Stuffed Leg of Lamb

I’m not one to brag or boast about my skills in the kitchen, BUT this recipe deserves a gold star.  Actually, it deserves 5 gold stars.  Seriously y’all, it’s one of the BEST recipes I’ve EVER MADE BEFORE.  I absolutely LOVE lamb.  I eat it at nice restaurants often, but have never made it at home…until now!   I’ll be honest… I was super nervous to make it or to even try to make it.  Let’s be real… an organic leg of lamb is not something you want to screw up in any way.  So, I was at the gym running and watching Food Network because that’s how I roll.  I’ve got to watch something entertaining that keeps my mind off the clock while I’m on that god-forsaken treadmill.  Giada DeLaurentiis was on making a leg of lamb dish…  Sick and tired of making the same dishes over and over, I felt somewhat inspired.  I decided to take her recipe and create my own version for Easter dinner at Casa de Khan!  We had Stuffed Leg of Lamb with haricot vert and a tomato and cucumber salad.  It was delicious!!!

Stuffed Leg of Lamb

1 – 5lb leg of lamb; boned and butterflied

3 tbsp olive oil plus 1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp garlic, minced

1/2 cup onion, diced

2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped finely

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 cup pecans, diced

1 cup fresh spinach, rough chop

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 cups beef stock

Directions: 

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Remove lamb from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.

3.  Heat 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil in cast iron skillet (or oven proof skillet).  Saute onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, then add pecans, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper.  While this sautes, rough chop your spinach, put it in a bowl, and set to the side until your veggies are done.  This takes about 5-7 minutes.

4.  Add your onion and garlic mixture to your chopped spinach.  Stir well and taste to check for seasoning.  Set to the side until you’re ready to stuff the lamb.

5.  Trim excess fat off lamb.  (By the looks of my pictures, I probably should have trimmed off a little bit more of the fat.  But I still wanted there to be some fat on it that would cook through the meat while giving it more flavor.)  Open it up and spread Dijon mustard all over the inside, then stuff with spinach mixture.  Starting from one side, roll up the lamb with the filling inside so that it maintains the shape of the leg.  Tie with butcher’s twine at 2 inch intervals. Season the outside of the lamb with salt and pepper.

legoflamb2   legoflamb

 

6.  Wipe out your cast iron skillet you just used to saute the onion/garlic mixture.  Add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil. Place over high heat and allow it to get hot.  Place the lamb in the pan and sear it on all sides until golden brown all over, about 2 minutes per side.

7.  Transfer lamb to oven and add just enough beef stock to cover the bottom of the cast iron skillet (1/2 inch deep). Keep an eye on the stock.  About half way through, I added a little bit more.  You don’t want the stock to cook completely out.  This keeps the lamb very moist as it cooks.  Cook the lamb for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 135 degrees.  Remove from skillet to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes before you carve it.

finishedlegoflamb Perfection!!!

8.  I am the Queen of sauces!  So, while my lamb rested, I used the same cast iron skillet I cooked the lamb in and made a super yummy red wine sauce to drizzle on the lamb.  The sauce is completely up to you.  The lamb doesn’t ‘need’ a sauce at all, I just preferred it at the time!  If you want my red wine sauce recipe, continue reading…

Red Wine Sauce 

1 tbsp butter

1tbsp flour

1-1 1/2 cups beef stock

1/2 cup red wine

1/4 – 1/2 cup coconut milk OR heavy cream

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

9.  If you still have stock in the bottom of your pan, pour it over into a glass and use part of it for the sauce.  Add 1 tbsp butter to the pan.  Once it has melted, add 1 tbsp of flour.  Whisk together for about a minute and add 1 cup of your reserved beef stock.  If it’s too thick, add more stock until it’s the consistency you like.  Next, add a 1/2 cup of red wine (I used a Cabernet.  Always cook with wine you like to drink!).  Bring the sauce to a boil for 5-7 minutes to burn the alcohol off.  Bring to simmer and add 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary and 1/4 – 1/2 cup coconut milk (if you want it to be Paleo) or heavy cream.  Taste and check to see if you need more salt and pepper.

10.  Carve up this delicious stuffed leg of lamb and serve with your favorite vegetables!

finishedlegoflamb2  tomatocucumbersalad2

*Look under my veggies tab for my haricot vert and tomato & cucumber salad recipes!*

 

 

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Steak & Veggies Dinner for Two

One year down, forever to go!

