Lemon Lime Lamb

May 21st, 2007 by Jeff in Main Dishes

Always on the lookout for new ways to prepare lamb, I found several that use lemon, a few that use lime, but not many that used both. I decided to take from many of these and combine a bit from this one, a bit from that one, to make something new.

This lemon lime recipe for lamb has a different taste. It is very similar to some of the lemon based lamb recipes but with the fresh cleanliness of lime. I have used it for both lamb chops (loin) and for shoulder chops. It was an instant hit here with the family.

The marinade:

8 cloves of garlic, minced (it seems like a lot, but in the end the flavor is remote).
1 large lemon.
1 lime.
1/2 sprig of rosemary, stem removed, lightly chopped.
1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper.
2 tablespoons of mint, chopped.
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil.

Add the juice of the lemon and lime to a small bowl. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. In a large plastic resealable bag, add your lamb chops. Pour the marinade over the chops.

BEFORE you put it all back in the refrigerator, let it marinate for a half an hour at room temperature turning once. You can marinade up to 24 hours, turning the meat on occasion.

Remove from marinade and discard marinade. Grill or broil the lamb chops at high heat so as to sear the meat – (More…)

Deep Dish Pizza – Cast Iron Style

May 8th, 2007 by Jeff in Main Dishes

I decided lately that instead of buying that pre-made pizza dough in the supermarket, that I would try making it at home. I never had much luck in the past making it, or at least making it good, but since I began making my own breads, I decided to give it another shot. Once I realized how easy it was, I started fooling with different pizza dishes.

One of my favorites is deep dish pizza and my recipe for it changes almost every time I make it. I find it fun trying different things with the sauce and the dough, in fact, lately it seems like I am making home made pizza twice a week. It really is a delight making it, and it is also a good dish to make with the kids. Instead of buying a deep pizza dish, I just use my cast iron skillet and it works great.

I think everyone should try this at least once so I figured I would write up my basic sauce and dough to get you started! 🙂

Sauce (make the dough shown below first):

1 large can crushed tomatoes (15 oz.).
1 pound hot Italian sausage removed from the casings.
3 cloves of garlic minced.
1 large carrot minced.
1 medium red onion or shallot, diced.
1/2 pound mushrooms (I use Crimini) sliced with stems removed.
2 tablespoons of olive oil.
2 tablespoons each chopped basil and chopped oregano.
Salt and pepper.

You will need some – (More…)

Leftover Pork Shoulder = Yummy Shepards Pie!

May 7th, 2007 by Jeff in Main Dishes

While still on my grilling kick, I went a little overboard and cooked a pork shoulder on the grills rotisserie; a TEN POUND fresh shoulder. Seeing as how there is only four of us (two adults, two children), it was just slightly overkill.

As delicious as the roast was, there was a ton of leftover meat. So I packed it all into a piece of Tupperware, and let it stew on my mind overnight. What was I going to do with all this meat? It is the beginning of the week and we do not eat that many sandwiches!

I looked around the net to get some ideas and someone mentioned using it to make a Shepard’s pie. This seemed perfect and in the end it was. Now I just whipped this together so don’t hold me to exact measurements here. This is the kind of dish where just about anything goes so don’t be afraid if you change little things.

Leftover pork shoulder or butt, cut into bite size pieces. Probably about a pound or two.
1 small onion chopped.
1 – 1 1/2 carrots chopped.
I used a half can each of corn, peas, and green beans, but feel free to use what you want. I used a total of about 1 1/2 cups.
2-3 tablespoons oil (I used canola).
2-3 tablespoons flour (depending on how much oil you use).
About 2 cups of chicken stock.
3/4 tablespoon – (More…)


Grilled Rosemary Lamb Chops With Grilled Parsnips

May 2nd, 2007 by Jeff in Main Dishes

The warm spring and summer months starts up the grilling. The other day I wanted to grill something on my new grill and started going through the fridge. The loin lamb chops that were on the meat shelf screamed out loud “Grill Me!”

