Main Dishes

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions  |  Lemon & Mocha

Before I dive into these epic meatloaf sandwiches, I forgot to tell you all last week how the February cookbook recipe went! Matt and I made the Angel Hair Frittata from the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook. It was loaded with broccolini, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto. The flavor was really good and I think we’ll make it again, but we weren’t one hundred percent sold on the angel hair pasta in it. We love pasta and we wanted to be able to taste it more so since we couldn’t really taste it we might just make it without the pasta next time.

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions  |  Lemon & Mocha

Now, back to these Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions. Matt’s birthday is tomorrow so I wanted to make him a special meal last week to celebrate. Yes, a week early because that’s what happens when you’re a food blogger! Matt loves meatloaf and while this meatloaf on its own is amazing I knew I needed to kick it up a notch to make it birthday meal worthy. Enter toasted bun, melted provolone cheese, fresh arugula and rich caramelized onions!

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions  |  Lemon & Mocha

These sandwiches ate like a burger except multiply the tender factor and the flavor level by at least ten. Trust me, it’s a scientific fact. The key to a tender meatloaf is making sure you have enough fat and enough moisture. I used 80% lean ground beef and added moisture with barbecue sauce, an egg, Dijon, and balsamic. To take it even further, I added bread that had been soaked in beef broth. If you add bread crumbs all they will do is take moisture away from the meat.

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions  |  Lemon & Mocha

To get an even richer flavor I added some sautéed mushrooms and onions. Raw veggies are great, but anytime you get a chance to sauté them it really brings out an unbeatable depth of flavor. Finally, cook the meatloaf low and slow freeform on a rimmed baking sheet so that all the barbecue sauce slathered sides get a chance to caramelize. Yum!

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions  |  Lemon & Mocha

Every time I’ve ever made meatloaf I’ve made it slightly differently because I’ve used whatever I have on hand in the fridge and I always add ingredients by feel. If the meatloaf is sticking to the bowl then it needs more liquid ingredients. Now that I finally wrote down a recipe I can recreate it exactly next time Matt says make that really good meatloaf again! I will definitely be making it for these sandwiches again because this has got to be the most ultimate way to eat meatloaf for dinner.

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions  |  Lemon & Mocha

Also, I normally dread taking photographs of burgers and sandwiches because they’re really hard to make look appetizing, but I’m so excited with how my photos came out and they’re really doing justice to these epic sandwiches! Enjoy!

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions  |  Lemon & Mocha

Barbecue Meatloaf Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions
 
Yield: 10 sandwiches
Ingredients
for the meatloaf
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ small onion, small diced
  • 4 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Salt, pepper and Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice bread (I used potato bread), torn into pieces
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, divided
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds 80% lean ground beef
for the sandwiches
  • 4 medium onions, halved then sliced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • 10 kaiser or brioche buns, cut in half
  • 10 slices provolone cheese
  • Arugula, for topping
  • Barbecue sauce, for topping
Directions
for the meatloaf
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms then season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Cook until tender and slightly caramelized, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl. Soak the bread pieces in the beef broth for a few minutes then add the soaked bread pieces to the mixing bowl; they will be really mushy. Add ½ cup barbecue sauce, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Add the sautéed onions and mushrooms then mix everything together. Add the ground beef then use your hands to incorporate everything together, being sure not to over-mix (see note). It will come together more on the baking sheet. Scoop the meatloaf mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and form it into a long log, making it roughly the width of your kaiser buns, a couple inches high and then however long it needs to be. Mine was about 12-inches long. Cover the outside of the meatloaf completely with the remaining ½ cup of barbecue sauce.
  4. Bake until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 1 hour and 5-10 minutes. Let it rest for a couple minutes before taking the temperature of the meatloaf. Once it’s 165 degrees F, let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
for the sandwiches
  1. Caramelize the onions. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion slices then toss to coat. Season with salt. Cook the onions, stirring every few minutes for 35-40 minutes. Towards the last 20 minutes if they start getting burnt in spots add a little more water (no more than a tablespoon at a time). If you want them really caramelized, you can continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes, but you will want to stir very frequently to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from the heat when done.
  2. Toast the buns. If desired, brush the tops of the buns with an egg wash (1 beaten egg with 1 tablespoon water) then top with poppy seeds and dried onion flakes before toasting.
  3. Melt the provolone over the meatloaf slices then place on the toasted burger buns along with some caramelized onions, arugula and barbecue sauce.
Notes
I recommend using one of the following methods to help keep the meatloaf mixture from sticking to your hands (because you’re able to better incorporate everything without over-mixing if you use your hands): coating your hands with cold water, lightly coating your hands with olive oil or using disposable gloves.

