Meat

Loco Moco Tacos

Loco Moco Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Loco Moco Tacos! The name just sounds fun and I promise you it’s super tasty as well. Traditionally, loco moco is a Hawaiian comfort food dish composed of white rice, a ground beef patty, a fried egg and gravy. This version stays pretty true to the classic except we’re swapping out the brown gravy for a quick homemade teriyaki sauce.

Loco Moco Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

In the fall of 2016, Matt and I went to California for our one year anniversary. On our way from Los Angeles to Anaheim we went to the Venice and Santa Monica beaches for the day. I scoped out all the food ahead of time so we went right to Komodo in Venice, which is an Asian fusion restaurant known for their tacos and burritos. I ordered a few different tacos and one of them was their loco moco taco – and of course I got a picture.

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All of the tacos were really good, but there was something about the loco moco taco that had me thinking about it even two years later. I can definitely see why it’s considered comfort food; the combination is so simple, but it feels familiar and decadent.

Loco Moco Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

The teriyaki sauce is salty, sweet and sticky, which goes really well over the mini beef burgers and steamed white rice.

Loco Moco Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

The best part is when the runny yolk drips down and smothers everything with richness. Actually, the best part is that the whole thing is a taco! Comfort food wrapped up in a warm tortilla – perfect for Taco Tuesday!

Loco Moco Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

I still want to try the original version of loco moco with the gravy, but for now I’m definitely into this teriyaki loaded taco. Have you ever had loco moco?

Loco Moco Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Loco Moco Tacos
 
Yield: 4 servings, 8 mini tacos
Ingredients
for the teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
for the tacos
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • 1 pound ground beef (80% or 85% lean)
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 8 eggs
  • 8 6-inch flour or corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
for the teriyaki sauce
  1. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water until the cornstarch dissolves. Set aside.
  2. Heat the ½ cup water, soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, garlic powder and ginger powder in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until combined. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue to whisk and cook until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat.
for the tacos
  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion until soft and translucent. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sautéed onions and ground beef. Form the mixture into 8 mini same-sized patties. Press a small thumb impression into the center of each, this keeps the patties from bulging in the middle when you cook them, then season both sides of each patty with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat your skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the patties for 3 minutes, flip, then cook for another 4 minutes, or longer based on desired doneness. Bobby Flay recommends an internal temperature of 145 degrees F for a perfect burger., which comes out medium, although the USDA recommends 160 degrees F for ground beef. We always follow Bobby Flay’s recommendation, but cook to whatever temperature you prefer or are comfortable with.
  4. Time to make the sunny side up fried eggs. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Crack the eggs into the pan when it’s hot; I would recommend doing no more than 4 at a time. Season with salt and pepper. Let cook just until the whites are set then remove from the pan. If desired, use a round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter to make the fried eggs into little rounds for your tacos.
  5. Taco assembly time! Spoon some steamed white rice, about 2 tablespoons onto your warmed tortilla. Top with a cooked mini burger patty, followed by a drizzle of teriyaki sauce and some sliced scallions. Repeat, eat, enjoy!

 

Pizza Hot Dogs

Pizza Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Okay, okay, I know I’m killing you over here with all the hot dogs and pizza, but hear me out! I had the amazing idea for the Elote Hot Dogs. I made them and they were everything I could have imagined. We gobbled them up and everyone was happy. Then I looked in the fridge and saw all the leftover ingredients from the elote and I thought – ah ha! Elote Pizza would be epic! So I made Elote Pizza, it was delicious, we gobbled it up, everyone was happy, yaddy yaddy yada. Then I had a problem because I had leftover hot dogs and leftover pizza ingredients, also known as shredded mozzarella, which to me means pizza, so I had to come up with something to use them both up. I had to! The leftovers made me do it!

Pizza Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

I am so happy I did because otherwise I might have never discovered how – insert explicit word here – delicious Pizza Hot Dogs are. Hot Dogs are a summer guilty pleasure and pizza is just plain amazing all the time so together is like something straight out of your food fantasies. The hot dog is smothered in marinara sauce and gooey melted mozzarella.

Pizza Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

If that wasn’t enough, the tricked up potato buns are on a whole other level. I love potato rolls because they’re buttery and a little sweet. I brushed the tops of the buns with a combination of melted butter, freshly grated Parmesan, chopped parsley and garlic powder before broiling them until toasty. Basically, giving the bun a whole garlic bread quality that is out of this world.

Pizza Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Matt and I quickly decided that every time we consume a hot dog it needs to be on these buttery, cheesy, garlicky rolls. We also decided that we can’t eat another hot dog for like three years and I’m never allowed to make so many hot dogs and pizza recipes in one week ever again.

