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  Greek Celery and Beef Bake
by Carol Herrli, Brodhead

6 cups celery, thinly sliced
3-1/2 Tbsp. oil, divided
1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1-1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1 tsp. oregano leaves, crumbled

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
1-1/2 Tbsp. flour
1-1/2 cups skim milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Parmesan cheese, if desired

   In a large skillet, sauté celery in 1 Tbsp. oil for 3 minutes. Spoon half the celery into the bottom of a 12x8x2-inch casserole; set remaining celery aside. In the same skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. oil. Add beef and onion; sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, 1 tsp. salt, oregano, cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 5 minutes.

   In medium sauce pan, heat remaining 1-1/2 Tbsp. of oil. Blend in flour; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in milk, remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens. In a separate bowl, mix some of the heated sauce mixture with the beaten eggs; return the sauce-egg mixture to the saucepan. Heat over very low heat for 1 minute. DO NOT BOIL. Remove from heat and set aside.

   Spoon beef mixture over the layer of celery in the casserole. Spoon remaining celery around outer edge of casserole dish. Pour cream sauce over all. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, if desired. Bake uncovered, in preheated oven at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Cover lightly with foil and bake 15 minutes longer. Yields 6 to 8 servings.

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