On March 16, 2013 I had my very first date with the love of my life.  Little did I know at the time that he would end up being my one true love.  I was on cloud 9!  I will say unashamed that we met on Match.com… Don’t laugh.  It’s what you do when you’re 30, still single, never been married, no kids, and still praying for one little ounce of hope in the marriage world.  Don’t forget I’m from Alabama.  In case you don’t know, it’s sacrilegious to be this old and not married in this state.  Most girls either get married right out of high school OR they go to college for their “MRS” degree. I had been on Match for a few months, having a few okay dates, and a few I never want to see you again dates.  I’m not going to lie, it was exhausting.  Putting yourself out there in hopes of really finding that one man you’ve been praying for since you were 15 was not an easy task for this introvert.  It was coming close to the end of my subscription and I had decided I was done looking for Mr. Right.  I was tired of lame dates.  No chemistry.  It never failed, if they were super in to me, I was so not in to them.  UNTIL… I got an email from a man with the user name: DolphinFanatic.  We went back and forth via email for a couple days until he finally asked me for my number. I’ll never forget the first time he called me.  He has the hottest voice EVER!  It’s one of those deep, manly, but very kind sounding voices that makes you wanna curl up next to him because you know that just the sound of his voice will protect you… and did I mention it sounds so hot?!  Ahhh!  I’m pretty sure my heart raced every time we spoke on the phone for the first couple weeks. So… super long story short… He’s in school working on his second degree and wasn’t able to meet up with me until about 2 weeks after his first initial email.  We spent hours on the phone.  HOURS!  This may sound totally cliche, but talking to him was so effortless.  We laughed about anything and everything.  It honestly felt like we had known each other for years.  It could not have been more perfect! We finally decided on a day to meet and naturally, I was a nervous wreck!  He was the first man I’ve met and gone out on a date with that offered to come pick me up AT MY HOUSE.  (He scored major points when he did that.) I was under the impression that act of chivalry was dead.  Nope!  Not with my sweet love!  Our first date seriously could not have been more perfect.  We went to a park downtown and had a sushi and vodka-tonic picnic and then we went to the Wine Loft for dinner.  It was by far THE BEST DATE EVER!!!

first date pic

So… with all that said, this blog is in honor of my gorgeous Omar!  He’s not just my best friend, but he’s my one true love.  The man I waited a long ass time for.  The man I’ve prayed for.  The man that makes me want to be a better woman.  The man I want to travel the world with.  The man I will one day marry and grow old and wrinkly with.  I love you with all my heart, Sweetheart.  You were so worth the wait! Below are just a few pictures of the things we did throughout this first year of being together…I’m the luckiest girl in the whole wide world!

whit&omesDolphinsGame

We went to the Saints VS Dolphins game in NOLA!  My first Dolphins game!!

whit&omesNYC

A friend’s wedding in NYC… I LOVE NYC!!!

nursing party

Date night!

Now on to the food!  I’m a firm believer in that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… This is one of Omar’s favorite meals.  He loves it so much, we have it at least once a week, sometimes twice!

Steak & Veggies Dinner for Two

  • 2 – 8oz steaks (This particular night I used sirloin steaks, but we also love filets and NY Strip steaks too)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, medium diced
  • 8 0z container mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 cups of Kale, washed, dried, and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil and butter (for the meat and veggies)
  • Yum-Yum Sauce: (This sauce is amazing on anything!)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 -2 Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

This meal seriously takes about 20 minutes to fix from start to finish. 

1.  Make the Yum-Yum sauce.  Set to the side for a bit. 

2.  Saute onion and garlic together in one tbsp of olive oil and one tbsp of butter until translucent.  Then add the mushrooms and red bell peppers.  Let them cook until just soft.  Salt and pepper as you go.  

3.  While the onions, garlic, bell pepper, and mushrooms are getting yummy, I get my steaks out and season them with salt and pepper or your favorite rub.  Get out your cast iron skillet and get it screaming hot.  Add one tbsp of olive oil and one tbsp of butter to the skillet, but don’t let it burn!                                                                         Veggie with yum-yum sauce

4.  Start cooking your steaks to the temperature of your liking.  We love medium rare, so while one side of the steaks cook, I finish my veggies.                                                                       

  sirloin steaks

5.  Add tomatoes and kale and cook until the kale has wilted just enough.  Add the Yum-Yum sauce to the veggies and let them marry together while your steaks cook!  

At this point my steaks are done.  I pull them off the heat and on to a plate.  Let them rest for a couple minutes…. Then consume this delicious and healthy meal, preferably with a glass of Cabernet!                                                               sirloin and veg

One last picture from when we went to the Miami Heat Finals Game 2!  Bon Appetit!!!

whit&omesHEATgame

Mama’s Chicken Salad

Everybody needs a mama like mine!

As I look back on my life, I can’t help but thank God for the mother He gave me.  Through the ups, the downs, the good times, and definitely the bad times I can honestly say my mama has always been there for me.  She is one of the few people I know that exudes unconditional love.  She’s one of the funniest people I know, as well as one of the best story-tellers.  She’s probably the only person that can look at me and make me smile just by holding up a peace sign.  (That’s an inside joke that no one else will understand except us.)  We can and will say the EXACT SAME THING at any given moment…totally unrehearsed.  It’s a gift.  We have the same laugh…and smile 🙂  People often mistake us for sisters.  I used to hate that, but the older I get the more I understand what an amazing compliment it is for her! I’m keeping my fingers crossed in hopes to look as good as she does when I’m her age.  She’s just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.  Not only is she my mama, she’s the one person on this earth that truly knows me inside and out.  She’s my best friend.  I love you, mama-cita!

whit&syb Don’t be a hater… My mama is gorgeous!

