Appetizers & Snacks

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Energy Balls

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Energy Balls  |  Lemon & Mocha

I am so excited to share the recipe for these Chocolate Cherry Coconut Energy Balls with you! I just went and ate one from my freezer to get in the mindset of writing this post. They are really good, which makes it especially hard not to eat them all. These energy balls are sweet, tart and screaming of chocolate, cherry and coconut flavors.

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Energy Balls  |  Lemon & Mocha

I wanted to be able to really taste each flavor and after a little trial and error I think I got the ratio just right. The chocolate – and the dark coloring of the energy balls – comes from the cocoa powder. I love the combination of chocolate and cherries so we have dried cherries to bring in our cherry flavor. Finally, coconut comes through via the unsweetened coconut and the coconut extract. There’s also coconut oil, but that actually has a very mild coconut taste in its raw form.

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Energy Balls  |  Lemon & Mocha

The reason I call these energy balls is because they have a combination of protein, carbohydrates and fats, perfect for giving you a little boost of energy during the day. The protein and some of the healthy fats are because of the walnuts, which also help give a subtle nutty flavor to the energy balls.

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Energy Balls  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ll always think the best part of any recipe I post is the taste, so the second best part is how easy these little no-bake bites are to whip up in your food processor. Everything gets pulsed together then you roll them into balls while your hands become a sticky mess and you get ravenous breathing in all the chocolate, cherry and coconut scents.

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Energy Balls  |  Lemon & Mocha

I believe these Chocolate Cherry Coconut Energy Balls are paleo, but I’m definitely not a paleo expert so don’t quote me on it! If anyone is a follower of the paleo diet and knows whether all the ingredients are paleo or not please let me know in the comments. Either way, Matt and I love having these little bites in the freezer for whenever we need a little boost – I hope you all enjoy them as much as we do!

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Energy Balls  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Energy Balls
 
Yield: 22 energy balls
Ingredients
  • 10½ ounces of walnuts, about 2 cups
  • 1¼ cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1¼ cups Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup dried cherries (sweetened sour cherries)
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. In a food processor, pulse the walnuts and shredded coconut until they resemble crumbs. Add the dates, dried cherries, cocoa powder, coconut oil, coconut extract and salt then pulse until a sticky batter has formed and no large chunks remain. Scoop the mixture into a bowl. You could form the balls right from the food processor, but I find it’s a lot easier and I have less waste if I form them from a bowl.
  2. Line a baking sheet that will fit in your freezer with wax paper or parchment paper. Scoop up some of the mixture and use your hand to roll it into a ball. You will be making about 22 energy balls and your hands will get very sticky! As you form the balls, place them on the prepared baking sheet so they aren’t touching. Freeze them for at least one hour. You can store them in the fridge or the freezer in an airtight container. They should be okay in the fridge for 1 week and will stay longer in the freezer. I prefer to keep them in the freezer and then I let them sit for a minute before eating (or I eat them straight from the freezer if I don’t feel like waiting!).
Notes
The volume of walnuts changes depending on whether you are using whole, halved or pieces, so it’s better to go by weight. I used a mixture of whole and halved walnuts and it came out to 2 cups by volume and 10½ ounces by weight.

 

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you’ve never had roasted chickpeas you are missing out! Did you know if you roast chickpeas in the oven they turn into the crunchiest, crispiest snack? Mind blown! I don’t remember where I first heard about these, but it must have been from a food blog or food magazine. I made them about seven years ago in a tiny toaster oven and was instantly obsessed. Now I see them in packages all over the grocery store!

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas  |  Lemon & Mocha

Of course you could buy them, but they are much more inexpensive if you make them yourself and then you can completely customize the flavors and ingredients. I used a blend of salt, paprika and garlic powder to keep them relatively simple for everyday snacking, but with just the right amount of flavor.

