Sunday, February 13, 2011

Greek Eggplant and Chicken Casserole

There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the recipes that we will prepare, eat, and ultimately present on the Blog.  Will it be interesting enough?  How difficult is it going to be to make? What type meat, or poultry or seafood will we use? How will it taste?  How will it photograph? What is the PointsPlus value?  And, how large are the servings?

It seems the perfect recipe would be for a dish that could take us, metaphorically, to an interesting and exotic local, was moderately easy to make, tasted fantastic, looked fabulous on the plate, had a relatively low PointsPlus value and offered large healthy portions.

Opa!!!  Judy has discovered that perfect recipe.  This is a slimmed down version of that high-fat Greek favorite, Moussaka. Chicken is used as a substitute to the more traditional Lamb or Beef, and the Béchamel sauce has been replaced by a zesty tomato based one.  The PointsPlus value is ridiculously low allowing you to have seconds, with absolutely no guilt! And, as the picture demonstrates, it looks as good as it tastes.  It would be very easy to eat this dish every single day. It simply has everything going for it.

From our kitchen to yours.  Enjoy the adventure.


Greek Eggplant and Chicken Casserole
3 sprays Cooking spray

2 medium Eggplant, raw, peeled and cut into ¼ inch pieces

¾ tsp Salt

1 pound extra lean Ground Chicken breast

1 cup Onion, sliced

2 cloves Garlic, minced

2 Tbsp Parsley, fresh, chopped

1/3 tsp dried Parsley

1/3 tsp Chives, dried

1/3 tsp Tarragon, dried

¼ tsp Cinnamon, ground

¼ tsp Nutmeg, ground

½ tsp Salt

½ tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground

28 oz canned Diced Tomatoes

2 Tbsp canned Tomato Paste

6 oz SoyaKaas Grated Parmesan Style Soy cheese, about ¾ cup. You can use regular Parmesan as a substitute but check the PointsPlus value.


Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Place Eggplant slices on paper towels and sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon of Salt; let it stand 20 minutes to draw out moisture.

Meanwhile, coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray; set the pan over medium-high heat. Add Chicken; Cook until browned, breaking up the meat as it cooks, about 5 minutes.  Add Onions and Garlic and cook, stirring often, until Onion is soft, about 3 minutes more.  Add fresh Parsley, dried Herbs, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and ½ teaspoon each of Salt and pepper; Stir to coat.  Cook until Herbs and Spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add Tomatoes and Tomato Paste; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside.

Off heat, coat surface of same skillet with cooking spray; set pan over medium-high heat. Wipe salt from the Eggplant slices with a paper towel and place the Eggplant in the hot skillet. Cook, until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.

Arrange half the Eggplant slices on the bottom of the prepared baking pan to cover. Top the Eggplant with the chicken mixture; Top with ¼ cup of the grated topping.

Bake until top is golden brown and the filling is hot, about 45 minutes.  Let it stand 10 minutes before slicing into 8 pieces and serving.

Yields 8 servings. PointsPlus value per serving is 3. Prep time is 25 minutes. Cooking time is 75 minutes. Level of difficulty is Moderate.

Weight Watchers and PointsPlus are registered trademarks of Weight Watchers Intl. Inc.

Recipes shown may not be exactly the same as those found on any website. Judy and I tend to "tweak" each recipe we feature, to some degree, incorporating our own unique tastes and ideas. PointsPlus values, however, are accurate. 

Photo by Barry Baruh

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