Main Dishes

Pan Seared Salmon over Blood Orange Quinoa

Pan Seared Salmon over Blood Orange Quinoa

You guys. I am so proud of this dish and I’m excited to finally be sharing it with you! I recently switched over to a recipe notebook, as opposed to my previous millions of scattered scraps of paper, and if you could see all my notes on this one you would know how I’ve been diligently working on perfecting it for the last couple months.

Pan Seared Salmon over Blood Orange Quinoa

The original inspiration for this Pan Seared Salmon over Blood Orange Quinoa was to create a healthy salmon dinner that would incorporate a lot of seasonal produce. Kale and citrus fruits are at their peak, while carrots and shallots are still in season during the early winter in cooler climates. I also wanted to make an all-in-one meal, which is my term for a recipe that includes the protein, grain and veggies without having to come up with different sides. It does not, however, mean a one pot meal since you have to use a couple different pans, but that’s okay because the meal still comes together quickly enough for a weeknight dinner.

Pan Seared Salmon over Blood Orange Quinoa

What you’re looking at is crispy salmon that has been pan seared to perfection and laid on top a flavor-packed bed of blood orange quinoa. You’re incorporating the blood oranges three ways to really help the flavor come through; we’re using the zest, its juice and the actual blood orange segments. This helps give the whole dish a bright acidity.

Pan Seared Salmon over Blood Orange Quinoa

The garlic, shallot and carrots get lightly caramelized before the kale gets tossed in along with some water to help it steam. The kale gets perfectly wilted and tosses really well with the quinoa – no tough greens in this dish! The recipe makes two servings, but you can easily double it if you are cooking for more people.

Pan Seared Salmon over Blood Orange Quinoa

I love seasonal cooking, not only because that means you get the best prices at the grocery store, but the produce with the best flavor and nutrients is going to be what is in season at the moment. One idea I had was to post a seasonal guide at the beginning of each month and then share a few recipes that used the seasonal ingredients as some inspiration. Is that something you would be interested in? If so, let me know in the comments below!

Pan Seared Salmon over Blood Orange Quinoa

Pan Seared Salmon over Blood Orange Quinoa
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup quinoa
  • 3½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ shallot, minced
  • 4 cups chopped kale, thick stems removed
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 2 filets of salmon, skin-on or skinless
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Bring the quinoa and ⅔ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Fluff and set aside.
  2. Cut each carrot into three pieces then halve each piece lengthwise. Segment one of the blood oranges by cutting off the peel and pith then cutting segments out from the membrane of the orange. Set aside.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan (skillet with a lid preferred) over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and shallot. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the kale and ¼ cup of water. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove the cover and cook for 2 more minutes, or until the water has finished evaporating. Add the zest and juice from 1 of the oranges, about ¼ cup of juice. Add the blood orange segments and quinoa; stir well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat.
  4. Make sure the salmon has been patted dry. Generously season both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper. Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of a skillet large enough to fit both salmon filets, about 1½ tablespoons of olive oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil in the pan is hot (you can tell when the oil is shimmering), carefully place the salmon filets in the pan bottom side down. The bottom side is the skin side or the side where the skin was - the less “pretty” side. Once the salmon is in the pan do not move it until it’s time to flip the salmon so it gets nice and crispy. Sear for 2-3 minutes, carefully flip then sear for another 2-3 minutes. You want to take the salmon off the pan when it reaches an internal temperature of 120 degrees F for medium-rare, or 130 degrees F for medium. Plate the quinoa and kale then top with the salmon filet.

 

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto  |  Lemon & Mocha

Welcome back, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and hopefully some relaxing time off! I’m diving right into this recipe because I can’t wait any longer. This is one of those recipes that didn’t really start as a recipe. It was just something I threw together for Matt and I for dinner and it was so outrageously delicious that I decided it needed to be shared on Lemon & Mocha as soon as possible. And by as soon as possible I mean a couple months later because I’m working with a schedule here! This is my Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto. We also have some seared asparagus, sweet peas and sautéed shallots tossed in there.

