Browsing the archives for the ground beef tag.

Spooky Shepherd’s Pie, Zombie Fingers and Granola Bars

Domestic, Healthy, Kids

In this post, I’m participating in Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Hearth ‘n Soul, Tuesdays at the Table and Delicious Dishes at It’s a Blog Party

We were really feeling the Halloweeny vibe this year, but wee one #2 marches to the beat of her own drummer. So in the midst of the black and orange explosion of last week, she chose to go off the rails and bake something not even remotely seasonal. That’s ok, she’s 4 – as long as she’s actually creating edible food in the kitchen who cares if it’s on theme or not right? Right!

The Halloweeny food does not need recipes, as I am sure you make these on your own already and if you don’t there are about eleventy billion recipes online. I did my best to make Halloween week as silly and as fun as possible for the kids – of course it got me in the spirit too. Every day, we had at least one themed treat or meal, and towards the end of the week the whole day was themed! Not that I have ever been known to get carried away. Ahem.

The spooky shepherd’s pie was just sherpherd’s pie with spooky dudes on top. I put the mashed potatoes into cake decorating bags and piped little creatures on top, one for each of us – with little pea eyes of course!

I sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top – liberally – so it’d brown nicely and look less pasty than when it went in!

I think it turned out pretty good and the kids all loved it so that works for me.

The night before Halloween, my husband and I found a recipe for a meat hand! A meat hand!! I didn’t want to be a total copy cat, so we made meat fingers and with the cheese on top and the onion fingernail it looked so gross and zombie-like so we called them zombie fingers.

I used the exact recipe for my hamburgers, which is just 2lbs of ground beef, an onion, way too much garlic

(mmmm garlic), oregano, a little thyme and a teeny bit of Miss Diana sauce for chicken. I know that doesn’t sound amazing, but trust me, it is.

We were having a really laid back day and I asked wee one #2 if she felt like baking something on her own (under supervision, natch) and without even thinking about it she announced she wanted to make granola bars!

They are painfully easy. All I did was turn the oven on, measure the ingredients into bowls, put the dish into the oven and then later take it out. She did the rest.


Painfully Easy Granola Bars

3 cups quick cook oats
1 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla
14 oz condensed milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter


First she piled her dry ingredients into the Kitchen Aid and gave it a whirl. My mother didn’t get a Kitchen Aid till I was 14, so it’s hilarious to see my not quite 5 year old daughter working the kitchen power tools!

Then she literally dumped all the wet ingredients on top and gave it another whirl. It worked. If I had made them, I likely would have mixed all the wet ingredients together first and then added that to the dry, but what do I know?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

She then greased a brownie pan with Becel and a pastry brush before unhooking the bowl from the stand and dumping the entire contents into the pan. She smoothed it out and instructed me to pop it in the oven. And so I did – then 20 minutes later I took it out again.

It was hard to hold everyone back while the pan cooled enough for me to cut them into bars. Mmmm. The kids brought them to school the next day! Yes, I know there are peanuts in them and I said they took them to school. Believe it or not, their school only has 41 kids in it and no peanut allergies so they are a peanut friendly school.


Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmathes) – Daring Cook Challenge Oct 2010


Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Loriโ€™s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

I am four days late to posting this because I threw myself an early birthday and five of my dearest made the road trip out to see me for the weekend! <3 I will post about that another day. This was my second Daring Kitchen challenge, and my first Daring Cook! I was excited when I first read the challenge because I’m Greek and would love to make Dolmathes. However, we just moved to the woods and there are no grape leaves here. Anywhere. My husband went on a mission and drove to two other towns (bless!!) with no luck. So I caved and went with cabbage leaves, an acceptable alternative listed in the challenge. The recipe called for 2 21oz jars of grape leaves, so I went with two heads of cabbage.

The recipe from the challenge turned out so well! So let’s back up a little and go through the recipe.

1 pound ground beef
1/3 cup short grain rice, soaked for 30 minutes
1 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 onion chopped (optional)
1 cup pine nuts (optional)

The filling is the easy part, as I’m sure you can imagine. Soak your rice as you mix up all the other ingredients. You’ll also need to blanch your leaves (regardless of what kind you’re using) for a few seconds before you use them (to soften them up enough to roll with). Do this just before you need them.

Rolling Dolmathes is nothing new to me, actually if I ever have the opportunity to host a challenge, it’ll be Spanakopita (my hands down fave Greek appetizer and it includes a lot of rolling and wrapping). Growing up in a half-Greek, half cabbage-roll loving family, we made a lot of these. However, I had never made this exact recipe before and I had never done it on my own, so this was a lot of fun for me!


Place about 2 tesapoons, or maybe a little more, in the bottom center of the leaf. In the case of cabbage, you’re going to want to cut away the hard part of the stem at the bottom. You can see in the first photo where I put the filling and in the second one, how close to the filling I came when I cut the stem out.

Then take the little flaps, roll them over the filling, (one at a time if you need to), and then tuck them under the filling. You’ll likely have a little pouching out like mine. ๐Ÿ˜›


Now just roll this little log towards the rest of the leaf, tucking the sides in as you go. Voila, it looks like a weird little wrap sandwich! Finally, you just make the final roll and tuck the top of the leaf over the whole little package and you’re done rolling!

Just like with origami, there is a whole lot of room for variation and technique – and also like with origami, some of your little packages may totally fall apart and need to be re rolled.


Next you line a pan with them and ‘sweat’ them for about 5 minutes with a little oil, lemon juice and water. Then you can cook them over a low heat in whatever kind of sauce you like. In the supplied recipe, there is seasoning made and apricots are placed with the rolls in the pan. When I made them, I used a tomato sauce with a little bit of oregano. I am not a fan of cabbage rolls to be honest, but everyone here that night loved them! I made myself (and my sister who is also not that into it) what my parents called ‘stuffed nothings’ when I was a kid, which is just the same recipe with a bit more rice! A dollop of sour cream on that and we were set!

I am really loving these Daring Kitchen challenges. I’ve already baked up and photographed my Daring Baker challenge for this month – it will be posted on the 27th! So fun!

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