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Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

These next couple weeks are all about simple weeknight recipes. Sometimes when I plan the meals for the week I have such large ambitions and enthusiasm. It’s a Sunday morning, I’m feeling well rested, and Matt and I are ready to head to the grocery store with nothing but a lazy day in front of us.

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Skip ahead to a regular weeknight. I was just at work for 9 hours, now I’m driving through traffic to pick Matt up at work and go home, we’re hungry, tired and that hour long multistep dish is so not happening. Sound familiar?

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I absolutely love cooking, but most weeknights, dinner is just something I want to get done so I can get to work on my to-do list, read or just flop on the couch. Lately, one of my biggest dilemmas has been coming up with different, but still quick, ways to cook our veggies. Enter this asparagus with creamy orange sauce!

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and orange zest are combined to provide a bright and tangy complement to steamed asparagus stalks. The sauce adds a little something extra to the asparagus while adding only a minute more of cooking time.

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

So keep it simple, but exciting, this weeknight and jazz up your veggies!

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce
Yield: 4 servings
  • 1 pound asparagus spears
  • 2 tablespoons plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • Pinch of paprika, ground cayenne pepper or chili powder depending on heat preference
  • Slices of oranges for serving, optional
  1. Snap off the woody stems of the asparagus and discard. Steam until crisp tender.
  2. Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, zest and ground spice in a small bowl. Spread over the cooked asparagus before serving. Serve with the sliced oranges if desired.

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.

Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast  |  Lemon & Mocha

Have you heard of avocado toast? This simple breakfast dish has been trending all over Pinterest and Instagram for the past year. It’s been blogged about, tweeted, favorited, snapped, and of course consumed like crazy. Even with the flurry of social media, I first heard of avocado toast at a work breakfast potluck last spring. Side note:  work breakfast potluck is the absolute best way to start a workday. Between all the bacon, waffles and egg casseroles, the person doling out slices of avocado toast seemed more than a little bizarre to me.

Avocado Toast  |  Lemon & Mocha

My love for avocado and my foodie curiosity led me to try some and wow. Just wow. Why had I never thought of this before? The crunchiness of the toast, the creaminess of the avocado, the slight tanginess of the teeniest bit of mayonnaise and the saltiness from the sea salt flakes… wow, oh wow. Those of you who have experienced avocado toast before are currently nodding your heads and walking to their kitchen to pop some bread in the toaster. Those of you who haven’t experienced this simple phenomena should take note and go do the same so you can add a new breakfast staple to your routine.

Avocado Toast  |  Lemon & Mocha

Avocado Toast
Yield: 1 serving
  • 1 piece of whole wheat bread
  • 1 schmear of mayonnaise, roughly 2 teaspoons
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, or coarse sea salt
  1. Toast the bread. Spread a very thin layer of mayonnaise on the toast. Top with the sliced avocado and a very generous sprinkling of sea salt flakes.


Marshmallow Crunch Chocolate Brownies

Marshmallow Crunch Chocolate Brownies  |  Lemon & Mocha

It was negative 1 degrees when I woke up in Boston this morning. Negative 1! Oh, and the “feels like” with wind chill was negative 19 degrees. Sounds toasty right? With cold temperatures across most of the country and countless reminders from your Facebook friends about how cold it is I figured we could all use a pick-me-up.

Marshmallow Crunch Chocolate Brownies  |  Lemon & Mocha

And what could bring a smile to your face better than a picture of decadent, gooey, chocolately brownies? Well, probably the actual brownies, but now you have the recipe for them!

Marshmallow Crunch Chocolate Brownies  |  Lemon & Mocha

These brownies are nearly identical to the peanut butter crunch brownies I posted last month, but peanut butter is replaced with marshmallow. I had just finished baking the peanut butter crunch brownies when I spotted the big tub of marshmallow fluff in my baking cabinet and got inspired.

Marshmallow Crunch Chocolate Brownies  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love the way the Special K cereal gives the brownies a nice crunchy topping.

Marshmallow Crunch Chocolate Brownies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Also, just to make sure we are keeping count, this is part four of the Lemon & Mocha brownie series. Expect the fifth, final and most outrageous installment next month just in time for Valentine’s Day. In the meantime, treat yourself to some marshmallow crunch chocolate brownies!

Marshmallow Crunch Chocolate Brownies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Marshmallow Crunch Chocolate Brownies
Yield: 32 brownies
  • 1 batch brownie batter, enough for a 9 x 13 pan
  • 1 ½ cup marshmallow fluff
  • ¼ cup corn syrup
  • 4 cups Special K, or similar cornflake cereal
  • 1¾ cup chocolate chips, semisweet or milk, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13” pan and set aside.
  2. Prepare the brownie batter according to package directions. Pour half the brownie batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Put the Special K in a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Combine the marshmallow fluff and corn syrup in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and continue to heat in 30 second increments until the marshmallow mixture is smooth. Pour the marshmallow mixture over the Special K and carefully toss to fully coat.
  5. Evenly distribute ¾ of the marshmallow crunch mixture onto the brownie batter in the pan by dropping small clumps of the marshmallow crunch mixture right onto the batter. Pour on the other half of the brownie batter being sure to cover as much of the marshmallow crunch mixture as possible. It is okay if it doesn’t all get covered.
  6. Bake according to package directions. Be sure not to overbake as brownies will continue to cook once you remove them from the oven. I usually pull mine out 3-5 minutes before the package’s minimum baking time.
  7. As soon as the brownies are out of the oven, run a knife around the edges then evenly sprinkle 1 cup of the chocolate chips on top before covering the pan with tin foil so the chocolate can melt.
  8. Meanwhile, place the remaining chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds on half power then stir. Heat for 15 seconds on half power then stir. Continue until the chocolate is smooth.
  9. Remove the tin foil from the brownies and carefully spread the melty chocolate chips with a spatula in an even layer on top of the brownies. Top with the remaining marshmallow crunch mixture then drizzle with the melted chocolate. Refrigerate until the chocolate has hardened. Cut and serve.
I highly recommend using 2 packages of Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix to make these.

Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest.

Top 10 Most Popular Posts from 2014 and Other Musings

It has been an amazing year here in the Lemon & Mocha kitchen. We were thankful to be accepted into the BlogHer ad network, celebrated our first year blogiversary and even hit a record high on views in one day thanks to this mouthwatering BuzzFeed article. Milestones aside, we also made some of our favorite dishes, received some of our sweetest comments and continued to love sharing this journey with you all every single day. I thought it would be fun to look back and see what were the most popular posts during 2014 so I’ve gathered the top 10 for you here. It was nice to see some new treats as well as old classics make the list! I decided to get in on the action as well and post Lemon & Mocha’s 10 favorite new posts from 2014. Here we go!

Readers’ most popular 10 posts in 2014, starting at #10:

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

10. Chocolate Peppermint Fudge. This holiday classic is festive and delicious.

Kale & Walnut Pesto Pasta with Lemon Shrimp  |  Lemon & Mocha
9. Kale and Walnut Pesto Pasta with Lemon Shrimp. This dish is SO GOOD. Make it now.

Mini Molten Chocolate Pecan Pies  |  Lemon & Mocha
8. Mini Molten Chocolate Pecan Pies. A recent post from 2014 and definitely an exciting treat.

Raspberries & Cream Sponge Cake Jelly Roll  |  Lemon & Mocha
7. Raspberries and Cream Sponge Cake Jelly Roll. My first ever jelly roll! It is easier than you think. Make your New Year’s resolution to try something new in the kitchen!

Spiked Hazelnut Hot Chocolate  |  Lemon & Mocha
6. Spiked Hazelnut Hot Chocolate. Nutella and booze? Sinfully delicious.

Baked Pistachio Crusted Chicken  |  Lemon & Mocha
5. Baked Pistachio Crusted Chicken. Certainly an old classic, but still a reader favorite.

Baked Crab Dip  |  Lemon & Mocha
4. Baked Crab Dip. I was excited to see my family’s recipe make the top 10 list as this gooey and tasty appetizer certainly deserves a spot.

Crispy Baked Kale Chips  |  Lemon & Mocha
3. Crispy Baked Kale Chips. Healthy and simple- perfect for the New Year!

Chocolate Ganache  |  Lemon & Mocha
2. Chocolate Ganache. This one photo says it all…

World's Smoothest Chocolate Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha
1. World’s Smoothest Chocolate Fudge. A big thanks to my stepmom for sharing this recipe with me, and to her friend who shared it with her all those many years ago! And of course to Matt for taking this outrageous photo that makes me want to eat every last bite.

Lemon & Mocha’s favorite 10 recipes posted in 2014, starting at #10:

Coffee Ice Cream  |  Lemon & Mocha
10. Coffee Ice Cream. Still reigning as my favorite ice cream posted on Lemon & Mocha.

Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Crunch Chocolate Brownies  |  Lemon & Mocha
9. Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Crunch Chocolate Brownies. A late addition to the 2014 posts, but these bad boys snuck in with a bang.

New England Harvest Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha
8. New England Harvest Salad. I love recreating my favorite restaurant dishes and this perfect salad is no exception.

Turkey & Manchego Panini with Sun-dried Tomato Mayo  |  Lemon & Mocha
7. Turkey and Manchego Panini with Sun-Dried Tomato Mayo. This sandwich deserves a spot simply because I could eat it for days, and days, and days…

Crisp Gnocchi Salad with Shiitakes & Asparagus  |  Lemon & Mocha
6. Crisp Gnocchi Salad with Shiitakes and Asparagus. Another restaurant recreation and a check off my kitchen bucket list:  homemade gnocchi!

Pineapple Bread Pudding  |  Lemon & Mocha
5. Pineapple Bread Pudding. This dish is extremely high on my list of new favorite recipes for 2014, thus it only makes sense to be in the Lemon & Mocha top 10.

Hobo Egg Grilled Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha
4. Hobo Egg Grilled Cheese. Two of my favorite foods together at last, and it tastes so good.

Summer Berry Trifle  |  Lemon & Mocha
3. Summer Berry Trifle. Not only was this addictive and light, but I absolutely love the pictures from this post!

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha
2. New England Classic Quesadilla. A remake of the legendary Boston College sandwich. It got high marks for its deliciousness, as well as its ability to bring me right back to Hillside.

Chicken Cacciatore with Mushrooms & Artichokes  |  Lemon & Mocha
1. Chicken Cacciatore with Mushrooms and Artichokes.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream  |  Lemon & Mocha

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

Smoked Salmon Dip  |  Lemon & Mocha

Smoked Salmon Dip.

Okay, so I know those are technically three posts, not one, but they all deserve the top spot. Not only are these three great recipes, but these were my three favorite posts of 2014. These three posts celebrate the amazing moms in my life and I loved getting to share them with my readers.

So that’s all, folks. Farewell, 2014! You were great, but we’re moving on to even bigger and better things in 2015! Happy New Year!

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip with Green Chiles

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip with Green Chiles  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love bringing desserts to parties, dinners and potlucks. I know I have a lot of outrageously tasty treats in my repertoire and are sure to have everyone swooning. But for some reason I always get a little panicky when someone asks me to bring an appetizer. There are so many different directions you can go in with an appetizer. Is it going to be hot? Cold? Cheesy? Meaty? Rich? Healthy? Crunchy? Creamy? Spicy? Does everyone like seafood? Are they averse to spinach? Doesn’t someone not like goat cheese? Is it going to pair well with what’s being served for dinner?

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip with Green Chiles  |  Lemon & Mocha

My mind runs on overdrive and I end up exhausted without being even a step closer to what I’m going to bring. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have found the solution. Cheesy corn dip with chorizo and green chiles. It is an instant favorite and is just so stinking good I can’t even stand it.

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip with Green Chiles  |  Lemon & Mocha

Creamy and gooey, this dip has sweetness from the corn and a slight spiciness from the chorizo. The green chiles do not provide any heat and their flavor is similar to sauteed green bell peppers. You can make this dish as spicy or not spicy as you or your guests would like. I also made it with Portuguese sausage, linguica, which is not spicy at all. If your guests like it hot you can always add a few shakes of hot sauce. Serving with tortilla chips adds a salty and crunchy element.

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip with Green Chiles  |  Lemon & Mocha

The best part? This dip is done after 7 minutes in the microwave. No wondering if there’s going to be space in the oven or if you’re going to have enough time to make it before all the guests arrive. Make it ahead, pop it in the microwave when you’re ready to eat it and you’re all set. This is perfect for New Year’s Eve, especially for those of you who are like me and have to work on New Year’s Eve and will most likely be sitting in traffic on the way home. Fun! So stop your appetizer stressing and make this addictive dip!

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip with Green Chiles  |  Lemon & Mocha

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip with Green Chiles
Yield: 6-8 servings
  • ½ pound ground chorizo or linguica (Portuguese sausage)
  • 2 cups frozen corn, cooked
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles, drained
  • 1 ¾ cups shredded Monterey jack or pepper jack cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  1. Cook the ground meat in a frying pan over medium-high heat until cooked through and sizzling. Drain well on paper towels.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the cooked sausage, chiles, corn, 1 ½ cups of the shredded monterey jack or pepper jack cheese, Parmesan cheese and mayonnaise.
  3. Scoop the mixture into a 9” pie dish or an 8x8” baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of cheese. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to eat, uncover the dish, heat in the microwave for 7 minutes then serve with tortilla chips.
If you have a block of Monterey jack instead of shredded cheese you can take about 8 ounces of it and cut to a rough small dice.

Recipe slightly adapted from Averie Cooks.