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto  |  Lemon & Mocha

Before we go much further though, we need to discuss the product this whole dish centers around – Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi. Have you tried this yet? They are frozen gnocchi that have cauliflower as the bulk ingredient and have only 140 calories per serving! They are high in sodium since they are a frozen food after all, but the low calories and fat are pretty hard to beat. When I first saw people posting these gnocchi on Instagram, a lot of people were complaining about them being mushy when cooked according to the stove-top instructions on the back of the bag. The ultimate question seemed to be how to cook Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi.

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto  |  Lemon & Mocha

I thought about how much I love roasted cauliflower and how there’s no way they could get mushy if baked so I thought I would give it a shot. It worked! The gnocchi came out tender and perfectly crispy! Now, if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you there’s plenty of different cauliflower gnocchi recipes posted online if you search and you should be able to bake homemade gnocchi. I will probably test some of the recipes out in the coming months since I like making gnocchi, but in the meantime I’m sticking with these time-saver frozen ones.

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto  |  Lemon & Mocha

Anyways, back to this dish. The gnocchi are great on their own or with marinara sauce, but then you would miss out on these crispy shrimp coated in garlic, shallot and pesto. There are not a ton of gnocchi in the bag so I made sure to add in lots of green veggies so the dish would be plenty for the two of us for dinner. I highly recommend the asparagus and peas, but feel free to substitute in whichever vegetables you have on hand that would pair well with the shrimp and pesto. Maybe some spinach and pan-seared cherry tomatoes? Yum! Okay, I hope you all enjoyed this post because on Wednesday we’re going full-blown Christmas dishes and treats!

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
  • ½ shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ to ¾ pound asparagus, trimmed then cut into thirds
  • ⅔ cup frozen peas
  • 10 raw shrimp
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Spread the gnocchi out on a baking sheet. Lightly spray them with cooking spray then bake for 40 minutes, or until they are crispy and golden, tossing/flipping 1 or 2 times during cooking.
  3. When the gnocchi are almost done, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the frozen peas.
  4. Push the veggies to the edges of the skillet and add a very little bit more olive oil. Add the shrimp so they are each directly touching the pan and sauté for 3 minutes on each side, or until pink and curled. Lightly season the shrimp with salt and pepper when you put them in the pan. Reduce heat to low. Add in the cooked crispy gnocchi and the pesto. Toss to combine and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Add more pesto or olive oil as needed. Top with grated Parmesan if desired.

 

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.

 

Leftover Turkey Pull-apart Sliders with a Maple Mayo and Cranberry Barbecue Sauce

Leftover Turkey Pull-apart Sliders with a Maple Mayo and Cranberry Barbecue Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Hi everyone! Matt and I got back from our Japan vacation early Sunday morning. I’m a few days behind, but I’m finally checking in with you all! We had an amazing time – the sites were unreal and the food was beyond delicious! I am planning to eventually put together a food guide so I’m looking forward to sharing more of our trip with you all. In the meantime, I’m going to be posting a few pictures on Instagram over the next few weeks so make sure you’re following me! Now, let’s dive into today’s recipe in preparation for the day after Thanksgiving.

Leftover Turkey Pull-apart Sliders with a Maple Mayo and Cranberry Barbecue Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

These, my friends, are Leftover Turkey Pull-apart Sliders with a Maple Mayo and Cranberry Barbecue Sauce. Fluffy potato rolls are stuffed with leftover turkey, tangy cranberry barbecue sauce, a quick maple mayo and gooey cheese. You bake them in the oven so the tops get golden with just a bit of crispy cheese on top. I may have made these sliders with Thanksgiving in mind, but they would also be perfect for tailgating, Super Bowl parties or an everyday Friday night.

Leftover Turkey Pull-apart Sliders with a Maple Mayo and Cranberry Barbecue Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Have you made pull-apart sliders before? They are one of my favorite ways to serve an easy, casual meal. You cut a set of rolls open and lay them flat in a baking pan. Then you add your toppings like it is one big piece of bread before adding the top half of the roll set. They get baked away and then it’s time to eat! I usually let them cool for a minute then cut them in the pan so the sliders are easier to actually pull-apart without the filling getting yanked out every time someone grabs one.

