Holiday

Quinoa Pizza Bites

Quinoa Pizza Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

Happy Monday and happy December, everyone! I’m making the mistake of writing this post while I’m hungry and just thinking about these Quinoa Pizza Bites is making my stomach rumble! I should get up to go eat something, but I’m going to use it as motivation to finish writing this post!

Quinoa Pizza Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m interrupting my Christmas and holiday dessert posts to bring you this Quinoa Pizza Bite recipe. Don’t worry, there’s plenty more chocolate and desserts to come, but today we’re all about this easy, cheesy and healthy-ish appetizer.

Quinoa Pizza Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love using pizza flavors in appetizers because they tend to be universally loved and nothing tastes better than some gooey cheese when you’re hungry.

Quinoa Pizza Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

These little bites are made right in a mini muffin pan sprayed with nonstick spray so you can pop them right out and serve them hot. The base of the bite is some cooked quinoa. Mixed in with the quinoa is shredded mozzarella cheese, chopped roasted red peppers, grated Parmesan, an egg and some pizza seasonings. Don’t forget the marinara for dipping!

Quinoa Pizza Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

The outside gets really crispy and crunchy, while the inside stays fluffy from the quinoa. You can use whichever pizza topping you prefer for the inside; Matt and I love roasted red peppers on our pizza so that’s what I used. I was also trying to keep them healthier where I could, but if you weren’t concerned about keeping it healthy, cooked crumbled sausage or mini pepperonis would be really good in these as well.

Quinoa Pizza Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

It’s nice to have some crowd-pleasing go-to appetizers around the holidays whether you’re hosting, asked to bring an appetizer or have a holiday potluck to attend. Or, as I mentioned in the Leftover Turkey Pull-apart Sliders with a Maple Mayo and Cranberry Barbecue Sauce post, if you just want a Friday night snack. I have a few more tasty holiday appetizers to share with you this month, but in the meantime below are some of my favorites! Okay, now I’m off to go eat!

Best Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs

Best Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings

Apple, Bacon and Brie Bread

Apple, Bacon and Brie Bread

Aunt Jen's Chicken Ginger Dumplings

Aunt Jen’s Chicken Ginger Dumplings

Honey Walnut Baked Brie

Honey Walnut Baked Brie

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip

Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls

Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls

Quinoa Pizza Bites
 
Yield: About 20
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup cooked quinoa, see note
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup chopped roasted red peppers, or other preferred topping
  • ¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • Marinara, for serving
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cavities. You will fill about 20. Make sure you press down to compact the mixture in each cavity.
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan before eating. Gently use a spoon to help remove them from the pan if necessary.
Notes
If you don’t already have cooked quinoa, bring ½ cup uncooked quinoa to a boil with 1 cup water, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender.

Recipe from Live Well Bake Often.

World’s Smoothest Peanut Butter Fudge

World's Smoothest Peanut Butter Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have some more fudge for you today and you will not want to miss this one! This is the first non-chocolate fudge variation I’ve posted, but that’s okay because we have peanut butter. If you are someone that likes to eat peanut butter off a spoon and lives for the center of a Reese’s then you will love this creamy peanut butter fudge.

World's Smoothest Peanut Butter Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

It has the same smooth texture of the original fudge that you get from using sweetened condensed milk instead of granulated or powdered sugar. The fudge has just the right amount of sweetness and a hint of vanilla letting the peanut butter flavor really shine through.

World's Smoothest Peanut Butter Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

You can thank my former boss, Darcy, for this creation! Two years ago I set out to attempt to convert my fudge recipe into a peanut butter version after Darcy said that was her favorite flavor. I swapped the bag of chocolate chips for peanut butter chips and used a white chocolate baking square instead of the unsweetened chocolate one so there wouldn’t be any cocoa flavor in the fudge. Finally, I got rid of the butter and added in peanut butter. Normally just peanut butter on its own isn’t a great swap for butter in baking, but since we’re making candy and only using two tablespoons I figured I would give it a shot.

World's Smoothest Peanut Butter Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

The end result was peanut butter perfection and I’ve been making it this way ever since! I was so excited it worked out since not all my variation attempts have been successful. One of the versions I was hoping to post this year did not set up quite right, but that just prompted me to come up with an even better flavor idea that I will be sharing next Friday!