I then started going through the vegetable drawer trying to find something else I could cook up with the lamb at the same time and came across the parsnips. I prepared all of this ahead of time and so can you.


3-4 pounds of parsnips cut in half lengthwise.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika.
About a tablespoon lightly chopped sage.
Salt and Pepper.

Place the parsnips in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil for about 5-6 minutes until almost done. Cool.

Mix the rest of the ingredients (salt and pepper to taste) and toss with the parsnips in a suitable container. Refrigerate.

Lamb Chops:

10 loin lamb chops.
1 long sprig of rosemary.
3 cloves of garlic, minced.
1/4 cup of olive oil.
The juice of one lemon.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Strip the leaves from the rosemary and lightly chop. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and pour over the lamb chops in a suitable container and refrigerate.

Let the chops and parsnips marinate for at least an hour and up to 24 hours.

Preheat your grill on high and cook the parsnips and lamb chops together, placing the parsnips on – (More…)


Guinness Cranberry Leg Of Lamb

April 22nd, 2007 by Jeff in Main Dishes

I am always trying different things when it comes to leg of lamb. Sometimes it can be hard to find just the right taste with such a flavorful cut of meat. Many of the recipes you find for leg of lamb involve some sort of mint spice, but recently I decided to try something a little different.

I have read about people using Juniper berries with lamb but I am one of the few who does not care for that particular berry so I decided to go with cranberries instead. I use a well trimmed leg that has had most of the shank removed but still has the bone in higher up.

1 leg of lamb 4-6 pounds.
1 can of Guinness.
1 can of cranberry sauce (the whole berry version).
3 tablespoons honey.
Canola oil.
4 bay leaves.
2 sprigs of rosemary whole.
1 medium yellow onion, quartered.
5 cloves of garlic minced.
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Preheat oven to 250.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the beer and honey. It will take a couple minutes if the beer is cold as the honey will temporarily harden. It will be easier if the beer is room temperature. Add 3/4 of the can of cranberries to the mixture. Set aside.

Liberally salt and pepper the leg of lamb. In a medium skillet, add enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat to medium high and when the – (More…)


Sweet Meatloaf

April 10th, 2007 by Jeff in Main Dishes

I think just about every cook in America has their very own meatloaf recipe. Meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food. I think it is impossible to spell out just one recipe for meatloaf as I change mine constantly.

There are some constants that I always use such as ground beef, bread, breadcrumbs, and onions. But really, you can add just about anything you want to meatloaf. Here is the version I have been making lately that the family just loves. If there are any leftovers, they do not last very long.

2 pounds ground beef.
1 medium yellow onion, chopped.
3 medium stalks of celery, chopped fine.
1 large carrot minced. I use a small food processor to mince.
3 large cloves of garlic, minced.
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.
1/2 tablespoon Tabasco Garlic Hot Sauce.
1/2 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar.
2 large eggs.
3 slices of bread.
1/2 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs.
Olive oil.
1/3 cup ketchup.
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar.
Salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Add enough olive oil to a medium skillet to coat the bottom, about two tablespoons. Heat to medium and cook the carrot, onion, celery and garlic until the onion starts turning clear. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, add the meat, Worcestershire, Tabasco, and Balsamic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked vegetables, and eggs and mix with your hands until combined.

Quickly soak the three slices of bread in water and then squeeze the – (More…)


Easter Ham: Different And Delicous

April 2nd, 2007 by Jeff in Main Dishes

In our home, we generally have Easter dinner a week early. This started a few years ago when we always got that free ham from the grocery store, but we would spend our Easter with the relatives. So the weekend before, we would have an Easter dinner with friends and family that would not be at our traditional Easter dinner.

The store usually lets you select from a few different types and I almost always get a smoked pork shoulder with the bone. The smoked flavor really makes it easy to flavor the dish in interesting ways.

Over the years, I have used a few different techniques and recipes, but by far this one works the best.

1 large smoked pork shoulder.
8 cloves of garlic.
2 1/3 large sprigs of fresh rosemary.
4-5 large fresh sage leaves.
2 tablespoons Olive oil.
About 10 slices of Pancetta

In a small food processor, add the garlic, rosemary sprigs (not the stem) and the sage. Add the olive oil and chop/process until it makes a paste. One of those small electric choppers work great for this.

Salt and pepper the ham (go light on the salt). Rub the mixture all over the ham. Place the slices of pancetta all over the entire ham (except the bottom) using toothpicks to hold into place.

Now I normally will cook the ham for about 6-8 hours in my Crockpot BBQ Pit on low, but you could cook this – (More…)


Cast Iron Baby Back Ribs

March 20th, 2007 by Jeff in Main Dishes

From time to time I will splurge a little and pick up a few racks of raw baby back ribs. Probably my favorite cut of pork rib available, there are many ways they can be prepared.

We generally use a simple quick barbecue sauce on the baby back ribs, and they come out tasting great. If you have time to slow cook them all day, then great, but many times you are on a tight schedule.

Using this basic recipe, I have gotten used to the flavor, but when I started cooking them in a cast iron skillet in the oven, they tasted entirely different. The flavors were dark and rich.

2 racks of baby back ribs (about 3 pounds).
1 bottle of beer.
1 yellow onion, diced.
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped fine.
1/4 cup vinegar, preferably cider vinegar.
1 cup of ketchup.
1 tablespoon of molasses.
1 tablespoon lemon or grapefruit juice.
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce.
Olive oil.

Preheat oven to 325.

Cut the racks into individual ribs and place in a large saucepan. Pour the beer over the top of the ribs and then add water until the ribs are covered. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Strain.

In a 12” cast iron skillet, add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the skillet. Cook garlic and onions on medium/medium low until onions are clear. Add the remaining ingredients. – (More…)


Leftover Feast: Fried Spaghetti

March 16th, 2007 by Jeff in Main Dishes

When I was a child we used to have a Spaghetti dinner about once a week. My mother used to make up a basic sauce and add some ground beef or sausage, boil up some spaghetti and we were all set.

Of course, it was almost impossible to make too little of this dish. There were always leftovers but who wanted to eat Spaghetti two nights in a row, especially when the second batch was from the night before? Granted, the sauce usually tastes better the next day but 24/48 hours was just not a long enough turn around time.

My mother had a way around this that we could eat this dish in a completely different way so that is seemed like a whole other meal.

Now this “recipe” requires a large skillet and you could use non-stick skillet but ideally you would want to use either a stainless steel or cast iron skillet. The reason for this is that you will be scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula frequently while cooking. The spatula head needs to be thin and most of your plastic versions are not. A metal spatula is recommended.

The idea of fried spaghetti is not to deep fry or even use much oil. The word fry simply refers to cooking it in a frying pan. 🙂

You will need some leftover spaghetti and sauce mixed together from a previous – (More…)


Basic Chicken And Gravy

March 12th, 2007 by Jeff in Main Dishes

Sometimes life can be a very busy ordeal. There are often times where you just don’t have the energy or the time to create a super dish for the family. You need something that is relatively quick (under an hour) but still delicious. This is where my chicken and gravy recipe comes into play.

I usually always have some chicken thighs or drumsticks in the fridge. This can always be used for an easy main dish. I would call it a comfort food as it familiar and savory.

4-5 Chicken thighs, or 6-7 drumsticks, or combination.
Olive oil.
Salt and pepper.
two tablespoons of flour.
1 cup chicken stock.

Preheat oven to 350.

Using a skillet that you can put in your oven, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. On the stove top, heat to medium/medium high until the oil just starts smoking.
Sprinkle salt and pepper over the skin side of the chicken. Place skin side down in the hot oil. Salt and pepper the exposed side of the chicken. Cook for about 4-5 minutes until the skin is a dark golden brown and the fat has rendered out. Turn and cook the other side for another 4-5 minutes.

Remove chicken from the skillet and drain the grease. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and return the chicken to the pan. Place the pan in the oven (skin side up) and – (More…)

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