Nori Veggie Snacks

These are an easy, handheld snack that my kids love.

And the best part is that they are so nutritious.  The nori provides some iodine, the veggies provide a ton of antioxidants, vitamins and other minerals.

They are a little fiddly and messy to make, but the results are SO worth it!

These make a great lunch box filler, or a hand-held snack at any time.

You do need a dehydrator to make these.

Because these contain bell peppers and sundried tomatoes, they are an AIP stage 4 reintroduction.

When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Nori Veggie Snacks

makes aprox 36

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  • 12 Nori sheets – cut into ⅓ lengthwise
  • 8oz sunflower seeds
  • 8oz pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes – drained if in oil
  • 1 red bell pepper – seeds removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 beet – peeled and grated
  • 1 carrot – peeled and grated
  • 4 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 5 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sundried tomatoes, pepper, beet, garlic and cayenne in a food processor.  Blend while gradually adding the water until it forms a smooth paste.  You may need more or less water depending on how juicy your veggies are.

Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Avoid using too much salt as it will become more concentrated when dehydrated, and you do not want it to be too salty.

Transfer the paste to a small ziplock bag.  Press out as much air as possible and seal.  Now snip off one corner to turn it into a piping bag.  You want to be able to pipe out lines of the paste that are about ¼-½ inch thick.

Lay a strip of nori on the counter, shiny side down.  Spritz it with a little water using a spray bottle.

Pipe a line of the veggie paste down the center of the nori.  Roll the nori around the filling, spraying with a little more water if necessary.  Press the edges of the slightly dampened seaweed together to seal.

Repeat this with all of the other nori sheets.

Place your nori veggie snacks on a dehydrator tray and dry overnight (I set the temperature of mine to 52°C/125°F).

When they are ready, they should be firm and dried out, and the nori should be crisp.

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Allow to cool and store in an airtight container until needed.

Shared at Mostly Homemade Monday #79

Shared at  Hearth a Soul Hop

Shared at Fat Tuesday May 6 2014

Shared at Tasty Tuesdays Link Party #59

Shared at Gluten Free Friday #90

Shared at Fight Back Friday May 9th

Oven Baked Meatballs

I love meatballs!  And this is my favourite way of cooking them:

This is an AIP stage 4 reintroduction recipe as it contains tomatoes in the marinara sauce.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Oven Baked Meatballs

serves 6

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  • 2lb ground beef – preferably grassfed
  • 1lb ground pork – preferably pastured
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 onion  – finely chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups pre-made marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.

Place both types of ground beef in a large bowl.

Grind the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar and add to the bowl.  Add all the dried herbs, the garlic and onion powder and the chopped onion.

Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Mix well.  This is easiest done with your hands.

Now roll the mixture into small balls.  I like to make them about the same size as a golf ball.

Place the meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven for around 30 minutes until they are browned and cooked through.

Now transfer the cooked meatballs to a glass baking dish.

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Ladle over 2-3 cups of marinara sauce.

Bake the meatballs in the oven for a further 20 minutes until it is all bubbly.

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Serve over cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash or zoodles.

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Shared at Hearth and Soul Hop

Basic Marinara Sauce

There are so many uses for a basic marinara sauce.

You can use it to cover meatballs.  You can use it to top a pizza.  You can use it on top of chicken breasts to make a chicken parm.  I use it all the time to make eggplant parm.  You can even use it to dress faux pasta noodles (I love it over zoodles!)

This is my “go to” recipe for a marinara sauce:

Because this recipe is made from tomatoes, which are a nightshade, this recipe is an AIP stage 4 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Basic Marinara Sauce

makes aprox 3 cups

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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion – finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 1 796ml (28floz) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup bone broth (I usually use chicken bone broth)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ½ dried thyme
  • ½ dried oregano
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large pan, heat the olive oil over a low heat (there is no reason to avoid using olive oil for cooking – see this post and this post.  It has a fairly high smoke point, and cooking with it does not damage the nutritional value of the oil in any way.  Also it does NOT turn it into a trans fat when used for cooking.  The only thing that heating olive oil may do is affect the flavour!)

