Enjoying Variations of Lamb Dinners

Almost everywhere that travel to has a traditional lamb meal, but it isn’t as common here in the United States. And because it isn’t as popular here, it can be expensive to buy, but it certainly worth treating yourself to from time to time. Ground lamb isn’t as expensive as other options and, if you’re only cooking for a few people, lamb chops are another good choice. If you really want to have a dinner with a dramatic presentation, then cooking a rack of lamb is an obvious choice. Since lamb can have a stronger flavor, it is often paired up with other flavorful spices such as those found in Mediterranean or Indian cooking. Whatever style of cooking you prefer, hopefully one of these options will tempt you to give lamb a try.

Roasted Lamb

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Gravy – There is something about having lamb that is very emblematic of the coming of spring to us and we look forward to this meal every year. We don’t get leg of lamb very often because it is just the two of us, but we enjoy using the leftovers for other meals. Oven roasted red potatoes is definitely our favorite starch to serve with lamb and sautéing spinach made for a light and refreshing vegetable.

Spicy Lamb Biryani

Delicious Lamb Biryani – Our favorite meal when we visited India was Lamb Biryani. It isn’t a particularly difficult dish to create, but it does take a bit of time and preparation. It turned out to be quite delicious and very fragrant. Depending on how spicy you like your food, you can control some of the heat by changing the amount of cayenne pepper or type of green chili that you use. We served ours over Basmati rice, but regular rice would be just as good.

Rack of Lamb Cut into Chops

Roasted Rack of Lamb – Rack of lamb can be an elegant meal and it is a good idea to ask the butcher to “French cut” the bones, which is simply removing the meat and fat from the bone tips. Some people like mint jelly with lamb, but we prefer to simply roast it with herbs like rosemary and thyme. Our preference is to cook the lamb to medium-rare or medium at the most, which keeps it moist and tender.

Lamb Chops with Roasted Red Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

Lamb Chops Marinated with Dijon Mustard and Herbs – This is a simple recipe and yet it is quite delicious. We served ours with oven roasted red potatoes and brussels sprouts, which made for perfect accompaniments. You can substitute dry herbs for the fresh herbs, but you should use fresh herbs if at all possible as the flavors will be better.

Greek Moussaka at a Restaurant in Frankfurt

Moussaka – One of the dishes that we truly enjoyed while we were staying in Europe was Moussaka. Although we went to Athens, Greece, it was in Frankfurt that we ended up trying Moussaka for the first time. Most of the staff at our favorite restaurant were actually Greek and although it was a French Bistro, they sometimes put something Greek as their special of the day. This is an inexpensive and easy dish to create, but the flavor is quite wonderful.

Greek Lamb and Rice Dinner – We used a tajine to cook the dish, but it could just as easily be entirely cooked in a skillet. Finishing the lamb chops in the rice and tomatoes keeps it moist and tender. Similar to cooking with wine, when cooking with olives it is always important to use an olive that you would eat on its own without adding it to a dish.

Cooked Rack of Lamb

With so many options for cooking lamb, it can be a perfect weeknight dinner or centerpiece for a special occasion. Of all of these meals, the one that is probably our favorite is the Lamb Biryani as it reminds of us of our time in India. Although that might be our favorite, looking back at each of these has inspired us to cook a nice lamb dinner sometime soon.

Butternut Squash with Orecchiette Pasta

Autumn is the perfect time of year for having meals made with different types of squash. We often make acorn squash, spaghetti squash, and butternut squash at this time of year. We usually just have them as a side dish to the main meal, but we decided to make a dinner where the squash was the star of the dish. Adding green beans gave it a pop of color, but broccoli or asparagus would be a good alternative. It is a simple and easy meal idea that works for weekdays or can be made for a crowd. It is also a good dish for a pot-luck dinner as well.

Butternut Squash, Green Beans, and Pancetta


  • 2 cups Butternut Squash – cooked and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup Pancetta – cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups Green Beans – cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 cups Orecchiette
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese – grated
  • 2 to 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Granulated Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Colorful Autumn Meal


To cook the butternut squash, cut it in half, remove the seeds, drizzle it with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Then place the butternut squash on a foil lined baking sheet and place in an oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, until fork tender. Then remove the butternut squash, let it cool, remove the skin, and cut into 1 inch cubes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil that has been seasoned with plenty of salt. Add the orecchiette and cook for about a minute or two less than the box directions in order to keep it al dente. Be sure to reserve a 3/4 cup of the cooking water from the pasta. Blanch the green beans in boiling water for about 5 minutes and then remove them and add them to cold water to stop the cooking. Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat to medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and red pepper flakes and cook until the pancetta is crispy. Add the butternut squash and the reserved pasta water and cook for about 2 minutes and the water reduces by about half. Add the orecchiette, green beans, and a 1/2 cup of water and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add to a serving bowl, toss with the grated Parmesan cheese, and serve.

Crispy Pancetta
Cooking the Squash with the Pancetta
A Single Serving of Butternut Squash with Orecchiette

Pork Chops with Plum Sauce

One of the things that we enjoy when we travel is tasting all of the different ways that places use seasonal fruit with wild game. Although pork isn’t game food like the elk, duck, or goose, it does stand up to bold flavors like the food that we find during our travels. This isn’t an Asian plum sauce, but an actual reduction made with this seasonal fruit. We chose to make this with thick-cut pork chops, but it could just as easily be done with a pork tenderloin as well. It is certainly the type of meal that can be served for a holiday or special occasion, but it also works for a weekday meal as well. As usual, this recipe serves two, but it can easily be increased for more.

Plum Sauce


  • 2 Large Pork Chops – about 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 1 cup Beef Stock
  • 2 tsp Fresh Ginger – peeled and grated
  • 1 Orange
  • 1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Honey
  • 4 sprigs Fresh Mint
  • 3 Plums – cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Dried Rosemary – chopped
  • 2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Seasonal Ingredients


Using a vegetable peeler or pairing knife, remove the zest of the orange into wide strips. Squeeze the juice of the orange into a medium sauce pan and add the zest. Heat the sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the vinegar, honey, and beef stock and whisk the ingredients together. Add the mint and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the plums and continue to cook until the plums are soft, adding the butter after about 10 minutes.   Continue to cook for about another 20 to 25 minutes until the sauce thickens. Remove the mint, season with salt, and keep warm while the pork is cooked. Season both sides of the pork chops, which should be at room temperature, with the garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the pork chops in the skillet until browned and cooked to the desired doneness, about 6 to 8 minutes per side. Place the pork chops onto plates and spoon sauce over the top. Serve with your favorite side dishes.

Seared Pork Chop


Simmer Plums Until Sauce Thickens

Pork Chop with Plum Sauce