Tag Archives: cake

Moussaka My Way

After celebrating the big 2-9 at a Whole Foods beer dinner followed by a night out on the town with my favorites, this birthday week (obviously?) finished up with an early evening dinner with The Man’s parents last night!

I had the following choices (1) go out to dinner (2) have dinner cooked for me or (3) cook dinner for everyone. 

Obviously my choice was completely not normal but so totally “me” 😛

An old recipe for moussaka unassumingly crossed my path Saturday morning and I just knew that I had to try out my own version of this Greek specialty!

In doing some reading I learned that Greek moussaka (at least the modern version) consists of (1) a layer of eggplant (2) a layer of cooked meat – usually lamb – w/ onion and tomatoes all topped with (3) a creamy béchamel sauce layer.

Triple threat? 😀

Start by slicing the eggplant and sprinkling with a bit of sea salt.  Allow these to sit for about 20 minutes to draw out the moisture before cooking.

Then cook in a very hot pan using olive oil until browned a bit.  I had to do this in batches.

Once the eggplant are done, saute the diced onion in 1 tblsp olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Then add your ground beef and cook until done.  I opted for ground beef vs. lamb, I’m not a big fan of the latter.

The drained tomatoes and garlic go in followed by tomato paste, a few spoonfuls of the reserved tomato liquid (about 4 large spoonfuls), dried oregano, dried thyme, sugar and black pepper.

Then turn down to medium low and let do its thing for about 20 minutes.

At this point you’re ready to make the béchamel – which also has cheese mixed in.  I’m sure there is some technical culinary term for this?

Simply whisk 1/4 cup of the milk plus the flour (over medium heat) until smooth.   Then in goes the rest of the milk followed by the shredded cheese, a little at a time until smooth.  Last add the ricotta, nutmeg and cayanne – whisking until smooth.

Then you’re ready to assemble the moussaka!

Eggplant layer – half of the cooked eggplant.

Meat layer – half of the cooked meat mixture.

Then repeat.

Last layer – cheese sauce aka heaven.

Then baked at 350F for about 45-55 minutes, or until browned on top.

Served up!

With a fresh side salad.

And a warm loaf of fresh bread.

Sunday night dinner at its best!

The moussaka had great flavor, all the spices blended so nicely and the flavors were spot on.  I think The Man’s parents really enjoyed it too – especially after his mom told me she didn’t really like eggplant usually (ooops!) but really enjoyed it in this dish 🙂

Definitely glad that worked out!

Speaking of The Man’s mom, check out this amazing cake she brought over for the birthday dinner.

Per request by moi.

This cake rockssssss!

It has a pineapple layer, a banana pudding layer, a whipped cream layer and the cake portion is super dense and moist.

So. Full. So. Good.

Guess it’s time to snap back into reality and stop eating cake after every meal now that birthday week is over – but wow, was it a good one!! 🙂

Moussaka – CookinFanatic Style

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes, drained & liquid reserved
  • 3 tblsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 3-4 tblsp olive oil, divided

For the cheese sauce:

  • 1 1/4 cup milk (I used 2 percent)
  • 2 tblsp flour
  • 1/2 block mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 container ricotta cheese
  • pinch cayanne pepper
  • pinch fresh nutmeg

Step 1:  Cook eggplant

Salt the sliced eggplant and let sit for 20 minutes.  Then cook in a large pan over medium-high (in batches if necessary) using 1/2 tblsp olive oil, until browned a bit.  Set aside.

Step 2:  Cook meat mixture

Saute onions in 1 tblsp olive oil for about 5 minutes, add ground beef and cook until browned.  Drain any grease if necessary.  Add garlic and drained tomatoes followed by the tomato paste, oregano, thyme, sugar, black pepper and a few spoonfuls of the reserved tomato liquid to make the mixture nice and moist.  Cook over medium low for 20 minutes.

Step 3:  Make cream sauce.

Start by whisking 1/4 cup milk in a hot pan with the flour, until smooth.  Then add the rest of the milk, whisking.  Follow with the shredded cheese, a bit at a time, until melted and smooth.  Lastly, add the nutmeg and cayanne plus the ricotta cheese, stirring until smooth.

Step 4:  Assemble and bake!

Layer half the eggplant on the bottom of a baking dish, top with half of the meat mixture.  Repeat. Top the moussaka with the creamy cheese sauce, pouring over the top.  Bake at 350F for 45-55 minutes, or until browned on the top and set.

Enjoy!

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Noma’am-sorrysir-yesplease?

Well we made it through Monday friends, and onto a beautiful Tuesday!!! 🙂

After a drama-filled Gossip Girl event last night (woahhhhh what an episode eh?!) I awoke this morning to….sun & frost?!  These are 2 things this lady hasn’t seen around here in a while  😛

Apparently I was in a coma last night too bc reports from The Man indicate the following gibberish coming from my mouth at various hours of the night: 

“glarble blarble glarble…. Noma’am-sorrysir-yesplease”

What the heck??? Hahahaha

Anywho, even though it was chilly this morning, the sun was shining and I’ll take that over our new usual of rain & wind any day!!!

One thing I don’t want to take everyday however is…..Traffic, esp traffic that doubles commute time to work = Bad Bad Bad…. but we won’t go there k? 😉

Lunch eats today looked a lil’ somethin’ like this:

Leftover Turkey Sausage & White Beans

Half PB & Jelly Sammich

This was not just any PB & Jelly friends, oh no no, this sammie was a  top Celebrity version of PB sammiches….

Click for details... = ?

Yea, that’s just how this sammich rolls, k? 😉

Some birthday celebration cake – from Ukrops, they make the BEST ICING in the world… I’m for realz friends, I don’t like cake from any other grocery store but this one (cake snob who?) haha

Onto other news of the holiday sort…. check it out friends!

We still have some “specialty ornaments” to get and a tree skirt/topper however I am really liking it so far!  We are doing a blue & gold theme, it matches our living room and feels kinda beachy, I love it 🙂

Dinner adventures tonight include my attempt at “man-sagna“…. haha yea I just totally made that one up (fail)!

See friends, I’ve only really made veggie lasagna before but The Man really likes a good hearty meat lasagna (he’s Italian, who can blame him 😉 ) so after stumbling across an easy and intriguing recipe I decided I would give it a whirl!  Of course I’m sneaking veggies in there too, but don’t tell k? 😛

Last but not least, tis the month of giveaways in the blog world apparently, check this one out over @IowaGirlEats!

24PackMulti[1]

Pretty awesome-tacular huh?!

Alright, gotta run, work has gotten busy and I gots some things to get through here…. can’t wait to see ya’ll tonight!! 🙂