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas  |  Lemon & Mocha

Over the years I’ve made roasted chickpeas quite a few times and I’ve finally settled on the method below that, in my opinion, achieves the crunchiest texture. I’ve been all about the top tips lately so here are my top two tips for getting really crispy roasted chickpeas. First, peel the chickpeas. Now, as anyone who has ever peeled chickpeas knows, it takes a fair amount of time. I personally find it soothing to stand there and pop the little chickpeas out of their peels, but I think it’s worth it since the peel can trap a lot of moisture in the chickpeas while they’re baking and keep them from reaching peak crunchiness.

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas  |  Lemon & Mocha

Second, bake the chickpeas for a while before putting on any oil or seasonings. Basically, we’re dry roasting the chickpeas before introducing liquid to ensure our chickpeas get… you guessed it – crispy and crunchy! After they’ve had a chance to dry roast for a bit I use just a light mist of cooking spray before sprinkling with the seasonings.

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love this healthy snack on its own or especially on salads. This week is going to be all about the healthy snacks so I’m excited to share two more of my favorites with you later this week!

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas  |  Lemon & Mocha

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas
 
Yield: About 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and peeled
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Cooking spray
Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the chickpeas out in a single layer on the baking sheet. You don’t want them dripping wet, but it’s okay if they aren’t completely dry. Bake for 20 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through cooking. While the chickpeas are baking, combine the salt, paprika and garlic powder in a small bowl.
  3. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and lightly spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over the chickpeas and lightly toss to make sure they are all well coated. Spread the chickpeas back into a single layer then continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until crispy. Let them cool slightly before eating. They can be eaten warm or at room temperature.
Notes
To peel the chickpeas, simply pop them out of their peels after a thorough rinsing. I find rinsing and scooping through them with my hands in the strainer tends to get off a lot of peels on their own. If you would prefer not to peel the chickpeas you could skip this step, but I find peeling the chickpeas helps in achieving the crunchiest texture.
Store in a bowl loosely covered with plastic wrap or a paper bag to help them keep their crispiness.

 

Melon Prosciutto Mozzarella Skewers

Melon Prosciutto Mozzarella Skewers  |  Lemon & Mocha

You know those foods that remind you of your childhood? The ones that when you eat them they’re associated with such strong memories from being a kid that you can’t help but be transported back to those moments? Sometimes it’s something classic like spaghetti and meatballs. Other times it’s something generational like Dunkaroos.

Melon Prosciutto Mozzarella Skewers  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve always been obsessed with food so I’m not sure if my volume of food memories is normal or not, but one food that will always remind me of being a kid is cantaloupe. Yes, cantaloupe. I know it is a strange pick for a food memory, but my brother and I loved cantaloupe growing up. My dad and Babu wouldn’t melon-ball it; instead we would get thick wedges of the cantaloupe with the rind still on ready to be scooped out bite by bite.

Melon Prosciutto Mozzarella Skewers  |  Lemon & Mocha

Babu used to tell me that her father would halve a cantaloupe, scoop out the seeds, then use it as a cereal bowl. He would pour in his cereal and milk then scrape pieces of cantaloupe up with each bite. My brother and I always thought this would make a super weird breakfast and I still don’t know if I can wrap my head around the combination. This, on the other hand, is a perfect cantaloupe combination.

Melon Prosciutto Mozzarella Skewers  |  Lemon & Mocha

These Melon Prosciutto Mozzarella Skewers have quickly become my favorite easy party appetizer for spring and summer. Each skewer has a sweet cantaloupe ball, a delicate piece of prosciutto, a fresh basil leaf and a soft ball of mozzarella. You can eat them in one bite and they don’t even need a sauce or dressing. These skewers are also incredibly simple and can be made ahead so it’s one less thing to worry about when you’re entertaining. I place them right on the serving platter when I’m skewering them and then cover with plastic wrap so they’re all ready to go.

Melon Prosciutto Mozzarella Skewers  |  Lemon & Mocha

The recipe below makes 15 skewers. I usually plan on 3-4 pieces per person, but it depends on how many other appetizers you plan on having. Since Matt and I love eating the leftovers I typically make more and put them in a plastic container so if I need to put out more during the party I can. Fresh and light, these Melon Prosciutto Mozzarella Skewers are a refreshing summer bite!