Pizza Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Now I’m going to share something equally delicious with you on Friday and when you see it, before you yell at me, just keep in mind that I made and photographed the whole elote – hot dog – pizza trio months ago and I just made Friday’s up-coming post the other week. So my advice to you is to ABSOLUTELY, DEFINITELY make these Pizza Hot Dogs as soon as possible! Unless you just made the Elote Hot Dogs or the Elote Pizza, in which case my advice is wait a couple weeks then ABSOLUTELY, DEFINITELY make these Pizza Hot Dogs. Enjoy!

Pizza Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pizza Hot Dogs
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup marinara sauce
  • 4 hot dogs
  • 4 long potato rolls
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves, plus more for topping
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅔ cup shredded mozzarella
Directions
  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the marinara sauce and hot dogs until both are warmed through. Set aside.
  2. While the hot dogs and sauce are getting warmed up, prepare the buns. Place the potato rolls upright as if you were about the put the hot dog in them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  3. n a small bowl, combine the melted butter, Parmesan, chopped parsley and garlic powder. Generously brush this mixture over the tops of the potato rolls. Place a warmed hot dog in each bun and top with the marinara sauce. Divide the mozzarella between the 4 hot dogs, sprinkling right on top of the sauce. Broil the hot dogs until the cheese is melted and the tops of the buns are golden. Top with more parsley, if desired, and eat warm.

 

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers  |  Lemon & Mocha

I cannot express to you how juicy, cheesy and flavorful these burgers are! Last week we were talking about tried and true recipes and this is another one I’ve been making since 2008. Although these Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers aren’t in Matt’s and my rotation, that’s only because we try to eat somewhat healthy and don’t want to be eating cheese-stuffed burgers weekly. However, when we’re in the mood for a burger both of us instantly think about these huge smoky burgers. Especially with the beer involved they just scream summertime and standing out by your grill with a drink in hand.

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers  |  Lemon & Mocha

Instead of melting the cheese on top, the burger meat is loaded with chunks of smoked gouda cheese. They create melted and gooey pockets of cheese in the burger, but the chunks are just big enough to not completely melt and still maintain their rich smoky flavor. The smoky flavor gets even more pronounced by the addition of smoked paprika in the burger seasoning. The beer, Worcestershire sauce and other seasonings also add to the richness and depth of flavor in these burgers.

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers  |  Lemon & Mocha

I suggest letting the burgers firm up a little in the fridge after you make the patties otherwise you risk them falling apart with the cheese and liquid ingredients added to the meat. These ingredients are what make the burger so juicy though so I definitely wouldn’t skip anything! Pretzel buns are perfect for this burger because you want something that’s going to stand up to the bold flavors, just like Uncle Rob’s Tailgate Filet Sandwiches with Whiskey Marinade.

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers  |  Lemon & Mocha

These Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers would be the ultimate dish for Father’s Day or the burger-lover in your life. I think it’s especially fitting to be posting these Father’s Day burgers today because it is my father-in-law, Floyd’s birthday! In addition to being caring and always willing to go above and beyond to lend a hand, my father-in-law loves burgers. So what better way to celebrate? I hope you enjoy these and make them for someone special this weekend!

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers  |  Lemon & Mocha

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers
 
Yield: 6 burgers
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds 85% lean ground sirloin
  • ⅓ pound smoked gouda, cut into ¼-1/2” chunks
  • ¼ cup grated onion, about ⅓ of an onion
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces beer
  • 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 pretzel buns
  • Lettuce and tomato, for serving
Directions
  1. In a large bowl add the ground sirloin, diced gouda, grated onion, Worcestershire sauce, dijon, smoked paprika, garlic powder, ground coriander, salt and pepper. I used about 6 grinds each of our small salt and pepper grinders. Mix with your hands until roughly combined, try not to over-mix. Add the beer and mix into the burger. Form the burger meat into 6 patties. Lightly press your thumb into the center of the burger so the center is thinner than the edges. When burgers cook they bulge into the middle so this ensures an even patty. Place the patties on a plate or platter, cover then refrigerate for about 10 minutes. You can skip this step, but your burgers are more likely to stay together if they have a chance to firm up a little in the fridge.
  2. Heat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Lightly brush the burgers with the vegetable oil then grill for 4-5 minutes on each side for a medium done burger. Do not press down on the burger with your spatula while it is cooking or flip other than the one time. This is how burgers lose their juiciness! Bobby Flay recommends an internal temperature of 145 degrees F for a perfect burger, which comes out medium, although the USDA recommends 160 degrees F for ground beef. We always follow Bobby Flay’s recommendation, but cook to whatever temperature you prefer or are comfortable with.
  3. Remove from the heat and serve on the pretzel buns with the lettuce, tomato and condiment of choice. I recently had these with some pesto mayo and it was SO good!