Add the onion and garlic and cook gently until the onion has softened and is starting to look translucent.  Do not allow it to burn or brown – burned onions and garlic will give your finished sauce a very bitter flavour!

Now add the can of crushed tomatoes and use the bone broth to rinse out the can.  Add the bone broth and the can-rinsings to the pan.

Now add the basil and balsamic vinegar and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Simmer gently over a low heat for 30-45 minutes until the sauce is thick and rich.

Use as needed in recipes, or cool and store.  This will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche

As I have mentioned is several other posts, crustless quiche make great lunchbox fillers.  They are also very tasty for a light evening meal or even for breakfast.

This particular one is vegetarian, but it is not vegan because it does contain some cheese for added protein.  This also means that while it is gluten free, it is not dairy free.  I tend to make this quiche on the days when I know I won’t be needing lunch as I cannot eat it.

This recipe is an AIP stage 4 reintroduction as it contains cheese.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche

serves 6

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  • 2 onions – chopped
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or other fat of choice
  • 6oz mushrooms – sliced
  • 283g (10oz) bag of baby spinach – washed
  • 12 eggs – beaten
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 4oz cheddar cheese – grated

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°¼½¾F.

Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet and add the onions.  Cook over a medium heat, stirring often until they are tender and golden brown in colour.  Add in the sliced mushrooms and cook until tender.  Add the washed spinach, and toss until it is wilted

Transfer the contents of the skillet to a bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the coconut milk, salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg.

Mix the egg mixture with the spinach mixture and transfer to a circular 9″ diameter baking tin.  I use a silicone one for ease of removal.

Sprinkle over the grated cheese taking care to spread it evenly over the surface.

Bake the quiche in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the egg is set and the cheese is starting to brown.

Cool in the tin before cutting into portions.

Serve warm or cold.

Shared at Gluten-Free Wednesdays 5-14-14

Beef Taco Muffins

These are a popular lunch box filler in our house.  They would also be great for a picnic or a snack.  And I guess you could also eat them for a lighter evening meal with a salad as well.  They are good both cold and hot right out of the oven.

My family all love spicy food, so these are a little spicy.  I am sad that I cannot eat them (chilli is a nightshade and is banned on the AIP), but then again, I also cannot eat eggs either…  If you don’t eat chilli or don’t like spice, you can easily leave it out or reduce the amount to your taste.

You cannot leave out the eggs however.

Nightshade spices such as chilli are an AIP stage 4 reintroduction.  Eggs are a stage 2 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Beef Taco Muffins

makes around 18 small muffins

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  • 1lb ground beef (preferably grass-fed)
  • 1 tbsp fat of choice (I used coconut oil)
  • ½ onion – pulsed until finely chopped in the food processor
  • 8 mushrooms – pulsed until finely chopped in the food processor
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp sea salt salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 8 eggs – beaten
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 1 cup grated cheese (optional)

First of all you need to make your taco meat.  Place the ground beef in a skillet and brown, stirring it often.

Remove and allow any excess fat to drain.  Melt the coconut oil in the skillet, and add the onion and mushrooms.  Cook gently for 5 minutes or so until the onion is softened.  Return the ground beef to the skillet and add all the spices, herbs and other seasonings.  Toss well for 5 minutes until everything is well mixed and heated through.

Turn the ground meat into a large bowl.

Now you need to wilt the spinach (I use the same skillet and just toss it with the water that clings to the leaves after washing it).  Once it is wilted, chop the spinach finely and add to the bowl along with the beef.

Add the eggs, coconut flour and almond flour and mix everything well.

Pour the batter into muffin cups (I like silicone ones), filling each one ¾ full.  Don’t overfill them or the mixture will run everywhere making a mess on the base of your oven!