With all that said…here’s one of mama’s recipes!  It’s not 100% Paleo, but if you have a little Paleo mayo on hand, you could totally make it Paleo!

Mama’s Chicken Salad

What you will need:

  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken, shredded, skin and bones removed (We buy the already cooked ones at our local grocery store.  If you prefer to roast it yourself, by all means, roast away!)
  • 1 large onion, small diced
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, small diced
  • 1 cup of grapes, halved (If they’re really big grapes, I would quarter them.)
  • 1 red bell pepper, small diced
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Craisins

Dressing

  • 1 cup of mayonnaise (I like to use a homemade Paleo mayo… Mom would not! She’s all about the Hellman’s full fat, full flavor!)
  • 1/2 cup mango jam (THIS is what makes it taste AMAZING!!)
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne (You decide how hot you want it to be.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl together and mix well.  Set aside for a few minutes.
  2. In another bowl, mix all of the ingredients for the dressing together.
  3. Pour the dressing on top of the chicken and veggies and mix until it’s well incorporated together.  If you have time, refrigerate it for a couple of hours.  If you don’t have time, it’s no big deal.
  4. You can serve this on a bed of fresh greens or serve it with some organic blue corn tortilla chips.  It’s freakin delicious.  Your tongue will love you! Syb's Chicken SaladSyb's Chicken Salad4

Italian Lemon Chicken

Hey Y’all!

I thought I would start my very first blog off by telling you a tiny, itty-bitty bit about myself. Throughout the history of my blog, I hope to share bits and pieces of my life experiences, passions, and my love for all things food!

  1. My name is Whitney!  I was born and raised in the deep south.  I love southern hospitality, southern accents, and the somewhat laid back way of life.
  2. Omar is the love of my life – the man I will one day marry and get old and gray with.  I’m sure you’ll hear more about him in due time.
  3. I have 2 best friends: my mom and Chasity.  They’re both a little bit on the crazy side, but I can honestly say I couldn’t live without either one of them.  You’ll definitely hear more about them as well.
  4. I have a love/hate relationship with running.  I hate the process of running, but love how good I feel after a run.
  5. I tend to be a perfectionist.
  6. Patience is not my virtue, but I’m working on it.
  7. I LOVE to laugh.  I know that sounds totally cheesy, but seriously I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laughed so hysterically hard that somehow every care, worry, or whatever bad day was going on just seemed to disappear in the midst of a damn good laugh!  A laugh that normally turns into a cry.
  8. I wish I could live out of a suitcase and travel the world, taste different foods, and learn about different cultures with my love for an extended period of time…all while doing something good and beneficial for others.
  9. There are very little gray areas in my life.  Meaning: I’m either 100% for it OR I’m 100% against it.
  10. I love to love and be loved.

Now on to the food!  This recipe is the only “homemade” thing I’ve made this week… It turned out well, so I’m sharing it!

Italian Lemon Chicken

You’re going to need:

1 1/2 lbs of chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-off (If you prefer skin-on, by all means leave the skin on!)

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp lemon zest (1 tsp for rub, 2 tsp for the sauce)

1 1/2 tsp dried Oregano

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp olive oil (1 tbsp for the rub, 2 tbsp for cooking)

1/4 cup lemon juice (1 lemon)

1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 tbsp butter, softened

1 tbsp flour

Directions                                                      

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash chicken and pat dry.

Make rub for chicken 

Combine mustard, 1 tsp lemon zest, Oregano, Italian seasoning, salt, and 1 tbsp olive oil in a small bowl.  Mix well. Coat the top of the chicken with half of the rub.  (After I coat the first side, I put it in the pan rub side down so I can use the rest of the rub for the other side.  Make sense?!  I hope so.)

In another bowl, combine lemon juice, stock, and lemon zest. Set aside.

Flavor the oil with garlic                                 

Heat remaining olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or an oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and let it saute until it’s browned, but NOT burned!  Remove and discard garlic, but leave the oil.

Cook the chicken 

Add chicken to what would have been skin-side down (or if you’re using chicken with the skin on it, skin-side down) into the hot infused oil.  Cook 2-3 or until it has browned.

Flip the chicken and add lemon juice mixture.  Put the pan in the oven and back 25-30 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 165 degrees.

Italian Lemon Sauce 

Remove pan from oven, place chicken on a plate to rest, cover with foil.  There should still be liquid in the pan.  Place the pan over medium heat and bring the liquid to a slight simmer.

In a small bowl, mix the softened butter and flour together and whisk it into the sauce. The sauce will thicken and look glossy.  Put chicken back in the pan.   Serve with your favorite vegetable and consume!

Italian Lemon Chicken

Italian Lemon Chicken2

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