Category Archives: Lamb Lambs!

Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna


It’s no secret that I love Cooking Light, well I’m obsessed with all of the food magazines I’ll admit, but I love that Cooking Light can still throw a mean punch even with one hand tied behind it’s back. While others can lean on butter, tons of cheese, fatty meats etc, Cooking Light has to bring flavor AND nutrition to the table and this Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna recipe is perfect example of how they can nail it. KAPOW!

Our little one was still sick and had actually gotten worse (cursed daycare!) and while she was screaming and yelling, I still wanted to get a home cooked meal on the table for us both. You need something to keep your strength up right? When I looked up what I had chosen for the night, I sighed loudly and thought about making something else given that we have a screaming kiddo and lasagna can take time and patience, both things I was running very short on at the moment. However, and maybe it was the heat of the moment, the lack of sleep or both, I whizzed through this recipe in no time. It was in the oven and done and what felt like five minutes later my husband and were gobbling this up. I’m not a ricotta fan at all and really shy away from lasagna at most places for this reason, but, because Cooking Light can’t put in too much ricotta this recipe was right up my alley. It’s a very different take on lasagna and to me (and David) it was just perfect. So perfect that even I went back for seconds which is something I rarely do since I want to get to my dark chocolate after-dinner treat as soon as I can.

Once we were done hoovering our food, we looked up at each other, bleary eyed and covered in who knows what of bodily fluids (I never knew so much snot could come out of something so small), holding hands we went back to her room to check on our little sick one. I have to say, I have a whole new appreciation for my parents, and any parents for that matter, now!


Prince Charming David Giving the FriendsEaster Toast!

Every year there is an annual event amongst the friends called FriendsEaster. A time to get together to eat great food, drink good wine and most importantly be amongst amazing friends. I experienced my first one last year at our friends Carrie and Justin’s casa. Since they just got married (congrats lambs!) holding it at their house was not very ideal so we decided to hold it at Casa Kealey instead. I have to admit I was a little nervous given that’s a three-year tradition and I wanted to ensure the entree (the hosts’ responsibility) was delicious. Thank goodness the cover of Saveur looked amazing with this simple lamb and potatoes dish or as it’s traditionally called, Cosciotto di Agnello con Patate. I couldn’t say that if my life depended on it.

Cosciotto di Agnello con Patate (Photo by Todd Coleman)

Given that we had a lot of cleaning up to do in the house, I was more than grateful that I chose a very easy lamb dish to prepare. Make the delicious, herbacious, spicy paste, schmear it on the lambs (we had two legs) peel and cut some potatoes and you are good to go for a few hours! The lamb came out perfectly cooked but I did have to roast the potatoes in the rendered fat (here’s your drool cup) for a bit longer than what the recipe called for; about 30 more minutes. I got some great reviews all around! One of our friends mentioned she was not a fan of lamb but gave this a try and she really liked it! YAY! This would be beautiful for an Easter dinner and if you’ve got four or five other dishes to make – I can guarantee it will be a stunner without a ton of work.

I also made these delectable  Dry-Cured Olives with Rosemary and Orange for a quick appetizer option. Once again, simple, delicious and quick. I’m actually eating the leftover olives right now and they are still yummy. I could see these being beautiful in a simple Salad Nicoise as well.

Dry-Cured Olives with Rosemary and Orange (Photo by Landon Nordeman)

Not surprisingly, everyone brought their A-game with the food. We had roasted asparagus; broccoli and bacon salad; roasted jalapenos stuffed with bacon and cream cheese; stuffed avocados; a delicious salmon, cream cheese and caper spread; spinach and artichoke dip; buttermilk pie – one of my favorites –  from The Pie Society and lots of great wine including my new love (it’s $14!!!!) called Gundlach Bundschu. You can get it Whole Foods Market right now. In fact you should do it now, because if I’m near there today I’m going to buy the whole lot.

Here are some pics of us from what turned out to be a lovely FriendsEaster.

The Pie Society's Buttermilk Pie



Channeling my inner Martha...
The FriendsEaster Crew


Happy Birthday Cooking Inside the Lines!

