Before we had two kids and all of the responsibility that comes along with them, my husband and I spent most of our free time traveling to far away places. We were obsessed with seeing new places and learning about other cultures. Without fail, as soon as a new destination came up in a conversation my first questions was always “What do they eat there?” John was excited about the local sights but I was more concerned with experiencing the local food.
Our daughter has without a doubt inherited our love of adventure. No vacation can be booked until she has taken an online tour of the hotel. She begs to ride on airplanes just for the sake of being on an airplane. Whenever we have a free Saturday she asks if we can go to the airport and just take an airplane somewhere, anywhere. This year for her seventh birthday she told me she wanted to go to EPCOT at Walt Disney World and spend the day visiting every country and doing “whatever it is they do there”. How I love this child’s spirit!
Aside from being a budding world traveler, my daughter is also the world’s pickiest eater. She has never failed to detect the slightest change in a recipe, then resolutely refuse to eat it. She can tell the difference in the brand of Parmesan cheese the I grate over her plain pasta without ever knowing I’d even been to the store and purchased anything. Do you know how insanely frustrating this is for a food blogger?
Then it dawned on me. Maybe I could use her love of travel as a way to entice her to try new foods. I must say, that was a brilliant idea. We started out by selecting a country then we talked about it for a few days. Pinterest has been a huge help because of the vast number of travel links and stunning photos. Those get her hooked every time. Then I picked a family friendly dish that matches the location. Not only is she more willing to try the new foods, but she’s learning too! I can’t believe it took me this long to come up with this idea!
So what did we eat? Last week we tried this wonderful Irish Coddle as we discussed Ireland. This week I chose easy Moussaka to go along with Greece. This Macedonian version of Moussaka is really just a beef and potato casserole. It’s a warm and hearty meal that’s perfect for the whole family. There aren’t any strange ingredients or unfamiliar flavors – it’s a simple recipe that almost anyone could make from things they already have on hand. The thinly sliced potatoes layered on top get just the right amount of crispiness under the broiler, which is just how I like it by the way. We all loved this moussaka recipe, and really, who can refuse a good casserole, no matter what it’s origin? And for all of you with food allergies like us, this lovely recipe is gluten free and dairy free.
If you’d like to try something similar with your own family, I have a Pinterest Board for that! I’m pinning a few resources about each country along with the recipe we used to match the location. Just click here to Follow my Travel the World Through Food Board!
Easy Moussaka Recipe
1 Tablespoon canola oil plus more for baking dish
1 medium mild onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
2-3 teaspoons paprika (I used 2 because of my picky eaters)
salt and pepper to taste
4 large potatoes, cleaned and thinly sliced into rounds
2 1/4 cups milk or almond milk
3 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 375 degreees.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
3. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes, or until onion is slightly translucent and soft. Add garlic and cook 30 more seconds.
4. Add ground beef and paprika to pan. Continue cooking until beef is no longer pink, breaking up large pieces with a wooden spoon. Drain away excess fat.
5. Coat a 13 x 9 baking dish with canola oil. Cover the bottom of the dish with a single layer of potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Spoon beef mixture evenly over potatoes.
7. Cover beef with another layer of potatoes. Sprinkle this layer with salt and pepper to taste.
8. Whisk together the milk and eggs in a separate bowl. Pour evenly over the top of the casserole.
9. Cover the baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the paper/foil and continue cooking for 25 – 30 more minutes.
10. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting into pieces for serving.
Recipe originally posted on Diethood.
You may also like: