A Recipe for Barbecue Lamb Sliders with Cucumber Topping … And a Giveaway for a Breville 7-Quart Slow Cooker {GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED}

As promised, as a follow up to  my recent post about the lamb dinner I hosted in my kitchen last week, I’m sharing a recipe I created for Barbecue Lamb Sliders. I developed this family-friendly, super-easy recipe for LeanonLamb.com, and I’m happy to report that my daughter, Leah, is a huge fan. The sliders were also a hit with my lamb dinner foodie friends, and it’s a recipe I know I’ll make again and again.

Barbecue Lamb Sliders via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Traditional coleslaw would be a great side dish … or you can try our Carrot Kohlrabi Slaw once kohlrabi is in season.

Barbecue Lamb Sliders with Cucumber Topping

Makes 10 Servings 

I love my slow cooker when I’m cooking for a crowd. The reason: the prep work is done ahead of time which means I can spend more time with friends. This super-simple recipe provides a great source of protein and immune-boosting vitamin A thanks to the whole grain slider buns, fresh and flavorful cucumber topping, and the lamb, of course.

  • 2¼ pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of fat
  • 1 medium onion, cut in 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup all-natural barbecue sauce
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater (1 cup)
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large English cucumber (12 ounces), seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup 0%-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 20 whole wheat slider buns, lightly toasted

1. Add the lamb, onion, barbecue sauce, carrot, prunes, vinegar, and salt to a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low until the lamb is tender, 7 hours.

2. For the topping, combine the cucumber, yogurt, dill, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl, and set aside in the refrigerator.

3. When the meat is done, use two forks to pull the mixture into shredded pieces. You can do this right in the slow cooker crock. Divide the lamb evenly between the slider buns and serve with cucumber topping.

Nutrition Information per Serving (2 sliders):  490 calories, 17 g fat (5g saturated), 590mg sodium, 56g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 31g protein, 30% vitamin A, 10% vitamin C, 10% calcium, 25% iron

Print Recipe

GIVEAWAY NEWS: Thanks to my friends at the Tri-Lamb Group, we’re giving away a Breville 7-quart slow cooker with EasySear Insert ($130.00 value) to ONE lucky winner. Our winner will also receive a jar of Penzeys Lamb Seasoning and an oh-so-handy meat thermometer.


TO ENTERLeave a comment here or on Facebook and tell us about your favorite way to prepare or eat lamb. Recipes please!

We will enter you into the giveaway additional times if you …

> Tweet about the giveaway with a link back to this post.
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> Follow us on Pinterest.
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Please be sure to leave us a new comment every time you do something extra, and GOOD LUCK. The giveaway ends on May 17th at noon, and as always we’ll use Random.org to pick our winner. Good luck!

Disclosure: Janice was compensated for recipe development and media work by the Tri-Lamb Group

Not a Baaaaaad Way to Entertain in My New Kitchen … with a Lamb Dinner for Boston Foodies

Most of us would probably entertain more often if someone else did the food shopping for us and then stopped by to prepare, serve, and clean up the mess! It takes hours to plan and implement a spectacular dinner party … hours most of us don’t have in our busy lives. As much as I love to cook and entertain, which I do fairly often, it was great to recently host a dinner party for local foodies on behalf of the Tri-Lamb Group AND have it catered by Miss Fork, a boutique catering company in Stoneham, MA.

Chef Julie at Lean on Lamb Dinner via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Chef Julie served up samples of my Barbecue Lamb Sliders which one guest declared as, “mad good.”  I’m a big fan of lamb not only because of the flavor and the fact that it’s nutrient rich, but it’s also surprisingly lean (especially the leg, loin, and rack) with an average 3-ounce serving containing only 175 calories.

Lean on Lamb Dinner via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Every item on the menu was inspiring, but the Armenian Lamb Kufta and the Mediterranean Lamb Loin Chops with Quinoa Salad were show stoppers!

Liz Enjoying her Lamb Loin Chop

Liz certainly enjoyed the Mediterranean Lamb Loin Chops with Quinoa Salad!

Boston Area Bloggers at Lean on Lamb Dinner  via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Boston-area food bloggers were invited to the dinner including Shannon from Tri to Cook, Christine from America’s Test Kitchen, Kathy from Kathy Can Cook, Pam from Cave Cibum, and Rachel from Fork it Over Boston.

Carolyn O'Neil and Allison via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Fellow RD and author Carolyn O’Neil (on the left) was in town from Atlanta to receive the Nutrition Science Media Award for 2013 from the American Society for Nutrition, so I was thrilled that she was able to join us. Here she is along with Allison Beadle from the PR firm Salt & Co.

Cookbook Author Maria Speck with Janice via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Maria Speck, author of one of my favorite cookbooks, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, took a break from writing her second book to enjoy a few nibbles and a glass of sparkling wine.

Grilled Lamb and Vegetable Kabobs

If these lamb kabobs have you yearning for more, be sure to try my Sweet & Sour Lamb Meatballs. Stay tuned for my Barbecue Lamb Slider recipe on the blog in the coming days…

Sweet & Sour Lamb Meatballs via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Disclosure: Janice was compensated for recipe development and media work by the Tri-Lamb Group

My Parents Pass the Holiday Entertaining Baton: Easter Celebration in My New Kitchen

My parents have hosted every major holiday since I was born … and well before that too. They’re the ultimate entertainers, and they throw a party like no one else I know. Mom sets her game plan weeks in advance, and she and Dad set their beautiful dining room table days before their doorbell rings … and rings … and rings.


