Main Dishes

Elote Stuffed Zucchini

Elote Stuffed Zucchini  |  Lemon & Mocha

Another elote dish?! I know, I know, I just can’t get enough of it during the summer! Elote, also known as Mexican street corn, is fresh, zesty, creamy, cheesy and everything you want in a summertime snack.

Elote Stuffed Zucchini  |  Lemon & Mocha

To recap, here on Lemon & Mocha I have recipes for Elote Wonton Bites, Elote Pizza, Elote Hot Dogs and Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad. Now add in this dinner-worthy Elote Stuffed Zucchini. Zucchini and corn are already a classic summer pairing so it all made sense to hook them up together in this new elote twist.

Elote Stuffed Zucchini  |  Lemon & Mocha

In addition to the traditional lime, chili powder, salt and cotija cheese, which is a crumbly Mexican cheese, I’ve added in ground chicken to make the meal a little heartier as well as some shredded mozzarella to make it extra cheesy. As always, feel free to increase the cheese quantities if you are a cheese fanatic.

Elote Stuffed Zucchini  |  Lemon & Mocha

Of course, the best part, as with all elote dishes, is the toppings that get put on after the dish is done. For these stuffed zucchinis, we’re adding plenty of salty crumbled cotija and a generous drizzle of a quick lime mayo after they come out of the oven. Yum!

Elote Stuffed Zucchini  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you’re looking for something to make with the extra zucchini flesh since we’re scooping out the inside of the zucchini to make these you could follow my lead and make this Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread. I just grated up the little melon-balled zucchini chunks even though they were partially cooked and the bread still came out as moist, chocolatey and delicious as always. Elote Stuffed Zucchini for dinner and Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread for dessert? Yes, please!

Elote Stuffed Zucchini  |  Lemon & Mocha

Elote Stuffed Zucchini
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
for the zucchini
  • 4 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • ½ pound ground chicken
  • 1 15-ounce can corn, no salt added (about 1½ cups corn kernels) drained
  • ⅔ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Cotija cheese, for topping (see note)
for the lime mayo
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch chili powder
Directions
for the zucchini
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray 13x9” pan with cooking spray. Lay the zucchini halves, cut side down, in the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
  2. While the zucchini is baking, sauté the ground chicken. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the ground chicken, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until cooked through, breaking up as needed. Remove from the heat and add to a large mixing bowl. In the mixing bowl with the chicken, add the corn, mozzarella cheese, red onion, lime zest and juice, cilantro, smoked paprika and salt. Stir until combined.
  3. Carefully flip over the zucchini halves so they are cut side up. I move a few at a time to a cutting board. Use a melon baller to scoop out the inside of the zucchini, leaving a ¼” border. Place the zucchini back into the pan, cut side up, then fill with the chicken and corn mixture. Add ½ cup water to the bottom of the pan, cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. When the elote stuffed zucchini come out of the oven, carefully remove them from the pan to plates or a serving dish. Serve hot, topped with plenty of crumbled cotija cheese and a generous drizzle of the lime mayo.
for the lime mayo
  1. Combine the mayonnaise, lime juice, remaining ¼ teaspoon of smoked paprika, ground cumin and chili powder in a small bowl. Pour into a squeeze bottle if you have one.
Notes
If you can’t find cotija cheese, substitute queso fresco. If you can’t find either, use feta cheese.

 

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet  |  Lemon & Mocha

Remember when I said I had exciting dinner recipes to share with you all? Well get psyched to start cooking because this is one of those recipes! In fact it was so good that I bumped it way up in the schedule just so you could have access to it sooner. This Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet is fresh, zesty, garlicky and just the right amount buttery.

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet  |  Lemon & Mocha

Like last week’s Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil, this dish is on the table in under thirty minutes making it perfect for weeknight mealtime. Also like last week’s dinner recipe, it tastes gourmet enough for company. Even better is that all the cook time is either on your grill or in the oven giving you plenty of time to hang out with your guests or relax with your feet up and a glass of wine until dinner is ready!

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet  |  Lemon & Mocha

I pulled this recipe from one of my food binders. It was a random side-column weeknight recipe in an issue of the Food Network Magazine from a couple years ago. Normally I skip over these recipes, but I’m so glad I saved it! Never would I have thought it would be so delicious. Now I’m really motivated to continue cooking through my food binders to see what other hidden gems have been sitting in there for all these years!

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet  |  Lemon & Mocha

These foil packets have artichoke hearts, lemon slices and shrimp all layered together and cooked with garlic, oregano, fresh parsley, olive oil, white wine and a little butter. The best part is after they’re cooked you top them with a crunchy breadcrumb mixture of toasted panko, Italian seasoning, lemon zest, grated Parmesan and more garlic. I served the shrimp over whole wheat cous cous, which is both super quick to make and soaked up all the extra lemony-butter sauce perfectly. I like serving extra veggies with dinner so I steamed some broccoli, too, but that definitely made the portions too big since the packets on their own are pretty shrimp-packed.

