At the risk of having to surrender my man card, I’m going to freely admit that grilling is the weakest part of my culinary game. Sure a medium rare burger on the grill is easy enough, but when it comes to organizing a whole meal it can be a little daunting. Plus, I only recently acquired a gas grill and have rarely used my charcoal kettle for anything more than a low and slow pork shoulder roast.
So, when Sam’s Club poked me in the inbox and double dog dared me to create an Easter dinner menu on the grill I had no choice to accept. After all, my pride was at stake.
When it comes to cooking I’m always up for a challenge and love thinking of twists on classic flavors. The first thing I had to do was think about what I wanted to the menu to look like and ham, a traditional Easter favorite, was an attractive option given my proclivity for utilizing pork products. However, I decided that I wanted to see what I could do with lamb and the bright Greek and Mediterranean flavors that usually follow. With the protein set the rest of my plan with respect to starches and vegetables would be dictated by whatever was fresh and in stock at Sam’s Club.
I set off on my journey Tuesday morning and with my new membership card in hand I was ready to assemble a grilled Easter dinner to remember. As you can see from my haul I had a very successful trip:
I was excited to see the nice leg of lamb roasts, as that was my desired protein, and then I spent the better part of an hour just perusing the aisles focusing on the fresh produce to hammer out the rest of my menu. In addition to the lamb I picked up some boneless country ribs, a potato medley, some campari tomatoes, a nice hunk of feta cheese, some yeast rolls, a tub of Greek yogurt, some hearty looking asparagus stalks, some enormous strawberries and a box of madeleines.
All told I spent about $75 at Sam’s Club for the ingredients for my meal. I had to hit one other store to pick up some fresh herbs, a package of pea shoots (my new favorite topping for burgers in place of lettuce) and a bottle of Prosecco, which brought my total for this meal to just over $100.
After returning from my shopping trip I sat down to finalize my plans and create the actual menu, which is:
- Spiced lamb sliders with a mint and feta pesto
- Potato skewers with a garlic yogurt sauce
- Grilled asparagus; and
- Grilled strawberry shortcake with a prosecco gelatin
While the menu is fairly simple, there was a decent amount of prep work to do. From making garlic confit that was used in the slider patties, the pesto and the yogurt sauce to grinding the leg of lamb roast and the boneless country ribs into a 70/30 ratio, I had a good deal of work cut out for me. I also finely chopped a herb mix of flat leaf parsley (also sold as Italian parsley), rosemary and thyme that I used in the yogurt sauce and with the garlic infused oil from the confit to brush on the asparagus and potato skewers just as they finished grilling.
With everything set to go…
…it was time to get to grilling.
And then the best part. Time to eat!
We are just at the beginning of the strawberry season here in Charlotte and these were ripe and sweet. The strawberries were hulled, cut in half and then skewered. They were on the grill for no more than 2 or 3 minutes, just enough time to warm them up and get their juices flowing. While they were on the grill I brushed on a mix of one tablespoon of honey and one tablespoon of port wine as a glaze. Combined with the fresh whipping cream, the airy madeleines and the crisp and cool Prosecco gelatin this was a great way to end the meal.
This challenge was a lot of fun and there are a great number of fresh ingredients to create a great meal at Sam’s Club. My family and I were very pleased with the quality of the lamb and after this test run there is more than enough to feed my family again on Easter Sunday. If you’re interested in giving anything here a go here are most of the recipes I devised for this menu:
Spiced Lamb Sliders
6 cloves garlic confit
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons dried oregano or marjoram
2 teaspoons white pepper
- Cube the lamb and pork and mix to combine, then refrigerate for 20 minutes
- Using a coarse grinding plate run the cubed meat through the grinder and refrigerate for 20 minutes
- Make a paste with the garlic confit and all of the spices and mix with the ground meat
- Form into patties (2-3 ounce for sliders, 5-6 ounce if you prefer a full size burger), then refrigerate until an hour before ready to grill
Mint and Feta Pesto
3/4 cup mint
1/4 cup parsley
2 cloves garlic confit
feta – four one inch cubes
olive oil – 1/2 to 3/4 cup from making the garlic confit
salt and pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients except the oil in a food processor and pulse four to five times
- Slowly drizzle the oil in until the desired consistency in reached
- Taste, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste
- Refrigerate until ready to serve
Garlic Yogurt Sauce
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic confit, finely minced
1/4 cup herb mix – parsley, rosemary, thyme
1/2 shallot, finely minced
Juice and zest of half a lemon
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Finely mince the shallot, set aside
- Zest and juice half of a lemon, add zest to the cup of yogurt and macerate the minced shallots in the lemon juice for five minutes
- When shallots are macerated add them and the lemon juice to the yogurt along with the remaining ingredients and stir to combine
- Refrigerate until ready to serve
2 packets unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold white grape juice
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup Prosecco
- Pour 1/2 cup of the white grape juice into a small saucepan and quickly stir in the two packets of unflavored gelatin
- Turn the heat on low and keep stirring until the gelatin fully dissolves, then add the sugar and stir until that dissolves
- Remove from heat, stir in the remaining white grape juice and allow mixture to come to room temperature
- When fully cooled, gently stir in the cup of Prosecco, pour into a rectangular baking dish and refrigerate until firm (approximately two hours)
- When ready to assemble the short cake cut the Prosecco gelatin into small squares for garnish
Disclosure: Sam’s Club gave me a free one year Advantage membership to their store and a $50 gift card to use to shop for my grilled Easter dinner. I was not offered or promised anything else for my review of my shopping trip or required to use specific ingredients in my menu. All opinions are my own.