Melon Prosciutto Mozzarella Skewers  |  Lemon & Mocha

Melon Prosciutto Mozzarella Skewers
 
Yield: 15 skewers
Ingredients
  • ½ large ripe cantaloupe
  • 2 slices prosciutto
  • Basil leaves, washed and dried (about 6-8 leaves, depending on how big they are)
  • 15 mini mozzarella balls (ciliegine size)
  • Toothpicks
Directions
  1. Wash the outside of the cantaloupe. Using a large sharp knife, cut the cantaloupe in half. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Use a melon baller to scoop balls of cantaloupe out of the melon flesh. Set aside.
  2. To make the skewers: place a melon ball on a cutting board or platter. Tear off a small piece of prosciutto and place on top of the melon ball. If the basil leaf is small place it on top of the prosciutto. If the leaf is bigger you can gently tear it in quarters then place a quarter piece of it on the prosciutto. Place the mini mozzarella ball on top and while holding it in place, skewer the whole thing from mozz ball right down through the cantaloupe with a toothpick. Repeat until you have your desired amount. I usually plan on 3-4 pieces per person, but it depends on how many other appetizers you are planning on having.

 

Best Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs

Best Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Guys! And gals! These meatballs? Swooning! I am beyond excited to share this recipe with you today. If you’ve never been to Damn Delicious, go check her blog out. She has some amazing recipes, but these meatballs right here? These are the real deal. These are the best slow cooker cocktail meatballs you will ever have. They are sweet, savory and salty. They are downright addictive.

Best Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have made them for dinner parties, brought them to backyard cookouts and whipped them up for work potlucks. There was one work potluck where they were almost gone by the time it started because we were all sneaking bites during the day. Oh, and it was a lunch potluck so these were being consumed as breakfast meatballs!

Best Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

I also make them for Matt and I whenever a craving strikes one of us. They freeze well, which is perfect for when I make them for just the two of us. If you don’t have a slow cooker you could certainly make them on the stove top, but I love using the slow cooker because you can dump everything in and then not have to think about it other than a stir here or there.

Best Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

The very first time I made these we were having a bunch of friends over. I of course was making about 10 million different dishes because I’m a crazy person and saved these for the last minute. Somehow I hadn’t read the instructions and missed the whole “slow cooker” part even though it was in the title. With everyone arriving in 45 minutes I looked down at the recipe, saw the 3-4 hour part and cursed a whole bunch. However, I was determined to serve these meatballs so I defrosted my frozen meatballs in the microwave, whisked all my sauce ingredients together and microwaved them, and threw everything in the slow cooker. By the time everyone got here and was settled with drinks, the meatballs were hot enough to eat and got rave reviews. Crisis averted!

Best Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

So it is possible to make them quickly if you don’t have time, but a slow cooker is definitely the way to go to save yourself from having a microwave frenzy while still in your sweatpants with guests on their way. I would say I hope you enjoy them as much as I do, but I already know you will!

Best Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Best Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs
 
Yield: about 10 servings
Ingredients
  • 40 ounces frozen, fully cooked, mini meatballs
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce, about ½ can jellied cranberry
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Directions
  1. Place the mini meatballs in a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula to combine. If using jellied cranberry, break it up a little with your spatula.
  2. Cover and cook the meatballs on low for 3-4 hours, stirring several times during cooking. Once the meatballs are cooked through and coated in sauce, serve immediately with toothpicks.
Notes
These can be made ahead. They also freeze well. If you want to save yourself some time you could make the sauce mixture ahead of time, whisking well, and store in a plastic storage container to be poured over the meatballs right before turning on the slow cooker. If you are using jellied cranberry, microwave for 10-30 seconds to soften so you can whisk into the other ingredients.

Recipe from Damn Delicious.

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto  |  Lemon & Mocha

Could there be any more delicious words in one recipe name? Oozing with melted mozzarella, this bread is begging to be made and shared. But maybe shared with a small group of people so there’s more for you. Unless you bake two, then the more the merrier!

