Cevapcici – Croatian Grill

Oh yes you do want to make these my friend!

I have several versions on this blog but this is definitely my favorite! I ate a version of these growing up at my Best Friend Kim’s house. They are simple to make and quickly cooked on the grill for an anytime meal.

Other recipes with slight variations:



You will need: 

  • 1 lb of Ground Beef
  • 1 lb of Ground Pork (or you also use lamb or a combination as you like)
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic- minced finely
  • 1 tsp of ground Paprika (I used half sweet and half spicy)
  • 1 small onion gated
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil for forming sausages

Optional: lemon for grilling.

Step 1: 

In a large bowl add the combination of meats you like.

Step 2:

On a box grater – grate 1 small onion and add to the bowl with meat.

Step 3: 

Mince garlic and add to the bowl along with all other ingredients.

Step 4: Form into sausages using some olive oil on your hands.

Step 5: Once formed place in fridge for 20 minutes to firm up and get your grill hot.

Step 6: Grill rotating often to avoid burning for a few minutes on each side.

Step 7: Serve hot with side salad or in a wrap. Make lots!!

Italian Shredded Beef or Pork

This is lazy Sunday afternoon cooking. Low and slow filling the house with inviting smells of dinner. You can make it with a piece of beef or pork or both! I have added typical Italian seasonings here but, you can easily change it to Mexican or Spanish by altering the spices and aromatics.

You will need:

  • 1 lb. beef shank
  • 1 lb. pork shoulder (or 2 pounds of either if you prefer only one variety)
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1-2 stalks of celery
  • 1 small onion
  • few sprigs of fresh parsley
  • few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 lemon
  • some smoked salt if you have it
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp chili flakes (peperoncino)
  • chicken broth – maybe a half a litre (enough to come halfway up the meat)
  • 1 tbsp cranberry sauce or jam
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil or parsley

Step 1: take a few pieces of beef and/or pork that are cuts that can handle a slow and low cooking until they are fall apart tender.  I always feel it is better to buy a smaller amount of the best quality meat you can find. Eat less meat but, make it a great quality.

Step 2; I drizzle with some great extra virgin olive oil and place in a very hot pan.

Step 3: Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. I have used a smoked sea salt but, you can use your favourite. Be generous with the salt and pepper.

Step 4: once seared well on all sides add all remaining ingredients except the cranberry sauce/jam and save a half an onion for the finish.

Step 5: cook covered in the oven in a low oven 325 degrees F for 3- 3 1/2 hours until the meat starts to fall away from the bone and is tender enough to shred. Once it is cooked remove meat from the oven and once cool enough to handle remove all fat and bone until you just have the tender meat remaining with no gross bits. Strain all the vegetables until you have the liquid remaining. Set liquid aside.If you find there is a lot of fat you can skim off the fat which will rise to the top if you place it in the fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes.

Step 6: in the same pan (never wash these crunchy bits away- this is flavour baby!) add a glug of olive oil and your 1/2 onion chopped and a bit of chili flake, if you like.Saute until the onion starts to brown. Add the strained cooking liquid you set aside and scrape all the fond from the pan.

Step 7: return the shredded meat to the pan and add a tbsp or two of the cranberry sauce or jam to balance out the rich meat.

Step 8: add a bit of freshly chopped basil or parsley to finish.

You can of course serve this as a main with roasted potatoes and your favourite vegetables or for a more casual option make a Italian Salsa and wrap in a flour tortilla.



This is an exciting post for me! This is my 500th post on this blog!! wow I could never have imagined it would get this far!! Thanks for joining me on my journey and remember there are lots of recipes on this site!! Cook something.

Teriyaki sauce is easy to make and great on, or in so many things. I love it on Salmon, Beef or chicken and I have even added it to burgers for something different. Don’t buy it in a bottle make it yourself!

