Spicy Lamb and Potato Stew

Life has been busy!  I apologize for the lack of blogging.  I’ll be getting back on that now.  Today I’m sharing a recipe that I tried in the colder months, but figured I’d share with you now before it’s WAY too hot for a stew!  Later this week – another frittata, protein smoothies and other tasty goodness.

This recipe comes from The Best Ever Indian Cookbook, just like most of my other Indian recipes.  Jess and I both really enjoyed this, especially since it actually DOES have a kick to it!  The flavors just blend really well together.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Topped off with a little chobani and we’re good to go!

Spicy Lamb and Potato Stew
Servings: 3
PointsPlus Per Serving: 7

Ingredients

  • 8 oz lamb leg or loin, cubed, 6 PP
  • 1 tbsp oil, 4 PP
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 fresh green chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, 1 PP
  • 2 1/2 cups raw potato, cut in large chunks, 7 PP
  • chopped fresh cilantro to garnish

Directions
1. Remove any visible fat from the lab and cut the meat into neat 1-inch cubes.

2. Heat the oil in a large heavy pan and fry the onion, bay leaves, chile and garlic for 5 minutes.

3. Add the meat and cook for about 6-8 minutes, until lightly browned.

4. Add the ground coriander, round cumin, ground turmeric, chili powder, and salt and cook the spices for 3-4 minutes, stirring all the time to prevent the spices from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

5. Add the tomatoes and stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

6. Add the bitesized chunks of potato to the simmering mixture, stir in, and cook for another 30-40 minutes, or until the meat is tender and much of the excess juices have been absorbed, leaving a thick, but minimal sauce. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and serve piping hot.

Homemade Gyro Pizza

All the flavors of a gyro with 1/3 of the points? Yes please!

Today’s pizza was inspired by the bit of Greek heritage that I hold on to. I can barely claim any… it’s only like 1/16th or something, but it’s in there somewhere! Probably one of my Italian relatives got all lovey-dovey with a neighbor and BING! Baby making happened. And now I’m here, pulling it out for all you lovers of a damn good gyro.

Pizza in Weight Watchers world isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Usually, a slice of cheese pizza banks in at 6 PP per slice. But this woman can’t live on cheese alone. And when you start putting other toppings on a pizza, the points start piling up. So you’ve got to be creative.

Pizza + Olive Oil base + Red Sauce

Now, a gyro in Weight Watchers world can START at 16 PP. SIXTEEN. For one gyro. NO GOOD! Although I DID have one last night for dinner when we went to pick up the tzatziki sauce from our local Niro’s Gyros (sometimes it’s easier just to buy the sauce rather than make it). This gyro was a white bread puffy pita that was probably lightly fried on the grill, a big pile of mysterious meat, some tomato, some white onions, some sweet peppers (my addition) and some tzatziki. It was delicious and it filled me up, but still, it’s not exactly a “power food”. Well, I took home the leftover tzatziki and planned on making a healthier version into a pizza today.

I’d already planned this, though. That’s why I already had my eight ounces of trimmed lamb leg marinating in the fridge for a day. You’ll want to do this too. Trust me. Do NOT attempt to make the pizza with the local gyro shop’s lame-o gyro meat. It won’t be nearly as flavorful (or healthy for you!) This lamb was seasoned to perfection with a special mix of spices and herbs that I found, so you’ll want to do that. DO IT.

Everything in the last picture + TOPPINGS! Although the last 1/2 of the cheese still needs to be sprinkled on top.

A few pizza making tips before I give you this amazingsuperfantasticalculinarilydecadent recipe.
– Use this pizza dough recipe and add in the vinegar that I talk about towards the bottom. It makes it much more pliable.
– If you make it about 1/4 inch thick all around, your pieces will be larger. YAY!
– Brush your dough with olive oil and then sprinkle some garlic powder on it to pump up the flavor
– If you have too much of the “wet” ingredients, your pizza will be soggy, so be careful.  Limit the sauce, people.
– Cook it for half the time on the top rack and half the time on the bottom rack to make sure both the top and bottom of the pizza have been thoroughly cooked (this keeps away the soggy-ness too)

Homemade Gyro Pizza
Servings: 6
PointsPlus Per Serving: 6 (or 17 PP for half of the whole thing)

Ingredients

Greek Gyro Rub for Lamb, Beef, Chicken or Mushrooms (or pretty much anything else). This will make a small jar of seasoning, but you only need to use about 2-3 tsp per 8 oz of meat, along with 1-2 tsp lemon juice (and maybe some plain greek yogurt) mixed together in a bag for marinating. Let it marinate for 2 hours up to overnight, then grill in a cast iron skillet until cooked. Now you’re ready to use it!

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika, hot or sweet
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme (I didn’t have any, left it out and it didn’t make a difference)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Baked and sliced. It was sooooo tasty.

