Thanksgiving

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Are you guys peanut butter fanatics like I am? Most days I just look around the kitchen to see what would be a good vessel for my peanut butter snack. Pretzels? Check. Carrot sticks? Yup. Pancakes? Yes, please. Spoon? Sure, why not?

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sometimes when I’m coming up with recipes I think the same way. I quickly discovered that roasted acorn squash makes an excellent peanut butter vessel. Especially when the peanut butter is combined with coconut milk, lime juice, coconut aminos (or soy sauce) and maple syrup to make a rich, tangy, salty and slightly sweet sauce. Add some chopped crunchy peanuts and savory scallions and you have absolute veggie perfection.

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Have you ever used coconut aminos? I bought a bottle at Trader Joe’s and this was my first time using it. Many people use it as a substitute for soy sauce since it tastes similar, although slightly sweeter. Coconut aminos is lower in sodium and contains no soy. If you would rather use low sodium soy sauce because that’s what you already have in your fridge you might need to adjust the sauce to taste a little since it’s not a direct substitution.

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love pretty much all roasted vegetables and acorn squash is no exception. The slices get tender, a little crispy and caramelized. Plus, how fancy do they look all laid out on the platter? You definitely need a very sharp knife to cut through the squash. If you’re finding the squash too difficult to cut through, cut a few slits in the skin of the squash then microwave for three minutes to help soften the skin.

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Looking for more peanut vessel inspiration? Check out my Thai Peanut Chicken Tacos, Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken or Apple Nachos. Or if you want something a little sweeter, the Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Crunch Chocolate Brownies and the Peanut Butter Apple Bars are both loaded with peanut butter. Yum!

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 acorn squash
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jif)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Cut the acorn squashes into ½-inch slices. Use a small round biscuit cutter or a knife to remove the center of each slice to leave you with acorn squash rings. Lay the squash slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Spray with nonstick cooking spray then season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. While the squash is roasting, make the peanut sauce. Whisk the peanut butter, coconut aminos, light coconut milk, maple syrup, lime juice, ground ginger and red pepper flakes in a small mixing bowl until well combined.
  4. When the squash is done, layer on a serving dish. Drizzle the peanut sauce over top then top with the chopped peanuts and scallions. Serve warm.
Notes
Substitutions: If you can’t use coconut aminos, you can try swapping in low sodium soy sauce. You might need to increase the amount of maple syrup. If you can’t use light coconut milk, substitute water.
Leave the acorn squash unpeeled. When you cut the slices you want the squash positioned so the stem end is facing your left hand and the bottom end of the squash is facing your right hand (if you are going to be cutting with your right hand).

 

Candied Pecans

Candied Pecans  |  Lemon & Mocha

Hello, everyone! I hope you are all having a fun-filled weekend so far! I wanted to pop in this Sunday with a quick recipe before all my family Christmas festivities got started. I saved this recipe for the last minute because it’s so easy, but I wanted to make sure I shared it because these Candied Pecans are seriously addictive.

Candied Pecans  |  Lemon & Mocha

If they look familiar it’s because I first made them to go on top of my Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream Pie I shared before Thanksgiving. When I made them for the ice cream pie I was so excited by how tasty they were that I decided the pecans deserved their own post here on Lemon and Mocha.

Candied Pecans  |  Lemon & Mocha

Most recipes I’ve seen online for candied pecans use butter, but this recipe actually uses a single egg white instead. The egg white and vanilla extract are beaten until frothy before tossing with the pecans, which then get coated with brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and ground cloves. The pecans get the best crispy and sugary spiced coating on the outside without any greasiness of butter. If you’re like me and have been baking like crazy all holiday season then you probably have all these ingredients in your pantry right now to whip up a batch.