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto  |  Lemon & Mocha

In all seriousness, this recipe comes to you from a very special place. It was inspired by my Aunt Karen’s pepperoni bread, which is a definite top three staple at all extended family gatherings. When it comes out of the oven quiet whispers of its presence get spread throughout the party. Everyone fulfills their duty of not being selfish by letting at least one other person know it’s ready without alerting too many people so you have time to go snag some yourself before it’s gone in approximately eight minutes. And eight is probably being generous.

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I think of a recipe that is easy, family-friendly, and perfect for large-groups I immediately think of Aunt Karen’s pepperoni bread, however, it doesn’t really make me think of springtime or Easter. So I set out to “springify” the recipe and came up with the Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto you are currently drooling over on your screen. The pesto brightens up the bread and pairs well with the lighter prosciutto, which still brings the same mouthwatering deliciousness as the pepperonis.

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto  |  Lemon & Mocha

In addition to being completely whisper-worthy delicious, this Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto is a necessary recipe in your repertoire for two other reasons. The first is that even though it looks fancy with its hypnotizing spirals of cheese, pesto, and prosciutto, making it is very simple. I use Trader Joe’s garlic and herb pizza dough (hard to beat $0.99 fresh dough that tastes like you got it at a pizza shop), but you can use any pre-made or homemade pizza dough you wish.

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto  |  Lemon & Mocha

The pizza dough is rolled out then topped with pesto, fresh Parmesan, and crispy prosciutto. I quickly crisped the prosciutto in a pan over medium-high heat, but you can skip the crisping if you are in even more of a time-crunch. Then comes the shredded mozzarella. After a quick egg wash to seal the edges, the dough gets rolled up, topped with more egg wash and Parmesan, then baked until the top has a gorgeous browned crust and the inside is bursting with gooey cheese. Done!

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto  |  Lemon & Mocha

The second reason you need this recipe in your life is that it is a great make-ahead dish. Whether it’s for a weeknight dinner or a dinner party I love make-ahead recipes. Make and bake the Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto ahead of time then when you’re ready to eat it simply reheat wrapped in foil in a warm oven for about 20 minutes. If you want clean and even slices you can cut the bread after it has cooled before wrapping it up like a loaf in the foil. This way after it is warmed in the oven it will already be sliced and ready to be eaten.

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you decide to make your own pesto, I highly recommend this kale pesto. I make a batch of it and then freeze it in separate small freezer bags. I lay the sealed bags flat in my freezer to freeze so once they are solid they take up barely any room. Freezing them like that also makes it easy to break off a chunk when you need only a little bit of pesto instead of defrosting the entire bag. Since they are frozen in a thin layer instead of a block they also defrost very quickly.

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto  |  Lemon & Mocha

I hope you and your family, friends, and lucky taste-testers enjoy this Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto!

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces pizza dough
  • 3 ounces sliced prosciutto
  • 3 tablespoons pesto
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • 1 egg
Directions
  1. Set the dough out to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil and set aside. Meanwhile, crisp the prosciutto in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Flip the prosciutto once it becomes slightly browned then continue to cook until the other side is slightly browned as well. Once done, turn off the pan and lay the crispy prosciutto on a paper towel to soak up any grease.
  2. Using cornmeal or flour so it doesn’t stick, roll out the dough on a clean surface until it is roughly the shape of an 11” x 14” rectangle. I usually hold it then let gravity stretch the dough to get it started. Leaving a 1” border, evenly spread the pesto on the dough. Sprinkle the pesto with 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan. Next, evenly lay the crispy prosciutto. Top with the shredded mozzarella.
  3. Beat the egg in a small bowl. Lightly brush the egg on the border you left. Gently fold the short edges in then, working carefully, tightly roll the dough up lengthwise. You want to be rolling from long edge to the other long edge, being sure to tuck in the short edge sides as needed. When you’re done rolling, pinch the dough at the seam to seal it. I like to pinch it twice to make sure it’s really tight. Carefully place the bread roll seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly brush the egg on all exposed top and sides of the roll then sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of Parmesan.
  4. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool slightly then cut into slices and serve.