but if it doesn’t look shiny add some oil so your pizza doesn’t stick.
- Spread your pizza dough around the cast iron, folding the edges slightly so it will create a crust.
- Sprinkle the Italian seasoning on the dough and cover with a thin layer of sauce.
- Make sure your fire or grill is on medium heat (if you can control this). If you’re cooking on open fire you will want to cover your pizza with foil or a lid.
- Sprinkle your pizza with the cheese and add your topping.
- Place your cast iron on the heat and let cook for about 20-30 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the crust starts to brown. Make sure all your cheese is melted.
I ended up cooking mine a few minutes too long, and burnt the bottom slightly. It, however, didn’t ruin the pizza. It was a perfect size to share between my husband and I. We had Artichoke hearts and olives as our topping. They were easy to store in our food storage bin and didn’t need refrigeration prior.
We did have plans to check out a park downtown, but the weather looked stormy so we hung out around the KOA campground and explored a little. This was by far the nicest KOA grounds and facility.
We found an arcade where Niah worked on his free throws and dance skills. Anthony won a little Goodyear Tire toy for Niah.
Exploring really works up an appetite! Since we weren’t up for cooking tonight we tried to find somewhere to pick up something for dinner. We ended up going to the mall (which we didn’t know was right across the intersection from close to where we were staying) and found a Chili’s restaurant. I really wanted some chicken tacos, and they were able to get Niah a dairy free meal. He had grilled chicken and Broccoli, rice (and a stolen French fry or two). Anthony ended up getting chicken fingers, fries, and broccoli (not sure he ate his broccoli, Nana).
Allergy Friendly Spoon Rating
Chili’s is an amazing restaurant for food allergies. They have really upgraded their restaurant and menu to proficiently search through their menu to see if it contains an allergen. We ordered our food with the manager and she was amazingly accommodating!
Chili’s, you rock with 5/5 Spoons!
We ended the night as we do every other night on this trip; reading Niah’s “Good Night America” book.
We headed out early en rout for our stop number 4.
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The Allergic Foodie here! Right now you can probably find me in my test kitchen (i.e. my house) or traveling to a local coffee shop where they're serving me awe-inspiring coffee (sorry, I would share but). I'm kind of a coffee junkie. Yes, I'm a food-allergy overcomer, Mompreneur, and military spouse and I love pushing boundaries especially in the kitchen. So hold on to your taste buds and let's get to cooking!