Mom and Dad on Easter 2012. Unfortunately, my dad didn’t make it to Easter dinner this year due to a medical issue. Luckily, we live close by so we were able to send over a nice plate of food — (lamb and asparagus are two of his favorite foods) — and we called him a few times throughout the day to cheer him up.

All this holiday entertaining doesn’t happen without a lot of effort on my parents’ part, so I decided it was high time I stepped up to welcome my family here for Easter. After all, I have the space now in my new kitchen, and I have a brand, spanking new Kenmore double oven, which makes cooking for a crowd so much easier than life before my Kitchen Makeover.

Bissex family Easter

We fit twelve people easily around my new Pompanoosuc Mills extension table, and Don and I could have fit two more on the ends if we needed to.

Janice Cooking

I made a lovely raisin sauce to go with our ham that I adapted from a Farmland Foods recipe I found online. I cut back a bit on the butter and sugar and used cornstarch instead of flour, and it was very tasty. (Yes, I did use a bit of rum.)

Jeff slicing the leg of lamb

One of the highlights this year: My brother Jeff brought a whole leg of lamb that he cooked in his new smoker. The flavor was amazing.

Buffet Easter Dinner at Chez Bissex

 Scalloped Potatoes, Maple Glazed Carrots, Grilled Asparagus, Smoked Leg of Lamb, and Honey Baked Ham were on the menu at Chez Bissex this Easter.


In addition to family, holidays are about friends, and I was delighted that Nancy (right) stopped by for Easter dessert and Shirley (left) invited me over to her house the day before Easter to try her family’s awesome pizzagaina (a traditional Italian dish made with eggs, meat, and cheese).

It wouldn’t be Easter dinner without the “Lamby Cake” that our family friend Lucy makes every year.  Gotta love our holiday traditions!


I couldn’t resist sharing this photo of my two girls. Leah was so happy when her big sister, Carolyn, came home to celebrate the holiday.

My Visit to the Julia Child Exhibit and a Recipe for Sweet & Sour Lamb Meatballs

Our blog readers know that I have a special affinity for Julia Child (see our 100th birthday tribute post and podcast), so when I traveled to DC last month to shoot cooking videos for the Tri-Lamb Group, I decided to arrive a bit early and visit the new Julia Child exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of American History. I spent over two hours in the exhibit, and loved every minute. I think the fact that it took Julia Child over ten years to complete her first cookbook and that she started her TV show when she was in her 50s, serves as an inspiration to me (IE there is still plenty of time to accomplish big things)!

 Everything appears exactly as it did in Julia’s kitchen when she moved, and it’s essentially how I remember it when I visited back in 1994. (Notice the silver skillet behind my head!)

I was in Julia’s kitchen during a luncheon served by Chef Daniel Bruce from the Boston Harbor Hotel, and she was gracious enough to have her picture taken with me. I mailed her an 8 x 10 enlargement of the photo and she signed it, “Bon Apetit! Julia Child.” The signature got smudged in the envelope, but I love it just the same.

Clearly I am not the only one obsessed with Julia Child since my new friend Sarah also sat for over an hour watching old Julia Child videos. Check out our Meal Makeover Mom Flickr page for lots more photos of the exhibit and my time in DC.

Now back to the reason I was in DC in the first place. I’m doing some work for the Tri-Lamb Group helping to educate consumers about the versatility and health attributes of lamb. For example, did you know that on average, a 3-ounce serving of lamb is lean, nutrient rich, contains 23 grams of protein, and only has 175 calories? I developed two family-friendly recipes, and while I was in DC, I joined fellow dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield to shoot cooking videos of the recipes … including this one for lamb meatballs.

Cook up these Sweet & Sour Lamb Meatballs for your next gathering and I guarantee they will be devoured in minutes 🙂

Sweet & Sour Lamb Meatballs

Makes 8 Appetizer Servings (about 32 meatballs)

  • 1 pound lean ground lamb
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely diced (about ½ cup)
  • 3 scallions, white part only, finely chopped (reserve the green tops for later)
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1.  Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, lightly oil or coat with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.

2. Combine the lamb, egg, bread crumbs, bell pepper, scallion, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, and pepper in a large bowl and mix until just combined. Shape the meat mixture into thirty two 3/4-inch balls.  Place on the prepared baking sheet and cook until lightly browned, about 12 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, place the hoisin sauce, honey, vinegar, and the remaining ginger in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.

4. When the meatballs come out of the oven, add them to the bowl and toss gently until well coated with the sauce. Slice the remaining green scallion tops into thin rings. Place the meatballs on a serving platter, insert toothpicks if you have them, and sprinkle with the scallions and sesame seeds.

Note: Serve meatball appetizers with small cubes of fresh pineapple. Meatballs can also be served over whole wheat egg noodles with a side of sautéed vegetables such as red bell peppers, snow peas, and cauliflower.

Nutrition Information per Serving (4 meatballs):  180 calories, 10g fat (4g saturated), 270mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 16g protein, 20% vitamin C

Print Recipe

Shooting cooking videos is an all-day affair; it requires many support people and lots of equipment.

My make-up artist was wonderful (and so appreciated). Did I mention that she’s also done hair and makeup for President Obama?! I bet my hair took longer to style than his did!

Disclosure: Janice was compensated for her trip to DC and recipe development by the Tri-Lamb Group.