This was a really wonderful meal. There was a lot of hard work that was put into this meal but it was well worth the time!
I made another pilgrimage to Whole Foods. Seriously, we need one in Northwest Indiana. The organic sections at the grocery stores around this area are pretty bad. That aside, you don’t need to drive all the way to Chicago to make a fresh, healthy meal. It’s a decision that I’ve made for myself. It’s also part of the goal of the Greek eating project: to eat as many healthy, organic, unprocessed foods as possible.
This meal should be made when you have some time and patience to spend cooking. It makes a TON of food! Pete had his usual meal right after it was cooked and I had a bite of his meal. We didn’t read all the directions before we started making this dish. Make this dish early in the day if you don’t want to eat your dinner at 9pm at night…which is the only reason I only had one bite. If I eat a meal before bed then I’ll be up all night.
This made a lot of leftovers. We had enough food for 11 meals of leftovers. I had 6 lunches out of this and Pete had 5 dinners out of this. We got 12 servings out of this. It’s great for a family of two or three to take for leftovers during the week or would also make a great dish for a larger-sized family meal.
This meal has two main components: the meat filling and the bechamel sauce.
Here are the ingredients we used for the meat filling broken up into organic and non-organic categories and the name of the store from where they were purchased from:
1. Ground beef–Costco
2. Purple onion–Whole Foods
3. Tomatoes–Whole Foods
4. Goat cheese–Whole Foods (this was super smooth by the way)
5. Eggs (Costco)
1. Olive oil–Costco
2. Pastitsio noodles (we used manicotti noodles)–Whole Foods
3. Allspice–Molly Beas in Chesterton, Indiana
Here are the ingredients we used for the bechamel sauce broken up into organic and non-organic categories and the name of the store where they were purchased from:
1. 2% milk–Whole Foods
1. Corn flour–Whole Foods
2. Parmesean Cheese–Costco
The corn flour was very hard to find. One advantage to shopping at Whole Foods is that they have a lot of ingredients that can be harder to find around here. Whole Foods did not have an organic version of the corn flour. I wound up using manicotti noodles and layering the dish with those. I wasn’t able to find pastitsio noodles anywhere. The manicotti noodles were perfect. After boiling them we were able to break them open into a smaller sized lasagna noodle. They were perfect for layering.
The recipe says to put a layer of meat filling down first in the baking pan. We thought that might be messy for serving purposes so we put added an extra layer of noodles and used the first layer at the bottom of the pan instead of using the meat filling first.
A note from the chef (my fiance Pete): “Don’t forget the allspice! Seriously, don’t! The ingredients for the meat filling are listed both with the dish and with the meat filling itself under sauces. Unfortunately, the list of ingredients listed with the main dish accidentally left the allspice off, so it would be easy to overlook it when preparing the meat sauce. As that flavor is one of the distinctive flavors of the dish, you don’t want it to be missing!”
Well put chef! Very well put. He is right! As I was typing the ingredient list for you to read, I realized that I forgot to include allspice until I made my quote. So, seriously DO NOT forget the allspice…like I just did!
Keep an eye out for next week’s meal! We’re going lacto-vegetarian with Meatless Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers and ALL of the produce we got for this meal is organic! Lacto means there is some cheese in this dish.
If you like what you are reading and want to try out the recipes, check the inspirational person and cookbook creator for The Greek Eating Project at: http://www.greekcooking.info/about.html. Eating my way and cooking Pete’s way through Anna O’Brien’s cookbook has been an adventure!