(Family Features) From Easter to Passover to the Kentucky Derby and beyond, there is a lamb dish for nearly every spring occasion.
While many traditions rely on lamb as a centerpiece, it doesn’t have to be prepared like grandma’s overcooked, tough and often tasteless roast. Today’s home cooks are forgoing the jar of mint jelly and using fresh mint in pesto and salsas, while serving their lamb medium-rare to preserve its tender juiciness.
If a rack of lamb is your preferred cut for spring celebrations, the American Lamb Board offers six simple steps for the perfect entree. For those who opt for roasting a boneless leg of lamb that is tender and full of flavor, try using these step-by-step instructions for a succulent lamb roast. For a real showstopper, turn off the oven, fire up the grill, butterfly a leg of lamb, season well and grill to desired doneness.
Toss grandma’s jar of mint jelly and brighten up your feasts with fresh condiments like this Mint-Pistachio Pesto or a Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Sea Salt. For more tips and spring celebration-worthy recipes, visit americanlamb.com/spring/.
Recipe courtesy of the American Lamb Board
- 1 cup shelled, toasted, unsalted pistachios
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- sea salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- pinch of red chili flakes
- In food processor, pulse all ingredients until mixed but still somewhat chunky.
Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Sea Salt
Recipe courtesy of the American Lamb Board
- 1/2 cup coarse sea salt
- 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 1/2-3 pounds boneless leg of American lamb, trimmed and butterflied
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 lemons
- In food processor, grind salt and rosemary leaves together until mixture is texture of coarse sand.
- Season lamb generously with rosemary salt, working it into all crevasses; it should take about 2 tablespoons. Set lamb aside at room temperature at least 30 minutes before grilling, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.
- Heat charcoal or gas grill. Pat lamb dry, if needed, and rub lightly with olive oil to coat.
- Grease grill grates with oil and place lamb on hottest part of grill. Cook with grill covered, turning once, until brown and crusty.
- Move lamb to cooler part of grill and continue cooking until instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 130° F for medium-rare, 15-25 minutes total. Transfer lamb to platter, cover with foil and let rest at least 10 minutes before cutting into thick slices against the grain.
- Halve lemons and brush cut sides lightly with oil. Place cut-side down on grill until deeply charred, 2-3 minutes.
- Arrange lamb slices on large platter or directly over salad. Serve with charred lemon halves for squeezing and additional rosemary salt.
Source: American Lamb Board
(Family Features) When it comes to pairing wine with food, even experts agree that desserts can pose a challenge. A wide variety of flavor combinations can make it hard to find the perfect selection to serve with your sweet treat. While there’s no exact science to wine pairing, these simple tips can help you make your selection.
A good rule: the lighter the dessert, the lighter the wine. Avoid heavy reds for a sweeter dessert and instead pair with a crisp white like Chardonnay, such as Joseph Carr from Sonoma, California.
Citrusy Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon flavors can sometimes be polarizing, but complementing this dessert with an equally citrusy wine can work wonders. Try pairing with a food-friendly pinot grigio or a sauvignon blanc.
Rich Chocolate Cake
Red wine with chocolate seems like a no-brainer, but not all red wines are created equal. For a richer delicacy like this devil’s food cake, try something like Villa Pozzi Nero D’avola, a more fruit-forward, easy-drinking red varietal.
For more tips and wine selections, visit winefix.com
New York-Style Honey Cheesecake
Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
- 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup flour
- 5 eggs
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- fresh berries, for garnish
- fresh mint, for garnish
- To make crust: In small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs and butter until well blended. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and sides of greased 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- To make filling: In electric mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, honey and flour. Beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in cream, lemon zest and vanilla.
- Pour cream cheese mixture over crust; bake 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 200° F and bake 1 hour and 30 minutes longer, or until center no longer looks wet or shiny.
- With oven off and door ajar, let cheesecake cool 1 hour in oven. Remove cheesecake to rack to cool completely.
- Cover and refrigerate cheesecake at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with fruit and fresh mint. Pair with chardonnay like Joseph Carr.
Honey Devil’s Food Cake with Rich Chocolate Frosting
Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups honey, divided
- 1/2 cup 2 percent low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- milk chocolate shavings, for garnish
- To prepare cake: Heat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
- In large bowl, combine flour, 1 cup cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups honey, milk, oil, eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla; beat 2 minutes. Gradually beat in water.
