Slow-cooked American Lamb with Jammy Red Wine and Fruit + Harris Teeter Gift Card Giveaways

IMG_9906_edited-2IMG_9907_edited-1Disclosure: I was asked by Mountain States Rosen (MSR) to participate in their consumer campaign  that includes a Fall partnership with Harris Teeter. I was compensated for my time. Mountain States Rosen is also providing me with a Harris Teeter gift card to give away to two of my readers. Opinions are my own.

Book Clubs are all about experiencing new discoveries with comfortable friends. Though the book pick is the focus of the group exploration, the food should be just as adventuresome and easy–even stirring up some conversation!

A stylish menu that’s simple to prepare is the key to hosting any dinner party. Satisfy your friends, family and even your upcoming book club members with this home-cooked meal that’s impressive, comforting and easy on you: a slow-cooked Mediterranean lamb.  Now I know what you’re thinking, lamb for a group is too expensive. But this depends largely on the cut. Today, I want to show you how you can serve a budget friendly, simple prep, gourmet meal made with American lamb. This recipe  takes a less expensive cut (shoulder)  and transforms it into a dish fit for royalty.  Trust me, if you have any trepidation that may come from lack of experience in cooking lamb,  slow cooking will ease your mind.  You can add the meat to the slow-cooker and leave it unattended for hours.

It’s only been in the past month that I happily realized my local Harris Teeter is now carrying Cedar Springs lamb. There are  so many reasons to feel good about purchasing this product.

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First of all,  fresh Cedar Springs lamb is homegrown, raised according to the highest standards, on a 100% high-nutrient, vegetarian diet and free of artificial ingredients and additives.  The multi-generational family ranchers raise animals humanely, promote sustainable agriculture and preserve green open spaces for future generations.

If you buy lamb from Australia or New Zealand, it’s time to ask yourself, why am I  buying lamb that’s been shipped 10,000 miles? When I purchase this American lamb I know I am getting the safest, highest quality lamb. Once you taste its mild, juicy flavor, it won’t come as a surprise that Mountain States Rosen is the only U.S. lamb and veal company to achieve the highest level of safety and quality certification-SQF Level 3 – from the global audit firm, the Safe Quality Food Institute.

Finally, as a registered dietitian, it’s important to recognize  the good-for-you aspects of Cedar Springs Lamb. It is rich in protein, nutrients (including vitamin B12, niacin, zinc, selenium, iron and riboflavin) and healthier fats.  If you’re like me, perhaps you consume fish for its omega 3 health benefits. Maybe you’ll be surprised to learn that lamb has over 5 1/2 times more omega 3 than America’s most popular fish, tilapia. And according to the USDA, a 3-ounce portion of lamb has more than 5 times the amount of omega 3 than the same portion of beef. 

I hope you will check out my recipe below to discover that cooking an extraordinary meal for a group doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. While you’re busy doing last minute details for your get-together, the slow-cooking lamb will impart an irresistible aroma and deliver falling-off -the-bone tenderness–keeping the conversation going long after the book’s exciting conclusion is discussed.

MSR is giving away a gift card to two of my readers, so enter below and you may have part of this adventurous meal paid for. Just let me know, in the comments section, what you enjoyed learning most about lamb today. Because I’m pretty sure you’ll fall in love with American lamb after trying my recipe, I invite you to also enter for a chance to win a Dutch oven (widget on side bar ). This cooking vessel will give you an  alternative preparation method for mouthwatering lamb. Be sure to check out  mountainstatesrosen.com for more recipes,  information on  MSR, cooking and handling.

Harris Teeter Gift Card Contest ends midnight on Nov. 12, 2014. Must be a U.S. resident and at least 18 years old to enter.
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Slow-cooked American Lamb with Jammy Red Wine and Fruit  (serves 8)

(adapted from Food & Wine’s Zinfandel-Braised Lamb Chops with Dried Fruit)

by Diane Boyd 

 

Ingredients

  • 3 to 3 1/2 pound Cedar Springs or Shepherd’s Pride American Lamb shoulder roast (may substitute six 8-ounce Cedar Springs or Shepherd’s Pride American Lamb shoulder chops)
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 8 garlic cloves, halved
  • 10 thyme sprigs, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup big, jammy red wine, such as American Zinfandel, Grenache or cabernet franc
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (3 ounces)
  • 1/2 cups dried California apricots (3 ounces) quartered
  • 1 cup low sodium beef broth

Instructions

1. Season lamb with salt, pepper and coriander. Insert garlic clove halves into roast. Place in the bottom of a seven quart slow-cooker.