For the Pizza

  • 6 oz pizza dough, 13 PP (store bought would probably work just fine too, but my recipe rocks!)
  • 5 oz Greek marinated lamb, grilled and sliced 6 PP
  • 2 oz shredded RF mozzarella cheese, 4 PP
  • 2 oz crumbled feta cheese, 4 PP
  • 1/4 cup pasta sauce of your choice, 1 PP
  • 6 large black olives, sliced, 1 PP
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 white onion, thinly sliced (optional)
  • sweet or hot peppers (optional)
  • 2 1/2 tsp olive oil, 3 PP
  • 3 tbsp tzatziki sauce, 1 PP

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 450.

2. Take out the dough and roll it to about 1/4 inch thick and put it on a pizza pan coated in cooking spray. Pour olive oil on and use your fingers or the back of a spoon to spread it over the whole thing. Then do the same with the pasta sauce.

3. Pile on your toppings next. I put half the cheese down first (mixed the two kinds together first, though), then the tomatoes, lamb and black olives. Next, I used my finger to dollop out the tzatziki sauce all around. Then I sprinkled the rest of the cheese over top.

4. Put in the oven on the top rack for about 10 minutes, then move it to the lower rack for another 5-6 minutes to ensure doneness. Take out, slice and enjoy!

Balti Lamb with Peas and Potatoes

Here’s another quick recipe from my newest favorite cookbook.  I made this last night for dinner and it was so yummy!  The lamb meat is so tender and adds so much depth to the dish.  If you’re worried about the cost of lamb, try getting a leg of lamb when you see a good deal and cutting the meat into 4 oz portions.  Each 4 oz portion is only 3 PP!  I bought one leg of lamb for around 25 dollars and I got 13 4-oz servings from it.  That’s less than $2 per serving, which is a great price for lamb!

One other quick note before you enjoy the recipe below – I’m guest blogging for my Company’s blog on Monday!  In case you didn’t know, I work for Wolfram|Alpha.  Every day, I curate the data that we have on our website.  It’s really quite an incredible resource.  The blog is titled “Losing Weight with Wolfram|Alpha”.  You’ll definitely want to check it out HERE!

Balti Lamb with Peas and Potatoes from the Best Ever Indian Cookbook
Servings: 4
PointsPlus Per Serving: 5

Ingredients

  • 8 oz lamb leg, sliced, 6 PP
  • 1 tbsp oil, 3 PP
  • 1/2 cup chobani plain yogurt, 2 PP
  • 2 green cardamom pods (you can find them at a local asian/indian grocer)
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped mint (optional)
  • 2 medium (or 1 large) onions, sliced
  • 1 cup water (the recipe calls for 1 1/4, but I thought it was too much)
  • 1 large white potato, diced, 6 PP
  • 1 cup frozen peas, 2 PP
  • 1 firm tomato, peeled, seeded, and diced

Directions
1. Using a sharp knife, trim any excess fat from the lamb and and cut into strips. Place in a bowl.

2. Add the yogurt, cinnamon, cardamoms, peppercorns, garlic, ginger, chili powder, garam masala, salt, and half the mint (if using). Stir well, cover the bowl, and let stand in a cool place to marinate for about 2 hours (or prepare it in the morning and let it marinate until you get back from work!).

3. Heat the oil in a karahi, wok, or heavy pan and fry the onions until golden brown. Stir in the lamb and the marinade and stir-fry for about 3 minutes.

4. Pour in the water, lower the heat, and cook for about 15 minutes, until the meat is cooked through. Meanwhile, cook the potato in boiling water until just soft, but not mushy.

5. Add the peas and potato to the lamb and stir gently to mix.

6. Finally, add the remaining mint and the tomato and cook for another 5 minutes before serving.

And like the note says in the book, cook this the day before and keep in the refrigerator before you reheat to enhance the flavor even more!

Curry Braised Lamb with Indian Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Rice

Click here for this Balsamic Marinated Lamb Chops recipe from “Cooking on the Side”!

Okay, I know I’ve been a bad blogger and haven’t written anything in like a whole month, so I’m apologizing by giving you a lamb recipe I created myself! But before we get to that, I want to update you a bit on my life right now.

Click here for this Breast of Lamb roasted with onion and spiced chick peas recipe from “Just Cook It”!

Last I told you, Bella and I were doing the Game On! Diet with some friends. Well, we lost by LESS THAN 4 POINTS!! Oh man, so crazy. We may have lost some money, but we learned a LOT about healthier eating patterns. Over the holidays, we did our best to not go crazy with all the traveling and money spending we were doing. We did pretty well and we’re both only a couple pounds away from our finishing weights from the Game On! Diet, but we ate WAY more sodium and exercised WAY less in the last month, so we can feel the swelling in our bodies.

Currently, I’m trying to get myself back on that exercise track. Right after the last 5K that Bella and I did, I started having really bad heel pain in my left heel. I discovered it was plantar fasciitis. Not fun. So, even though I WANTED to run more with Bella, it was too painful for days afterwards, so I’ve basically been giving it a rest. It’s getting better, but it really pushed my exercising off track :( I have a new years resolution of exercising/moving for at least 20 minutes a day, but so far I’ve only been cooking and cleaning a lot more! I have yet to get my tired bum out of bed and in front of the kinect for a serious sweat session. And now we’re both experiencing the winter blues and trying not to let it affect us too much.

