Tuesday, October 23, 2007

tonight's recipe

alright, well if it will get me blogging a bit more regularly - i'll post some of the recipes that i've tried over the last little while, starting with tonight's dinner.

now, fair warning, i am NOT a super health conscious cook. i make what i like, when i want, and don't pay too much attention to what is all in it. if i had to choose a "diet" i would go more low-carb, but not necessarily low-fat. i'll note any changes i made in the instructions, but other than that, whatever you do is totally up to you. i'll also let you know what the verdict was from the men on the recipe that i post.

first up:

Meaty Moussaka - Everyday with Rachel Ray mag, Sept 2007
4 servings, prep 30 minutes, bake 45 minutes

4 tbsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper
1 -8oz can tomato sauce
2 large eggs
2 tbsp flour
1 cup whole milk
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese

Preheat oven to 350. In large skillet, heat 2 tbsp butter over med-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add beef and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Add the tomato sauce and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 3-5 minutes. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs and set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over med-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking often, until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the milk until thickened. Lower the heat to med and stir in the cream cheese and ricotta; season with salt and pepper. Whisk on-quarter of the cheese sauce into the reserved eggs until smooth. Whisk the egg mixture into the cheese sauce in the saucepan.
Pour the sauce over the meat in the baking dish and spread evenly. Bake until the top is lightly browned and firm to the touch, 40 - 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes; cut into squares to serve.

Make ahead tips from Rachel- Chill: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To reheat, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes, uncover and bake for 10 minutes more. Freeze: Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 4 months. To reheat, discard plastic, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours, uncover and bake 15 minutes more.

*Ok, so this is what I basically did, with the following exceptions:

Because i don't always follow directions well, and because i figured, heck, i have a whole tub of ricotta, and an 8 oz pkg of cream cheeese, lets just double the whole thing. So i did. There is now an extra meal in the freezer ready to pop in the oven on one of our crazy nights. Instead of a square pan i used 2 rectangular ones. So thinner layers. Whatever. It needs a good amount of salt to season (i don't generally add salt to anything, so that is a good indicator) i'm thinking 2-3 tsp of salt for 3 pounds of the meat mixture. When i made the cheese sauce, apparently i forgot all about the eggs. Goes to show you what happens when i'm trying to get dinner made in the midst of the mayhem of my children emptying the dishwasher and falling all over themselves to talk to me at the same time. Oh yes, and 2% milk instead of homo. But all in all, this was super. We had it with a green salad with Italian Parmesan and Herb dressing (Safeway brand, if you haven't had it, you gotta - its great!) No, there isn't any pasta. Or rice. But if you added a nice ziti or penne to this between the meat and the sauce layers you'd get Pastitsio. Another great dish. But we didn't miss the carbs at all. I also threw in a bit of Epicure spice Hummus mix. It needed a little something and that was just enough to make it great!

Rating? 2 thumbs up all the way around the table. So one full recipe in a rectangular 9x13" pan netted us: 3 helpings for dh, 2 helpings for ds#1, 1 helping for both ds#2 and myself, and a leftover corner for dh to take tomorrow. It doubled beautifully, and as I said earlier, I now have 2 dinners in the time of one! Gotta love that if nothing else!

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