Leftover Turkey Pull-apart Sliders with a Maple Mayo and Cranberry Barbecue Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

These are designed to use up you leftover Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce since having those two dishes meal after meal can get a little boring. Gooey, cheesy sliders are definitely not boring and the sweetness of the maple mayo with the tanginess of the cranberry sauce balances perfectly. You can really use any kind of rolls for these, but I love potato rolls since they are so buttery and fluffy. I was only going to eat one or two of these sliders, but I couldn’t help gobbling them up with Matt over the next couple days.

Leftover Turkey Pull-apart Sliders with a Maple Mayo and Cranberry Barbecue Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I hope you enjoy these sliders! What Thanksgiving leftovers are you looking forward to the most?

Leftover Turkey Pull-apart Sliders with a Maple Mayo and Cranberry Barbecue Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Leftover Turkey Pull-apart Sliders with a Maple Mayo and Cranberry Barbecue Sauce
 
Yield: 9 sliders
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
  • 9 dinner rolls, cut in half
  • 1½ cups roasted turkey pieces
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella, plus more for topping
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and maple syrup. Set aside.
  3. In another small bowl, combine the barbecue sauce and cranberry sauce. Set aside.
  4. Place the bottom halves of the dinner rolls into an 8 x 8” square baking pan. Evenly spread on the maple mayo. Top with the turkey pieces, then the shredded mozzarella. Spoon the cranberry barbecue sauce over top. Put the top half of the rolls on.
  5. Melt the butter. Spread the butter over the tops of the rolls then sprinkle some extra shredded mozzarella on top. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the cheese is melted.

 

 

Chicken Schnitzel & Pesto Spaetzle with a Cauliflower Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

Chicken Schnitzel & Pesto Spaetzle with a Cauliflower Sun-dried Tomato Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I am obsessed with the recipes I’ve been posting so far in October! I’m normally super excited about all the food I’m sharing, but I feel especially extra excited for all of these. This Chicken Schnitzel and Pesto Spaetzle with a Cauliflower Sun-dried Tomato Sauce is no exception. In fact, it’s heavily contributing to that extra excitement. This dish has a lot of components, but when they come together in the same bite it is pure magic.

Chicken Schnitzel & Pesto Spaetzle with a Cauliflower Sun-dried Tomato Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

On the bottom we have our homemade spaetzle dumplings. They are technically a dumpling, but I think of them as noodles. If you love pasta then you will love spaetzle since they are like egg noodles with a bit of chewiness to them. A classic German dish, spaetzle is typically served with lots of butter and parsley. We are taking a slightly healthier approach and topping them with a quick homemade almond and spinach pesto. The pesto is nutty and makes the spaetzle a beautiful green color. However, before adding the pesto we cannot get away without pan-frying the spaetzle.

Chicken Schnitzel & Pesto Spaetzle with a Cauliflower Sun-dried Tomato Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I seared them in a pan with just a little bit of coconut oil cooking spray; they just need to get very lightly browned, which adds a crispy textural element to the little dumplings. On top of the incredible pesto spaetzle is crispy chicken schnitzel. It’s basically a fancy German way of saying a breaded cutlet. Usually I make schnitzel with veal or pork cutlets, but I wanted to keep the dish a little lighter so we are using chicken cutlets. The cutlets are thin so you can shallow fry them in just a little bit of olive oil.

Chicken Schnitzel & Pesto Spaetzle with a Cauliflower Sun-dried Tomato Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Although the crispy chicken schnitzel and cozy pesto spaetzle would be amazing on their own, I felt like the dish needed one more flavor to pull it all together. Enter this out-of-this-world creamy cauliflower sun-dried tomato sauce. I officially want to put this sauce on every pasta, pizza and chicken dish I make from now on. I might even eat it as a soup. You will know what I mean once you make it. Chicken broth, cauliflower, garlic and seasonings are simmered together before being blended with some sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil. Pure magic! I got the recipe from Caitlin @starinfinitefood – you need to follow her Instagram if you don’t already! She posts beautiful food and clean recipes. When you get a bite with the spaetzle, pesto, chicken schnitzel and sun-dried tomato sauce together it is one of those bites where you just have to shout out, “Damn!” after lots of mmming and other inappropriate noises.