Top each muffin with a little grated cheese if using (this is not a paleo option, it is more primal, but it does taste good).

Bake in a preheated 190°C/375°F oven for 20-30 minutes until set and the tops are browned.

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Cool on a wire rack and store in the fridge.

Paleo Homemade Spicy Ketchup

Hubby and the girls all love ketchup.  They will slather it on almost anything.  (sadly I can’t eat it as it contains nightshades – tomatoes and spices, that are not part of the AIP protocol.

I still make ketchup for those who can eat it though.  They eat it for breakfast, as part of a packed lunch (to dip sausage or chicken nuggets etc), and it goes well with most evening recipes as well.  We go through quite a lot of this stuff!

This is my most common “go-to” ketchup recipe.

It has a good tomatoey flavour, but a spiciness that hubby and the girls love.  And the best bit is that there is no sugar at all.

This is an AIP stage 4 reintroduction recipe.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Homemade Spicy Ketchup (Paleo)

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  • 2 x 156ml (5.5 fl oz) cans of 100% tomato paste
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅔ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • pinch of allspice
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

This is a very simple recipe.  You just put all the ingredients in a pan together and whisk until it comes to the boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes until thick.

Cool and pack in a jar.

Keeps well in the fridge.

Pork and Coconut Curry

I have said it many times, but I LOVE curries.  And when the weather turns cold, nothing beats them for dinner.

It has been particually cold and snowy here in Calgary, so I decided that I was gong to make a curry for dinner.

A quick rummage in the freezer produced some pork shoulder that I diced up, and a further rummage in the pantry produced some coconut milk.  The coconut milk I use is the Aroy-D brand which contains nothing but coconut and water…  when buying canned coconut milk, you really do need to read the labels – many of them contain “dodgy” ingredients – things like carageenan and guar gum, both of which have been shown to irritate the lining of the intestines.

This curry is cooked in the slow-cooker, which makes it ideal to come home to after a long day at work.  But even if you are home all day, the long slow cooking tenderizes the meat wonderfully, and the spices will fill the house with the delicious smell of curry as it cooks.

This is a a spicy curry, but not overly so.  If you don’t like spice, just reduce the amount of curry powder you add, and cut the jalapeno down to ½ or leave it out entirely.  Of course if you are even more of a spice monster than I am, you could even consider adding 2 Jalapenos or even leaving the seeds in.  Or use hotter chilli peppers….

Because this contains chilli which is a nightshade, this is an AIP stage 4 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Pork and Coconut Curry

serves 6

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  • 3lb pork shoulder – diced into 1″ cubes
  • 1 400ml can of coconut milk
  • 1 156ml/5.5 fl oz can of tomato paste (read the labels and try to find one that is nothing but pure tomato.  I actually use a no-frills one for this reason)
  • 5 cloves of garlic (you can never have too much garlic – especially in the winter as it helps ward off colds and the flu!)
  • 1″ piece of fresh root ginger – peeled and chopped (again, ginger helps ward off colds and the flu.  It is also anti-inflamatory)
  • 6 tbsp curry powder
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 jalapeno chilli pepper – seeded and chopped
  • 1 small onion – chopped
  • 2 bell peppers – seeded and diced.  Use whatever colours you happen to have – mine were red.
  • 8oz mushrooms – halved or cut into quarters depending on the size
  • ½ cup of bone broth

Dice the pork into aprox 1″ cubes, trimming off any excess fat and gristle.

Mix the coconut milk, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, spices and broth to give a creamy mixture.

Place the pork, onion, peppers and mushroom in the slow-cooker and pour over the coconut milk mixture.  Mix well.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

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Serve with coconut “rice”.

I also served some of my homemade chutney and a raita for those who wanted them.

Elk Osso Bucco

First of all, I apologize for not posting for a while….  life got a little crazy round here in Salixisme-land…

Being a massage therapist, I have to do a certain amount of “continuing education” (ie training courses).  Over the last weekend, this was what I was doing.