There was a period of time when I was hardly cooking at all. I was just making lame food and didn’t feel excited about it…. then I bought an Indian cookbook! I’ve always loved Indian cuisine and now I am really starting to understand the palate and spices that go hand in hand for that perfect Indian flavor. That jumpstarted my cooking again. Things I’ve made in the last month:
– Boursin Garlic and Herb Mini Quiches
– Balti Butter Chicken
– Lentils and Rice
– Shrimp Korma
– Chicken in Creamy Coconut Sauce
– Miso Chicken and Rice Soup
– Maple Glazed Chicken and Roasted Acorn Squash
– Curry Braised Lamb with Indian Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Rice
– Homemade White/Wheat French Baguettes
– Simple Broccoli Soup

Click here for this Lamb and Yogurt Soup recipe from “Cooking by the Seat of My Pants”!

Those are just the ones I can remember! And they’ve all been wonderful. The french baguette will definitely be a recipe posted in the near future! I have to make some more since we ate it all. Half of the dishes listed above were recipes I made up myself, so the creative juices have really been flowing. Along with a jump in culinary awesomeness, I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that I need to go to culinary school. I just want to fine-tune my skills and get a certificate so that I have the street cred to work in a few bistros and kitchens before I open up my own! I don’t know when I’ll go, but I’m hoping it will be within the next few years. Until then, I’ll just keep watching all the kitchen/culinary shows I can on netflix, try out new recipes and scour through all my cookbooks and come up with tasty dishes to test out on friends and co-workers.

Now!…. Let me give you a little lamb. I went to the store hoping to find some tenderloin or another cut of lamb to use in some indian dishes, but the selection they had was pitiful and the prices were high! Well, it’s lamb. Lamb is always a bit pricey. But then I looked down and saw these long racks of ribs with a price of $2 per pound! Um whoa. The “breast of lamb”, also known as lamb spareribs or shortribs is an often overlooked cut. But if you’re like me and you need a little lamb flavor in your life now and then without shelling out a week’s pay for it, then this is the cut for you. It’s got a lot of fat on it and the amount of actual MEAT on it is a bit sparse, but the flavor is spectacular. AND it cooks faster! And since my internet was being pooey and my recipe books didn’t have any specific lamb rib recipes to go on, I decided to make my own… and it was awesome. Make sure you use a dutch oven if you have one. It makes the whole process quicker and more efficient.

Click here for this Baked Lebanese Lamb Meatballs recipe from “Jo Cooks”!

Curry Braised Lamb with Indian Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Rice
Servings: 4
PointsPlus Per Serving: 13
Calories Per Serving: 475

INGREDIENTS
For Lamb:

  • 8 spareribs (or 8 oz of another cut), 21 PP
  • 1 tbsp vegetable/canola oil, 4 PP
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • enough warm/hot water to cover the bottom of the dutch oven up to 1/2 inch
  • 1 bay leaf

For Rice:

  • 1/2 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes, 3 PP
  • 1/2 large white onion, sliced
  • 1 cup dry rice (jasmine, basmati or white, unless you want to use brown, then you need to adjust for the longer cooking time and extra water needed), 17 PP
  • 1/2 piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp canola/vegetable oil, 1 PP
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 cup water

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat a dutch oven up over medium-low heat. Pour in 1 tbsp oil as it warms. Blot the lamb with a paper towel to take off any extra moisture. Mix together the curry powder, garlic powder, cloves, paprika, salt and pepper and rub over all sides of the lamb. Once dutch oven is hot, brown the meat on all sides.

Click here for this Grilled Skewered Lamb Kabobs recipe from “What’s Cooking, Chicago?”!

2. Once all sides are browned, take out the lamb and set to the side while you pour out all but 1-2 tbsp of the melted fat from the dutch oven. Put the lamb back in and pour the right amount of water into the dutch oven to reach 1/4-1/2 inch up from the bottom. Add the bay leaf. Bring the liquid to a boil and then put on the lid and lower heat to a simmer.

3. Simmer the meat, flipping every so often to that all sides get good moisture. Keep doing this for about 40 minutes.

4. Rinse the 1 cup of rice in water and drain.

5. Take out a pot and warm up the tsp of canola oil. Add onions and potatoes and saute for about 3-5 minutes. Add curry powder, salt, cloves, pepper and cinnamon stick and mix together. Let cook for about a minute. Then add rinsed rice. Mix together. Pour in 1 cup of water, mix and bring to a slight boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cover. After about 10 minutes, uncover rice, mix up and determine how much more liquid is needed. Take the needed liquid from the dutch oven… all the spiced juices and lamb fats! It will flavor the rice even more.

6. 40 minutes will get lamb spareribs to a well-done state, so if you want your lamb to be more tender, take that into consideration. 30 minutes might just do the trick. Once all your food is done cooking, let the lamb sit in it’s juices for about 10 minutes before serving. Then, layer the rice and potatoes on the bottom and top with the lamb. Serve immediately and enjoy!