Main Dishes

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

To me, the ultimate telling of a great salad is that it doesn’t seem like you are eating a salad. It doesn’t taste diet-y or as though all you’re doing is consuming a large bowl of raw vegetables like a rabbit raiding the produce aisle.

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

It simply tastes like a really delicious dish. The flavors are well-balanced and the textures vary. Extra bonus points if there are both hot and cold components.

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

This warm lemon and mustard potato salad hits all the marks on my great salad scale. The key to this meal-worthy salad is that the potatoes aren’t just average roasted potatoes. Before being placed in the oven to get nice and crispy, the potatoes are tossed with a lemon and mustard vinaigrette.

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Tart, tangy and creamy, these potatoes are even better when combined with the freshness of the salad greens and the nuttiness of the walnuts. This dish is great for a vegetarian main dish or an elevated first course that will have your guests requesting the recipe.

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Warm Lemon & Mustard Potato Salad
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the dressing
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
for the salad
  • 1½ pounds baby red-skinned potatoes, halves
  • 1 orange or red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 4 cups mixed greens
  • ¼ cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
for the dressing
  1. Whisk together the mustard, parsley, zest, juice and olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place 3 tablespoons of the dressing in a small bowl and set aside.
for the salad
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add the potatoes to the large bowl with the dressing and toss until coated. Place the potatoes on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked through and crispy.
  3. When ready to serve, toss the bell pepper and greens with the reserved dressing. Place on the serving dish then top with the roasted potatoes and toasted walnut pieces.

Recipe from Giada’s Feel Good Food.

Mini Baked Turkey Meatballs

Mini Baked Turkey Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Have you ever had a dish or ingredient that you just can’t ever seem to get right? That sums up my relationship with ground turkey, well at least until I tried these baked turkey meatballs. Meatballs made with ground turkey that are juicy, moist and mouthwatering delicious? Yes folks, I promise you it exists!

Mini Baked Turkey Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

After dry turkey burgers and tasteless turkey meatloaf I was ready to give up on this healthy protein. I wanted something healthy to go along with my spaghetti squash with spinach and mushroom marinara so I decided I would give it one more shot and was met with great success! And deliciousness. They were also easy enough to whip up on a weeknight, which is always a huge bonus.

Mini Baked Turkey Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

This recipe makes enough meatballs to have freezable leftovers so you can have meatballs all week long. Everyone tends to just think of meatballs with spaghetti, but there are endless possibilities with these tasty cuties. Add some melted provolone and have meatballs sliders. Serve them with brown rice & stir fried vegetables for a quick and healthy meal. Heat a few in tomato soup for some added protein. Eat a couple on top of a Greek salad. Or just enjoy them on a big pile of spaghetti with loads of Parmesan.

Mini Baked Turkey Meatballs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Mini Baked Turkey Meatballs
 
Yield: 40 mini meatballs
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • ½ cup grated fresh Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground turkey (look for ground turkey that isn't all turkey breast meat)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing combine all the ingredients except the turkey. Add the ground turkey and mix until just combined.
  3. Form the meatballs with a diameter of 1½" and place evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
Notes
To freeze, place the cooled meatballs so they aren't touching on a baking sheet small enough to fit in your freezer lined with parchment paper. Once the meatballs feel frozen, store in a freezer bag. To reheat, place in sauce while warming up. To heat in the microwave, cook for 1.5-2 minutes for 3 meatballs; 3 minutes for 6 meatballs.

Recipe slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis.

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach & Mushroom Marinara

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach & Mushroom Marinara  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sometimes I’m in the mood to just go to town on a big plate of food. I don’t like feeling guilty about it though so I recently came up with this easy stuff-yourself-silly dish:  spaghetti squash with spinach and mushroom marinara. Are you familiar with spaghetti squash? When baked the squash’s strands resemble angel hair pasta in appearance and texture. The taste is pretty mild and is a great pasta substitute. Plus one cup of cooked spaghetti squash has only 42 calories. Yes I typed that number accurately.

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach & Mushroom Marinara  |  Lemon & Mocha

When you get home from the grocery store with this huge oblong squash your first challenge will be breaking the sucker open. Do not underestimate this task! You will need a large sharp knife and a level cutting surface. It may take a few tries and certainly will not be perfect, unless of course you are skilled in the art of slicing large hard objects in half lengthwise, but try your best.

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach & Mushroom Marinara  |  Lemon & Mocha

Once the spaghetti squash is cut in half you will shake your head and think I’m playing an early April Fool’s Day joke on you as you wonder how in the world is that solid hunk of squash ever going to resemble spaghetti strands. Well you just have to trust me on this! It is purely amazing food magic. Scoop out the seeds then bake the squash until tender. Once it’s cool enough to handle a simple scraping with a fork transforms the squash into thin strands. Mix with some marinara, cooked spinach, sautéed mushrooms and fresh Parmesan and you’re ready to indulge!

