Grecian Lamb and Tzatziki Grilled Cheese

Lately I have been thinking of grilled cheese sandwiches. The grilled cheese sandwich, just by itself, is pure comfort food. A couple slices of bread, some American cheese, and some butter is all you need to have thoughts of childhood, or to remove any stresses of the day. Two of my kids love the basic grilled cheese sandwich (God forbid that my oldest eat anything with melted cheese), and any time they are undecided what to eat for lunch on any given Saturday or Sunday, I also suggest a grilled cheese. There’s something about the low and slow process that I totally love. There is also something about coming up with new ideas when it comes to cheeses, and other ingredients that, well you know, I totally am all about. With that said, that’s when I decided to some up with a twist on a grilled cheese, and go all out, making what I am calling the Grecian lam and tzatziki grilled cheese.

IT WAS TO DIE FOR.

Grecian Lamb and Tzatziki Grilled Cheese

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 70 g Wisconsin Carr Valley Creama Kasa Cheese, sliced
  • 40 g Wisconsin Black River Blue Cheese, sliced
  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 1 inch slices of rustic French loaf
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 inch ring of red onion
  • 2 tbsp tzatziki sauce

Ingredients for the Tzatziki Sauce:

  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated using a microplane
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper to taste

Make the tzatziki sauce by adding all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl, and stir to combine.

Next, form your lamb into a ball. Season with the salt and pepper.

Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, then add the lamb. Let cook for about 3 minutes, then smash it down with a large spatula. Flatten it like you would a smash burger. Continue to cook for about 2 minutes to get it nice and caramelized.

Flip the patty, and continue to cook an additional three minutes. Add the onion ring, and let the onion gently cook on top of the burger. Remove the lamb patty and place on some paper towel to let any excess fat be removed.

Spread butter, along with 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise onto each slice of bread. Yes, mayonnaise.

Place the bread, butter and mayonnaise side down, on low heat onto a skillet, then layer the blue cheese. Cook for about 5 minutes on low. When the bread becomes lightly golden, add the cooked lamb burger with the onion ring, making sure the center of the onion is removed.

Continue to cook until the bread starts getting a bit darker golden brown.

How to make a Grecian Lamb and Tzatziki Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Add the tzatziki sauce into the center of the onion ring.

Top with the Carr Valley cheese, then add the remaining slice of bread, butter and mayonnaise side up.

Carefully flip, then weight down with a heavy pan, or bacon press.

Continue cooking on low until the bottom side is golden brown, then flip again, press with the bacon weight, and cook until the cheese is nice and melted on both sides.

Now you want to talk about an awesome grilled cheese, then this is the one. Talk about surprises in this sandwich. You get that nice boldness with the lamb, and then the creaminess hits you from the Carr Valley cheese, then a punch from the creamy and melted blue cheese, only to be balanced with the wilted onion and tangy tzatziki sauce. It was extremely difficult to put this down, and to be honest, it only hit the plate one time before I continued to devour it. Hope you enjoy!

Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes

We have been buying Eggo brand chocolate chip pancakes for years now. I have no idea why. My boys stopped eating them a few years ago for whatever reason, but my daughter is still in love with them. I think it is a habit when I go to the store, only to think that we are out of pancakes. This recently just stopped, however, as my coworker was talking about how he batches out a bunch of homemade pancakes every weekend and freezes them. Genius. I was now curious why I never stopped to think about doing that as after all I’ve made pancakes, and homemade waffles in the past. Now it was time to batch these out on a Sunday morning with my son.

This is not only a money saver, but you know what you are putting into the mix, and trust me (sorry Eggo), these are so much better.

Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • cooking spray or additional butter for your skillet
  • chocolate chips or blueberries, optional

Start by adding the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl, and give them a good mix. add the wet ingredients, and slowly stir to incorporate all of the ingredients. It’s OK to have small lumps. Let the mixture rest for about 5 minutes before ladling them onto a hot skillet.

Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes

Spray cooking spray, or use additional butter to lightly lube your skillet.

Ladle on about 1/2 cup of the buttermilk pancake mix onto the skillet. Top with chocolate chips if you desire (the demand was clear from my daughter). Cook for a few minutes, lifting up to check for a nice golden brown. Once golden, flip them over, and cook for another couple of minutes.

Remove, repeat, and serve.

If you are freezing them, lay the cooked pancakes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let cool, then stack them and place in a sealable bag.