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Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish

Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish  |  Lemon & Mocha

Would you believe me if I told you this recipe got Matt to eat tilapia? Of course you believe me otherwise this would be a pretty bad story if it wasn’t true! While I’m busy going through my cookbooks that I have yet to make anything from I’m also focusing on sharing recipes with you all that I have made and enjoyed from my cookbooks over the years, like Giada’s Breakfast Bulgur with Warm Berries and Ree Drummond’s Potato, Leek and Bacon Pizza. Add to the list Ina Garten’s Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish. Can you tell I’m a Food Network fan?

Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish  |  Lemon & Mocha

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m continually trying to find cooked fish recipes that Matt enjoys. Sushi is another story; he can now out-eat me on sashimi! Many years ago I wanted to make us some cooked fish and thought this creamy mustard sauce just might do the trick. It worked! Between the mustard, shallot and capers, the sauce is full of punchy flavors that keep the tilapia from tasting “fishy.”

Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish  |  Lemon & Mocha

The original recipe from Barefoot Contessa uses crème fraîche to achieve the creamy and slightly sour sauce that pairs so well with the sharp mustard. Crème fraîche is delicious, but it can also be very rich and fattening. Instead, I used my new favorite recipe trick: cauliflower puree! I blended cooked cauliflower florets with plain Greek yogurt to mimic the thickness and creaminess of the crème fraîche. That was combined with the mustard, mustard seeds, shallots and capers for a perfect sauce to be poured over the white fish before baking it.

Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish  |  Lemon & Mocha

Although the flavor of the sauce is awesome, the best part is that it keeps the tilapia incredibly flaky and moist. I served this dish alongside the Sheet Pan Parmesan Roasted Green Beans and Baby Potatoes and Matt was a happy camper. Who would have thought one day Matt would happily eat tilapia for dinner?! Thanks, Ina!

Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish  |  Lemon & Mocha

Creamy Mustard Roasted Fish
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets (about 8 medium-large florets)
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 5 ounces nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons drained capers
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking pan large enough to fit the fish fillets with nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add the water and cauliflower florets to a saucepan. Bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the liquid then puree the cauliflower with the Greek yogurt until smooth. Combine the cauliflower-yogurt puree, mustard, minced shallots, mustard seeds and drained capers in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Place the tilapia fillets on the prepared baking pan. Season with the salt and pepper. Spoon the mustard sauce over the fish completely. Bake until the thickest part of the fish flakes, about 10-15 minutes. When it’s done broil for 1 minute.

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics.
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!

Winter Pesto Pasta

Winter Pesto Pasta  |  Lemon & Mocha

Winter Pesto Pasta is a cozy dish loaded with roasted butternut squash and mushrooms that is sure to warm you up during these chilly winter days. Whenever Matt and I are craving pasta I like to load it up with lots of veggies and I love the ease and the taste of roasted vegetables, especially in the wintertime.

Winter Pesto Pasta  |  Lemon & Mocha

I also used a mix of spaghetti and zucchini noodles to sneak in even more vegetables. You can spiralize the zucchini yourself or pretty much every grocery store now sells spiralized vegetable noodles. The best part is that you just throw them into the water when the pasta is almost done cooking so it could not be easier to add zucchini noodles into your pasta dishes. You could keep the meal vegetarian, but I served it alongside my Baked Pesto Turkey Meatballs – love those!

Winter Pesto Pasta  |  Lemon & Mocha

The star of the whole dish, though, is the quick and easy homemade pesto. I love tomato sauce, but we are both way more into pesto around here. My favorite seed butter company, 88 Acres, which is a local Massachusetts company, sent me some of their new products to try in exchange for sharing them on Instagram. The exchange didn’t involve my blog at all; I’m purely sharing this here because their new product prompted me to discover my new favorite homemade pesto hack.

Winter Pesto Pasta  |  Lemon & Mocha

Instead of grinding down seeds or nuts to use in the pesto, I just used some of their new no-sugar added pumpkin seed butter. I combined the pumpkin seed butter, basil, Parmesan, garlic powder, a little olive oil and some salt to taste. It was creamy, flavor-packed and saved me from having to buy pricey pine nuts.