World's Smoothest Peanut Butter Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Now back to this addicting peanut butter version. I make a note about it in the recipe, but I’ve only ever made this with creamy “regular” peanut butter, like Jif, so I can’t guarantee you will get the same results if you use the type of peanut butter that you have to stir because the oil separates. Usually that type of peanut butter doesn’t work as well in baked goods and treats. Also, as I say with all the fudge, I think this tastes best eaten cold straight from the fridge. Yum!

World's Smoothest Peanut Butter Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Peanut Butter Fudge
 
Yield: 36-64 pieces depending on how big you cut them
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce Baker's white chocolate baking squares
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, like Jif
  • One 12-ounce bag peanut butter chips
  • 1 14-ounce can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Line an 8" x 8" pan with wax paper and set aside.
  2. Melt peanut butter and the Baker’s chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour in half the bag of peanut butter chips and stir with a heatproof rubber spatula to help melt. Once partially melted add the rest of the bag of peanut butter chips and stir until fully melted.
  4. Carefully stir in the condensed milk to combine and remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula.
  6. Refrigerate until the fudge is set then cut into bite size pieces. Best eaten straight from the fridge.
Notes
I have only made this with creamy Jif-type peanut butter. I can not guarantee the same results with a natural peanut butter (the type you have to stir because the oil separates). Also, a peanut butter with less sugar might not taste sweet enough.

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Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge

Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

It’s not even December, but I can’t help diving into holiday season content. I just have too many recipes I’m excited to share! Normally I don’t start listening to Christmas music until December, or at the very least I wait until Thanksgiving is over, but I’ve been seriously in a holiday mood this year. I think it was all the baking I was doing the week before Thanksgiving and the early snow we got here in New England, but I have to confess that I had Christmas music playing in my kitchen two weeks ago. Oops!

Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

If there’s one dessert that is guaranteed to get me in the Christmas spirit it has to be Diane’s fudge. I love my stepmom’s classic fudge recipe (and you all do too – it’s the most popular recipe on Lemon & Mocha!), but I love all the fun variations I’ve made over the years even more. I’ve shared S’mores Fudge – crazy good – and Chocolate Peppermint Fudge – so Christmasty!

Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Today, we’re all about the Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge. In case you aren’t familiar, chocolate turtles are chocolate covered pecans with caramel inside and they kind of look like little turtles. I wanted to take those flavors and bring them into this classic semi-sweet chocolate fudge. The end result was messy, but so good!

Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

The chopped pecans are folded into the fudge so you get a little crunch in each bite. The caramel is drizzled on the fudge then swirled in before the fudge sets.

Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

I used Smucker’s salted caramel sauce since I love how quick it is to whip together a batch of fudge so I didn’t want to over-complicate it with homemade caramel. Do you think you will try this twist?

Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge
 
Yield: 36-64 pieces depending on how big you cut them
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce Baker's unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • One 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 14-ounce can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ⅓ cup caramel, see note
Directions
  1. Line an 8" x 8" pan with wax paper and set aside.
  2. Melt butter and the Baker’s chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour in half the bag of chocolate chips and stir with a heatproof rubber spatula to help melt. Once partially melted add the rest of the bag of chocolate chips and stir until fully melted.
  4. Carefully stir in the condensed milk to combine and remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract and the pecans.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top of the fudge and use a knife to swirl into the fudge.
  6. Refrigerate until the fudge is set then cut into bite size pieces. Best eaten straight from the fridge.
Notes
Your caramel should be soft enough to drizzle off a spoon. If it’s too firm from being in the fridge, heat it slightly.

 

Leftover Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Cranberry Tahini Sauce

Leftover Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Cranberry Tahini Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Tomorrow is the big day! Are you sick of Thanksgiving recipe posts yet? I love seeing everyone’s Thanksgiving recipes because it gives me inspiration for Christmas meals and cozy dishes to enjoy all winter long. I have a non-holiday recipe queued up for Monday – and you will not want to miss it – and then I’m diving right into Christmas dishes! I would take a longer break, but there’s just so many holiday recipes I’m excited to share with you all.

