Thursday, July 22, 2010

Clean Eating Moussaka

A few weeks ago I won Tosca Reno's book The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged on Fit Bottomed Girls. I don't read a lot of diet books, but this one makes a lot of sense. Out with processed foods, white flour, and sugar; in with vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and lean protein. It's a way of eating that appeals to me because, well, I like to eat. 5-6 smaller meals a day instead of 3 large meals? Awesome. It means I'm hardly ever hungry. Summer is a great time to eat like this because of the proliferation of fresh, flavorful fruits and vegetables. If you couldn't tell from my most recent posts, we're eating a lot of eggplant, and last night, Joe requested "something with meat". I had come across this recipe for moussaka and had almost everything on hand except for potatoes and evaporated skim milk.

The last time I ate moussaka was at the local Greek Festival, and it was a tasty, cheesy, greasy mess of eggplant, tomato, beef, and bechamel. This is a very different animal from that moussaka, but it's still delicious. The tomato and ground turkey (or beef, if you prefer) mixture is seasoned with cinnamon, oregano, and bay leaf, which gives it a lot of warmth. This meal takes a while; I started cooking dinner at 4 pm, and we sat down to eat at 6:15. But if this meal is what eating right tastes like then I don't want to be wrong.

Clean Eating Moussaka
source:  Proceed with Caution (originally from Clean Eating Magazine)
Yields 8 servings


2 lbs white potatoes, peeled, left whole
1 lb ground turkey or 12 oz extra-lean ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 t minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
2 cups tomato puree (I pureed fresh tomatoes in a food processor.)
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t oregano
1 bay leaf
olive oil cooking spray
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/3 inch slices.
1 cup low fat sour cream (or greek yogurt)
1/4 c evaporated skim milk
1 egg
2 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 425. Fill a large pot halfway with water, cover and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes, until firm but not fully cooked. Strain and set potatoes aside to cool.

2. While potatoes are cooking, brown meat with onion and garlic in a 2-qt pot over medium heat, breaking up meat into little pieces for about 4-5 minutes, until vegetables are tender and meat is no longer pink. Pour in tomato puree and 1 C water. Mix in cinnamon, pepper, oregano and bay leaf. Lower heat to simmer and cook, covered, 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cover 2 cookie sheets with aluminum foil and mist with cooking spray. Lay eggplant slices on sheet and lightly mist again with cooking spray. Bake in oven about 8 minutes. While eggplant cooks, slice potatoes into 1/4-inch slices. Remove eggplant, transfer to plate, raise oven temperature to 475, re-spray foil and lay potato slices on cookie sheets. Lightly mist potatoes with cooking spray and bake in oven for 8 minutes. Remove. Lower oven temp to 350.

4. Make bechamel sauce: In a separate bowl, mix sour cream, milk and egg until blended; mixture should be thick.

5. Spray a 12x9-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Arrange 1 layer of potatoes in dish, top with layer of eggplant, then pour all of turkey mixture over top. Top again with layer of potatoes and then eggplant. Finish with bechamel. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake in oven for 45 minutes, until set and lightly brown. If not brown, raise temp to 400 and bake for another 5-10 minutes.