Moussaka: Mediterranean shepherd’s pie

TRADITIONAL FLAVOUR IN ONE TASTY DISH

If you’re tired of the same old recipes for dinner, you’ll love this spin on the classic shepherd’s pie. A mouthwatering combination of eggplant, ground beef and béchamel makes this dish a meal the whole family will enjoy. Pop this platter into the oven for a quick Mediterranean meal any night of the week. The best part is you’ll likely have leftovers for the next day!

Moussaka: Mediterranean Shepherd's Pie | Sheknows.ca

Moussaka

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggplants
  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Béchamel sauce:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Wash the eggplants, and slice them into 1- to 2-inch slices.
  3. Place the eggplant slices onto a greased baking sheet, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden, flipping them over after 10 minutes. Remove the eggplants from the oven, place them on cooling rack, and lower the heat to 350 degrees F.
  5. In a Dutch oven, sauté the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the ground meat along with the cinnamon, basil, salt and pepper. Once the meat is browned, add the tomato sauce and wine. Reduce heat, and allow the sauce to simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. In a saucepan, add the butter and flour. Using a whisk, cook the mixture for 5 minutes on medium heat before adding the milk and cheese. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat while continuing to whisk as the sauce thickens.
  7. In a greased casserole dish, place half the eggplants to create a layer (think lasagna). Spread the meat sauce over the eggplants to form another even layer. Add another layer of eggplant, and top it off by pouring the béchamel sauce, covering it completely.
  8. Bake for 1 hour.

More Greek recipes

Kopanisti: Feta and red pepper dip
Chicken soup: Avgolemono
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http://www.sheknows.ca/food/articles/961227/moussaka-recipe

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Recipe revamp: Pastitsio… or Greek lasagna

SAVOURY GOODNESS IN EVERY SERVING

Tired of the same old recipes for dinner? Switch things up with this Greek version of lasagna. Forgo the tomatoes for this one — béchamel sauce goes a long way in this meaty casserole.

Pastitsio: Greek lasagna | Sheknows.ca

Traditionally the Greek version blends a bit of tomato sauce into the ground meat mixture. But for this recipe, we’re going the Cypriot route and omitting the tomato.

Pastitsio

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Greek macaroni pasta (or penne if you don’t have a Greek market nearby)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 litre warmed homogenized milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup Greek Mizithra (or Romano) cheese, grated
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • Salt, pepper and cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large pot, pour the chicken stock, and add enough water to boil the pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, but keep the water-chicken stock mixture, and set it aside.
  3. Mix together the pasta, 2/3 cup of olive oil and half a cup of grated cheese. Spread in a smooth layer into a casserole dish.
  4. In a pot or Dutch oven on medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté the onions until translucent (about 2 minutes), then add the parsley, ground meat and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Brown the meat thoroughly, then turn off the heat. Spread a layer of the meat mixture on top of the pasta.
  6. In a separate pot on medium to high heat, add the butter. Once melted, add the flour, and whisk for a couple of minutes. Next, stir in the milk and egg. Pour in 2 cups of the chicken stock, and whisk the sauce until it begins to boil. Lower the heat, add half a cup of cheese, and continue to whisk until the béchamel is thick and creamy. If needed, add more flour to thicken it.
  7. When the sauce is thick enough that it sticks to your whisk, remove it from heat, and pour it over the meat in the casserole dish in a smooth layer. Garnish with cinnamon, and place in the oven for 45 minutes.

More pasta recipes

Recipe revamp: Pasta salad
Meatless Monday: Super-greens pesto pasta
Creamy orzo with peas and asparagus

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http://www.sheknows.ca/food/articles/961241/pastitsio-greek-lasagna-recipe

New Year’s resolutions made easy

KEEP YOUR WORD IN 2014

Resolutions don’t typically work, because making drastic changes are a set-up for failure. Small changes over time are the way to go, so we’ve reworked those so-called resolutions to make sure they last all the year through.

New year resolution to-do notes | Sheknows.ca

Can’t lose weight?

Get off the treadmill! Fitness expert Jim Karas says that if weight loss is your long-term goal, then there is only one way to achieve it, and that is with strength training. Incorporate a workout regimen likecalisthenics into your routine, and introduce weights into the program for more of a challenge. If you weren’t a gym member in 2013, you won’t need to be in 2014 — your body and a few dumbbells are all you need.

