Grill out (or in) for July 4th dinner

jo_kebab_plate_foodhoe.blogspot.comWhat are you making for 4th of July dinner? To me, it’s a grilling kind of holiday again so I’ll be making lamb kofta with homemade tzatziki sauce.

If you’re not familiar, kofta are balls of minced or ground meat, mixed with spices and/or onions. I make them and serve them in pitas with a tzatziki sauce—with some grilled veggies like bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms to make a rather “gyro like” meal. The Greek tzatziki, a cucumber sauce made from plain yogurt, cucumber, lemon, garlic, dill is delicious on the meat!

    Lamb Kofta


    1 lb ground lamb (could use a combination of beef and pork if you would rather)
    2 t Greek seasoning (Cavender’s is great!)
    ¼ cup chopped onion
    ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
    2 T finely chopped fresh mint
    ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
    1 T olive oil
    pita bread, optional (for serving)

    Soak bamboo skewers in water at least 15 min. Place lamb, Greek seasoning, onion, cilantro, mint, and yogurt in medium bowl. Combine gently, but thoroughly, and divide into 8 balls. Shape each ball into a long sausage shape and slide skewers through center lengthwise. Flatten slightly and refrigerate. Prepare grill. Brush koftas with olive oil and cook over hot coals about 10 min, turning to brown all sides. Serve with pita bread and tzatziki sauce.

    Perfect Tzatziki Sauce


    About 2-3 cups plain fat free yogurt, drained overnight
    1 cucumber, seeded & chunked- sprinkle with kosher salt & drain in colander (over a bowl) in refrigerator overnight
    about 1-1/2 T lemon juice (to taste)
    dried dill- about 1/2-1t
    1/2 – 1 t minced garlic
    salt & pepper to taste

    Put fully drained cucumber, lemon juice, dill, and garlic in a food processor and process until just slightly chunky (you can pour off a bit of the liquid if there is a lot). Mix with drained yogurt and add salt & pepper to taste. Let flavors blend at least a few hours in the refrigerator before serving.

I was asked if it’s vaguely un-American to serve Greek food on the 4th of July, but I don’t think so (we are a melting pot, after all—and the kofta sure are tasty!). But, if you’re more of a traditionalist and want a burger this weekend, I recommend making Rachel Ray’s Turkey Cheeseburgers with Beer-B-Q Sauce. I made them last week and they turned out delicious. I used extra lean 93/7 ground turkey but with the additions included in the burger, they were still really moist and tender!

Note: I wanted to grill the turkey burgers but a tornado warning squashed that plan. Since the recipe called for stovetop so that’s how I did them and they were still delicious (maybe a good option for any of you who might be having hurricane conditions this weekend?).

I did cut the recipe in half and it made 7 slider size burgers (2-1/4 lbs for 6 burgers would make GIGANTIC burgers, so something to keep in mind depending on how hungry you are). However, I didn’t cut the sauce in half, just the burgers. Now Ihave leftover Beer-B-Q sauce that I’ll put on some chicken we plan on grilling tonight.

If you’re looking for a yummy, yet portable dessert, try these Citrus Streusel Squares. I found the recipe online and they have become a favorite of mine (I love anything with oatmeal). They’re a nice change from the usual lemon bars and a great picnic option—not as much worry about them needing to be refrigerated like other lemon bars. 🙂

    Citrus Streusel Squares


    1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 cups quick or old fashioned oats
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    1/4 cup orange juice
    2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
    2 teaspoons grated orange peel
    Powdered sugar

    • Heat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).
    • Beat brown sugar and butter until creamy.Add combined flour, oats, baking powder and salt; mix until crumbly.Reserve 2 cups oat mixture for topping; set aside. Press remaining oat mixture onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
    • Combine condensed milk, lemon juice, orange juice and peels; mix well. Spread mixture evenly over crust.Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture, patting gently.
    • Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely.
    • Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares. Store tightly covered.

    Makes 30 squares.

    Nutritional Information: 1 square: Calories 210, Calories From Fat 70, Total Fat 8g, Saturated Fat 2g, Cholesterol 5mg, Sodium 115mg, Total Carbohydrates 31g, Dietary Fiber less than 1g, Protein 3g.

Whatever you make cook this weekend, I hope you have good one!

Guest blogger: Melynn
Melynn, a TDS employee for almost 6 years, is an avid baker and cook in her free time (much to the delight of her team members who frequently benefit from her hobby).

About Guest Blogger

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