Winter Pesto Pasta  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m excited to try this new hack with other seed butters! I would recommend using one that has no-sugar added though to avoid adding sugar to your pesto. You could also try making this pesto with roasted pumpkin seeds and adding more olive oil, which I’m sure would be really good, too. Do you like experimenting with different types of pesto or do you have a go-to one you make all the time?

Winter Pesto Pasta  |  Lemon & Mocha

Winter Pesto Pasta
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup small diced butternut squash
  • 6 medium whole cremini mushrooms, stems removed and quartered
  • 2½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, divided
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces spaghetti
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons no-sugar added pumpkin seed butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan, plus more for topping
  • 1 zucchini, zoodled
  • Baked Pesto Turkey Meatballs, optional
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper and place the butternut squash cubes and quartered mushrooms in a single layer. Toss the veggies with ½ tablespoon of olive oil then sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon dried oregano, ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder, ⅛ teaspoon salt and some fresh ground black pepper. Roast the veggies for 25 minutes, or until tender and slightly caramelized, tossing once halfway through baking.
  2. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions. When the spaghetti is 2 minutes away from being done, toss in the zucchini noodles. Drain the spaghetti and the zucchini noodles together once tender in a colander.
  3. While the water is coming to a boil for the pasta, make the pesto. Combine the basil, Parmesan, pumpkin seed butter, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder and salt to taste in a food processor. Add more olive oil if needed, about 1 tablespoon more. Pulse until smooth.
  4. When the spaghetti and zucchini noodles have been drained, add them back to the pot along with the pesto, butternut squash and mushrooms. Toss to combine. Serve with fresh grated Parmesan on top and baked pesto turkey meatballs, if desired.

 

Potato, Leek and Bacon Pizza

Potato, Leek and Bacon Pizza  |  Lemon & Mocha

Did you know that tomorrow is National Pizza Day? Woo hoo! This should really be a throwback Thursday post because this is the first pizza Matt and I ever made together back in 2010. Yes, we’ve been over this, I’m so food obsessed I can usually remember the exact time I made every recipe I’ve ever made for the first time.

Potato, Leek and Bacon Pizza  |  Lemon & Mocha

The recipe is from the first cookbook published by the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, which is full of rich and indulgent meals and this pizza is no exception. This pizza has layers of thinly sliced potatoes, fresh mozzarella, crispy bacon, creamy goat cheese, leeks sautéed in bacon grease and some fresh Parmesan because why not? I did halve the amount of fresh mozzarella and reduce the amount of bacon and leeks because I found that I had lots of extra that wouldn’t even fit on my pizza.

Potato, Leek and Bacon Pizza  |  Lemon & Mocha

Have you ever had potato on a pizza? It’s such a tasty and underrated topping. Matt’s favorite pizza to order from our local pizza shop is their potato, bacon and cheddar pizza so he was of course on board when I mentioned wanting to re-make the Pioneer Woman pizza recipe.

Potato, Leek and Bacon Pizza  |  Lemon & Mocha

Potato, Leek and Bacon Pizza is the perfect balance of creaminess, saltiness and omg-give-me-another-slice-iness. Totally a thing. If you find yourself with some leftover leeks, I highly recommend making Kale and Walnut Pesto Pasta with Lemon Shrimp. Ah, I think I will forever be obsessed with that recipe! But back to this pizza and National Pizza Day!

Potato, Leek and Bacon Pizza  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you’re looking for some more pizza inspiration I have a few recipes on here that are sure to bring your pizza night to the next level!