Chicken Schnitzel & Pesto Spaetzle with a Cauliflower Sun-dried Tomato Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

The pesto, sun-dried tomato sauce and chicken schnitzel are all incredibly quick recipes to whip together. However, although mixing the spaetzle dough takes barely any time at all, pushing the batter through a spaetzle maker, colander, slotted spoon or whatever you are using into a pot of boiling water is time consuming. Now, I’ve never used a spaetzle maker so maybe that would make it infinitely quicker, but every time I’ve done it I always forget quite how long it takes to push the dough through. The reason you are pushing it through is to make it into those odd little squiggly shapes that you then boil until they float before scooping them out and letting them drain. The good news is you can make spaetzle ahead of time and simply run them under cold water and strain them before storing them in the fridge until you’re ready to brown them up. I hope you try this dish soon, and make sure you invite me over when you do!

Chicken Schnitzel & Pesto Spaetzle with a Cauliflower Sun-dried Tomato Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chicken Schnitzel & Pesto Spaetzle with a Cauliflower Sun-dried Tomato Sauce
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the spaetzle
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup nonfat milk, or water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
for the pesto
  • 2 cups packed spinach leaves
  • ⅓ cup whole almonds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
for the sun-dried tomato sauce
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes, about 5 whole ones
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
for the chicken schnitzel
  • 1 pound chicken cutlets, pounded to ¼” thick
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
Directions
for the spaetzle
  1. Bring a medium to medium-large pot of water to a boil.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together both flours, the salt, nutmeg and black pepper. Add the milk and beaten eggs then stir to combine.
  3. Using a spaetzle press, colander or slotted spoon with round holes, press the batter through with a wooden spoon so it falls/drips into the boiling water. Once you’ve pressed a bunch through, use a slotted spoon to skim the spaetzle noodles out when they’ve floated to the surface. Put them in a colander to drain while you finish making the rest.
  4. Once you’ve made all the spaetzle, spray a large frying pan with cooking spray. Heat the pan over medium-high heat and add the spaetzle. Cook, stirring as needed, until lightly browned.
for the pesto
  1. Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Toss with the spaetzle to coat.
for the sun-dried tomato sauce
  1. Bring the cauliflower, vegetable broth, garlic, dried parsley and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Carefully blend the contents of the saucepan in a high-speed blender. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil then blend again until smooth.
for the chicken schnitzel
  1. If the chicken cutlets are really big, cut them in half. Set up your breading station with three shallow bowls. Put the flour in one, whisk together the egg and Dijon in the other, and mix together the panko and dried parsley in the third. Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. Dip the chicken cutlet into the flour mixture and make sure it’s completely coated, shaking off any excess. Then dip it into the egg mixture and make sure it’s completely coated, letting any excess drip off. Then dip the cutlet into the panko and make sure it’s completely coated. Repeat until you’ve breaded all the chicken cutlets.
  2. Over medium heat, heat enough olive oil in a high-sided skillet so that it will come halfway up the side of the chicken. Test that your oil is ready by tossing in a couple panko breadcrumbs. If your oil isn’t hot enough, the panko will sink. If your oil is too hot, in which case you should turn the temperature down, the panko will burn. If it bubbles then your oil is ready for frying the cutlets. I cooked mine in two batches; you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. Cook the chicken for 3 minutes on each side. Make sure it registers 165 degrees F when you remove it, otherwise cook it a little longer. Remove the cutlets to a paper towel lined plate then move them to a wire cooling rack so they stay crispy. Refresh the olive oil as needed and repeat for any remaining chicken cutlets.
  3. Serve hot over the spaetzle tossed with pesto. Pour the warmed up sun-dried tomato sauce over top.
Notes
For the spaetzle, you can use all all-purpose flour if you would prefer.
I highly recommend using this pesto since it’s fresh, nutty and really easy to whip up. If you would rather use your own, you will need about ½ cup to toss with the spaetzle.

Sun-dried Tomato Sauce from Starinfinitefood.
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