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet  |  Lemon & Mocha

I made these foil packets in our big toaster oven so I included the oven instructions in the recipe below. If you’re making them on the grill I included the instructions from the original recipe, although I have not tried these foil packets on the grill so I can’t guarantee the recommended cook time. If you do make them on the grill just follow the instructions to check them after ten minutes to see if the shrimp are cooked through or not. I found in the oven the shrimp took longer than I thought to cook through, which is why I listed seventeen to twenty minutes for the oven cook time. I think it was because they were wrapped up in the packet so it took them longer than if they were just on a baking sheet directly exposed to the heating element. Also, I found the shrimp in the middle of the packet, which means they were under the thickest, folded part of the foil, were the shrimp that were taking the longest to cook. I hope you all try this one soon!

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet  |  Lemon & Mocha

Lemon Artichoke Shrimp Scampi in a Foil Packet
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus ½ lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic (1½ cloves minced, ½ clove grated)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 4-5 ounces frozen quartered artichoke hearts, thawed
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ pounds large peeled and deveined shrimp
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • Salt
Directions
  1. If using the grill, preheat to medium-high. If using the oven, preheat to 400 degrees F.
  2. Heat the 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the panko breadcrumbs and cook until toasted and golden, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and put the toasted panko in a small mixing bowl. Add the Italian seasoning, lemon zest, grated garlic and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
  3. Tear off 2 sheets of aluminum foil large enough to fully enclose a single layer of half the shrimp. Divide the artichoke hearts between the 2 foil sheets. Season with a little salt and divide the dried oregano between the 2 foil sheets. Place the lemon slices over top then add 1 tablespoon of butter to each packet. Season the shrimp with salt and then divide between the 2 packets, placing on top of the lemon slices and artichokes. Season with the red pepper flakes, fresh parsley and minced garlic. Drizzle with the dry white wine and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided between the two packets. Fold in the sides of the foil packets then bring the other 2 ends together to fold over and completely seal. There should be a little room left in the packet for heat to circulate.
  4. If grilling, grill until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 10 minutes. If baking, cook in the oven until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 17-20 minutes. Carefully open the packets and sprinkle with the panko mixture before serving.
Notes
If you would prefer to use canned quartered artichoke hearts simply rinse and drain well.

 Recipe from July/August 2017 issue of Food Network Magazine.

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!

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil  |  Lemon & Mocha

Look at this sizzling skillet of juicy pork chops and caramelized peaches! Ugh, this meal was so good. Both Matt and I decided we would love to have these Skillet Balsamic Pork Chops with Feta and Basil along with the Summer Peach Greek Quinoa Salad every week this summer.

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil  |  Lemon & Mocha

Of course that will never happen since I’m always too busy trying out new recipes, but I’m determined to fit it into our busy meal schedule at least a few more times this summer because I already cannot wait to eat it again.

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil  |  Lemon & Mocha

This was my first time cooking bone-in pork chops and I was super impressed with how flavorful and juicy they were being cooked in our cast iron skillet. The pork chops get a nice sear on the stove-top before adding in an easy sauce of balsamic vinegar, honey and oregano that gets thickened as the pork chops cook. Fresh peach slices are added to the skillet and then the whole dish is broiled in the oven so the peaches can get caramelized.

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil  |  Lemon & Mocha

Final touches include some salty feta and sweet basil and you have yourself a drool-worthy, company-worthy and easy dinner. I was skeptical of how the finished dish would taste since I had previously tried a peach and chicken dish that I did not care for, but the peach and pork combination is a definite winner.

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you don’t have a cast iron skillet you can use any oven-safe pan instead, or you could sear in a pan then transfer to a baking dish for the broiling portion, but I highly recommend getting yourself a cast iron skillet so you can easily make stove-top to oven dishes like these Skillet Balsamic Pork Chops, this Strawberry Dutch Baby or this Caramelized Onion and Apple Dip. I hope you all enjoy this meal as much as we did!

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil  |  Lemon & Mocha

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 bone-in pork chops, about ¾” thick
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 peaches, pitted and sliced
  • ⅓ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Feta, for topping
Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper. When the olive oil is hot, add the pork chops and sear both sides for 3-4 minutes each. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
  2. While the pork is cooking, whisk together the balsamic, honey and oregano. When the pork has 2 minutes left in cooking time, pour the balsamic mixture over the pork. Remove from the heat when the pork has reached 145 degrees F and add the peaches. Broil the skillet for 4-5 minutes or until the peaches are lightly charred. Top with the basil and feta before serving.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral if you purchase something. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!
Recipe slightly adapted from Half Baked Harvest.

Chicken and Strawberry Quesadillas

Chicken and Strawberry Quesadillas  |  Lemon & Mocha

It finally has been feeling like summer and it’s still strawberry season – life is good! Strawberries peak in May and June so when I was planning my calendar for the year I had come up with a bunch of recipes utilizing strawberries in June.