2. In a sauce pan, add red wine, dried cherries, and dried apricots and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the beef broth and bring to a boil.

3.Pour red wine sauce over the top of lamb. Place lid on the slow-cooker and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

4. When the lamb is tender, remove from slow cooker. Allow to cool. Discard garlic. Remove meat from bone and place it into a soup tureen or pretty ceramic dish of your choice. Set aside.

5. Pour the liquid left in the slow cooker into a saucepan, add fresh thyme and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes to intensify the flavors. Discard thyme.

6. Pour the wine sauce over lamb and garnish with fresh thyme.

Serve with steamed couscous.

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Warm Baby Green Salad with Peas, Pistachios and Pecorino

IMG_9993_edited-1Disclosure: I  have received free samples of Libby’s new vegetable pouches mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Libby’s and am eligible to win prizes. I was not compensated for my time.

Do you  have good intentions about getting a healthy meal on the table, but find things start to unravel once you get home from a busy day? Perhaps you realize it’s your turn to pick up the soccer car pool, or maybe you want to squeeze in a yoga class before preparing dinner. Whatever the reason, if you’re crunched for time, read on for time saving solutions for healthier meals.

Nutritious meals don’t have to be labor intensive!  On that note, I ‘m pleased to announce an  innovative, new product created for busy people interested in  better meals: Libby’s vegetable pouches. The family favorites include:  carrots, sweet peas, cut green beans, mixed vegetables and corn.  What is a Libby’s vegetable pouch? They’re vegetables in innovative packaging that ‘s both shelf stable and mircrowavable. There’s no need to thaw. No need to transfer to a microwave-safe dish or to a pot or pan.  Simply open the pouch to vent and microwave. Now you can add farm fresh goodness to your table in less than one minute. I repeat, in less than one minute.

Besides being ready in under one minute, other benefits of Libby’s vegetable pouches include:

• Flexible, no sharp edges

• Won’t dent

• Stands upright

• Takes up less cabinet space

• Environmently friendly; uses 75% less energy to produce pouch packaging. Waste is easily compressed reducing space in home disposal and landfills.

• Easy to open, easy to carry

• Packaging made with BPA non-intent materials

Ok, so you can get a vegetable on the table fast, but what about a salad, appetizer, side or soup. Enter Libby’s Vegetable Pouches Speedy Starters & Sides Recipe ReDux Challenge:

Recipe Redux members are being challenged to get moving  in the kitchen by creating delicious appetizers, warm salads, soups, and side dishes in 10 minutes or less using Libby’s vegetable pouches as the hero ingredient. These recipes should demonstrate time saving tricks to producing flavorful, appealing veggie starters and sides. 

IMG_9996Today I want to show you how you can use Libby’s sweet pea pouch to make a warm salad that’s fast enough to make for a busy weeknight dinner, and tasty enough for a weeknight dinner date. The recipe is below, but I want to point out some tips that will ensure speedy prep. First of all, clean lettuce ahead of time or  buy pre-washed greens. If you feel the need to rewash,  do it beforehand. Secondly, buy chopped pistachios for this salad. Finally, grate cheese the night before and store it in the refrigerator in a zip lock baggie. When you’re ready to make the salad,  assemble all ingredients and  get moving.  Please check out the links at the bottom of this post for more time-saving, terrific tasting recipes created  by my fellow Recipe Reduxer’s with Libby’s Vegetable Pouches.

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Warm Baby Green Salad with Peas, Pistachios and Pecorino

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 pouch (13oz) Libby’s Sweet Peas
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 8 cups mixed baby greens, such as arugula, red leaf lettuce, spinach
  • 1/2 cup salted pistachios, chopped (buy chopped to save time)
  • 1/2 cup shaved Pecorino Romano Cheese

Instructions

1. Tear at notch 1 to 2 inches to vent Libby’s Sweet Pea vegetable pouch. (Do not drain.)

2. Place pouch upright in microwave and heat on high 45-50 seconds.

3. While peas are in the microwave add salad greens to a large bowl.

4. Remove peas from microwave, holding cool touch areas. Carefully pour peas into a sieve to drain liquid. Place sweet peas on top of salad greens.