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach & Mushroom Marinara
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 package sliced cremini mushrooms, about 5 ounces
  • 1½ cups preferred marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces frozen spinach, prepared according to package instructions
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the spaghetti squash on a baking sheet flesh side up. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Scrape the tines of a fork along the cooked squash to create the strands. It sounds weird, but as soon as you do it you will understand what I mean. Continue scraping until you reach the skin and all the flesh has been turned into strands.
  4. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds then add the sliced mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are cooked then add the marinara and prepared spinach.
  5. Add the spaghetti squash strands and toss well with tongs until well combined with the sauce and spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot topped with the Parmesan.

 

Dry Rubbed Roast Pork Tenderloin with a Roasted Garlic & Balsamic Sauce

Dry Rubbed Roast Pork Tenderloin with a Roasted Garlic & Balsamic Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Today I have a simple and healthy dinner for you. Well, a dinner recipe. I am not standing at your front door with this dish, unfortunately, or fortunately if you don’t personally know me and me standing at your door would be creepy. Well I guess even if you do know me suddenly having me on your doorstep would be creepy even then, but I digress.

Dry Rubbed Roast Pork Tenderloin with a Roasted Garlic & Balsamic Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

This roasted pork loin is what we’re here for! And it is delicious! A basic dry rub is pressed onto the meat before being seared in a pan to lock in the flavor and juices. The meat finishes roasting in the oven then topped with a creamy and tangy roasted garlic balsamic sauce and it’s ready to be served.

Dry Rubbed Roast Pork Tenderloin with a Roasted Garlic & Balsamic Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Matt and I usually eat fairly healthy, but I was unsure of where pork lies. After some thorough Googling I have deemed this dish a winner. Although there are certainly some cuts of pork that are not doctor recommended, hello delicious bacon and pork belly, a cut like pork loin is lean if you make sure to remove the excess fat. Additionally, it is a great source of protein and vitamin B! Yay vitamins!

Dry Rubbed Roast Pork Tenderloin with a Roasted Garlic & Balsamic Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Dry Rubbed Roast Pork Tenderloin with a Roasted Garlic & Balsamic Sauce
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the pork
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
for the sauce
  • 1 head garlic
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
for the pork
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl mix together all the dry seasonings until well combined. Place the tenderloin on a cutting board and sprinkle the rub all over. Rub and gently press the seasoning onto the pork.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the tenderloin in the pan for 10 minutes, using tongs to turn the pork and sear each side.
  4. Transfer the pork to the rack of a roasting pan and bake for 20 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 150-155 degrees F. Slice then top with the sauce before serving.
for the sauce
  1. Cut the top off the head of garlic so that almost all the cloves are exposed. Place the head of garlic in a little square of tinfoil and curve up the sides. Lightly drizzle the garlic with olive oil then season with salt and pepper. Seal up the tinfoil to make a little packet. Roast for 35 minutes then let cool. Once it's cool enough to handle, squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves.
  2. Blend the roasted garlic cloves and the rest of the ingredients in a small food processor or with an immersion blender until smooth.
Notes
Make sure you note the first step in the sauce recipe (roasting the garlic) before starting the pork.

Pork recipe from The Food Network.
Sauce recipe from For the Love of Cooking.

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love this recipe and am so excited to share it with you today! As I’ve mentioned before on Lemon & Mocha, Matt and I try to eat vegetarian a couple nights a week for both cost and health reasons. However, I love the idea of almost meatless. In these almost meatless sloppy joes the ground beef isn’t the focus of the dish, but it provides a great richness and heartiness.

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes  |  Lemon & Mocha

For those of you who read the title of this post and were instantly scared away by the mention of sloppy joes, don’t leave just yet! I think you know by now I only share recipes that are absolutely crave-worthy and these bad boys fit the bill.

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I actually had never tried sloppy joes until I made this version from Cooking Light, but I am so glad I waited instead of having some dreadful version that everyone seems to remember from their school cafeteria. I’m not sure why they have such a bad rap, but let these almost meatless sliders change your mind.

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Loaded spices and veggies these mini sandwiches have a complex taste that packs a punch. The mashed kidney beans mimic the heartiness of the ground beef and provide a smooth texture. I would happily eat these every night, and may have done just that for almost a week… 😉

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes
 
Yield: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces ground sirloin
  • ½ cup grated carrot
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15.5 ounce can low sodium kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • 6 mini brioche buns, or other sandwich rolls of your choosing
  • Sliced red onion, for serving
Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large stockpot. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and beef and cook until the onion is softened and the meat is browned. Stir occasionally, making sure to crumble the beef.
  2. Add the grated carrot, chili powder, sugar, oregano and red pepper then continue to cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes then bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium then cook for 10 more minutes.
  3. Take 1 cup of the kidney beans and mash them in a shallow bowl with a potato masher or fork. Add both the mashed beans and the remaining whole beans to the pot then cook until cooked through, about 1-3 minutes.
  4. Serve on the buns topped with sliced red onion.

Recipe from the May 2010 issue of Cooking Light.