You will need:

  • 2 beef tenderloin steaks – partially freeze for easy slicing
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh grated horseradish
  • 1 tsp fresh finely chopped red chili – medium heat
  • 1 tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup Tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Mirin (sweet sake)
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

and create your favorite salad to top steak on

Step 1: if you are preparing the beef teriyaki I recommend tenderloin which is tender and expensive however, 1 or 2 little streaks is all you need. I like to partially freeze the meat and then slice thin and gently flatten the meat with the blade of your knife. This meat will easily tear so be gentle. You can also use a flank steak for feeding a bigger crowd for less money. I like tenderloin because one small steak feeds 2 people. You can also slice chicken breasts into strips or even salmon.

Step 2: prepare your teriyaki  sauce. In a small bowl add all remaining ingredients in recipe. Chop your chili and garlic very finely and grate your ginger and horseradish (you could use a bit of wasabi  if you don’t have fresh horseradish. Mix everything to combine.

Step 3: Now you can add this meat carefully to a skewer or carefully grill for literally 1 minute on each side until done. I add the sauce to the meat to marinade only while the grill is heating up, you don’t want the meat to be cooked by the strong marinade. If you are cooking chicken you can allow the marinade to work for an hour or a few before grilling. The salmon is like the tenderloin very delicate and you don’t want the sauce to cook the meat.

Grill for one minute on each side for this thin beef. I have made it without a skewer and also with skewers I find you need to be gentle when handling this meat. The chicken is much easier to deal with and can be marinated for longer. Brush extra sauce over meat while cooking and serve immediately. I like to top this meat on a Spinach salad but, you can top any salad you prefer.

Greek Meatballs

A Greek inspired meatball sandwich! Let’s face it meatballs are always a hit and sometimes you just gotta change it up. Why not add some of the flavours of Greece to your next batch. You get some spinach into the family even if they are haters. I promise they will eat it this way!

You will need:

*makes 28-30 meatballs.

  • 8oz bag of baby spinach – cooked, squeezed of water and chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pound ground beef (of course you could use lamb if you like here)
  • 3 oz feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp – chopped variety of fresh dill, parsley, basil and mint (I like lots of basil and parsley and a bit less of dill and mint)
  • 3-4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil (minced fine)
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp great extra virgin olive oil (I used Mandranova Nocellara)
  • 1 slice of bread soaked in 1/4 cup milk (any kind of milk and bread)
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced fine
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper (each)
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • soft squishy buns
  • your favourite marinara sauce – it can be as simple as crushed tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, chili flakes, salt and pepper and some fresh basil.

Step 1: Take a bag of washed baby lettuce and add to a large pot with some water.

Step 2: cover with a lid and let spinach cook on high heat for maybe 3-4 minutes until spinach wilts down to a small amount.

Step 3: invest in a small amount of good quality ground beef. I really feel it is far better to eat a smaller amount of good quality local beef than larger amounts of lesser quality.

Step 4: drain and squeeze your spinach in a clean tea towel or paper towels to remove most of the liquid.

Step 5: take some good quality GREEK feta cheese (I really think the domestic feta is not as good and almost a completely different product)  and some fresh herbs and chop finely.

Step 6: chop your drained and squeezed spinach and add all remaining ingredients (except the buns to serve the meatballs on!) and mix with your hands.

Step 7: form into equal sized meatballs -I use a small ice cream scoop but feel free to use your hands if you prefer.

Step 8: prepare a simple marinara sauce. I make mine by starting with a generous glug of great extra virgin olive oil, some slices of garlic, some chili flakes, salt and pepper and then add a can of crushed tomatoes (San Marzano if possible because they really do make a difference in taste) Taste and adjust as necessary. Add a few fresh basil leaves. Cook 15 minutes.

Step 9: you can fry the meatballs first or just toss them into the sauce to cook. Once done. Get the squishy rolls.

You can always add some feta crumbles on top to take it to the next level or just devour them as they are! YAMAS!!

Steak Burgers with Blue Cheese

When you can`t choose between a steak or a great hamburger choose this! This is a perfect combination of beef with blue cheese and horseradish. I have purchased 2 steaks and ground them fresh to create 4 perfect patties. I used 350 grams of sirloin steak and the same of a rib eye. You do need some fat so you can create a juicy burger. I have sauteed some gorgeous Chanterelles mushrooms to top but, you add the toppings of your dreams too make yours perfect!

