Main Dishes

Diane’s Orzo Pasta Salad

Diane's Orzo Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

My stepmom’s orzo pasta salad is a delicious regular at all our family barbecues. It has a great combination of ingredients with the saltiness from the feta cheese and the sweetness from the bell peppers and grape tomatoes. Also whole olives which olive lovers enjoy and non-olive lovers rejoice that they can easily pick them out and plop them on their fellow olive lovers’ plates.

Diane's Orzo Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

The best part is the orzo tossed in the simple vinaigrette. What is orzo? Although it may be shaped like rice pilaf, orzo is a pasta. It is typically made with semolina flour, which is denser than white flour and helps the orzo keep its shape and bite after being cooked. This makes it the perfect choice for a make ahead pasta salad since most traditional pasta can get mushy from sitting in a vinaigrette overnight. Not this dish!

Diane's Orzo Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

My stepmom has been making this exact winning combination of ingredients for the Greek orzo pasta salad for years so it would be ill-advised to mess with the best.

Diane's Orzo Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

However, as with any pasta salad one of the beauties is that with a good base and vinaigrette you can mix and match according to your own tastes and preferences.

Diane's Orzo Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Not a feta fan? Swap in some goat cheese. Not big on bell peppers? Toss in some sliced snow peas. The possibilities are endless! But make sure you try this possibility first :)

Diane's Orzo Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Diane's Orzo Pasta Salad
 
Yield: 8-10 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound box orzo, cooked as directed being sure not to overcook
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into ¼” by 1” pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into ¼” by 1” pieces
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into ¼” by 1” pieces
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into ¼” by 1” pieces
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 4-5 leaves fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 can large black olives, drained
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. In a large bowl combine the cooked orzo with the olive oil until completely coated. Add the bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mix until combined.
  2. Mix in the feta cheese. Adjust salt and pepper according to taste. Refrigerate until serving, making sure to mix well before serving.

 

Uncle Rob’s Tailgate Filet Sandwiches with Whiskey Marinade

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

I ate a lot of delicious dishes at my family’s beach trip earlier this month, but my new favorite was my Uncle Rob’s tailgate filet sandwiches with whiskey marinade. He wanted to do something for Lemon & Mocha so I told him to come up with his signature dish for me to photograph while we were down at the beach. He did not disappoint with these succulent steak sandwiches.

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

During football season my Uncle is a regular tailgater at his alma mater, Villanova. He makes these regularly and I am sure they go fast. They certainly would if I was there!

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

My Uncle Rob and my Aunt Dottie, who hails from the University of Delaware, have a fun football rivalry tradition. Every fall Villanova and the University of Delaware play a big game. The person with the losing school has to place the winning school’s vanity plate on their car for the entirety of the year. My Uncle Rob wanted me to be sure to point out that Villanova has been on quite the winning streak 😉

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

No matter what team you’re rooting for this fall these delicious sandwiches will soften even the fiercest rivalry!

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

Matt and I don’t have steak often as it is usually our splurge meal, but I will definitely be making these sandwiches soon especially since I was already craving them the next morning. Enjoy!

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

Uncle Rob's Tailgate Filet Sandwiches with Whiskey Marinade
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup whiskey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup dijon mustard
  • ¼ packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup minced green onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of worcestershire sauce
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 6 1" thick filets
  • 6 pretzel buns
  • Pepper jack cheese, horseradish sauce and lettuce for serving, optional
  • 6 pack of beer for the chef, age permitting
Directions
  1. Combine the whiskey, soy sauce, mustard, brown sugar, onions, salt, worcestershire and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Place the filets on a cutting board and top with plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet pound filets until they are ½" thick.
  3. Combine the filets and marinade in a large plastic bag to marinate for 6-8 hours.
  4. Heat grill to high heat. Grill according to desired doneness. For medium-rare, grill for 3 minutes on one side, flip and grill for 2 more minutes before letting rest for 3-5 minutes before eating.
Notes
If you can't find filet, possible substitutions include eye of round steak or hanger steak.

 

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato  |  Lemon & Mocha

Normally when I see a recipe I am just drooling over it takes me months, even years, to finally get around to making it. Then when I finally make it months later I eventually get around to posting it on Lemon & Mocha. Not this time, my friends!

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato  |  Lemon & Mocha

I saw this glorious Thai stuffed sweet potato one week, made it the next week then made it again to photograph the week after. Now here it is on Lemon & Mocha. Unbelievable!

