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Archive for October 5th, 2011

Meat on a stick, uh YUM!   Kind of brings you back to the cave man days, but really what a concept!  Kabobs, Satays, and now Keftas!  Kefta is a Middle Eastern specialty – a spicy ground meat mixture that is formed around a skewer and then grilled.  Works For Us!  Serve it with Tzatziki – double Yum!

Adapted from ATCO Blue Flame

Kefta

12 Bamboo skewers
1 lb lean ground beef (you can also use ground lamb)
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (omit if you don’t like)
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika (or regular if you don’t have smoked)
1/2 tsp oregano, dried
1/4 tsp ginger

Always soak your bamboo skewers in water at least 30 minutes before using. TIP: you can usually buy bamboo skewers at your dollar store! Stock up!

Combine beef with remaining ingredients (cilantro thru ginger). Divide into 12 portions. To prepare Kefta, shape each portion around the pointed end of a pre soaked bamboo skewer, forming a sausage shaped log – about 3 inches long.

Grill Kefta on your BBQ or indoor grill pan over medium heat turning occassionally until browned and completely cooked – 10 minutes.

Once cooked you can eat it on the stick as is, with dips or even put it into a pita (greek style) with your favourite fixins. Another idea would be to put it in a wrap. Enjoy!

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Crockpot or Slowcooker?  You will see I can not decide which term to use in this post.  Either way in the photo of the casserole I have not included the bread crumb Topping.  Sometimes they like it…other times they don’t. And so this time it was grated cheese as the Topper of choice.

Slow Cooker recipes are all the rage again. Everywhere you look there are slowcooker recipes showing up left, right and centre. Even Rachael Ray, a confessed non crockpot fan has been presenting crockpot recipes on her show the past 2 years (perhaps ratings were low?).

In August 2011 many people became aware of the Crockin Girls, (formally Crockpot Girls) a couple of Southern ladies who decided to team up, create a page on Facebook and share some of their crockpot recipes. What they didn’t plan on was getting over 1 million followers in a matter of weeks! Who knew there was such a void in the market for crockpot recipes.

As for me – I am happy to see the explosion of slowcooker recipes since I’ve been using mine for the last 20 years and love the variety of recipes to try and of course dinner ready at the end of a long day.

Here is one that 3/4 Bakers enjoy.  Think of this as a healthy (no additives) slowcooker hamburger helper. You can use any ground meat you want…I’ve tried both ground beef and chicken.

Adapted from The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes

Crockpot Cheesy Hamburger Casserole

1-2 tbsp oil
1-1.5 lb ground meat
1 onion, diced
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp (each) seasoning salt and pepper
1/2-1 cup beef broth (change to chicken if using ground chicken or turkey)
1 cup tomato sauce
4oz cream cheese softened, cut into cubes
1 pkg egg noodles, cooked just to al dente and buttered
Pam

Topping
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
2 tbsp butter, melted
Mix all topping ingredients together and set aside

Get Busy
In a saucepan heat your oil and cook your ground meat until nicely browned. Set aside.

In same saucepan cook your onions and celery adding another drop of oil as necessary. Cook until softened. Add garlic, mustard, oregano, salt, pepper and cook for about 1 minute stirring continuously.  Then add in your beef broth and tomato sauce stirring until blended.  Add in your cream cheese and stir until melted.

Now you are ready to assemble your meal. Spray your slow cooker with Pam. Spoon in approx. 1 cup of cooked ground meat spreading all over bottom. Add a layer of cooked noodles and then some sauce. Repeat until all ingredients used, finishing with the sauce.

Now alternately you can pour all the meat on the bottom, spread all the noodles on top and then pour the sauce all over (covering entirely) the noodles.  Both ways work.

Turn on low.  In my slowcooker this meal is done in 3-4 hours.

Your topping (if using) goes on the last 30 minutes of cooking (or until bubbling), just to melt the cheese a little. During this time you can drink some wine and ask your partner to make a salad!  Enjoy.

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