You will need:

  • 350 grams of sirloin steak
  • 350 grams of rib eye or something with some fat on it.
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated horseradish
  • 3 oz of Roquefort or Gorgonzola or your favourite Blue Cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Italian dry seasoning
  • 1 tbsp balsamic glaze
  • lots of salt and pepper – only used when on the grill
  • Chanterelles are sliced & cooked in Olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • more blue crumbles for the top
  • Dijon mustard & your favourite toppings
  • nice soft buns

Step 1: start with some good quality meat and it should be cold to grind.

Step 2: slice the cold meat and keep the fat. Grate horseradish, chop garlic, crumble some blue cheese.

Step 3: I have a meat grinding attachment on my kitchenaid stand mixer or you can use a hand crank model. I used the largest hole attachment.

Step 4: add your filling and mix gently with your hands. Then grind once more.

Step 5: form into 4 equal patties being gentle not to over work the meat which will cause a tough burger. Let the meat come to room temperature before grilling or pan searing which ever you prefer.

Step 6: cook maybe a few minutes on each side and top as you like.

Spinach, Mushroom and Feta Burgers

When it is too hot to heat up the kitchen turn on the grill!

These are moist and juicy burgers filled with the bold flavour of dried mushrooms, spinach and crumbled salty feta cheese. I also created a simple tomato relish for the topping along with some crunchy lettuce served on a soft brioche bun.



You will need:


  • 1 oz of dry porcini mushroom – re hydrated with 2 oz boiling water  & chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 slice of bread with crust removed
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • handful of fresh spinach chopped fine = 1/3 cup
  • 2 fresh basil leaves – chopped fine
  • 1 oz crumbled or chopped feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp dry Italian seasonings
  • lots of salt and pepper to be put on just as you grill.
  • 4 fresh brioche hamburger buns
  • fresh lettuce leaves

Tomato Relish

  • 1 tomato chopped into small dice
  • 2 spring/green onions – chopped finely
  • a few slices of hot chili – chopped fine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • squeeze of lemon

Start by gathering all your ingredients. I like to make sure my burgers are a room temperature before grilling.

Step 1: take a handful of dry mushrooms. I used porcini that I re hydrated with some boiling water in a small bowl. It takes about 5 minutes until they are softened. I then remove the mushrooms from the liquid (don’t throw this liquid away!) Chop mushrooms finely and add back to the liquid they were soaking in. Add some aged thick balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, a slice of bread (any kind but remove the crust) and let the bread soak up the liquid. I simply use my hands to squish bread and mix. Add the meats to a large bowl and then add your mushroom mix. If you can grind your own meat the burgers are always the best however, they are still good with store bought ground.

Step 2: take a handful of baby spinach and basil and chop finely (you don’t want the pieces too big )

Step 3: chop spring onions and crumble feta, dry Italian seasoning and gently toss throughout the meat. I like to keep the mix loose to make a nice tender burger if you compact it too much it can make a tough burger.

Step 4: divide meat into 4 big burgers and form patties. Apply a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper to the meat just as you put on a hot grill.

Step 5: chop some tomatoes, spring onion, a few slices of a hot chili pepper, salt, pepper, olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Mix and set aside with your favourite toppers.

Slice the perfect bun.

Grill to your liking and serve hot!

Juicy perfection!



Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce

I love these because they are very thin and grill quickly. You can marinate the meat and make the peanut sauce the night before for a great week night dinner. Double or even triple for a crowd.



You will need:


  • 2 sirloin steaks or piece of flank steak – sliced against the grain and pounded thin
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger

Basting sauce

  • 1 small shallot – chopped fine = 2 tbsp chopped
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tiny can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 6 squished Szechuan peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

Peanut Sauce

  • remaining portion of tiny can coconut milk (3 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp green curry paste
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 3-4 tbsp water to thin out


Step 1: freeze meat for 30 minutes for easy thin slicing. Slice meat into thin strips.

Step 2: In a small bowl add meat, brown sugar, fish sauce, extra virgin olive oil, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Stir and marinate 1 hour on counter or over night in the fridge.