When you are wanting to reheat, simply place three on a plate, and place in the microphone for about 60 seconds, or until heated through.

Hope you enjoy!

Instant Oatmeal Granola

Do you have kids that are picky eaters, similar to the ones I have? Well, I have to admit that my kids are getting much better about making decisions when eating, as well as exploring newer options. For example, one kid is totally into raw, and cooked onions at this stage in his life. I’m down with that. Not too long ago my daughter was into exploring other breakfast options, and that’s when I saw a box of instant oatmeal in my pantry. Strawberries and cream to be precise. Let’s just say that was short lived, as after only a couple of packets, she had no interest. AT ALL. That left me with the rest of the box of packets just sitting there. That’s when the idea sparked. How about making instant oatmeal granola?

Instant Oatmeal Granola

At first I thought this may result in a less crunchy granola, and one that might be a bit dry and dusty, but that was simply not the case, and furthermore, my kids loved it!

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 5 packages of instant oatmeal, sifted (I used Strawberries and Cream)
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1 tbsp canola oil

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

Next, add everything to a mixing bowl, with the exception of the powder that gets sifted from the instant oatmeal.

Mix well to incorporate the sugars, oil, and molasses.

Place this onto a lined baking sheet, spreading it evenly out on the sheet.

How to make instant oatmeal granola

Place the tray into the oven and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring about 20 minutes into baking. Cook until the granola is nice and crunchy, then remove and let it cool.

What was awesome about this instant oatmeal granola is that I was able to use up something that my kids probably would have let go to waste, and not only that, but those strawberries in the instant oatmeal really made this granola shine. No joke on that front either. And you know what, my daughter who no longer wanted to eat that oatmeal was shoving fistfuls of this stuff into her mouth as an after school snack!

So if you have packets of instant oatmeal left, give this a shot, just remember to do a quick sift, and you should be all good to go! Hope you enjoy!

Slow Roasted Beef Melt

Do you remember that song by Sir Mix a Lot? You know the one, ‘I like big butts and I cannot lie’? I’m totally with that, and when it comes to making pork butt, or beef rump, I’m all in. There is something about those pieces of meat, where you cook them low and slow, only to get a result of pull about, for tender meat that can go in so many different directions in terms of recipes. With that said, I’m on the ‘purge the freezer and purge the leftovers’ bandwagon lately. I’m tired of all of the price hikes for food lately, and I cannot wait to get our gardens started, but we are not there yet, so we purge.

My latest finding was a rump roast, and it was a great finding because I was craving some sort of Italian beef style sandwich. That’s when I decided to put this sucker in the slow cooker and come up with something the following day. That’s where the slow roasted beef melt came into play.

Slow Roasted Beef Melt

 

First, look at that cheese. I could have just been happy with that alone. But…

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb beef rump roast
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 head of garlic, lightly smashed (papers removed)
  • 2 cups of beef stock
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 1/2 cup black olives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 serrano chili, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 whole bolillo roll, or small baguette, sliced lengthwise

Start by rubbing the salt and pepper all of the beef rump roast. Pour the beef stock into the slow cooker. Add the beef rump and surround that with the smashed garlic cloves.

Cover, and cook for 8-10 hours. I set mine up before I go to bed, so that I have it ready for lunch the following day.

Next, remove the beef from the slow cooker, and strain the stock, pouring it into a sauce pot.

Bring that sauce to a low simmer on the stove.

Slow roasted beef melt

Next, thinly slice the beef. Add a generous sandwich amount to the broth, and continue to simmer as you prepare your sandwich.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Butter each side of the sliced bread, and place into the oven to get a light golden brown, and have it harden just a bit, about 7 minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven, and cover each side with two slices of the provolone cheese. Top that with the serrano chilies and black olives. Return back to the oven for about 4 minutes until the cheese is nice and melted (my favorite part).

Next, remove the cheesy bread from the oven, and with some tongs or forks, add the beef to the top of the bread. Top with the other piece of bread, and lightly press down on it.

Ladle some of the beef stock into a small dipping bowl and dig in.

The great thing about this beef melt is that you get this super tender, garlicky beef, and then that sharpness from the cheese. That in itself is a winning sandwich, but then you get that brininess from the olives and the heat from those chilies. Then you dunk into the beef stock, and that just takes it to a whole new level.

So if you are looking to purge, and have some beef in the freezer, give this one a shot. It was a perfect way to use up my leftover olives and chilies from taco night as well. Hope you enjoy!