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato  |  Lemon & Mocha

The reasons I made it so fast are the same two reasons you should make it this week:  1. The minute I saw it my peanut sauce loving self was instantly obsessed with the idea and I knew I had to have it and, 2. Reading the recipe I couldn’t believe how easy it was.

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato  |  Lemon & Mocha

A third reason was also that I’m always looking for healthy vegetarian meals since Matt and I try to go meatless a couple nights a week. The flavor of the creamy sweet potato with the tender broccoli, crisp scallions and sweet edamame smothered in this peanut sauce is divine. It was so divine in fact that I ate it three nights in a row!

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato  |  Lemon & Mocha

So get adventurous with your dinner this week and make this Thai stuffed sweet potato.

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato  |  Lemon & Mocha

Thai Stuffed Sweet Potato
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
for the sweet potatoes
  • 4-6 sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets and steamed
  • 1 cup cooked edamame beans
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped peanuts
  • Salt and pepper
for the peanut sauce
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½” piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Directions
for the sweet potatoes
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pierce the potatoes 4-6 times with a fork and place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the potato.
  2. Let the potatoes cool slightly before handling then cut a slit in the top of each one. Stuff with the broccoli and edamame then drizzle generously with the peanut sauce. Garnish with the chopped scallions and peanuts. Serve hot.
for the peanut sauce
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or small food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. If you would prefer a thicker consistency add more peanut butter then remix. If you would prefer a thinner consistency add more coconut milk then remix.

Recipe from Shared Appetite.

Lemon Dill Salmon

Lemon Dill Salmon  |  Lemon & Mocha

Just as a quick note before we get started here I would like to point out that all the photos in this post are of the uncooked salmon. I was serving this salmon at lunch quite a while back and didn’t get to photograph the finished product, but I didn’t want you to think this is what the salmon should look like when it is done. Not that you would think that, but you never know.

Lemon Dill Salmon  |  Lemon & Mocha

As much as I love grilled salmon there is no grilling salmon in my house. We live in an apartment and do not have the luxury of an outdoor grill so all our grilling is relegated to our single grill pan. No one enjoys the lingering smell of cooked fish in the kitchen and even an odor absorbing splatter screen can’t protect the kitchen from grill pan salmon. So oven-cooked salmon it is in my house. Which is fine by me when you have great simple oven-cooked fish recipes like this lemon dill salmon. Dinner can be on the table in twenty minutes with this quick, fresh and healthy salmon dish. I’ve tried other flavor combinations, but this is my favorite that I always keep making. It may seem weird, but don’t be afraid to eat the whole lemon slice on top of the salmon. You slice it so thin that it just adds the right amount of acidity to the fish. Enjoy!

Lemon Dill Salmon
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 4-ounce salmon filets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 4 very thin slices lemon
Directions
  1. Place the salmon filets in a small baking dish. Drizzle both sides of the salmon filets with the olive oil then season both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the dill evenly on top of the salmon filets then lay the slices of lemon on top. Cover the baking dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes for until the salmon flakes easily.

Bruschetta Hot Dogs

Bruschetta Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Something about summertime makes me want hot dogs. I won’t eat a hot dog all fall and all winter, but the minute it gets warm outside I buy a package at the grocery store.

Bruschetta Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

If I’m at a barbecue and the hosts went all out for some delicious steak and chicken, deep down I’m disappointed I couldn’t have just a couple bites of a classic hot dog.

Bruschetta Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

As perfect as that classic hot dog is smothered in ketchup, mustard and onions, there are too many amazing hot dog variations out there that have been ignored for far too long. It’s time to elevate our barbecue hot dogs so they can stand there proud with the steak and chicken!

Bruschetta Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

These bruschetta hot dogs do just the trick. Hot dogs are grilled, placed in a toasted Italian bun, then topped with tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Dang-nabbit, these hot dogs are good!

Bruschetta Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

The bruschetta ingredients bring freshness, acidity and complexity to the hot dog, while the crusty bun envelopes the dog with enough room to hold the flavorful topping in place.

Bruschetta Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you’re someone who can’t imagine a hot dog without ketchup or mustard trust me when I say the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and olive oil provide no need for condiments. Elevate your barbecue hot dogs this summer and make some fancy bruschetta hot dogs!

Bruschetta Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Bruschetta Hot Dogs
 
Yield: 4 hot dogs
Ingredients
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 large leaves fresh basil, torn
  • Salt
  • 4 hot dogs, grilled
  • 4 Italian buns, toasted
Directions
  1. In a small mixing bowl combine the diced tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil, and salt to taste.
  2. Place the grilled hot dogs in the toasted buns then top with the tomato mixture. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Recipe from July/August 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine.