How to Cook Lamb Chops

posted in Main Dishes by Kathy Maister
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I like to cook lamb chops quickly, in a frying pan, on high heat. Only seven minutes later, dinner’s ready!

There are many different cuts of lamb available.

These rib chops are have their own little “handle”, which makes them perfect for picking up and eating with your fingers. The nugget of meat in the center will be juicy and tender as long as it is not cooked past “medium.”

A ¾ inch thick chop is the optimum size to buy. Thinner chops tend to get over-cooked very easily. Figure on 2-3 chops per person.

Start by sprinkling some salt and pepper on both sides of each lamb chop.

Preheat your non-stick pan on high heat. To tell if the pan is hot enough, add about 1 Tablespoon of water to the pan. The water should sizzle and evaporate immediately.

Add the chops to the fry pan. You should hear them sizzle! If they are not sizzling, then your pan is not hot enough.

Set the timer to 3 ½ minutes to 4 minutes.

When the timer goes off, flip the lamb chops, using a pair of tongs.

Continuing cooking on the flip side for another 3 ½ to 4 minutes.

Mint sauce is traditional with lamb chops. Some people prefer mint jelly. You get to choose!


If you are feeling adventurous you might want to give cooking a Leg of Lamb a try!



All of my recommendations and cooking times are based on meat taken directly from the refrigerator.

According to Joy of Cooking, in their “Meat” section, they say (and I agree): “While many cookbooks and food experts recommend bringing meat to room temperature before cooking, we encourage you to follow the safer practice of keeping meat refrigerated right up to the last minute before cooking. While room-temperature meat will cook more quickly, there is not enough benefit to outweigh the risks of tempting bacteria even for a short time.”

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How to Cook a Pork Roast

posted in Main Dishes by Kathy Maister
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Chris P. Bacon

“Chris P. Bacon”         watercolor by Kathy Maister

Many people just learning to cook are often a bit hesitant cooking a large piece of meat. It seems so intimidating! Well, it doesn’t need to be, at all. This boneless pork roast is a great place to begin. All that is necessary to cook this roast is to mix some dried spices with olive oil, rub it all over the roast and put it in the oven. That’s it!

Roasting a boneless pork loin roast slowly will guarantee moist, tender meat.

Loin refers to the type of cut.

Put the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

There is often a thin layer of fat on one side of the roast. Do not trim off this fat. It will help to keep the meat nice and moist.

Always position the pork roast in the pan so that fat side is on the top.

Measure one tablespoon of olive oil in a small dish.

Add 1 Tablespoon of dried spices to the oil. You can use rosemary, sage, thyme, or oregano; or a combination of these that equal 1 tablespoon.

Add ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper.

Mix this spice rub together and rub it all over the pork roast.

Be sure to rub the spices into the top and bottom.

Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan, fat side up.

If you don’t have a rack you could coil some tin foil and use that as a rack.

Put the roast in the 450 degree preheated oven. The hot temperature is going to give the roast a nice golden color.

Set the timer for 10 minutes.

When the timer goes off re-set the oven temperature to 250 degrees.

Continue cooking about 50-80 minutes or until the meat registers 145 degrees on a meat thermometer. Some roasts are long and thin and others are short and fat, consequently the cooking times will vary depending on the shape of your roast. The meat thermometer is the best way to judge the right amount of cooking time.

(As of May 24, 2011 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is updating its recommendation for safely cooking pork. USDA recommends cooking whole cuts of pork to 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat, then allowing the meat to rest for three minutes before carving or consuming. Ground meats, including ground beef, veal, lamb, and pork, which should be cooked to 160 °F and do not require a rest time. The safe cooking temperature for all poultry products, including ground chicken and turkey, remains at 165 °F.)

Remove the roast from the oven and set on a cutting board. Cover the meat with tin foil and let it rest for about 15 minutes before slicing it. The temperature of the roast will continue to rise about another 5 degrees.

You will get at least 6 servings out of this beautiful 3-pound pork roast.

Pork Chops Anyone?


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Beef with Bow Ties and Beans

posted in Main Dishes by Kathy Maister
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This is one of those meals where everything gets cooked in the same pot. So get out your largest non-stick frying pan and lets startcooking!

This recipe is from my friend Cristen Jones, a registered dietitian from the Boston area.  I’ve adapted the recipe just a bit for the startcooking crowd.

You will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 can (15 ounces) of Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 2 cups of bow tie pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 2 cups of broccoli

The beef, onion and broccoli are the only fresh ingredients you need for this recipe. Buy the rest of the ingredients in advance and just stick them in your food cupboard. Then when you are stuck thinking about what to make for dinner, you can have that “Ah Ha” moment and just pick up some ground beef, broccoli, and an onion!

Get all your ingredients prepared and measured in advance.

1. Rinse and drain the beans

2. Chop the onion

3. Wash and cut the broccoli into bite size pieces also known as florets

4. Measure out the spices

5. Reconstitute the bullion cubes-you will need 2 cups of broth

With the stove set to medium, add the beef and the onions to the pan. (If you froze your ground beef when you got home from the grocery store, you can defrost the beef really quickly in the microwave.)

Brown the meat until the beef is no longer pink-about 6-8 minutes.

Be sure to drain off any excess fat. I used VERY lean beef for this recipe so there really was very little fat to drain off.

Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the broccoli.

Mix everything together.

Cover the pot and turn the heat up to medium high. Bring it to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer. And cover the pot.

Simmer everything for about 10-12 minutes.

Lay the broccoli on top and re-cover the pot.

In about 3-5 minutes your broccoli will be nice and tender. Be sure not to over cook the broccoli as it will turn a nasty shade of green if you do!

Give it a taste. You may want to add more salt and some freshly ground pepper. You could also add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you like.

As this dish sits, almost all of the liquid gets absorbed.

If you are making recipe the day before you plan on eating it, be sure to steam the broccoli just before you serve it.


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