Recipe slightly adapted from Rachel Ray.

Hawaiian Barbecue Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Hawaiian Barbecue Slow Cooker Pulled Pork  |  Lemon & Mocha

Oftentimes I will make a dish that’s really good, but because I have so many different recipes that I want to try I won’t make the dish again for a year or more. This is not one of those times. Even though I’m like a squirrel when it comes to recipes and meal ideas, constantly getting distracted by the next delicious thing, there are a few recipes out there that get our attention so much they end up on our exclusive rotation. This Hawaiian Barbecue Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is on that short list.

Hawaiian Barbecue Slow Cooker Pulled Pork  |  Lemon & Mocha

It’s savory, succulent and sweet. The savory umami-ness of the pork comes from the soy sauce and rich beef broth. The pork is slow cooked with lots of liquid ingredients making it incredibly moist and tender. I love when pork has a little sweetness to it and we get that with the pineapple juice, brown sugar and ketchup.

Hawaiian Barbecue Slow Cooker Pulled Pork  |  Lemon & Mocha

My favorite part about the pork is the thick sauce that gets drizzled on top. After combining the pineapple mixture you pour half over the pork while it cooks, while the other half gets cooked down separately on the stovetop along with some garlic and ginger to make a concentrated savory-sweet explosion of a sauce.

Hawaiian Barbecue Slow Cooker Pulled Pork  |  Lemon & Mocha

Other than being lick-your-fingers delicious, the other reason this Hawaiian Barbecue Slow Cooker Pulled Pork made the list is because it’s very easy to make (hello, slow cooker!) and other than the pork and pineapple juice I always have everything already in my kitchen. Sometimes Matt and I will eat the BBQ pulled pork with the Hawaiian rolls, like in these photos, but usually we will just eat it with the Asian Pineapple Slaw and Grilled Asparagus with Chimichurri sides I’m going to share later this week as our attempt to keep it “low-carb”.

Hawaiian Barbecue Slow Cooker Pulled Pork  |  Lemon & Mocha

We usually get a few nights out of it and then freeze the rest. If you don’t eat pork, I’ve made this with boneless skinless chicken breasts before and it tasted really good. Not as good as the pork, because it’s pork vs a chicken breast, but still good. If you really want to get into the island mood, pair this dish with the Pineapple Mojitos from last week!

Hawaiian Barbecue Slow Cooker Pulled Pork  |  Lemon & Mocha

Hawaiian Barbecue Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
for the dry rub
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
for the pulled pork and sauce
  • 1 6-ounce can pineapple juice
  • ⅓ cup beef broth
  • ⅔ cup ketchup
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons hot sauce
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ½ pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated ginger
  • King Hawaiian rolls for serving, if desired
Directions
for the dry rub
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, paprika, salt, black pepper and ground ginger. Set aside.
for the pulled pork and sauce
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, beef broth, ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce and hot sauce. Set aside.
  2. Place the chopped onion and carrots in the bottom of the slow cooker. Coat the pork completely with the dry rub and continue to rub it into the pork until it has all been used up. Place the pork on top of the onion and carrots. Pour half of the pineapple juice mixture over the pork. Cover the remaining reserved half and place in the fridge. Cover and slow cook the pork on low for 7-8 hours.
  3. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and place on a large cutting board. The meat should be falling apart. Shred the pork using two forks. Place the pork in a serving bowl or storage container and add a few tablespoons of liquid from the slow cooker, stirring to combine.
  4. Heat the canola oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and grated ginger and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the other half of the pineapple mixture and stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve drizzled over the pulled pork.

Recipe adapted from Sandra Lee.

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Grilled Steak with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce & Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Steak with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce & Grilled Asparagus  |  Lemon & Mocha

As you all know, I am an extreme planner so I have my posts planned out months in advance. And by months I mean all the way into January. Clearly I get a little carried away, especially when it comes to food. Then came along this glorious steak and sauce combination. It was completely unplanned and so outrageous that I moved a whole bunch of posts around just so I could share it with you sooner.