Candied Pecans  |  Lemon & Mocha

I just made a batch for putting on top of my browned butter pecan cheesecake for Christmas Eve at my aunt’s house and I may have sneaked one or two (or ten) for myself. They are perfect for sprinkling on cakes, cheesecakes, trifles or ice cream, but they also taste crazy delicious just by themselves. Especially warm out of the oven – drooling over here! Simply put them in a bowl for snacking alongside dessert or use as part of a sweet and salty cheese and snack board.

Candied Pecans  |  Lemon & Mocha

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your family and friends and I’ll be back here with a fun post on Wednesday!

Candied Pecans  |  Lemon & Mocha

Candied Pecans
 
Yield: A little more than 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces pecan halves
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and cloves.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the egg white and vanilla until frothy. Add the pecan halves then toss to completely coat. Spoon the coated pecans into the bowl with the sugars, trying to leave any excess egg white behind. Place on the prepared baking sheet and spread out the pecans. Bake for 1 hour, tossing the pecans on the pan every 15 minutes. I use a spatula to separate the pecans from the parchment paper then spread them back out in an even layer before putting back in the oven.

 

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

I know I say this all the time, but you need to try these Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites! This perfect party appetizer has all your favorite flavors of antipasto packed into one creamy bite. I love making appetizers with store-bought puff pastry because they look so fancy, but are actually incredibly easy. The puff pastry does all the work resulting in a buttery and flaky vessel for all the antipasto fixings.

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m not sure if you can tell from the photos, but these bites are made in a mini muffin pan so they’re really small, like a one bite deal. Since we are working with limited space inside these little flaky cups I decided to incorporate the artichokes and roasted red peppers by turning them into a simple artichoke dip. The artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers are chopped up then mixed with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and a secret ingredient to make the easiest and creamiest artichoke and red pepper dip ever.

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

Then on top we have some salami and a mini mozzarella ball to round out our antipasto flavors. You can add in some olives if you like, but Matt and I aren’t olive fans so I left those out. Top with some fresh basil or Italian parsley and you’ve made a delicious twist on a classic antipasto!

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

Make sure you read the instructions through and do not put the mozzarella on until they are out of the oven. Mozzarella melts really easily so if you put it in the oven each bite will just be covered in a pool of melted mozzarella. Since we’re using fresh mozzarella balls you really want to be able to taste them so we’re adding them after the bites are all baked.

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

My Crab Dip Puffs recipe is working overtime around here because that, along with my love for antipasto platters, inspired this recipe, too! I hope you all enjoy this one!

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites
 
Yield: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted, but still cold
  • 3 artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • ⅓ cup roasted red peppers, chopped
  • ⅓ cup Hellman’s real mayonnaise
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 ounces hard salami
  • 6 ciliegine size mini fresh mozzarella balls
  • Chopped fresh basil or parsley for serving, optional
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. On a lightly floured surface unfold the puff pastry sheet. Roll into a rectangle about 10” by 15”. Cut the rectangle of puff pastry into 24 squares. Press each square into a cup of the prepared mini muffin pan. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from the oven.
  3. While the puffy pastry bites are in the oven, mix together the chopped artichokes, chopped roasted red peppers, mayonnaise, Parmesan and garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut the salami into 6 thick rounds then cut each round into quarters.
  4. When the puff pastry comes out of the oven, gently press a spoon into the middle of each bite to lightly deflate the middle and make room for the artichoke dip. Spoon the artichoke dip into the puff pastry bites, about a teaspoon per bite. Keep dividing the dip among the bites until all the dip has been used up. Add a piece of salami to the top of each bite, but off to the side to leave room for the mozzarella. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
  5. While the bites are in the oven, cut each mozzarella ball into quarters. When the bites come out of the oven let them cool slightly then use a spoon to help you remove them from the pan and place on a platter. Top each bite with a quartered mozzarella ball and the fresh basil or parsley, if using. Serve hot.
Notes
If you want to roast your own red peppers, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a pan or line with nonstick aluminum foil and roast a whole red bell pepper for 20 minutes. Flip the pepper then roast for another 20 minutes. When it’s cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and discard along with the stem and seeds.

 

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.
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