Wish me luck, my blog has reached the terrible twos.  My how time goes by in a blink. It’s hard to believe that two years ago I started CITL with this gentle Ina Garten recipe and now 200 posts later here I am, still testing and tasting recipes so you don’t have to. Through this little blog experiment I’ve found that I have much more confidence in cooking now than when I started – I’ll show you Mr. Cheese Souffle! It also has continued to fuel my true passion for food and cooking each and every day. Most importantly, I appreciate even more what food does best – bringing friends and family together. Thank you for reading Cooking Inside the Lines and I hope for many more years to come  it continues to keep you cooking in the kitchen too.

Moving on to what we are having for the week. I just picked up the new Cooking Light so it is all recipes from the new issue:

Sunday: Brazillain Feijoda on Rice with Oranges (this is sitting in the slow cooker right now and the aroma is starting to permeate the house…yum so far!)

Monday: French Onion and Apple Soup and Crispy Topped Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower Gratin

Tuesday: Asian-Glazed Chicken Thighs with Radish-Squash Slaw

Wednesday: Chicken Souvlaki Pitas with Tahini Sauce and Greek Salad

Thursday: Out-N-In California Burger. My favorite burger on the planet is In-N-Out and this is supposedly a take on their famous burger. Nothing beats a Double Double with Cheese Animal Style but I’m really looking forward to seeing how close they get to a traditional In-N-Out Cheeseburger. Great, now I have their jingle stuck in my head, “”In-N-Out, In-N-Out, That’s what a hamburger’s all about!”

If you are scratching your head over what’s for dinner tonight, might I suggest this Morrocan Shepard’s Pie from Cooking Light? We had this the other night and it was AMAZING. It’s very simple to assemble and is a stunner when served at the table. We loved all the spicy lamb mix and the sweet potato mash brings the whole dish together. Love!

Moroccan Shepard's Pie (Photo by John Autry)

Guinness Lamb Stew

We’ve got a thing for Irish stews in this house. It couldn’t possibly be that we’re both of Irish descent, heck, David has an Irish passport – Dublin here we come!  With that in mind and the cold weather hitting the gentle ATX, I thought this Guinness Lamb Stew would be very much welcomed into our home. Now you may recall that we tried one of Cooking Light’s Staff Favorites Beef and Guinness Stew back in November and it was quickly a David Favorite or Davorite as I’ll call it. Could this recipe beat that one? The Beef and Guinness Stew had a little bit more fussiness to it with caraway seeds and raisins and the Guinness Lamb Stew had two things we love, lamb and potatoes! Ay, we are Irish aren’t we? 😉

I followed this recipe to the letter and yes it does take a while, 3 1/2 hours, but it’s a stew so we all know those take a while to develop the lucious layers of flavor. I loved this more than the beef version because of the two additions mentioned above. It was savory, comforting and a perfect Irish stew. What I really liked about this was the addition of the whole grain mustard at the end. It provided a nice bite and rounded out the dish beautifully. I think I know what I’ll be making for the crew on March 17th!

On a seperate note, the BCS National Championship is tonight! Who do you think is going to win? No matter your personal opinion of him, I’m not sure if Cam Newton can be stopped. It reminds my of Vince Young back in 2005 against USC…ah, those were the days UT, those were the days.

Guinness Lamb Stew (Photo by John Autry)

Tales from the Slow Cooker

If you are a fan of the Cooking Inside the Lines Facebook page, you might have seen my grumblings with the Slow Cooker recipes section from Food and Wine. I tried the Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Chicken in Green Sauce and Slow Cooker Ham Hock and Chickpea Stew and let’s just say former was bland and blah and the latter was simply inedible. It’s rare that I try recipes that we actually can’t even think to stomach to eat. To me these were just poor by recipe design and seemed to lack a lot of flavor – and in a slow cooker to boot…ouch! When I saw that I had chosen yet another one of the recipes from this section, Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks with Lemon, Dill and Feta, I almost decided to not even try. But, since I like to stick to my menu plan I forged ahead. Well thank goodness that I did lambs because this was delicious! YAY!

Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks with Lemon, Dill and Feta (Photo by: Fredrika Stjärne)

What I think worked for this recipe, compared to the others, was you seared the shanks before putting them in the slow cooker and finished it of with fresh ingredients such as dill and more lemon juice to freshen it up. A word to the wise, since you place whole lemon slices in the slow cooker they take on a preserved lemon taste. I’m kind of  fan of this flavor, David likes it better, but we both agree that it can be polarizing. We would recommend to remove unless you and your fellow diners lurve preserved lemons. I served this on top of orzo and sauteed fresh spinach with garlic that was finished off with a little red wine vinegar. Also, if you think you are not a lamb fan, shanks are an easy way to turn non-believers into believers. They.are.delicious. I also like this dish because it was hearty enough for a cold winter night but had a certain brightness to it with the fresh dill, lemon and feta; a little bit of spring in your winter dish.