Step 3: in a small bowl add all ingredients for peanut sauce, mix to combine. If it is too thick you can always thin out by adding more water.

Step 4: in another small bowl add all ingredients for basting sauce. Stir to combine. This is the sauce you will use to baste the meat while cooking on the grill.

Step 5: meat should be at room temperature before grilling. On metal or wood skewers weave meat and spread out for quick grilling.

Cook a few minutes on each side basting with basting sauce as they cook.

Serve with your favourite veggies. Don’t forget to dip the meat in the peanut sauce!

Tuscan Burgers with Chianti Onion Jam and Sun Dried Tomato

There is no secret that a gorgeous burger is my idea of the perfect meal. This one is topped with an onion jam that is slowly cooked with Chianti until it is thick and sweet. I also added a fresh herb and sun dried tomato that completes this beauty.

You will need:

  • I use 50/50 combination of ground pork and beef
  • 1 large onion – chopped (yellow or white)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup Chianti wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-8 sun dried tomatoes packed in oil (these are softer and pliable than the dried ones)
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves – sliced into ribbons
  • 1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • soft kaiser rolls


Step 1: place meat in a large bowl. Set aside (you want your meat to be room temperature just before grilling) In a small pan add chopped onion, olive oil and salt and pepper. I always use a generous sprinkle of each then re-season at the end if necessary. Cook on medium heat 15 minutes until browned and sweet.


Step 2: add wine and cook until reduced and sticky (maybe 5- 10 more minutes) then add garlic and cook another minute. The wine should almost evaporate. Let rest a few minutes off heat.

Step 3: puree in a food processor and then remove your purple paste to a small bowl or measuring cup. Remove half to be served as your topping and add a drizzle (1 tbsp) of thick aged balsamic vinegar. Mix and set aside. The balance which is approximately 1/4 cup I let cool and add directly to the meat.

Step 4: in a small processor puree the sun dried tomato and garlic and scrape into a small bowl.

Add some extra virgin olive oil and some fresh basil. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Set aside.

Step 5: add onion jam, a bit of your sundried tomato mix, more fresh basil, dry Italian seasoning and chili flakes and mix gently with your hands. I do not add salt and pepper here I add a generous sprinkle to the burgers just before grilling.

Form into patties to match the size of your buns. I make the patties slightly bigger than the buns because they will shrink when cooked. Sprinkle salt and pepper and grill to your preference.

Add your favorite greens, top with Chianti onion jam and sun dried tomato mix.



    This is a fun idea for a snack on game day. It is steak and mashed potatoes wrapped in a spring roll and served with a gravy dipping sauce. I pan fried them in olive oil so I didn’t need to get out the deep fryer and the good olive oil just adds to the rich little snack.

You will need:

  • 2 baking potatoes – like a russet
  • 1/2 cup milk (any kind)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil – I always use extra virgin
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 steak – I used a filet mignon/beef tenderloin
  • 2 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning mix with a bit of chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • won ton wrappers
Gravy Dip
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms – any kind
  • 1 small onion – diced fine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • water or beef broth to thin out
  • salt and pepper to taste