- Divide batter between pans. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until sides pull away slightly from pan and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Turn onto wire racks and cool completely.
- To prepare frosting: In medium bowl, combine remaining cocoa powder, honey and vanilla, and cream. Beat until just thick and fluffy.
- To assemble: Spread frosting evenly over sides and top of one cake layer. Place second cake layer on top. Spread remaining frosting evenly over sides and top.
- Garnish with milk chocolate shavings. Pair each serving with a glass of prosecco, like Nero D’avola from Villa Pozzi.
Photo courtesy of 275847/Shutterstock.com (cheesecake)
Photo courtesy of Barnaby Chambers/Shutterstock.com (chocolate cake with wine)
Source: Deutsch Family Wines
Mucho Choco Tacos
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Start to Finish: 40 Minutes
Makes: 8 tacos
- 8 Old El Paso Stand 'N Stuff taco shells (from 4.7-oz box)
- 1 (24-ounce) package chocolate-flavored candy coating (almond bark)
- 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- 2 cups sliced bananas
- 3/4 cup hot fudge ice cream topping
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 aerosol can whipped cream topping
- 8 mint leaves, if desired
- Heat oven to 325°F. Heat taco shells as directed on box. Meanwhile, melt chocolate candy coating as directed on package.
- Carefully dip each taco shell into melted chocolate, using spoon to get chocolate on inside of shell; hold shells above bowl to let excess chocolate drip off. Stand shells upright on waxed paper; let stand until chocolate hardens, 10 to 15 minutes.
- In medium bowl, mix strawberries and bananas. Divide fruit evenly into taco shells.
- In small microwavable bowl, microwave fudge topping on High 30 to 45 seconds or until soft. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla. Drizzle topping over fruit in shells. Top with whipped cream; garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately.
Source: General Mills Inc.
Moscato Moscow Mule
- 4 ounces ginger beer
- 3 ounces Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato
- 1 ounce lime juice
- 1 lime wheel
- 1 mint sprig for garnish
- Pour ginger beer, Moscato and lime juice into ice-filled copper mug. Garnish with lime wheel and mint sprig.
Source: Gallo Family Vineyards
(Family Features) It’s summer and there’s little that can compare to the refreshing sparkle that fresh lemon or lime gives a tall glass of iced tea or an ice-cold bottle of water. (And how about that great citrus taste on grilled fish?) But it’s not always easy — or convenient — to bring a whole lemon or lime with you when you’re on the go. Worse yet, it’s so frustrating to reach for a fresh lemon or lime at home only to realize either you’re out or they’ve gone bad sitting in your refrigerator.
Now, there’s good news for lemon and lime lovers. Fresh squeezed lemon and lime taste is now as simple as a tear of a packet or a shake of a bottle — and you don’t have to worry about it going bad before you’ve had a chance to use it. True Lemon and True Lime crystallized lemon and lime substitutes are made with 100 percent all-natural ingredients including real lemon and lime juice and oils. Available in packets and now rolling out nationwide in shaker containers, both can be used just like you would fresh lemon or lime juice.
True Lemon and True Lime can add true citrus flavor to:
- Drinks and smoothies,
- Marinades, rubs and flavoring pastes,
- Main dishes,
- Fruits, vegetables and side dishes,
- Desserts and
- Any dish or drink that needs flavor-enhancing lemon or lime.
Convenient packets of the all-natural crystallized lemon and lime are also great to take to the office, to the gym or on summer vacation — anytime you’re on the go. Each packet contains the equivalent of 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon or lime juice with no calories, carbohydrates, preservatives or sodium, but with a full 25 percent of an adult’s daily vitamin C requirement. True Lemon and True Lime shakers have the same health benefits and offer an easy way for home chefs to sprinkle on a zesty citrus taste. They are also a great salt substitute for those watching their sodium intake.
For more information and recipes, visit www.truelemon.com.
Luscious Lime Summer Smoothie
Makes 1-1/2 cups
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 2 packets True Lime
- 1 ripe medium banana
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 2 kiwi fruit, peeled and halved
- 2 cups crushed ice
- Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
Lemon Herb Salmon
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 packets True Lemon
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon chives
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 medium salmon steaks, cut 1/4 inch thick
- In large bowl, combine all ingredients except salmon steaks; mix well. Add fish to bowl; spoon marinade over fish until well coated. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours, turning fish over after 1 hour.