Leftover Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Cranberry Tahini Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Last week I shared the Leftover Turkey Pull-apart Sliders with a Maple Mayo and Cranberry Barbecue Sauce and today I have another creative way to re-imagine your leftover turkey, cranberry sauce and even your leftover butternut squash! These Leftover Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Cranberry Tahini Sauce are healthy and light, which is perfect after a day filled with eating, eating and more eating!

Leftover Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Cranberry Tahini Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve used tahini in a few recipes here on Lemon & Mocha. If you aren’t familiar with the ingredient, it’s ground sesame paste and it’s a healthy way to bring rich flavor and nuttiness to a dish. This cranberry tahini sauce was so good that I found myself seeking out things to put it on when we ran out of turkey lettuce wraps. I loved it as a salad dressing and as a dipping sauce for my grilled chicken. While the cranberry tahini sauce has many uses, it’s especially delicious when drizzled over tender turkey and sweet roasted butternut squash all wrapped up in a fresh lettuce leaf.

Leftover Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Cranberry Tahini Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Even though I came up with this dish as a fresh take on leftovers you better believe I’m going to be cooking up some turkey and butternut squash in the next few months so we can have these lettuce wraps for dinner and lunches.

Leftover Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Cranberry Tahini Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I hope you all enjoy these as much as we did! Happy Thanksgiving!

Leftover Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Cranberry Tahini Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Leftover Turkey Lettuce Wraps with a Cranberry Tahini Sauce
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the dressing
  • 3 tablespoons cranberry sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1½ tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
for the lettuce wraps
  • 12 butter lettuce leaves
  • Leftover roasted turkey, about 8 ounces
  • Leftover cooked butternut squash, about 1 cup
Directions
for the dressing
  1. Blend together all the ingredients until smooth.
for the lettuce wraps
  1. Top each lettuce leaf with some turkey and roasted butternut squash then drizzle with the tahini cranberry dressing.

 

Lemon Garlic Green Beans

Lemon Garlic Green Beans  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have one final Thanksgiving recipe to share with you! If you are looking for a quick way to sneak some last minute veggies into your Thanksgiving menu then these Lemon Garlic Green Beans are calling your name! We aren’t kidding around with this flavor combination; there’s three cloves of garlic and an entire lemon in this dish so the green beans really live up to their name.

Lemon Garlic Green Beans  |  Lemon & Mocha

Green beans sauté fairly quickly so I love making them around the holidays so I’m not using oven space. I’ve made these for Christmas and Easter, as well as regular weeknights when I’m looking for an easy green side dish.

Lemon Garlic Green Beans  |  Lemon & Mocha

Years ago I shared my French Onion Green Beans, which are really tasty, but these Lemon Garlic Green Beans are extra simple. Sautéed green beans are tender, but not mushy, and these burst with lemon acidity and garlic flavor when you bite into them.

Lemon Garlic Green Beans  |  Lemon & Mocha

Although I love this dish I’m actually not making it for Thanksgiving this year. That’s mostly because I knew I wanted to share these green beans with you months ago, but I just finalized the Thanksgiving menu last week. Below is our menu! It’s the first Thanksgiving I’ve ever hosted and I wanted to keep things light and simple since it’s just five of us. I have a bunch of new dishes I’m making and I’m excited to share those recipes with you later.

Lemon Garlic Green Beans  |  Lemon & Mocha

What are you making for Thanksgiving?

Lemon Garlic Green Beans  |  Lemon & MochaAppetizers
Matt’s Mom’s antipasto platter
Roasted shrimp cocktail

Main Meal
Fall Spinach and Arugula Salad with Tahini Dressing
Rosemary olive oil bread – love my Breville loaf maker!
Matt’s sous vide turkey breast – I’m the only one that prefers dark meat, plus it comes out so amazing and tender in the sous vide immersion circulator
Cranberry apple roasted beet compote
Pan-seared crispy baby potatoes
Matt’s Mom’s stuffing
Roasted butternut squash
Roasted brussels sprouts with avocado and a honey lime dressing

Dessert
Cherry pie
Apple pie

Lemon Garlic Green Beans
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small lemon, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Blanch the green beans. Do this by boiling the green beans for 5 minutes then plunging them into ice water. Drain the water.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the garlic for 1 minute then add the green beans. Season generously to taste with salt and pepper. When the green beans are hot, add the lemon slices and cook for 1 minute before removing from the heat and serving.

Recipe from Martha Stewart.
Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!