5. Add chopped pistachios and grated cheese.

6. In a small bowl combine lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk to combine and pour over top salad. Toss well. Serve immediately.

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Red Hot Memories + Recipe: ‘Spooky’ Apple Pie Granola

IMG_9857_edited-1IMG_9824Sticking  my finger into a homemade apple pie spice mix and then onto my tongue,  I ‘m suddendly  reminded of Atomic Fireballs and Red Hots. Do you remember them? They’ve been around for a l-o-n-g time  and have a super spicy cinnamon flavor that’s sure to light up your taste buds. What was it that I combined with cinnamon for this nostalgic taste?  Cardamon!   I came upon this combination by merely trying to meet the October Recipe Redux Challenge:

Spooky Spices : You know they are lurking there: Way in the back of your spice drawer. There lie the herbs, spices, or rubs that are getting dusty because you’re afraid to use them… you simply don’t know what to do with them! Well, pull them out and show us a recipe you created to deliciously conquer that fearful spice. (Or maybe the recipe was a flop – and the spice still give you nightmares?!)

How is cardamom spooky?  Well, if we’re talking spooky as in Halloween,  (and we’re all vampire savvy now, right?) cardamom has a bite (albeit a good one.) And it’s especially GOOD when paired with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger (spices I used to make my homemade apple pie spice mix). However, the reason I chose cardamom for this challenge is NOT  because of its bite, but  because it hasn’t gotten as much love in my kitchen as let’s say, cinnamon, oregano or basil. I truly like the taste of cardamon, but when I ‘m looking for a  warm spice, I typcially reach for the more common ones such as cinnamon and nutmeg.  Like most spices, cardamom is  a  good way to boost the flavor of foods, and it’s  health benefits are related to  digestion.

Now that we’re starting to feel a chill in the air, it’s the perfect time to start using cardamom (along with cinnamon and nutmeg.) In today’s post I want to share two ways I enjoyed my cardamom spiked apple pie spice mix (try saying that 5 times fast):

First I used  it in my  homemade granola. Then I sprinkled  it on some sliced Fuji apples to make  Anne Mauney’s Spiced Baked Apple Chips and used these to complete my  granola mixture. The resulting nutritious  snack is a  healthy way to get whole grains, healthy fats and fiber.  I love it as a topping on a dish of Greek yogurt (especially drizzled with a bit of Vermont Maple Syrup).

In addition to using cardamom in a simple apple pie spice mix for seasoning apple chips and granola,  try treating yourself to something baked with  cardamom, add it to a  smoothie,  and try it as an alternative to season your vegetables.

Don’t forget to check the bottom of this post for more links to ‘spooky spices’!

How do  you use cardamom?

 

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‘Spooky’ Apple Pie Granola 

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

    for the apple pie spice blend

    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
    • 1/16 teaspoon cardamom

    for the granola

    • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (use gluten free for GF granola)
    • 2 Tablespoons dry quinoa
    • 1 Tablespoon apple juice
    • 5 teaspoons honey
    • 1 Tablespoon Canola oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon of apple pie spice blend (recipe above)
    • 1/4 cup dried apples, chopped or broken into bite sized pieces (I used Bake Spiced Apple Chips)

    Instructions

    for the apple pie spice blend

    Place all spices together in small bowl and stir well to combine.

    for the granola

    1.Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

    2. In a medium bowl combine oats, quinoa, apple juice, honey, oil, vanilla, salt and spices. Spread on a nonstick foil lined baking sheet.

    3. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until oats are brown, about 20-25 minutes.

    4. Cool. Add dried apple chips.

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    Spaghetti ‘N Eggs with Tomato Paprika Sauce

    IMG_9786_edited-1By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the National Pasta Association and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

    When I say pasta, what do you say? Probably not breakfast,  am I right? How about recovery?  Today I am sharing a recipe for a pasta meal that’s both a post workout meal and a perfect way to start your day! But before I get to the recipe, let me explain how you can shape a healthy lifestyle by capitalizing on the versatility of pasta:

    • Use it as a foundation for healthy meals, including breakfast.  