Eat like the Greeks
Apple | Sheknows.ca

They invented the alphabet and democracy, and they also created a healthy way to eat. A Mediterranean diet consists of mostly plant-based foods, fish and poultry, uses olive oil rather than butter and favours herbs and spices over salt for flavouring. The Mayo Clinic reports that an analysis of over 1.5 million healthy adults maintained that a Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of heart disease and cancer-related deaths in addition to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. You’ll look and feel like a goddess in no time!

TIP

Track your progress by monitoring what you’re ingesting with a food journal, and tape it to the fridge.

Be cheap

Saving seems nearly impossible with all the expenses that add up, but skip out on that latte at least once a week, and put that money in a jar. Save your receipts, see where your money is going, and assess where you can make cuts. But best of all, plan out your spending with a budget. Financial guru Dave Ramsey says, “Spend every dime on paper before the month begins.” You’ll have a clear idea of where every dollar needs to go and realize there might be a little left over for your rainy-day fund.

Get social (and save a life)

Not online, but the old-fashioned way — surround yourself with friends and family. Make it a point to spend time with those who matter to you. According to Scientific American, the health benefits of social relationships and increased contact with loved ones include a decreased risk of death in young women with breast cancer. So stop saying you should hang out, and have Siri block off a day and time in the ol’ iPhone.

Become a frequent flyerRoad map | Sheknows.ca

Make like George Clooney in Up in the Air, and start earning travel rewards by travelling. The excuse of no money, while valid, is still just an excuse. Don’t wait for the right time, because there will always be a reason not to do something. So start packing, because your vacation awaits thanks to SheKnows’ thrifty travel tips. But first, head to the bank, open up a savings account specifically for travel, and arrange for a portion of your paycheque to automatically be deposited.

Turn off the TV

Have you been PVR’ing a show just because you’ve been a fan forever, but you’re not really into it? Give up one show, and gain 30 to 60 minutes each week. The more time spent in front of a screen means less physical activity, which increases your chances of becoming overweight and developing type 2 diabetes. A recent study found that those who watched more than two hours of TV a day ate more (and usually not carrots, but the other C-word: chips and other processed snacks). The average Canadian spends 30 hours a week watching TV, which makes cutting back to 29.5 entirely doable.

Try something new

The unknown can be daunting, but once you commit to an idea, you’re halfway there. Been meaning to try yoga but just can’t muster up the courage to attend in all your spandex glory? Then buy a DVD, and sweat it out from the comfort of your home. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” Jefferson sounds much like a yogi to us.

Volunteering decreases depression

Spend time helping others, and reduce your risk of depression. Volunteering keeps you social and interacting with others while developing a strong support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you fall upon tough times, say the experts at helpguide.org. Go on down to your local soup kitchen, animal shelter or retirement community, and see how you can lend your skills and be of service. Better yet, grab a friend or the whole family, and band together to do good.

Reading equals more brain power

Maybe you can’t get away right now, but you can go on an imaginary journey. Read your way to an exotic location. Draw a bath, light a few candles, and escape from the every day. Not only does reading do wonders to calm the mind, but researchers claim it helps to preserve those brain cells and memory into old age.

Mandatory date nightRose | Sheknows.ca

Perhaps you once scoffed at the idea of having to make time for each other, but with the kids’ after-school programs and weekend activities, once a week is unrealistic. The first Friday of every month (or any day of the week that’s convenient for you) is now your designated date night. Go with your partner to a new restaurant in the city, and enjoy alone time, talking about adult things with your spouse.

We would like to wish you all the best for the coming year, and hope this list helps you be bold and get noticed in 2014.

More ways to be bold in 2014

Your get-ahead plan at work
New tricks to try in the bedroom

Simple ways to show your love

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http://www.sheknows.ca/home-and-living/articles/961119/sensible-new-years-resolutions

Chicken soup: Avgolemono

A WHOLESOME GREEK SOUP

A twist on the classic chicken soup, this traditional egg-lemon-based soup is a village favourite in the Mediterranean.

Chicken soup avgolemono | Sheknows.ca

Avgolemono

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 2- to 4-pound whole chicken
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 cup arborio rice or orzo
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 peeled garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper

Directions:

  1. In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat, and add the onions, cooking them until they are clear, approximately 5 minutes. Set aside until later.
  2. In a large pot, place the chicken, and cover it entirely with water. Add the carrots, bay leaf, celery and garlic clove. Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Skim the top as needed.
  3. When the chicken is cooked through — approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour — remove everything from the broth. Let the chicken cool before separating the meat from the bones and shredding it.
  4. Add the rice (or orzo) to the broth, bring it to a boil, and then let it simmer until al dente. Add the onions into the broth, with more water if need be.
  5. In a small bowl, beat together the lemon juice and eggs. Pour 2 cups of broth slowly into the bowl, whisking continuously to avoid cooking the eggs. Once all the broth has been added, pour the mixture into the pot of broth, and stir well. Sprinkle in salt and pepper while blending all together.