Mini Strawberry Balsamic Pizzas

Mini Strawberry Balsamic Pizzas

Elote Pizza

Elote Pizza

Mini Eggplant Pizzas

Mini Eggplant Pizzas

Potato, Leek and Bacon Pizza
 
Yield: 8 medium slices
Ingredients
  • 5 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 large leek, cleaned and thinly sliced (see note)
  • 16 ounces pre-made pizza dough, at room temperature for 20 minutes
  • Cornmeal, for dusting the surface for the dough
  • 5 small Yukon gold potatoes, sliced very thin
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese and fresh ground black pepper for topping
  • 1 egg, beaten (optional)
Directions
  1. Preheat your pizza stone in the oven at 475 or 500 degrees F for at least half an hour.
  2. While the pizza stone is preheating, cook the bacon and leeks. Heat the chopped bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until cooked, but not overly crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan using a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Safely pour the grease off the skillet, but do not wipe the pan clean. Over medium-low heat in the same large skillet, sauté the leeks until soft, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Then set aside.
  3. If you are using a pizza peel, generously sprinkle your pizza peel with cornmeal. If you don’t have a pizza peel and are using a baking sheet, generously sprinkle your baking sheet with cornmeal. Stretch out the dough - the size depends on the size of your pizza stone. To help get it stretched out, I hold it and let it fall down. I continue doing this, rotating around as I do it so it stretches into an oblong shape. Now that it is most of the way stretched out, place it on the cornmeal surface, whether that is your pizza peel or baking sheet. Use a rolling pin or your hands to form it into the shape your want. Try to get an even thickness all the way around.
  4. Arrange the sliced potatoes on the pizza dough in a single layer, slightly overlapping. Next, layer the fresh mozzarella slices in a single layer, slightly overlapping. Then top with the leeks and cooked bacon. Crumble the goat cheese over top then add some fresh grated Parmesan and some fresh ground black pepper. If you want some color on your crust, lightly brush the beaten egg on the exposed crust. Carefully put the pizza in the oven on top of the pizza stone to cook for 9-10 minutes. If you are using a baking sheet, just put the baking sheet directly on top of the pizza stone.
Notes
To prepare the leeks: Trim off the dark green parts and discard. Trim off the root end and discard. Thinly slice. Leeks harbor a lot of dirt so special care needs to be taken to remove all the grit. Fill a large bowl with cold water and add the sliced leeks. Swirl and rub the leeks with your hands to dislodge any dirt. The dirt will sink to the bottom of the bowl so remove the leek pieces with a slotted spoon or your hands and set to drain in a colander. Shake off and lightly pat dry before putting in the skillet.

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl.
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!

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

See? I told you the healthy recipes would be back! Although I can’t say the same for what I have scheduled for next week. Last week when I posted the Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce I started thinking about that creamy, salty and tangy peanut sauce. More specifically, about how it was so good that I needed to come up with other recipes I could drizzle it all over!

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

My mind immediately went to a stir fry so here we are staring at this drool-worthy Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli. This dish came out exactly like I was hoping. The broccoli and shrimp are tender and slightly crispy, but of course the star is that creamy peanut sauce. Pour the whole thing over some brown rice, add some chopped peanuts and scallions and you are in weeknight dinner heaven.

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

To make the broccoli for this stir fry I used the steam-sautéed method. Remember that old post? You lightly sauté some garlic and broccoli then add some water and cover the pan so the broccoli finishes cooking by steaming right in the skillet. It cooks the broccoli really quickly while also adding some char and flavor that is missing with traditional steamed broccoli. I also peel and chop the broccoli stalks so that I’m using every bit of the broccoli, but you can feel free to omit this step if you would prefer just to use broccoli florets.

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

The shrimp get a quick sear with three minutes on each side before it’s time for the simple peanut sauce made from peanut butter, coconut aminos, light coconut milk, maple syrup, lime juice, ground ginger and a little red pepper flakes. This whole dish is incredibly quick to throw together, which is the beauty of stir fry meals.

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

When Matt and I were in our old apartment and would both get home from work late, stir fries were usually a twice a week regular in our rotation. I love this Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli stir fry because the peanut sauce is a nice change from the classic soy sauce base that was usually our go-to. I hope you all enjoy this one! Happy Friday!

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

Thai Peanut Shrimp and Broccoli
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into bite sized florets; stalks peeled, diced and kept separate
  • 2½ tablespoons water
  • 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, plus more to taste
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet (that has a lid, but don’t use the lid yet) over medium heat. Add the garlic. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the diced broccoli stalks and cook for 1 minute. Add the florets and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the water, cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Steam the broccoli for 5 minutes, until tender and the water has steamed off.
  2. While the broccoli is cooking, 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.
  3. When the broccoli is done, remove from the skillet. Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the shrimp, being sure not to move the shrimp once you place them in the skillet. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and sear for 3 minutes, flip and sear for another 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Add the broccoli and sauce to the skillet. Stir until combined then remove from the heat. Serve the shrimp and broccoli over brown rice and top with the chopped peanuts and scallions.
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.