I did a fire-cupping course on both Saturday and Sunday and now I can offer cupping-massages, or even just use the cupping as part of my normal massages (it is fantastic for trigger-point release). It was a fun weekend…  nothing like playing with fire!

In addition to this, it was our wedding anniversary.  So on Saturday evening, we visited Charcut in downtown Calgary (more on that in another post).  It was a wonderful meal and I ate far too much!  And C had her first ever parade with the Roundup band on Saturday as well.  She was performing at the Santa-claus parade in Fort Mcleod.

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Yesterday I was at work, and considering all the snow that Calgary has been having over the last 2 days, it was a long day.  And on my way home, I experienced the scariest bus ride of my life!  There was so much snow and the roads had not been cleared and there were buses sliding all over the place, loads of accidents and buses getting stuck everywhere…  And the traffic was really slow due to the road-conditions, so my normal 45 minute commute took over 2 hours.  NOT FUN!  By the time I finally got home, I was bitterly cold and I was not in the mood to write a post at all.  All  wanted to do was to collapse in a hot bath with a glass of wine!

Anyhow, back to the recipe:

I love elk meat, and being a lean, wild meat, it is perfectly Paleo.  We don’t eat a lot of it, but when we get the chance to go to the Calgary Farmers Market, we always make sure to visit the Wapiti Ways stand and buy some elk (usually stew meat, liver and hearts).  The last time we were there, he pointed out some sliced elk shanks, and mentioned that they would be perfect for long, slow cooking (most elk is so lean that it needs to be cooked quickly or it becomes tough and inedible).

As soon as I saw the elk shanks, I was thinking “Osso Bucco”…  and that is what I made with this wonderful meat.

This recipe contains tomatoes which are an AIP stage 4 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Elk Osso Bucco

serves 6

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  • 6 thick slices of elk shank (mine were around 1″ thick), bone in
  • coconut oil to sautee
  • 4 rashers of bacon – chopped (we use pastured bacon that we get from Spraggs Meat Shop)
  • 2 onions – peeled and chopped
  • 4 carrots – peeled and chopped
  • 4 sticks of celery – chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 4 tomatoes – diced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bottle of dry red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro – diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley – diced
  • olive oil

First of all you need to sear the elk in a hot pan with a little coconut oil added.  Cook for 1 minute per side until golden brown.  Remove the elk and place it to one side.

Add the chopped bacon to the pan and cook over a medium heat until the fat runs and the bacon is starting to crip.  Add the onion and 2 cloves of garlic and cook over a gentle heat until the onion is translucent.  Add in the carrots and celery, and then add the thyme, bay leaf, lemon juice and pour in the entire bottle of red wine.  Add the tomatoes and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender and the wine is reduced by at least half.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Nestle the elk shanks on top of the veggies and cook, covered, over a low heat for 1½ – 2 hours until the elk is tender but not falling apart.  Turn or baste the elk every  ½ hour.

While the elk is cooking, place the cilantro, parsley and 4 cloves of garlic in a food processor along with the lemon zest and a glug of olive oil.  Pulse until coarsely chopped to make a gremolata.

Serve the elk with mashed vegetables (I used mashed rutabaga) and greens and spoon over the gravy and some of the veggies.

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Sprinkle the gremolata over and serve at once.

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Just look at that wonderful bone marrow in there!

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When I scooped it out and ate it, it was rich, creamy and delicious!  And the elk shanks themselves were perfectly cooked and very tasty.

Spicy BBQ Sauce

I love BBQ sauce with pork…  actually, I love BBQ sauce with all meats!  This is the sauce that I made to go with some pork ribs that I cooked last night for dinner.

It is tangy and spicy, with just the right about of heat to complement the ribs.  This recipe is a little more complicated than the previous BBQ sauce I posted, and it has a much more balanced spicy flavour.  Because dates are used to sweeten the sauce and I used coconut aminos, it is also both Paleo and Whole30 compliant.

