Grilled lamb kebabs with haloumi and apricots

Grilled lamb kebabs with haloumi and apricots | Me & The Moose. Shake up your grill routine with chunks of fatty, savory lamb; melty, salty haloumi cheese; and tart, sweet apricots. #meandthemoose #grilling #lamb #kebabs #haloumi #dinnerrecipes #kebabrecipes #mediterraneandiet #pesto

Shake up your grilling routines with these savory, herby, sweet, and fatty lamb, haloumi, and apricot kebabs that hit all the right notes— fast.

Take me to the recipe!

Grilled lamb kebabs with haloumi and apricots | Me & The Moose. Shake up your grill routine with chunks of fatty, savory lamb; melty, salty haloumi cheese; and tart, sweet apricots. #meandthemoose #grilling #lamb #kebabs #haloumi #dinnerrecipes #kebabrecipes #mediterraneandiet #pesto
Grilled lamb kebabs with haloumi and apricots | Me & The Moose. Shake up your grill routine with chunks of fatty, savory lamb; melty, salty haloumi cheese; and tart, sweet apricots. #meandthemoose #grilling #lamb #kebabs #haloumi #dinnerrecipes #kebabrecipes #mediterraneandiet #pesto


What is a kebab? Sometimes it’s cubes of meat and/or vegetables on a stick (think shish kebab). Other times, a kebab is a mountain of meat cooked on a rotating stick and then shaved off and served (think doner kebab, shawarma, or al pastor). And, confusingly, sometimes what is considered “kebab” is meat cooked and served nowhere near a stick.

For our purposes, we’re sticking close to a shish kebab.

But here’s what I don’t like about this method: Not all ingredients cook at the same rate. Why should I have to choose between undercooked meat/crispy vegetables and cooked meat/disintegrating vegetables? I say, we don’t have to.

My solution is to cook the meat on a skewer, cook the cheese and apricots directly on the grill, and then skewer them all for serving. Good, right? RIGHT! I mean, it’s not perfect. Some of the meat cooks faster because the cubes aren’t exactly the same size. And it’s important to leave a little bit of space between the cubes so that the heat gets all around. But you control the doneness far more when the kebab elements are cooked individually.

A note about haloumi: If you’ve never had this squeeky, salty cheese, please rectify this immediately. This cheese adds so much flavor and seasoning to any dish. But when it’s cold, it makes a squeeking noise when it’s chewed, which can throw off anyone with any sort of sensory issues around food. Eating it hot off of the grill or pan makes it more gooey than squeeky, which is why the cheese cooks longer than the meat in this dish.

A note on the kid-appeal of these kebabs: It’s fun to eat things off of a skewer! This dish also has plenty of salty and sweet elements with the grilled cheese and fruit, which is also appealing to kids. But for some reason, mine wouldn’t touch this. I found it too delicious not to post, so this may be one of the grownups and not the kids. But who knows? Next month, M might gobble these up. Who can say?

Grilled lamb kebabs with haloumi and apricots | Me & The Moose. Shake up your grill routine with chunks of fatty, savory lamb; melty, salty haloumi cheese; and tart, sweet apricots. #meandthemoose #grilling #lamb #kebabs #haloumi #dinnerrecipes #kebabrecipes #mediterraneandiet #pesto
Grilled lamb kebabs with haloumi and apricots | Me & The Moose. Shake up your grill routine with chunks of fatty, savory lamb; melty, salty haloumi cheese; and tart, sweet apricots. #meandthemoose #grilling #lamb #kebabs #haloumi #dinnerrecipes #kebabrecipes #mediterraneandiet #pesto

Grilled lamb, haloumi, and apricot skewers

Total time ime: 30 minutes (all active- 15 minutes of prep and 15 of cooking)
Yield: 4-5 skewers

1 lb lamb stew meat cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ Tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4-5 medium apricots, ripe, but not falling apart, quartered
8 oz haloumi cheese, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

Heat your grill to low.

Place the lamb cubes in a large bowl. Top with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic and mix up. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Cut the haloumi into 6-8, 1/4-inch slices. Halve the apricots.

Make the sauce. (See directions below.)

Skewer 5-6 lamb cubes onto sticks. Try to keep like-sized pieces together.

Bring all of your ingredients out to the grill and cook with the following timing:

  • Cook the haloumi for 2 minutes.

  • Add the lamb skewers and cook everything for 3-4 minutes.

  • Flip both the haloumi and the lamb.

  • Add the apricots, cut side down and cook everything (fruit, cheese, and meat) for 3-4 minutes.

  • Check the lamb. If it has reached an internal temperature of 145 and you don’t see any obvious rare spots, take the skewers off. If they need more time, keep them on the grill while you continue cooking the fruit and cheese.

  • Flip the apricots. Continue cooking the fruit and cheese for 2-3 more minutes.

Your aim is for medium rare meat, cheese with dark brown grill marks and that is a little gooey all over, but staying together in one piece, and apricots that are deep orange and softer, but not falling apart. If any of the elements seem to be cooking too fast, take them off!

Serve immediately.