  Step 1: make your mashed potatoes. Wash and peel potatoes. Chop into large chunks.     Step 2: Place in salted water and boil until a knife inserted indicates the potatoes are soft and cooked through. This takes approx 20-30 minutes on medium heat. (depending on the size of your chunks, smaller pieces cook faster)     Step 3: drain potatoes and place back into the hot pot. Add milk, olive oil and butter and mash. Add salt and pepper and taste to ensure seasoned properly. You want the potatoes mashed but not thin and wet. Once they cool they will firm up slightly. Set aside to cool.     Step 4: place steak in a small bowl. Add chopped garlic, Italian seasoning, ground pepper and olive oil. Rub and let sit until meat comes to room temperature. I do not add salt here I wait until just before cooking it.     Step 5:  add a good sprinkle of salt and add meat and olive oil to a hot pan. Cook briefly. A few minutes on each side. You don’t want to overcook the steak since it is a very tender cut and also because you will be cooking it a bit more once it is in the wrapper. I cook mine to a medium-rare. Remove from pan and let sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing.     Step 6: chop mushrooms, onions and garlic.     Step 7: in the same pan (do not wash it!) place onions and olive oil and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat, scraping all the browned bits from the steak into the onions. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook another 10 minutes. You want to cook out most of the water from the mushrooms and they will just start to brown. Add the flour and stir into the mushrooms. Cook 30 seconds and add 1/2 cup of beef broth or water. Stir well. The broth with thicken with the flour and you can continue to add a bit more broth until the gravy is the consistency you prefer in a gravy.       Step 8: slice cooled steak. Separate the won ton wrappers (I work with 4 at a time to avoid drying out) Add a slice of beef and a heaped teaspoon of mashed potato, salt and pepper. Dip your finger in water and wet edges of wrapper. Fold in sides and wrap, making sure water seals edges. Repeat until you are done. You can use mashed potatoes and asparagus or ham or whatever you like.     Step 9: in a large pan shallow fry the spring rolls in olive oil until browned  on all sides. Place on paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper right away. You can deep fry if you prefer. I like this method because it is easier, cleaner and I use better quality oil.     what is not to love?!! steak and mashed potatoes dipped in gravy!

Beef and Ricotta Cannelloni



This is a simple baked pasta that can be made with dry pasta shells that do not require cooking. You simply stuff, add sauce, cheese and bake. Add a beautiful salad and dinner for a crowd is served.


You will need:


  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic – peeled
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves-removed from stalks
  • 3 basil leaves (larger ones)
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 3 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil – like Mandranova Nocellara
  • salt and pepper to taste and add all along the cooking way!
  • 1/2 pound ground beef (or mix half beef and pork)
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning mix
  • 250gram/1 cup ricotta cheese
  • more fresh basil leaves 2-3
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves removed from stalks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • pkg no bake cannelloni shells
  • 796ml/28 oz. can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella or Parmesan (or both) to top
  • salt and pepper to taste in each step.





Step 1: to a food processor add carrot, celery, onion, garlic, thyme leaves, basil leaves and parsley. Puree until mix is a fine mince.



Step 2: in a large hot pan add good olive oil and minced vegetables. Sprinkle salt and pepper. People usually do not add enough salt and pepper to their cooking in an effort to reduce sodium however, this is why you taste all along the way so you can adjust when it tastes bland.



Step 3: add ground meat, dry Italian seasonings or even some chili flakes and cook until cooked through. Make sure you cook out all the water and then the meat will start to brown in the olive oil. Do not stop until all water has evaporated and it sizzles for a few minutes and starts to brown. Taste it and adjust salt and pepper. Set aside in a large bowl to cool slightly.



Step 4: add basil leaves, parsley, thyme, olive oil and garlic cloves to a food processor. Pulse until chopped. Add tomatoes and puree for 15 seconds until pureed. Add more salt and pepper. That is your sauce, set aside.




Step 5: once meat has cooled slightly add ricotta cheese and you may want to add a bit more chopped basil and parsley. This will add a bit of fresh uncooked flavour to the meat and cheese mix. Taste it and add salt and pepper if bland.


Note: it is not necessary but, I removed 2-3 tbsp of the meat before I added the ricotta so I could sprinkle it on top of my finished dish.



Step 6: fill your no bake shells (I use my clean hands because it is the easiest) Place on a large pan with a layer of sauce as a base. I use a pan that will accommodate 2 rows of shells. Because you are using no bake shells you must be generous with the sauce as the shells will absorb much of the liquid. If it looks like there is too much sauce don’t worry. I used 3/4 of the sauce and saved a bit for serving to add a fresh uncooked sauce to the finished cannelloni.



Step 7: cover the tops of your cannelloni with tomato sauce to cover, sprinkle with cheese and the reserved beef if you like. I think it tells people there is meat in the dish. Bake in a 350 degree F oven until browned and bubbly approximately 30-40 minutes.



Top with a bit more parsley and some extra sauce for those that want some.