Grilled Steak with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce & Grilled Asparagus  |  Lemon & Mocha

This dish has three main components: a grilled sirloin steak, grilled asparagus and a creamy Gorgonzola sauce. I feel like I’m going to have a hard time describing this sauce in complete sentences because every time I think about it my brain goes fuzzy and the next thing I know I have drool all over my chin. But bear with me. This sauce is cheesy, creamy, savory and salty. It’s also loaded with thinly sliced mushrooms and sweet onion that have been cooked down so they melt in your mouth. Cliche, but fitting.

Grilled Steak with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce & Grilled Asparagus  |  Lemon & Mocha

The inspiration for this recipe was born out of my own cravings and food indecisiveness. I had some leftover Gorgonzola crumbles from the Healthy Chicken Cobb Salad that I wanted to use up. When I think of what pairs well with blue cheese my mind immediately goes to steak and mushrooms. I went back and forth, unable to decide, until I finally came up with this delicious solution of pairing it with both.

Grilled Steak with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce & Grilled Asparagus  |  Lemon & Mocha

This sauce turns tender steak into a decadent treat that will have you swooning. Or guarding your plate if you are eating with others. When I recipe-test I’m usually the only one in the kitchen so I have the fortunate ability to be able to really savor that first bite. And the second, and the third, and so on.

Grilled Steak with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce & Grilled Asparagus  |  Lemon & Mocha

Since the sauce is rich, serving the steak with simple grilled asparagus is the perfect balance. Also, the crisp asparagus is great at swiping any excess sauce off your plate. Another reason I’m so jazzed up about this sauce is that I created it completely on the fly without referencing any recipes for ratios or inspiration, which can be a lot harder than it sounds. The fact that it tastes so bomb and I came up with it on my own makes me want to shout the recipe from the rooftops! So even if you’re a planner like me and have your meals scheduled out for next week I highly recommend you move things around so you can make this dinner ASAP!

Grilled Steak with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce & Grilled Asparagus  |  Lemon & Mocha

Grilled Steak with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce & Grilled Asparagus
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the gorgonzola sauce
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 2 cups sliced)
  • 1 glove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup gorgonzola crumbles
  • Salt and pepper to taste
for the steak
  • 2 8-ounce sirloin steaks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
for the grilled asparagus
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
for the gorgonzola sauce
  1. Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and whisk together. Add the flour and continue to whisk until it has darkened slightly, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sliced onions and ground black pepper and stir to coat. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. The onions should be soft. Add the sliced mushrooms and the minced garlic, stir. Cook for another 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms have softened, stirring occasionally.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the milk. Once the milk has had a chance to warm, about 1 minute, add the Gorgonzola crumbles. Stir as the Gorgonzola melts into a thick cheese sauce. You can keep stirring until all the crumbles have melted or leave a few crumbles un-melted. If the sauce looks too thick you can add another tablespoon of milk. Remove from the heat and taste. Adjust salt and pepper according to taste, but remember that the steak will also be seasoned with salt.
for the grilled asparagus
  1. Remove and discard the woody ends of the asparagus. If you lightly bend the asparagus stalk it will snap at a natural spot where the thick stem ends. Drizzle the asparagus with the olive oil then toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. I usually do about 5-6 grinds each of our salt and pepper grinders (they are small).
  2. Heat your grill or grill pan so it’s at medium-high heat. Grill the asparagus for 5 minutes, tossing/turning once while grilling. If your asparagus stalks are very thin you may only need 3 minutes, if the stalks are thick you may need longer than the 5 minutes. If you are using a grill not a grill pan I would suggest using a grill grid or basket so the asparagus doesn’t slip through the grill grates and adding about 5 minutes of grilling time.
for the steak
  1. Let your steak sit out at room temperature for about 20 minutes before grilling. Lightly coat the steaks with the olive oil then season on both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat your grill to high heat or your grill pan to medium-high heat. Place the steaks on the hot grill or grill pan so they aren’t touching and let cook for 4-5 minutes. Carefully flip the steaks and let cook for another 3-5 minutes for medium-rare or 5-7 minutes for medium. The internal temperature of the steaks when you pull them off the grill should be 135 degrees F for medium-rare or 140 degrees F for medium.
  3. Let the steak rest for at least 5 minutes. Slice the steak and place on a serving dish then spoon the Gorgonzola sauce over top or serve alongside the grilled steak.
Notes
I used a grill pan for this dish. First I took the steak out of the fridge to come to room temperature. I chopped up my onion and mushrooms then I started cooking the sauce. While the sauce was cooking I grilled the asparagus in my grill pan, two batches at 4 minutes each. I placed them on a plate and grilled the steak. We like ours medium-rare so I did 5 minutes then flipped and did another 3 minutes. By the time the steaks were done resting, the sauce was done and it was time to eat!