I LOVE having my kids in the kitchen with me. It doesn’t always happen, but when I can cook things that are fun and engaging, that get them involved, the time we share is priceless. That’s when conversation flows easily, when we share stories and work together. These are the moments that remind me of my best growing up memories in my Mom’s kitchen. And they’re the moments that remind me of who I want to be as a Mom, and what I want to give to my kids.
One of our favorite recipes is for homemade Dolmades–most people have heard of “Dolmas” but I grew up with Dolmades, the Greek version. Dolmas, traditionally, are rice wrapped in grape leaves, with a light lemony sauce. Dolmades are similar but with meat inside as well. And the great thing about this recipe is it’s a fun way to get kids involved in helping with dinner!
Here is my recipe–a little different than what my Mom and Dad have done, and adapted as well from my sister, Martha’s, recipe. They’re really not that difficult at all, so have fun and get your kids involved!
- 1 Jar grape leaves
- 2.5-3 lbs. Ground Meat (my favorite combination is 1/2 lamb and 1/2 free range lean beaf. I’ve used beaf, buffalo, elk, deer… lamb alone is a bit heavy but anything will work!)
- About 1 cup raw rice (this is one of the rare times I use plain white rice–Uncle Bens–it’s what I grew up with and doesn’t require as long to cook, which is important in this recipe)
- 1 Medium sized yellow onion, chopped
- 4-5 Cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Can tomato paste (optional)
- Homemade chicken stock
- Juice from 2 lemons
- A bunch of fresh parsley and oregano
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 TBS Cornstarch
- A few TBS cold water or broth
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a large bowl, combine meat, rice, onion, garlic, spices, and paste.
This is where the kids start really having fun!
- Get your hands in there and blend it up really well.
- Lay out your grape leaves and gently separate them.
- One at a time, take a spoonful (or small handful) of meat mixture and place into the center of the leaf.
- Roll the ends over and roll lit up into a small tube.
- Place in a large flat pan with sides that are about 2″ high.
- Fill the pan tightly
- Pour chicken broth and the juice of your lemons over the top, just to cover the rolls.
- Bake for one hour
- Just before you take them out of the oven, ladle some of the broth out and place into a sauce pan.
- Mix the cornstarch with the cold water or broth and blend into the saucepan,
to thicken the sauce.
- Remove the Dolmades and place into another pan, so you can add any leftover sauce into the saucepan.
- Serve with sauce and enjoy!
This is great served with a green salad!
I would love to hear how this goes for you!
For the Love of Your Life!