Basically, the moment this recipe went up on Smitten Kitchen a few weeks ago, I knew I had to try these ASAP.  Made these right before tonight’s episode of Hannibal, and snacked a bit on them throughout; fast tracking these was definitely an excellent decision.  

I got to use the herbs at the least fresh from the garden (which’ll get its own post on here eventually), so the amounts used were changed slightly there.  I also didn’t have the patience to zest a lemon, so lemon juice was used instead. Otherwise, this recipe was followed pretty closely to the original.

Lamb Meatballs with Feta, Olives, and Lemon
Lasts 5 to 6 meals, depending on # of meatballs

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 1.25 c panko
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 T water
  • .5 c crumbled feta cheese
  • .75 t salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • appx 4 T lemon juice
  • 2 T olive oil

Sauce

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 to 3 glugs red wine (I used part of the large bottle of Yellowtail Sweet Red Roo I had in the fridge)
  • 28 oz crushed or pureed tomatoes
  • 1 T fresh oregano, torn
  • 1 t salt
  • .5 c kalamata olives, pitted, drained, and chopped
  • 1 T fresh peppermint, torn
  • lemon juice
  • feta cheese crumbles (I used what I had leftover in the cup after using the rest)

Take all of your meatball ingredients and combine them using a fork in a large bowl, until you have one big coherent ball of meat.  Once the Allmeat is combined, break off small chunks and roll until you have the size of meatballs you want (I went with about medium sized). While you start to make the balls, heat up your olive oil in a pan on medium heat.  Add the balls once rolled ot the pan, and roll them around with a chopstick in the hot oil to brown completely.  This may take more than one batch of browning.  Once the balls are browned (lol), remove them to a small dish.

Take the remaining fat and add your garlic and onion from the sauce ingredients, cooking until soft (about five minutes). Then, add your red wine, scrape up anything that might’ve stuck to the pan, and cook it down until it’s almost gone.  Then, add your remaining sauce ingredients (except for the feta and lemon juice) to the pan, and bring to a low simmer.  Once simmering, add the meatballs back in, and simmer for another twenty minutes.

Sprinkle the lemon juice and feta over the meatballs, and then nom!

I tried this recipe almost immediately after Deb posted it on the Smitten Kitchen last year, and ever since then, it’s been a mainstay.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a grill on you – the oven works perfectly for this. And man, the simple perfection of warm, melty cheese and roasted tomatoes and olives cannot be overstated.  

Mediterranean Baked Feta
Lasts 4 lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • .33 c pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (forgot this this time, whoops)
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 block feta (you want a good sized block, this was closer to 16 oz, at minimum you want 8 to 10 oz)

Half your tomatoes, chop your olives, and then mix everything except your feta block in a small bowl, tossing so that the olive oil coats everything.

Preheat your oven to 400 (mine was at 375). Put your block of feta in a baking dish, and then pour the tomato-olive-oregano mix over the feta.  Cover your dish, and cook for fifteen minutes – your cheese will get soft and warm, but not quite melty.  

Don’t worry if you can’t eat it all right away (though you will be tempted to) – this reheats easily, especially in the oven.

Another fun bread salad for the summer; I omitted a few things from the original recipe (capers, onions, and the anchovies), but except for the onions (I’m never a big fan of them raw), I’ll probably add them on another go through.

Greek Bread Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, and Capers

Ingredients       

  • 2/3 loaf of bread, chopped into bite-sized pieces (used the leftover roasted garlic loaf from the basil scalloped tomatoes + crouton)
  • 2 lbs tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • .5 c basil, torn
  • 2 4 oz packages of crumbled feta
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil drizzled to taste

Take your tomatoes, slice them into quarters, and then put them on a lined baking sheet, and roast them in the oven at 400 (I did 375 cause mine runs hot) for about an hour. Meanwhile, chop up your bread, and put that down as the bottom layer in your container.  When your tomatoes are done, add them on top of your bread, letting the juices soak in.  Add your basil, and then your feta and oregano on top of it.  Mix the balsamic and olive oil, and then drizzle it over your salad.  Toss your salad to get the balsamic/olive oil all over the salad, and then enjoy!