Fabulous five: oven dishes

I love making oven dishes for my family. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • They fit in my busy schedule. You can often assemble the dish in advance, store it in your fridge or freezer, and warm and crisp it up in the oven when you want to eat it. This means I often make multiple oven dishes in the weekend which can be warmed up after a busy day in the office.
  • They are healthy. For my oven dishes I use lots of fresh veg and homemade sauces. All I do is warm the ingredients up. Oven baking a dish filled with fresh ingredient, in my mind, is a lot better than a microwaving or frying instant meals.
  • They are easy to prepare. Once your oven dish has been made, any family member that knows how the oven works can prepare dinner. While the dish cooks in the oven, we have time to relax or play, or the rest of the family can drive home from work.

These are our family favorites:

  1. Traditional lasagna with bolognese sauce and a bechamel and crusty top
  2. Moussaka – our tasty vegetarian version
  3. Spinache lasagnespinach
  4. Gnocchi bake
  5. Shepards pie – I like using leftovers from a stew and covering this with a layer of mashed potatoes.


Spinach, egg and mushroom lasagne

This one of those vegetarian dishes which my family just loves. It is so full of flavour and different textures that everybody feels satisfied after eating this green lasagne.

spinach2Unlike a traditional lasagne, there is no need for endless simmering to create a rich sauce. This sauce is made by simply mixing the right ingredients. You might never have tried using egg in a lasagne before, but I can promise you it is a perfect match with the ingredients in this dish. It also helps you get you protein intake for the day.

Like an oven bake, I like to make this dish a day or two in advance. This helps me stay organised with our busy schedules.

If you are an avid meat lover you could easily add bacon cubes or pancetta to the mushroom mix.

Spinach, egg and mushroom lasagne (3 portions)

  • 300 grams of spinach (sliced and frozen, or stir fried and finely sliced)
  • 250 grams of (button) mushrooms
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
  • 500 grams of “kwark” (replace with cottage cheese and/or creme fraiche)
  • 120 grams of grated cheese
  • 3 eggs, hardboiled
  • lasagne sheets, about 150 grams
  • oven dish of 25 by 35 cm, or a similar size


  1. Fry your onions, mushrooms and garlic until brown and soft.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the spinach, mushroom mix, half of the “kwark” and half of the cheese.
  3. Season the filling with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
  4. Now you are ready to make your layers:
  5. A layer of filling, topped with lasagne sheets.
  6. Top the sheets with more filling and your sliced egg. Season your egg and top with lasagne sheets.
  7. Another layer of filling, topped with lasagne sheets.
  8. For your final layer. Mix half of the leftover cheese with your kwark and season. Spread this mix over the lasagne sheets.
  9. Top your bake of with a sprinkling of grated cheese.
  10. Now your lasagne is ready for the oven, or for your fridge.
  11. Bake in the oven at 220 degrees C for 30 minutes.

Find my favorite oven bakes here.

My mighty Moussaka

One of my favorite restaurants to visit is a Greek restaurant. I love the Mediterranean spices, and the hint of the orient. It is one of the few types of restaurant where I can choose tasty freshly grilled meats as well as seafood, or a jummy slow cooked lamb stew. I am also partial to their yummy yoghurt sauce, tzatziki!

I have always loved Greece’s answer to the lasagna: the moussaka! Recently it occurred to me that I could easily turn this recipe into a vegetarian dish. My meat loving husband was nearly finished with his dinner when he realized there was no meat in his food. He had enjoyed the texture and flavor too much to notice what was missing.

On the practical side of things, this recipe has plenty of upsides too. I made the actual dish a day in advance. The next day I baked the moussaka, which made for a nice fuss free evening for me and my toddler. This dish will definitely be on a family favorite list for a while.



  • Sauce:
    • 1 tin of depuy lentils ( 310 gram )
    • 1 tin of diced tomatoes ( 400 gram )
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 2 tsp thyme
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 1 tsp mint
    • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 3 tbsp of olive oil
    • 1 large union, diced
    • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
    • 1 glass of white wine
    • Half cube of vegetable stock
  • 1 aubergine in slices
  • 3 medium large potatoes
  • Topping (you substitute this with bechamel sauce, this is my lazy cheat version):
    • 2 tbsp cream cheese
    • 1 tub of cottage cheese ( 200 gram )
  • 150 gram of grated cheese

You will need an ovenproof dish, I used one of  27 by 18 cm.

  1. Before you do anything else. Boil your potatoes until they are soft.
  2. Prepare the sauce;
    • Fry your union in some olive oil until soft.
    • Stir in the garlic, paprika, cumin and thyme. Add the wine and let it simmer for a few minutes.
    • Stir in the rest of the sauce ingredients.
    • Bring the sauce to a light simmer. Leave it to simmer for about an hour.
  3. While the sauce is simmering, prepare your other ingredients;
    • Slice the aubergine length ways. Drizzle the slices with olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper. Fry the slices in a griddle pan on each side.
    • Let your potatoes cool, then slice them.
    • Wilt the spinach down in some oil in a really hot pan. Let the spinach cool and slice it roughly. The spinach needs to cool in a collinder now. Drain as much of moisture out as you possibly can.
    • Mix your topping ingredients.
  4. When all your components are ready, you can layer your moussaka in an oven proof dish:
    • One layer of sauce
    • One layer of spinach
    • One layer of potatoe slices, don’t forget to season these.
    • One layer of sauce
    • One layer of aubergine
    • Spread out your topping
    • Sprinkle with the grated cheese
    • Season with some freshly ground pepper
  5. (You can keep the dish overnight before this step) Bake the moussaka in a 220 degree C oven for about 30 minutes until bubbly and golden.
  6. Let your moussaka stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Pea Puff Pies

This is a recipe that I invented in order to finish our leftovers. Feel free to use any form of leftover vegetables and meat for this recipe. I have also made similar pies using cauliflower, broccoli, spring union or asparagus.

You can also make a delicious vegetarian version by replacing the meat with some tasty nuts or maybe a stronger cheese.

I serve these pies in individual ramekins, this way I can accommodate everyone’s busy schedule. But you could easily make one large pie, just increase your cooking time slightly so the pie is cooked and warm in the middle.

These pies are a simplified version of a soufflé. The egg makes them puff up beautifully and creates a light texture. The measurements below are an indication. Feel free to adjust them to your taste. Add more egg for more rise and a more “eggy” flavor.

This recipe only needs stirring and measurements are not crucial so you could easily make these together with your toddler. For more toddler cooking tips, read this post.

For a simple dinner, serve your Pea Puff Pies with some HP sauce and a tasty salad. You could make these pies as a starter, especially if you use a more fancy vegetable like asperagus.


Pea Puff Pies (for 4 small pies)

  • 150 gram of mashed potato
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 100 grams of grated cheese (keep some aside for on the top)
  • 100 grams of shredded chicken
  • 150 gram of peas (or any other veg you like)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Simply warm mix your ingredients and spoon the batter into the greased ramekins. Sprinkle some cheese on top.

After preparing your pies you can keep them for a few days in the fridge until you are ready to eat them.

Bake your pies in a 220 degrees C oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until puffed up and golden.