Moussaka to die for

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Moussaka Done Right!
Don’t pass this up because it seems like too much. It’s amazing and must be done!
Make this in three stages, the meat, the veggies and the béchamel. You can actually make the meat mixture ahead of time and freeze for later use or just a day ahead.

Meat sauce:
3/4 lb ground sirloin
3/4 lb ground lamb
1xtra large really sweet onion (Grated)
7 cloves of Garlic (freshly minced)
3 tbls olive oil

Add all of above ingredients to a skillet and cook slowly mushing and stirring constantly until browned. ( this keeps the meat in a “minced” condition and avoids clumping) now drain the oil well from the beef then return to pan and add……

1C nice red wine
4 oz tomato paste
1can diced tomatos ( but chop them up a bit more) I just use kitchen Scissors to do this right in the can!
1/2 can water
1tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground clove
1cinnamon stick
3 bay leafs
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dry oregano
1tsp dry basil
Salt n Pepper to taste I use a bit to balance the acid.

Cook all of this covered on medium low heat for an hour and a half, then uncover and cook for 10-15 minutes on low stirring occasionally.
After cooked then add salt and pepper to taste.

Vegetables:
3 round eggplant sliced in thin rounds.
2 medium sized starchy potatoes sliced into thin rounds
1tbls olive oil
Cinnamon
salt and pepper

Soak the eggplant in a large bowl of well salted water for an hour to remove the bitterness. Then rinse and towel dry, patting flat to get as much of the water out as possible. While eggplant is soaking heat oven to 400°f. Brush or spray olive oil onto a foil lined cookie sheet. Lay potato slices (not touching) on to sheet and bake in hot oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden. While potatoes are cooking oil your large lasagna pan and then when potatoes are done layer potatoes into the bottom of lasagna pan overlapping leaving no gaps! Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Now take your towel dried eggplant and sprinkle or dust with cinnamon. Then lay them on the same cookie sheet that you cooked your potatoes on and (again not touching) bake them for 10 minutes in the same 400°f oven. Now take them out and layer into the lasagna pan over the potatoes.take oven down to 350°F. Now on to the Béchamel sauce….

Béchamel:
You can make the roux with the spices the day before as well if you like and just add the warm milk and eggs on the day of if you like.

5 tbls butter
5 tbls flour
Stir together until creamy then add
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbls sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Stir for at least 4 minutes over medium heat to cook out flour taste. Take off heat. In another pan heat 3 & 1/2 cups milk to simmer but not boiling. Return roux to medium heat and gradually add warm milk while whisking constantly. Now in a small bowl beat

4 eggs

I use a stick blender and blend aprox 1 cup of the hot cream sauce into the beaten eggs. (this keeps the eggs from cooking) now you can add the egg/cream mixture to the rest of the cream sauce and beat more with the stick blender right in the pot. This is your Béchamel.

Now spread 1/3 of your meat sauce over your eggplant and potatoes then sprinkle 1/3 of the below cheese mixture onto the meat sauce.

3/4 cup of grated cave aged cheddar cheese
3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
Mixed together and use in 3 batches

Now make another layer with the remaining sliced and baked eggplant and then top with remaining meat sauce. Now spread your Béchamel onto the top and then sprinkle with another 1/3 of your cheese mixture. Bake the moussaka in oven at 350ºF, for about 30 minutes, or until the cream unevenly gently browns in places. Allow the moussaka to cool for about 30 minutes and then cut it into servings. Garnish with a sprig of Basil and a fresh sprinkle of grated cheese mixture. But be warned this will ruin you forever for all other Moussaka!Special occasion? Try a surprise picnic!

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Blueberry French Toast

Ingredients

12 slices day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 cup fresh blueberries

12 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup water

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 tablespoon butter

Directions

Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange half the bread cubes in the dish, and top with cream cheese cubes. Sprinkle 1 cup blueberries over the cream cheese, and top with remaining bread cubes.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and syrup. Pour over the bread cubes. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the bread cube mixture from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Cover, and bake 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking 25 to 30 minutes, until center is firm and surface is lightly browned.

In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, cook 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the remaining 1 cup blueberries. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, until the blueberries burst. Stir in the butter, and pour over the baked French toast.image

It’s Gumbo time!

  
Gumbo time!

Ingredients

3 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

5 tablespoons margarine

1 large onion, chopped

8 cloves garlic minced

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

3 stalks celery chopped

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, stems and leaves, coarsely chopped, plus chopped leaves for garnish

4 cups hot water

5 beef bouillon cubes

1 (14-ounce can) stewed tomatoes with juice

2 cups frozen sliced okra

4 green onions, sliced, white and green parts

1/2 pound small shrimp, peeled, deveined and cooked
Directions

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and remove. Add the sausage and cook until browned, then remove. Sprinkle the flour over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of margarine and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until brown, about 10 minutes. Let the roux cool.
Return the Dutch oven to low heat and melt the remaining 3 tablespoons margarine. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery and cook for 10 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, to taste and the 1/4 bunch parsley. Cook, while stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Add 4 cups hot water and bouillon cubes, whisking constantly. Add the chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Add tomatoes and okra. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Just before serving add the green onions, shrimp and chopped parsley.
 

 

Seared chicken breast

  

Ingredients4 boneless chicken breast halves with skin

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (thyme, parsley, rosemary) (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil

 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon chicken broth (or water), if needed to thin sauce

Directions

Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it starts to shimmer. Place chicken breasts in skillet skin side down. Sprinkle with fresh herbs. Do not disturb the breasts until the skin side sears, 5 or 6 minutes. Turn chicken.

Cook until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and butter to pan with chicken. Shake pan gently until butter melts and internal temperature of chicken reaches 160 to 165 degrees F, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add a splash of chicken broth or water if sauce needs to be thinned.

Spanish stew

 
  

Ingredients

1 pound beef stew meat

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup chopped Spanish onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

 2 cups chopped red potatoes

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 (12 ounce) jar sofrito

1/2 cup pitted and halved green olives

Directions

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook beef in hot skillet until completely browned, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer beef to a slow cooker, retaining some of the beef drippings in the skillet.

Return skillet to heat and heat the retained drippings. Saute onion and garlic in hot drippings until softened, about 5 minutes; add to beef in slow cooker.

Stir potatoes, diced tomatoes, sofrito, and olives into the beef mixture.

Cook on Low until beef and potatoes are fork-tender, 4 to 5 hours

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

  
Roasted Brussel sprouts ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ingredients

1 pounds Brussels sprouts

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

4 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp lemon juice

salt to taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add the Brussels sprouts and cook for two minutes. Drain well and place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl.

Add the minced garlic, cayenne pepper and olive oil and gently toss to coat. Transfer the Brussels sprouts to a baking pan and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes, shaking pan occasionally, until sprouts are quite brown and crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.

Adjust the taste with more salt if necessary, drizzle with lemon juice, toss to combine and serve.