I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think that I should just move my bed into the kitchen. It’s my most favourite room in the house and I cherish the time that I get to spend in there and cook a delicious meal for my family or just me and Alfie. Pottering about and experimenting in the kitchen is one of my favourite weekend pastimes. Home cooked food seems to be quite a luxury in todays fast paced society, so indulging my creative side in the kitchen always feels special.
Home cooked food always to me, screams big family dinners full of laughter and playful conversation and food that has been cooked with love. When I was younger we used to go on big family holidays, parents, siblings and aunts and uncles in tow. One of my favourite big family holidays was to Crete, where I got to experience lots of incredible home cooked goodness.
Whilst on our travels around this Greek gem I had my very first taste of that Greek classic moussaka, a layered aubergine and lamb mince dish topped with a creamy cheese sauce. The topping is typically made using flour and milk to make a white sauce and then grated cheese is stirred in to make a rich sauce. After investigating a couple of recipes I came up with my own healthier version of this classic dish.
- 500g of mince meat (I used veal mince)
- 1 onion diced
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 400g of tinned tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. tomato puree
- 2 courgettes diced
- 2 aubergines
- 2 tsps of dried oregano
- 2 tsps of fresh tarragon
- 2 tsp of pimento
- 2 tsp of cinnamon
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups of Greek yoghurt (I used Total 0% fat)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tsp of nutmeg
- 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Slice the aubergines long ways into strips roughly 0.5 cm in thickness. Brush them with oil and grill them using a skillet pan, alternatively you can roast or fry them.
- Next cook the onion in a pan until softened and add in the garlic. Cook for a further 2 minutes before adding the mince meat. Allow the meat to cook through before adding the tomatoes, tomato puree herbs and spices. Mix well and simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to combine. Meanwhile, prepare the cheese sauce by mixing together the eggs Greek yoghurt, lemon juice, nutmeg and Parmesan cheese.
- When the meat filling is ready start to layer the aubergines and meat filling in a pie dish. Starting with and finishing with a layer of aubergines. Pour the cheese sauce on top to cover the last layer of aubergines. Sprinkle more grated Parmesan cheese on top if desired. Bake in the oven for at least 40 minutes or until golden brown on top.
- Serve piping hot!
Using Greek yoghurt based cheese sauce definitely makes this dish a lot lighter than its flour based counterpart. Surprisingly, the Greek yogurt bakes really well in the oven and creates a lovely creamy sauce to top those layers of tasty chargrilled aubergine and the sweet tomato mince. Also, the addition of oregano and fresh tarragon add a lovely flavour.
This is hearty enough to be served with just a side salad to create a fabulous main meal. It also goes great with baby potatoes and salad if you want to ‘man-it-up’ a little bit.
Seriously good! So much so that I often found myself in eating it straight from the fridge with a spoon, ‘cos I’m classy like that. =)
Packed full of veggies, protein and a fantastically healthy and delicious cheese sauce, this is a far cry from the mousakka from my holidays. However, it tastes incredible and I think it stands up well against most original recipes.
Tell me about your favourite family holiday – Where did you go? What did you eat?
Do you like re-creating ‘holiday’ foods at home?