Family Meals Matter: Spring into spring with lamb

Posted March 30, 2014, at 10:42 a.m.

All too often, March roars in like a lion, but if you’re lucky it will blow out like a lamb. No matter what the weather’s like, celebrate the last week of National Nutrition Month with delicious lamb recipes.

Start with a featured family meal of Grilled Lamb Asparagus Pitas, Orzo with Mint and Peas. Other recipes to enjoy include Lamb Cooked in Milk with Rice, Couscous Tabouli, Spicy Lamb Chops with Tropical Salsa and Custard Berry Parfaits.

GRILLED LAMB ASPARAGUS PITAS

Total preparation time: 15 to 30 minutes

Actual cooking time: Less than 15 minutes

Number of servings: 8 (281 calories/serving)

Asparagus adds a California twist to this traditional Greek sandwich.

Tzatziki Sauce:

1/2 cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 cup yogurt, plain

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Pitas:

4 pita pockets, cut in half

1 1/2 pounds lamb, cut into 2 inch cubes

2 bunches asparagus, ends trimmed

1/4 cup whole mint leaves

2 tomatoes, cubed

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

1. Prepare Tzatziki Sauce. In a blender, combine cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and chopped mint. Blend until almost smooth, about 1 minute. Chill until ready to assemble pitas.

2. Prepare pitas. In a large mixing bowl, toss lamb cubes and asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper.

3. Grill over a preheated grill until asparagus is tender and lamb cubes are cooked medium rare.

4. Cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Set aside.

5. Lightly grill both sides of the pita breads until heated through yet still soft. Wrap pitas in foil for a few minutes to steam.

6. Divide sandwich ingredients evenly among the 8 pita halves. Drizzle with the tsatiki sauce and serve immediately.

(Source: California Asparagus Commission, www.calasparagus.com)

ORZO WITH MINT AND PEAS

Total preparation time: 15 to 30 minutes

Actual cooking time: 15 to 30 minutes

Number of servings: 4 (325 calories/serving)

Lemon and shallots perk up this pasta dish.

1 cup orzo

Coarse salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 shallot (about 2 tablespoons), minced

Zest of 1 lemon

1 pound fresh peas, shelled, or 2 cups frozen peas

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt and orzo. Cook orzo according to package directions until just tender; drain and set aside. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and lemon zest, and saute until translucent.

2. Add peas, and cook until bright green and tender, adding a little water if shallots brown before peas are tender.

3. Add cooked orzo, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Remove from heat, and stir in mint. Serve immediately.

(Source: marthastewart.com)

BLUEBERRY BABY SMOOTHIE

Total preparation time: Less than 15 minutes

Actual cooking time: No cooking required

Number of servings: 4 (88 calories/serving)

This versatile, healthful drink, especially rich in antioxidants, can be the better part of a breakfast, lunch or snack. It’s an old-fashioned version of the modern smoothie.

8 ounces frozen blueberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 1/2 cups reduced-fat (2 percent) milk

Pinch of ground cardamom

1. Take the blueberries out of the freezer 30 minutes before using.

2. In a blender, combine the blueberries with the lemon juice, honey and milk. Add a sprinkle of cardamom before serving.

(Source: Mireille Giuliano, “French Women Don’t Get Fat”)

Other featured recipes:

LAMB COOKED IN MILK WITH RICE

COUSCOUS TABOULI

 

SPICY LAMB CHOPS WITH TROPICAL SALSA

“Family Meals Matter” features registered dietitian-approved recipes with foods from all the food groups to reflect Dairy Council of California’s nutrition philosophy. For more information, nutrition tools and additional recipes, visit healthyeating.org.

©2014 HealthyEating.org

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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