Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ground Beef Kebabs with Creamy Dill and Feta Sauce

Towards the close of summer, our school year ends. We break at the peak of seasonal enjoyment. The mornings are cooler, so gentle strolls out to water the garden seem to take a bit longer, as children pick and savor little tommytoes, or help me coddle and coo at the butternut squash...no nasty heat to blast our morning to rot.

My level of contentment seems to rise, also. Cooking seems less a necessity. I spend a lot more time around the stove or counter, tinkering away at new recipes. To wrap up my sentiment toward this time of year, I just plain old LOVE fall.

This recipe came from 1) my boredom with ground beef, 2) an excess amount defrosting in my fridge, and 3) my children love anything on a skewer.

I gave the meat mixture a Mediterranean flare, but you could add any of your favorite seasonings or veggies to make it your own. Also, this meal was as kid friendly as I could make it. If I were dining alone, I would include marinated artichoke hearts, stuffed olives, and maybe some stuffed grape leaves along with.

Ground Beef Kebabs with Creamy Dill and Feta Sauce

For Kebabs
8 wooden skewers, soaked in water at least 10 minutes
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp dried oregano, or 1/2 tsp fresh oregano minced
1/4 tsp onion powder, or 1/4 of an onion, grated
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, divided into small wedges and separated a little (or any other veggies that you might want to add to your skewers)

For Dill and Feta Sauce
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/8 tsp dried dill
1 to 2 tsp water

Heat your indoor or outdoor grill to medium high and spread a little vegetable oil on the grates, especially if you are using very lean meat like I did. Mix ground beef with garlic, cinnamon, oregano, onion, salt, and pepper. Using about 1/4 to 1/3 amount of the meat mixture, form a loose ball in your palm and then wrap that around a segment of skewer. Tuck a small onion wedge on each end and one in between your next meat mixture.

Place the kebabs on the grill and let cook for about 6-8 minutes on each side. Give a little extra sprinkle of salt and pepper on the top, for extra flavor. Be sure to rotate them so that all edges cook on the grill surface. Don't be too hasty to move them about, but rather let them alone so they get lots of toasty marks on all sides.

Once removed, let sit for a few minutes while you assemble a few accompaniments. Mix the sour cream, feta, and dill to make your sauce. Add enough water so that your sauce can be spooned and delivered onto your plates easily. I served our meal with pita bread, that I grilled for a few seconds on each side, and some chopped tomatoes. You can fill the pita with the meat and onions, adding a dollop of sauce and some tomatoes, or you can eat them separately. Little Harry enjoyed dipping everything, not so neatly, in the sauce.

Mangia Bene!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Grilled Pimento Cheese

Sandwich time again! I L-O-V-E pimento cheese. Never did I think to grill it, though. Let me just say, it is heaven.

I didn't measure, really, so I have just included the ingredients.

Grilled Pimento Cheese

1 small jar of pimentos
8oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
real mayo
3 green olives, chopped
a fistful of chopped ham
butter or olive oil for pan

Combine pimentos, cheese, olives, and ham. Add enough mayo to mixture to make it stick together and creamy enough to smooth onto a slice of bread easily. Snuggle two slices of bread with the cheese. Spread a small amount of butter on each outer slice or spray with olive oil. Grill until golden brown on each side and the cheese starts oozing out around the edges.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our Summer

To play a bit of catch up, here is a pictorial view of our very hot summer.

My father grew blackberries the size of small children (who readily consumed abnormal amounts on every visit).

(here Cohen shows off one of the BOOS -blackberries of obese size)

The children graduated from their respective grades.

( here they show off their favorite subjects from the year. Ashton- 4th grade graduate, favorite subject: Grammar; Keaton- 2nd grade graduate, favorite subject: Math; Cohen- 1st year PreK graduate, favorite subject: Numbers)

Ashton turned double digits.

(happy with her new ipod)

(10 years old!)

My awesome kids. My, how they grew this summer....

(Pictured from left to right: Ashton, Keaton, Harry, and Cohen)

Lots of suffocating, heat-filled days meant many trips to the creek and surrounding lakes.

(my little water bugs)

We got a puppy! But, hey, you already knew that!

(Layla, 4 month old bundle of cuteness.)

And lastly, beautiful amounts of cuddles, dancing, singing, playing, running, bike riding, puppet shows, and the like.

(here Cohen puts on a Pooh theater show for us)

At every moment-- every cry, laugh, scream-- I found within an incomparable peace. It makes those miserable days of putrid heat so worth it. I hope you all, also, were able to find enjoyment with the little things.

May God bless and keep you safe!


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