Because none of us really like our ribs sticky, I cooked them with a dry-rub and then served the sauce on the side.

This is a stage 4 reintroduction as it contains nightshade spices and tomatoes.

Spicy BBQ Sauce

makes 3 cups

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  • ¼ cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 small onion – chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 1 small can (156ml/5.5 fl oz) tomato paste (read the labels to ensure that there are no extra ingredients.  The one I used is just pure tomato paste)
  • 1 can (796ml/28 oz) diced tomatoes. (again, read labels – you want nothing but tomatoes and tomato juice in your can)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp mustard powder
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos (if not eating paleo/doing a Whole30, you could substitute soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1″ piece fresh root ginger – peeled and chopped
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp hot chilli powder
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – chopped

Soak the dates in the boiling water for an hour to soften them.

Place all the ingredients in the food processor and puree until smooth.

Transfer the contents of the food processor to a pan and simmer gently for around an hour until the sauce is thick and the colour has darkened.

Either use right away, or transfer to a jar in the fridge.

This sauce gets better and better on being stored in the fridge.  It will keep up to 2 weeks.

Use anywhere that you would normally use a BBQ sauce

Paleo Moussaka

This is a lovely dish that is baked in the oven.  Moussaka is a greek dish, and pairs really well with a greek salad.

Most moussaka is not paleo – at the very least, it is primal because it includes cheese in the topping.

In this case, I wanted to make a paleo version because I react badly to dairy, so I replaced the cheese with nutritional yeast.

It is a little time-consuming to prepare, and this is the reason I tend to save this for the weekends.  This is definately not something I would want to attempt after a long day at work unless we wanted to eat very late…

The eggplant and tomatoes in this recipe makes it a stage 4 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Paleo Moussaka

serves 6

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  • 2 large eggplants – cut into thin slices
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1 large bunch of kale  – stalks trimmed off
  • 1 796ml can diced tomatoes (read labels to ensure that your tomatoes contain nothing but tomatoes and tomato juice)
  • 1 large onion – chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 750g ground lamb (if you have no ground lamb you could substitute ground beef)
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast (if not paleo you could substitute grated Parmesan cheese)
  • coconut oil for sauteeing

Salting the eggplant does not reduce the bitterness contrary to what a lot of people think.  Most modern eggplants are not all that bitter to start with.  But what it does do is reduce the amount of oil that the slices of eggplant soak up, and that results in a less-greasy dish in the end.

To salt your eggplants, simply sprinkle the slices with a little salt and place them in a colander and allow to drain for 30 minutes.  Then rinse off the salt and pat them dry.  I like to lay them out on a tea-cloth.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in a heavy skillet and add several slices of eggplant.  Saute the slices, turning as necessary until golden brown and soft.  Remove the eggplant to a plate and repeat until all the slices have been cooked.  Set the eggplant to one side.

Boil the kale in water for 5 minutes until tender.  Puree the kale with the canned tomatoes and bone broth in a food processor.

Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic.  Cook over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes until the onion starts to soften.  Add the ground beef and cook, stirring until the meat is browned – aprox. 5 minutes.  Now add all the spices and herbs except for the nutmeg, the contents of the food processor and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes until the sauce is thick.  Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary with salt and black pepper.

While the sauce is cooking, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Whisk the eggs, coconut milk, nutmeg and nutritional yeast together and set aside.

Once the sauce is cooked, use half the eggplant slices to line the base of a square baking dish.  Top with half the meat sauce, and then repeat the layer with the remaining eggplant and sauce.  Pour the egg and coconut milk mixture over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes until the topping has set and is a golden brown colour.  Allow to rest for 20 minutes before serving.

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I served this with a greek salad (tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, olives and feta cheese) for most of the family, and I had a similar salad but without the feta cheese.

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