- Place fish on broiler pan or on hot grill. Broil or grill 4 to 6 inches from heat, 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork.
Source: True Lemon
Family Festivities for St. Patrick’s Day
(Family Features) This St. Patrick’s Day, entertain your little leprechauns with delicious treats and fun activities that will lead them to their pot of gold.
Every year in March, families celebrate the annual Irish tradition of St. Patrick’s Day with a variety of celebrations. Whether it’s attending a parade or preparing and enjoying an elaborate Irish meal, everyone has their own favorite ways to celebrate the holiday. Set your own unique traditions and rituals with some ideas below.
Pass Along the Luck
Have kids put together lucky treat bags to pass along to neighbors. These treat bags could include cut-out, decorated and customized four-leaf clovers, chocolate coins and other goodies. Then, on St. Patrick’s Day, walk around as a family and surprise neighbors with these bags.
Set up a treasure hunt for family and friends by placing chocolate gold coins around the house. Give them a series of clues and riddles to help them figure out where to look for the coins. Equip each “hunter” with their own pot or basket for collecting the gold coins. At the end of the hunt, reward them for their hard work with some festive brownies. These delicious Chocolate Mint Brownies can be decorated with green gumdrops formed into shamrocks or other holiday candies. Use a shamrock-shaped cookie cutter to make these treats even more festive.
Chocolate Mint Brownies
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Start to Finish: 3 hours 25 minutes
Makes: 32 brownies
- 1 box Betty Crocker® Original Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch) water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon mint extract
- 4 drops green food color
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
- 1/2 cup butter (do not use margarine)
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease only bottom of 13 x 9-inch pan with shortening or cooking spray. Make and bake brownie mix as directed on box for 13 x 9-inch pan, using water, oil and eggs. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
- In large bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread over cooled brownies. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until set.
- Meanwhile, in 2-quart nonstick saucepan, heat topping ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Cool about 10 minutes or until lukewarm.
- Pour topping over filling; spread to cover. Refrigerate uncovered about 2 hours or until set. Before cutting into bars, let stand 10 minutes at room temperature. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 4 rows. For easier cutting, cut brownies with a wet knife. Store covered in refrigerator.
For more delicious baking ideas, visit www.BettyCrocker.com.
Betty Crocker® is a registered trademark of General Mills.
Source: Betty Crocker
(Family Features) - Hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages and mustard - it's easy to forget that these "all-American" barbecue staples we crave this time of year originally came from Germany.
These traditional foods are delectable. But why not try some über-tasty, new German barbecue recipes? Each recipe uses typical German ingredients that are readily available and each is healthier than you might think.
All of these recipes use heart-healthy canola oil, which has the lowest saturated fat of all popular vegetable oils, is high in vitamin E, and is a good plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. With its light flavor, canola oil allows the summer vegetables and juicy grilled peaches to shine.
Visit www.germanfoods.org to find a local or online retailer of authentic German foods and beverages for barbecues, such as bratwurst, sauerkraut, rolls, mustards, pickles, cheeses and mineral water. Visit www.canolainfo.org for more tips on healthy summer barbecuing.
Tips for Safe Grilling
Eighty-four percent of gas grill owners say it is important to follow basic safe grilling tips when using a gas grill, however, only about one in three (35 percent) say they know a great deal about gas grills, according to the Propane Education & Research Council. To help the 74 million barbecue households in the United States enjoy a safe and healthy summer season, the propane industry has developed its top 10 tips for grilling safely with propane gas:
- When the cylinder is refilled, have the supplier check for dents, damage, rust or leaks.
- After filling or exchanging the cylinder, take it home immediately. Keep the vehicle ventilated and the cylinder valve closed and capped.
- Always use or store cylinders outdoors in an upright (vertical) position. Do not use, store or transport cylinders near high temperatures (this includes storing spare cylinders near the grill).
- Never leave the grill unattended. Always follow grill manufacturer's instructions for lighting the grill and make sure the grill top is open when attempting to light the grill.
- Before connecting the cylinder to a propane gas grill burner for the first time, use a leak-detection solution (a 50/50 mixture of water and liquid soap) to check connections for tightness. Do not use matches or lighters to check for leaks.
- If you suspect a gas leak and are able to safely turn off the gas supply valve, do so immediately and call the fire department.
- Do not allow children to tamper or play with the cylinder or grill.
- Do not smoke while handling a propane cylinder.
- Never pour an accelerant such as lighter fluid or gasoline on the grill.