Make this today lambs!

A Perfect Dinner

There are times after a meal, when you sit back and have loved the whole experience from start to finish. I chose this Roasted Lamb with Pomegranate Sauce from Cooking Light and Mixed Greens with Pears, Walnuts, Gorgonzola and Green-Tea Vinaigrette from Bon Appetit and we loved it.

The lamb was a simple sear and roast and then you let it stand for ten minutes to help all of the delicious juices redistribute. This is going to sound strange, but I liked that when measuring each liquid for the sauce the recipe used up my 1, 1/2, 1/3 and 1/4 cups all at once so I could easily mise en place them all and pour as I go. Anal retentive much? Me thinks so. After resting, the lamb came out perfectly medium rare and juicy to boot plus pomegranate sauce rocked. The only thing I would change is using one teaspoon of flour instead of two, as it was slightly thicker than desired and I think reducing the amount would do the trick if you are into a thinner sauce.

Onto the salad…shockingly easy and the vinaigrette is AMAZING. I was so happy to see a second use of the green tea (matcha) powder I purchased for this dish last week. I feel like matcha is quickly becoming the flavor enhancer of the day. The vinaigrette mixed with the toasted walnuts, cheese and pears was so light and delicious and worked perfectly as an accompaniment to our lamb dish.

I highly suggest giving these two a try lambs! The salad recipe originates from SENCHA in Colorado Springs and I couldn’t find it online so here you go. Heart you!

Mixed Greens with Pears, Walnuts, Gorgonzola and Green-Tea Vinaigrette
Prep 25 minutes
Total 25 minutes

2 tablespoons of Champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon match green-tea powder
3 tablespoons corn oil
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (thanks for the excellent olive oil Kari H.!)
6 cups (loosely packed) mixed greens
2 pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Puree vinegar, shallot, chives, mustard, basil, and matcha in processor. With machine running, gradually add corn oil and olive oil. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. Place mixed greens, pear wedges, toasted walnuts, and Gorgonzola cheese in large bowl. Add 1/3 cup of vinaigrette to salad mixture and toss to coat evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide salad among plates and serve, passing remaining vinaigrette alongside.

– Compiled by Zinzi Edmundson and Janet Taylor McCracken

And now, I leave this for David…the Brie/Gorgonzola line is just too appropriate…There’s Something About Mary


You want to know the one word that describes our meal tonight? You guessed it….mmmmmmmmmmmm. I don’t think I’ve ever heard two people gush over a home-cooked meal like we did with this Indian Lamb Chops with Curried Cauliflower recipe from Bon Appétit. I was telling Alex some of my favorite recipes are the most simple and straight-forward, so this dish with its short and simple ingredient list and quick preparation, knocked our socks-off.

One simple addition, and if you are going to make this dish we HIGHLY recommend serving with sweet mashed potatoes which we peeled, boiled and mashed with heavy cream, unsalted butter, salt, pepper, cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg. The mashed potatoes with the lamb, cauliflower and fresh green onion was well…mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

This bad boy is going into our favorites and next time we are going to double the sauce used for the cauliflower to drizzle over the lamb too. Make this immediately!

Spiced Lamb and Vegetable Kebabs with Cilantro Mint Sauce

I love a good sauce of any kind and the cilantro mint sauce in this Cooking Light dish is divine. The magazine claimed this would take 40 minutes total to get this on the table and lo and behold it did. This was very simple to put together and the only difference was that since I don’t have a grill (sigh), I broiled the skewers in the oven until done. I also like the idea of a protein other than the standard beef or chicken for a weeknight meal and the lamb dipped in the sauce, “oh my goodness!” is all I can say.

I thankfully had a lot of sauce so I sliced up some fresh cucumbers and drizzled it on top and then served the skewers on top of the Currant-and-Almond Pilaf from Everyday Food which gave a satisfying crunch to the dish and rounded out the meal.
This dish rocked and I would highly recommend it for simple and different kind of weeknight meal.