Weeknight Gyro Bowls

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Have we shared gyro love stories in the past?  I don’t recall.  But if you are reading this I have a good feeling our taste buds are a match made in heaven…and if that is, in fact, the case, there’s a good chance you have a slight adoration for the gyro sandwich.  Our favorite in our neighborhood comes from this joint.  Yes, my friends, you will arrive at a  gas station.  And you will walk right past the gas pumps and in through those old, worn doors into a convenience store that has a few shotty tables sprinkled in among a a sparse inventory of mediterranean groceries and a kitchen that pumps out some of the best gyros around.  Its a hole-in-the-wall.  A gem.  And our go-to for a majority of the times we eat out with the kids.  It’s my kind of spot, without a doubt.

I don’t make gyros at home because I just can’t compete with theirs.  But this recipe for Weeknight Gyro Bowls gives me the same flavors right in the comfort of my own kitchen.  Aside from the fact that they taste top notch…they’re so very healthful and fast to make.  You’ll get them on the table in way less than 30 minutes, start to finish. Continue reading

Lamb Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Greek Yogurt

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Yum.  Thats all I can say.  This is a favorite in our house…and I have a feeling it could be in yours, too.  The dollop of cool greek yogurt on top compliments the rich lamb and sauce so well.

Lamb Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Greek Yogurt

Adapted from this recipe

Notes:  To make soft breadcrumbs simply crumble sliced bread with your hands until small crumbs form or give it a pulse in your food processor.  I use Ezekiel bread for its sprouted-grain benefits but any bread will do.  Also, the sauce is delicious made with both red or white wine…the red gives it a deeper, more rich flavor and the white will lighten and brighten it up a bit.  I tend to use white in the summer and red in the winter because thats typically what we have on hand.

Ingredients

1/3 cup whole grain soft breadcrumbs

2 Tablespoons Water

1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan

2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Sun Dried Tomatoes

6 Cloves Garlic, grated or pressed

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

1 Pound Ground Lamb

4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Small Onion, diced

1/2 Cup Red or White Wine

1/4 Cup Chicken Stock

15 Ounce Can Petitie Diced Tomatoes

1 Spring Fresh Rosemary

1 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar

Greek Yogurt, for serving

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, for serving

Directions

In a large bowl mix the breadcrumbs and the water together until crumbs are coated.  Add parmesan, sun dried tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper and lamb and mix with your hands until ingredients are just combined.  Use a tablespoon scoop to form the mixture into balls.

In a large skillet or dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add half of the meatballs and cook, turning occasionaly, until browned on all sides, about 4-5 minutes (they do not need to be cooked thru).  Remove from the pan and repeat with the rest of the meatballs.

Drain the grease from the pan and add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining 4 cloves of garlic, turn the heat up to high and add the wine.  Boil for 2 minutes, scraping up the browned meatball bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the chicken stock, tomatoes and rosemary and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Stir in balsamic vinegar, add meatballs back to the pan, cover and cook until meatballs are cooked thru, about 5 minutes.  Remove rosemary stem and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve meatballs over brown rice and top with a dollop of greek yogurt and crushed red pepper flakes, if desired. Serves 4.

Kafta Burgers

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For those of you who do not know, I only have Lebanese blood in my body…therefore, I love food.  I mean, its like peas and carrots, peanut butter and jelly, Cheech and Chong Ernie and Bert…you get my drift.  The Mediterranean food I grew up on was seriously top-notch.  My grandmothers could have, and mother would knock any so-called Lebanese cook flat on their teezo (which is arabic for butt…dont say I never taught you anything) in a cooking competition.  I hold the Lebanese flavors they introduced me to very close to my heart and, unfortunately, I can’t go to mamas for dinner as often as I would like to taste them.

This meal right here folks…my goodness there are no words.  It is all of my favorite Mediterranean flavors in one single dish, so if I need a quick fix it surely hits the nail on the head.  The richness of the lamb, the sweetness of the tomato relish and the cool touch of sourness in the yogurt sauce make one outstanding combination.  These burgers are amazing grilled but, I must remind you, according to the weather it’s still winter around here…so below I have shared my method of oven-roasting the burgers.  They come out absolutely succulent.  Juicy.  Perfect.  We eat these on Ezekiel english muffins but use whichever bread suits your family best.  This is such a healthful, nourishing meal with gobs of protein and a whole lot of real, fresh ingredients.  I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine.

Ingredients:

Burgers:

1 Pound Ground Lamb

1 Small Onion, grated

1/4 Cup Parsley, chopped

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Pepper

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Allspice

4 Ezekiel English Muffins, sliced and lightly toasted

Tomato Relish:

1/2 Pint Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1/4 Cup Red Onion, thinly sliced

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

Yogurt Sauce:

1/2 English Cucumber, seeded and chopped finely

1 Medium Garlic Clove, grated or pressed

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Pepper

1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice

1/4 Teaspoon Dried Mint Flakes

1/8 Teaspoon Dried Dillweed

6 Ounces Greek Yogurt

Directions:

For the Burgers:

Make sure your oven is clean of any crumbs or grease; having your oven at such high heat could cause smoking otherwise.  Preheat oven to 475 and line a baking sheet with foil.  Place a wire cooling rack on top of the foil and spray cooking rack with nonstick cooking spray.  Mix all burger ingredients together in a large bowl and form into four patties.  Place burgers on prepared rack/baking sheet and roast for 18 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes before building burgers.  Prior to roasting, burger patties can be made up to four hours ahead of time, just store in the refrigerator.

For the Tomato Relish:

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and toss well.  Let sit at room temperature until burgers are ready to be built.  Can be made up to 2 hours in advance, just leave out at room temperature.

Yogurt Sauce:

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.  Can be made up to four hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

Place burger on bottom half of the english muffin, top with a large dollop of yogurt sauce and a heaping spoonful of tomato relish and top it with the other half of the muffin.