Croatian Musaka

Many years ago I received a Moosewood restaurant cookbook as a going away gift when I was switching jobs. This is THE recipe that I’ve made over and over again from that book. Like many recipes I’ve modified it, but only slightly. The key to this dish, in my opinion, is the feta. I’ve posted before about a local establishment, Big John’s PFI, where I buy lots of stuff but the most important to me is their cheese selection. It’s the only place I’ve found that has real Greek feta, both sheep, goat, and sheep/goat. It’s amazing and is what makes this musaka wonderful. Also, I have made this with firm tofu instead of mushrooms (I have a friend who is allergic); it turned out just a delicious. Enjoy!

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Croatian Musaka

  • 2 large yellow or sweet onions, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil
  • 2 Tsp dried dill
  • 1 Tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 Tsp ground black pepper
  • 2-4 yellow summer squash or zucchini, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tbsp cold water
  • 3 cups Greek feta, crumbled
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 Tsp ground black pepper
  • 2/3 lbs lasagne noodles
  • 2 28oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp paprika

Directions

In a large pot, I like my Le Creuset Dutch Oven , saute the onions in 3 Tbsp of vegetable oil until translucent. Add the mushroom and saute for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently. Mix the wine, tamari, herbs, salt and pepper; add to the onion and mushrooms. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the mushrooms are brown and have released their juices.

While the mushroom/onion mix is simmering pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. Take the sliced squash and put them in a medium bowl with the olive oil. Toss to coat the squash and put them on a cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove the mushroom mix from the heat and add in the cornstarch/water mix. Return to the heat for a few minutes, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens.

In a medium bowl lightly beat the eggs. Add the crumbled feta and 1/4 Tsp pepper.

assemble the musaka. Coat the bottom of a rectangle pan, 13″x9″, with a thin layer of tomato sauce. Put down a layer of lasagna noodles. Cover with another thin layer of tomato sauce. Add 1/2 of the mushroom mix and a layer of the squash. Add another thin layer of tomato sauce, another layer of noodles, more tomato sauce, the rest of the mushroom mix and top with the feta mixtures.

Sprinkle with paprika and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Allow to set for 20 minutes before serving.

 

Gorgonzola Scalloped Potatoes

Growing up with had scalloped potatoes, or gratin potatoes, frequently. Unfortunately most of the time they came out of a box. This recipe is based on one I got out of Cooking Lite but again I’ve “modified” it somewhat. Bumped the amount of gorgonzola up (which btw I prefer Italian Gorgonzola as it’s a little milder and creamier) and added some cheddar cheese as well. I think it’s delicious.

And you may gather based on this post and the previous bbq meatloaf post, with them being back to back, that they were made together. So like the meatloaf, you’re getting a pic of what was left after I dished it up.

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Gorgonzola Scalloped Potatoes

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme*
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 6 oz gorgonzola cheese (cut in chunks or use crumbles)
  • 5 oz cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 lbs of potatoes (more or less)⍡
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

In a heavy bottomed pot, once again I like my Le Creuset Dutch oven, melt the butter. Add in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, the idea here is to cook out the flour flavor. Add in the thyme, stirring quickly; expect it to “pop” as it’s fresh. Now add the milk in a slow and steady stream, stirring constantly. The idea here it to do it smoothly so the flour/butter mix doesn’t lump up. Once all the milk is in cook for another 3 or 4 minutes until it starts to thicken up. Add the gorgonzola and stir until mostly melted. Then add the cheddar and again stir until melted. Take off the heat, add salt and pepper to taste.

Potatoes. OK here you have 2 choices. I like to make this and put it in ramekins, that way I can freeze a couple for future use. Or you can use a larger baking dish and just make 1 large serving. If I go small ramekins then I’ll get the small yellow new potatoes. If I go large, then the larger new potatoes or Yukon potatoes. Either way you’re going to want to spray the dish(s) with non-stick cooking spray. Now slice the potatoes in 1/8 inch slices. Here I have a Cuisinart food processor with a slicing blade. It’s super easy.

Place a layer of potatoes in the bottom of your dish, cover with the cheese mixture. Repeat until you’ve used all the potatoes and cheese mixture. Sprinkle the top with the grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake in a 375 degree oven, covered with foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, for 30 minutes. Remove the covering and bake for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. How will you know? Poke the middle with a sharp knife and if it slides in easily they’re done, if it take some effort they’re not and bake a little longer.

*I tried this recipe with dried thyme and it just doesn’t taste the same to I highly recommend using fresh.

⍡The amount of potatoes will vary depending on the size and number of potatoes. But is it really a bad thing to have extra potatoes on hand? So buy more than you think you’ll need. Another trick I use, I cook up a big batch of potatoes, mash them, and then freeze them in ziplock bags. Makes it super easy to nuke them in the microwave later.

Quick Chipotle Chili

My future sister-in-law brought this healthy recipe to my attention. I really like it because it’s vegan/vegetarian friendly, all you have to do it leave out the chicken, add an additional can of beans, and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

As usual, I did make some modifications. When I first made it with the recipe it came out way to watery for my tastes. I like my chili a little on the thick side.

It’s pretty quick too. Pre-cook the chicken and it’ll take about 30 minutes. I like to make this in my Instant Pot. You can sauté the veggies in it and them program it to slow cook for however long you need. I can start this first thing in the morning and have it ready for dinner by the time I get home.

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Chipotle Chile

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 or so minced cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 2 chipotles in adobo, chopped*
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 chicken breast, shredded (leave out to make vegetarian)
  • 2 (15-ounce) can beans, rinsed and drained (your choice of type, I like black and pinto)
  • 1 (15-once) can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6-ounce) can of tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, poblano and bell pepper and sauté for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft. Add in the garlic and chipotles in adobo and sauté for another minute, stirring occasionally.

Add in the rest of the ingredients, stir it together, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue simmering for another 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy!

*Why the asterisk? Chipotles are a tricky thing, you never know how hot they’ll be. So if you’re heat sensitive then you might want to start out with just one. If it’s not enough then you can add another. Or add additional Ancho chili powder.