Herby sauce
1/4 cup toasted cashews/walnuts/pistachios
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil 
10 fresh mint leaves (fairly large) 
2-3 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves 
5 Tbsp oil 
1 Tbsp lemon juice 
1/2 tsp salt 

Toast the cashews in a large skillet over a medium flame, OR in a 350 degree oven, for about 5 minutes until the nuts are lightly brown and smell aromatic.

Add the nuts and the rest of the ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until well mixed.

Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.

Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole

Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles

I don’t know if the abundance of sugar, salt, and fat change my tastebuds during the holidays, but I always struggle to live by the 80/20 rule in December. I indulge with the eating and drinking and then swear I’m going to be healthy the next day, but the healthy stuff never feels all that satisfying or tastes all that good. So I end up like a moth to a flame with the treats.

But you know what? I don’t have to toggle between bland salads and a dozen cookies. This polenta casserole may just be the middle ground: It’s still delicious and a little indulgent with a garlicky pesto and plenty of cheese on top, but it also features kale and ground turkey breast and is the perfect vehicle for any of those leftover veggies in your fridge that are about to go bad. Throw them in and see what happens!

I used my own kale pesto recipe, but cut down on the oil and nuts. But for ease, feel free to use any store-bought pesto that you can find. And to up the nutrition, add any veggies you have in your fridge. You may need to add a bit more pesto to cover the extra ingredients.

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Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles
Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles

Polenta casserole

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2 lb ground turkey
Large pinch of salt
¾-1 cup kale pesto (recipe below)
1 log premade polenta
½ cup mozzarella, shredded
½ cup hard gouda (not the softer, smoked variety), shredded
¼ cup grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 425.

In a large oven-safe sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium flame. Turn the heat to medium-low and sauté the ground turkey until no pink remains and it has just begun to brown, about 7-10 minutes. Season with a large pinch of salt.

Turn off the heat and stir in the kale pesto.

Slice the polenta log into 1/4 –inch pieces and layer over the turkey and pesto.

Top with cheese and cook in the oven for 13-15 minutes, until the cheese is brown and bubbling.  

Yield: 4 servings

Kale pesto

4 cups packed chopped kale
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp olive oil

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and fill another large bowl with ice water. Wash and chop kale, leaving the middle stems.

When water is at a rolling boil, add the kale and swirl with a slotted spoon a few times. After 1-2 minutes, remove it from the boiling water and add it to the bowl of ice water. Drain the kale (gently squeeze out the water) and add to your blender or food processor.

Roast the walnuts in a 350 oven or toaster oven for about 5 minutes or until just lightly browned and starting to smell nutty. You can also toast them in a sauté pan on the stove top. When browned, add them to the blender or food processor as well.

Add the garlic, salt, and lemon juice and start to blend, slowly adding the olive oil in a thin stream. If using a small food processor or a blender without a top that opens, just add the oil with the rest of the ingredients and process together. Blend until you've reached your desired consistency.

Yield: about 1 cup

Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles

Zucchini and summer squash frittata

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Whelp, I'm laid up in bed due to my lower back's semiannual revolt against the rest of my body. Luckily, I've made a bunch of these easy and quick frittatas and the leftovers are great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks. Or eaten with your hands while watching The Great British Baking Show from the floor.

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I started making these because it's summer squash season, which means that markets and backyard gardens are flooded with zucchini and yellow squash. There are recipes for galettes and gratins galore and I'm sure they're all delicious. But I wanted something easier and lighter. 

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And what's easier than a frittata? They require one pan and come together so fast. I love adding a salty, garlicky, crunchy kick on top with the combination of panko, minced garlic, Parmesan, and sea salt.

I also like to leave the squash in fairly large chunks because otherwise the vegetables disappear into mush. If your kiddos will more likely eat something with less visible squash, feel free to use thinner slices or even to spiralize the veggies.

I find that the crunch on top often distracts from the fact that this frittata is vegetable laden. To that end, you really have to use panko or gluten-free panko to achieve that crunch. Regular breadcrumbs won't do the trick.

Serve this with ANY pesto from the archives!

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Zucchini and summer squash frittata

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 ½ -2 lbs zucchini and summer squash, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
8 large eggs
1 cup shredded Gruyere or Gouda
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan
2 large garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350.

Heat the oil in an oven-proof skillet over a medium flame and add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and fragrant.

Meanwhile, crack the eggs in the bowl and mix until the whites and yolks are well combined. Add the squash, the shredded Gruyere or Gouda, and a large pinch of salt and stir to combine. Pour into the pan with the hot onions and stir again to combine.

Cook the eggs and squash, undisturbed (no more stirring!), on the stove top for 10-12 minutes, until the edges of the eggs begin to set.

Meanwhile, combine the panko, garlic, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and set aside. When you're ready to put the frittata in the oven, top pour the panko mixture evenly over the top. 

Put in the oven and bake, uncovered, until there is no jiggle left in the eggs, or about 15-20 minutes. If the panko topping browns too quickly, cover it loosely with tin foil until the eggs are cooked.

Yield: 6-8 servings, depending on what meal you're eating this for and what you're having with it.