- When not in use, turn off the grill's burner controls and close the cylinder valve.
For additional tips, visit www.usepropane.com.
- Canola oil for brushing grill
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon German mustard
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 red pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1 green pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 2 zucchini, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1 eggplant, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound spätzle
- Fresh basil to garnish
- Heat grill on medium heat. Brush grill with canola oil. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup canola oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Place cut-up vegetables in dressing. Toss to coat well. Grill vegetables on skewers or in basket until tender and lightly browned.
- Cook spätzle according to directions on package. Place cooked spätzle in a large bowl and toss with grilled vegetables. If more moisture is desired, whisk together 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and canola oil. Toss, garnish with basil, and serve warm.
Serves 6 to 8
- Canola oil for brushing grill
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 fresh peaches, halved and pitted
- 1 lemon loaf cake sliced into 8 pieces*
- Dark German chocolate shavings
- Mint sprigs
- Heat grill on medium heat. Brush grill with canola oil.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons canola oil, lime juice, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and cinnamon.
- Grill peaches 3 to 4 minutes on each side; grill lemon loaf until grill marks appear. Remove peaches and lemon loaf from grill.
- Place peaches on top of lemon loaf slices and drizzle with prepared dressing.
- Garnish with German chocolate shavings and mint sprigs, and serve with ice cream.
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
*Find the recipe at www.canolainfo.org or buy German imported packaged cake.
- Canola oil for brushing grill
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 1/2 cups shredded German Emmentaler cheese, divided
- 1 cup German sauerkraut with wine, squeezed dry
- 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 egg white
- 2 tablespoons Bavarian mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 4 pretzel rolls or other sandwich rolls, split horizontally and toasted
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup German mustard
- 2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons minced dried cranberries
- German pickles, red onion rings, sliced tomatoes and lettuce leaves
- Combine turkey, 1 cup cheese, sauerkraut, breadcrumbs, egg white, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix together with hands. Shape into 4 patties.
- Heat propane grill on medium-high. Brush grill with canola oil to prevent sticking. Cook burgers, turning once, 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Toast rolls on the grill, and sprinkle burgers evenly with remaining cheese during the last two minutes of cooking.
- For mustard sauce, whisk together canola oil, German mustard, vinegar and cranberries.
- Place burgers on rolls, spread with mustard sauce and top with accompaniments.
(Family Features) Americans thirsting for more energy can refresh their hydration habits by thinking outside the water glass. Some foods - including flavorful, water-rich produce like watermelon - can help hydrate the body as well.
"Sliced, cubed or blended, or even simply juiced, watermelon is a delicious way to increase fluid intake and boost energy," said Elizabeth Somer, a registered dietician and author of several nutrition and wellness books. "Watermelon is 92 percent water, and the perfect ingredient for salads, salsas, smoothies and more."
With a distinctively sweet, refreshing taste, it may be hard to think of watermelon as a nutritious, low-calorie hydration boost. But actually, beyond its high water content, watermelon is loaded with vitamins A and C, potassium and magnesium, fiber and phytonutrients, such as lycopene.
Tips for picking the perfect watermelon
Choosing a good whole watermelon at the store may seem like a challenge, because the thick rind hides the vibrant fruit inside. But actually, making a good pick is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Look the watermelon over. You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents.
- Lift it up. The watermelon should be heavy for its size; most of the weight is water.
- Turn it over. The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.
Once you've got your watermelon home, there are dozens of ways to enjoy it, including a wide range of cold, refreshing beverages. One easy way to up your water intake with watermelon is this simple one-ingredient recipe for watermelon juice:
Just cut a seedless watermelon into one-inch chunks with a sharp knife and place in blender. Blend watermelon well until juice is smooth. If you prefer, you can strain the juice to remove the pulp.
For a little extra flavor, try combining watermelon juice with other fruity flavors, as in this Agua Fresca, which blends that natural sweetness of watermelon with lime, a small amount of sugar and water.
Find more ideas to help you sip your way to hydration with mouthwatering inspiration at www.watermelon.org.
- 1 cup finely chopped watermelon
- 7 cups coarsely chopped watermelon
- 6 cups watermelon juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large lime, juiced
- 1 serving water (if needed)
- Watermelon wedges
- Mint leaves
- Combine all ingredients, including slices of juiced lime, in large serving pitcher.
- Garnish with watermelon wedges and mint.