    • Time it after a bout of cardio exercise as a recovery measure for  refueling muscle energy  and preparing your body for its next training session.   

    • Pair it with lean proteins and vegetables for delicious tasting combinations that are healthy, easy and  budget savvy.

    After an early morning run last Saturday, I put the adaptability of pasta to work in an outstanding breakfast. It was a perfect way to recover from my workout.. just the right amount of carbohydrates (for refueling muscle energy),  protein (for building and repairing muscle tissue), and healthy fats (for cardiovascular health and taste).  Feeling good about my new found way to enjoy an early morning recovery meal, I made it again  Sunday morning.  And as the saying goes, if it happens twice, it will happen again.

    What recovery meal or breakfast food do you enjoy that includes pasta?

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    Spaghetti n’ Eggs with Tomato Paprika Sauce

    by Diane Boyd

    Ingredients

      for tomato sauce

      • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
      • 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
      • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
      • 1 can (28 oz. ) whole peeled tomatoes with juices, lightly crushed
      • Sea salt and Black pepper to taste

      for pasta

      • 1/2 box spaghetti (about 8oz )
      • 2 packed cups baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
      • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
      • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

      for cream sauce

      • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
      • 2 tablespoons skim or low fat milk
      • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
      • 5 large pastuerized eggs

      Instructions

      1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

      for the tomato sauce

      2. In a 12 inch cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, fennel and paprika and cook while stirring, about one minute or until fragrant.

      3. Add tomatoes and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to thicken, about 5-7 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. With the back of a spoon create 4 pockets in the tomato sauce.

      Set aside.

      for the pasta

      3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add spaghetti and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

      4. Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl. Add spinach, cheese, oil and salt. Toss well until spinach is wilted. Set aside.

      for the cream sauce

      5. Beat Parmesan cheese, milk , salt and egg together in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour  sauce over the spaghetti mixture and toss to combine.

      to assemble

      6. Twirl 1/2 cupful of the spaghetti mixture around tongs or a large fork to form a pasta nest.

      7. Transfer pasta nest to skillet with tomato sauce (in pocket created).

      8. Repeat making 3 more pasta nests and placing in  tomato sauce.

      9. Add one whole egg to each pasta nest and transfer skillet to the oven. Bake until the egg whites are set and the yolks still runny, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

      .

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      Giveaway: Cabot Farmers’ Legacy Cheddar

      Disclosure: As a Cabot Team Leader for the virtual race, Cabot is paying for my entry fee, making a donation in my name to my local food bank, and providing  a Cabot Legacy Collection GiftBox for my readers.  I was not compensated for writing this post and opinions are my own.

      Attention cheese aficionados!  Here’s your chance to win some of the world’s best cheddar! Yes, I’m happy to be giving away  Cabot Farmers’ Legacy Cheddar. That’s three, yes three distinct flavors: White Oak Cheddar, Farmhouse Reserve, Apline Cheddar. How how easy will putting  together a cheese platter for your next tail gate be? Cabot even has a suggested wine pairing for each cheddar. Go to the bottom of this page and enter now!

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      It’s hard to pick a favorite in this amazing collection, but I have to say, the one I keep stocked in my refrigerator is the White Oak Cheddar. Probably because of my fondness for apples (it pairs wonderfully with them).   Cabot describes this cheddar as “subtle caramel sweetness with delicate hints of the duskiness of wine aging casks.”

      Guess it’s  the perfect time to announce I ‘m a member of the Cabot Cheese Board. It’s a partnership that  benefits both me and Cabot; a no brainer  on my part. Cabot sends me some  amazing care packages (just received Cabot Farmers’ Legacy Cheddar), includes my recipes on their sight with other bloggers’ recipes and supports my work in their social media channels.  I provide them feedback and spread the word about the worlds best cheddar!

      Enter to win The Cabot Farmer’s Legacy Cheddar Gift Box, right here, right now!

      Contest ends 10/30 2014 at 12:00 am . Must be U.S. resident and at least 18 years old to enter. 
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