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Mediterranean caprese salad

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I don't know if we can go back to regular oil-and-vinegar caprese after this. I love a good caprese salad, but I accidentally keep typing "craprese" and that's sort of a fitting description for a lot of them. If the mozzarella is rubbery or cold, if the tomatoes are mealy or our of season, and if the dressing isn't lively and tangy, then they're just...nothing. I mean, they're bad, but more than that they're just absent any flavor or texture or redeeming qualities.

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However, tomato season is upon us, so it's much more likely that your tomatoes will be delicious. And if you have any access to a backyard, side yard, fire escape, community garden, etc, I implore you to plant some basil and mint. Both of these plants are hardy in the summer and will save you so much money at the grocery store. AND, you'll have no excuse not to make the pesto that accompanies this caprese salad (and that you'll want to pour on everything).

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So, we have good tomatoes and a tangy interesting pesto, but what else does this salad need? Well, I also implore you not to serve cold mozzarella. Room temperature is SO MUCH BETTER. If you can get even a decent mozzarella, I think it's improved exponentially by sitting out for a short time (or, if you're also in the middle of our current heatwave, a few seconds?). And, I like to guild the lily by sprinkling a generous amount of crumbled, salty, briny feta on top. Is it necessary? No. Is it delicious? Yes. Should you do it? Without hesitation.

Buy a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes and you have a showstopper for a dinner party that requires basically no effort (I even opted for a pre-cut cheese because I'm that lazy) and better yet, NO COOKING. Did I mention the heatwave?

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We ate it yesterday as Sunday lunch on our back porch with some prosciutto and salami, some Bantam Bread, and white peaches. A glass of cold rose or Sancerre would have made it heaven, but I'm old now and can't day drink without needing a nap and an Advil, so we forwent the wine. Boo.

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Mediterranean caprese salad

4 large heirloom tomatoes
1 large or 2 medium balls of mozzarella
½ cup crumbled feta
¼- ½ cup mint and basil pesto (recipe below)

Mint and basil pesto
1½ cups basil leaves, loosely packed
½ cup mint leaves, well packed
1 large garlic clove (or 2 smaller ones)
1 medium shallot, quartered
2-3 Tbsp lemon juice (juice of 1 large lemon)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt

To make the pesto:
Place all of the ingredients except the oil in a large food processor or blender. While the machine is running, pour in the oil and blend until you've reached your desired consistency. Add salt to taste.

To assemble the salad:
Alternate the mozzarella and tomatoes in whatever color combination you like. Top with the mint and basil pesto and sprinkle with the feta.

Serves: 3-4 as a main course, 5-6 as a side

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Carrot flatbread pizza

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How is it Passover and Easter again? I've been thinking a lot about the passage of time lately. Having a sick parent has made me feel more like an adult than any other milestone has, while simultaneously making me feel like a helpless kid. How am I old enough to sleep next to a hospital bed and interact with doctors who seem to think I know what I'm doing? And also, isn't someone else supposed to take care of this stuff? Like, the mom who's in the hospital bed?

Last week was also M's 3rd birthday and while I felt the obligatory, "How is this kid 3 already?" I also felt a little bit like, "How is he only 3?" In the best way possible, it feels like he's always been here.

So yeah, time. It flies and crawls.

M also starts school on Monday. Real school where I drop him off every day and he makes friends and has relationships with teachers and learns things that I don't know. We flirted with this type of setting before we moved last summer, but then we relocated and decided to get on a waiting list for a school we liked instead of jumping right in as soon as we got to Connecticut.

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So! This means I'll be actually posting lunchbox meals over on instagram instead of talking about them theoretically. This carrot pizza is a good place to start! First, it's "pizza" which is appealing to lots of kids. Carrots are also a good gateway vegetable because they're sweet, especially when roasted.

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A few notes about the pesto: We're lucky that M's classroom isn't nut-free, but if your school is, swap in pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for the cashews. Also, the carrot tops lend a fresh, green taste to this pesto. Use 2 packed cups of carrot tops and basil, in whatever ratio you want. My carrot tops usually measure between 1 and 1.5 cups, so I fill up the remaining cup with basil. And be sure to pack it tightly.

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Carrot flatbread pizza

Carrot top pesto
1-2 cups leafy carrot tops (see note above)
1/4-1 cup basil
¼ cup raw cashews, toasted
1 large clove garlic
½ cup olive oil
splash of lemon juice
½ tsp salt, to taste
pepper

Yield: about 9 oz, or 1.5 cups sauce

For the flatbreads
2 lb carrots
2 Tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
4 flatbreads
6 Tbsp ricotta
6 Tbsp carrot top pesto
4 Tbsp parmesan
1-1.5 cups shredded mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 400. Peel the carrots and arrange in roasting pan. Add oil and salt and roast for 35-40 minutes, until thickest part of the carrot is fork tender.

To arrange the flatbreads: Mix together the ricotta and pesto. Spread 2 Tbsp of the cheese and pesto mixture on top of the flatbreads. Top with about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of mozzarella. Arrange carrots in whatever pattern you like and top with 1 Tbsp parmesan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cheese has begun to brown and the breads are crispy.

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