NOTE:

Traditionally this soup is served without the chicken, but feel free to toss it back in. Or turn it into another meal, and make club sandwiches.

More chicken recipes

Roasted chicken recipe
Indian food: Butter chicken recipe
Recipe revamp: Sloppy Joes

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http://www.sheknows.ca/food/articles/961117/chicken-soup-avgolemono-recipe 

Rising Canadian star: Q & A with Jordan Hayes

HOLLYWOOD’S NEXT SWEETHEART

Jordan Hayes as Doctor Sarah Jordan | Sheknows.ca

It’s perfectly fitting that my sit-down with Jordan Hayes is featured in this month’s Alpha Woman issue, because the born and raised Montrealer is bold and definitely getting noticed in 2014.

The Canadian beauty has guest starred on hits like Being EricaNikitaFlashpoint and many more. And now her breakout role as Dr. Sarah Jordan has her shining opposite Billy Campbell in Helix. The sci-fi series is about scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who travel to the Arctic to investigate the possibility of an epidemic.

Helix is helmed by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and Steven Maeda (LostCSI: MiamiThe X-Files), among others. The first 15 minutes of the pilot were released earlier this week in the lead-up to its two-episode premiere on Friday, Jan. 10 at 10 p.m. EST on Showcase. And the ever-humble Ms. Hayes let SheKnows pick her brain about it all.

SheKnows: How did you feel when you got the call confirming you got the part?

Jordan Hayes: I was at a yoga retreat in Lake Tahoe when I found out… I had been in a very zen state of mind from all the yoga. But when I found out I got the part, I almost peed my pants. I called my mom right away, and she started crying. Then I started crying. Then we both laughed and screamed.

SK: Did you think you had gotten the role when you first auditioned?

JH: I had just moved from Montreal to LA about two months before I auditioned for Helix. When I got the breakdown, I had a conversation with my friend. I told him, “I’m not sure I should even audition. It means moving back to Montreal for five months, and I just moved here!” To which he quickly replied, “Slow down. You don’t have the part. You haven’t even auditioned.” (laughs) I just had a feeling that I was going to get this one. It’s a rare feeling. And moving back to Montreal turned out to be one of the best things in my life. I love this city.

SK: What a coincidence that your character’s last name is the same as your first name! If you could change your name to anything, what would it be?

JH: It’s funny. People would get confused on-set and never know what to call me. I think some of the crew may think my real name is Sarah. Growing up, I was self-conscious about my name, because people would always think I was a guy. But I’ve grown to love my name. I would never change it.

SK: There are some complicated-sounding diseases out there. Was it tough learning the “doc talk” lingo?

JH: Personally, I loved the challenge of the dialogue in this series. Memorizing the lines wasn’t that difficult for me. The difficult part was understanding exactly what I was saying. It was important for me to have a very clear understanding of the science I was referring to. Luckily I have a brother who majored in anatomy and cell biology. There were several nights where I would be up late with him, going through his old text books. Thankfully he was very patient with me!

SK: Would Jordan Hayes make a good doctor?

JH: My first year in college, I was in a pre-med type program. In a way I was on a path to doing something in the scientific world. However, after my first year, I transferred to the theatre program. I’m not sure if I would have made a good doctor, but I always had an appreciation for science and math in school.

SK: In an interview, you described Sarah as an overachiever. Is the same true for you?

JH: I think we’re very similar in that regard. I’ve always been ambitious. To give you an example, I grew up playing soccer. It was my life. When I was 10 years old, I was asked to play on a boy’s team. The league said girls could not play on boys’ teams. My mom took them to court, won, and I was the only girl playing in a AAA boys league from the ages of 13 to 16. Sarah wants to prove her worth — that’s definitely something I can relate to.

SK: What was the best part of working on this series for you?

JH: The best part of working on this series was getting to come back to Montreal. It really is the greatest city in the world. The other best part of working on this series was the crew. Montreal has the best film crews I’ve ever seen.

SK: What are you working on now?

JH: I just directed my second short film, Ten Speed. At the moment I’m knee deep in the editing process. It’s a short film that I wrote myself, and I’m very proud of it. I’m lucky enough to have the most amazing friends ever, who help me whenever I say, “Hey, guys! Let’s make a short film!”

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Photo courtesy of IMDB

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