Chicken and Strawberry Quesadillas  |  Lemon & Mocha

Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits, although I have a lot of favorite fruits, and I love using them in both sweet and savory dishes. It is hard to beat a peak fresh strawberry bursting with sweetness!

Chicken and Strawberry Quesadillas  |  Lemon & Mocha

The inspiration for this recipe came from last year’s Mini Strawberry Balsamic Pizzas with Chicken and Sweet Onions. I was am still so obsessed with the flavor combination that I decided they needed a reappearance this summer, this time in quesadilla form. The first component of these Chicken and Strawberry Quesadillas is the simple no-cook strawberry spread made with fresh strawberries. There is balsamic vinegar in the strawberry spread that helps balance the sweetness.

Chicken and Strawberry Quesadillas  |  Lemon & Mocha

Next, the quesadillas have chicken and fresh basil. Finally, they are loaded up with melted, gooey mozzarella cheese and goat cheese. You can do all mozzarella cheese if you prefer, but I love the extra flavor the little pockets of goat cheese bring to the quesadillas and goat cheese and strawberries are a classic pairing.

Chicken and Strawberry Quesadillas  |  Lemon & Mocha

I topped my quesadilla wedges with a drizzle of balsamic glaze, some fresh strawberry chunks and a little fresh basil for some added strawberry flavor and because it makes them look extra fancy. The additional strawberries on top make the quesadillas more sweet so if you like your meals more savory than I would skip them, but I am all about that sweet and savory combo!

Chicken and Strawberry Quesadillas  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have a ton of recipes on Lemon & Mocha that highlight fresh strawberries so I’m linking to a few of them below so you can get the most out of your strawberries this month. Enjoy!

Strawberry Peanut Butter Wraps  |  Lemon & MochaTriple Berry Waffles  |  Lemon & MochaRed, White & Blue Spinach Salad  |  Lemon & MochaBeet Donuts with a Brown Butter Strawberry Rhubarb Glaze  |  Lemon & MochaStrawberry Rhubarb Crumble Muffins  |  Lemon & MochaChocolate Covered Strawberry Frozen Yogurt  |  Lemon & MochaStrawberry Kale Salad with Goat Cheese & Pecans  |  Lemon & MochaTriple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & MochaStrawberry Dutch Baby  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chicken and Strawberry Quesadillas
 
Yield: 2 quesadillas
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup finely chopped strawberries (about 2 large strawberries), plus more for topping
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • ⅔ cup shredded mozzarella, divided
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese, divided
  • ⅔ cup chopped cooked chicken (about ½ chicken breast)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus more for topping
  • Balsamic glaze, for topping
Directions
  1. Combine the strawberries, honey and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes then mash well with a fork or potato masher. Place the tortillas on a clean surface then divide the strawberry spread between them. Spread it around to coat the tortilla.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon of the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Once hot, put in the tortilla with the strawberry spread side up. Sprinkle ⅓ cup of the shredded mozzarella all over the strawberry spread followed by 2 tablespoons of the goat cheese. Once the cheese has melted, put ⅓ cup of the chopped chicken and 1 tablespoon of the basil on one half of the tortilla. Carefully fold over the tortilla to cover the half with the chicken and increase the heat to medium-high. Watch the quesadilla carefully as it browns quickly; once browned carefully flip to the other side and let the other side brown. Once done, remove from the pan to a clean cutting surface. Let the pan cool slightly then lightly wipe out with the paper towel, heat the remaining teaspoon of vegetable oil and repeat the steps for the second quesadilla.
  3. To serve, cut quesadillas then top with additional chopped strawberries, basil and balsamic glaze.

 

Tropical Kale Salad

Tropical Kale Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

It’s taken quite a few years, but I finally have the process down to ensure Matt and I eat healthy homemade dinners. Side note: just because I know what the process is that doesn’t always mean it gets put into action! The key for Matt and I is that by the time Matt gets home from work, dinner needs to be already made, already in progress or, if it hasn’t been started, then able to be ready in roughly twenty minutes or less. Otherwise we end up ordering takeout or making Annie’s mac and cheese or Trader Joe’s frozen pizza.

Tropical Kale Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have no idea exactly why this is the case, but years have proven to me that it is an absolute scientific fact. Part of it might be that we are both always hungry by the time Matt gets home (we eat early, usually around 5:30 – 6:00 PM) and part of it might be that being back together again signals that the relaxing and lazy part of our night can begin. One guaranteed way to make sure we get our vegetables in at dinnertime is to have a kale salad ready.

Tropical Kale Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I know some of you aren’t kale fans, but Matt and I love it, especially when I’ve taken the time to massage and soften the kale leaves. All the toppings and dressing are already mixed in so it’s as simple as dishing into some bowls and chowing down. I wanted to make a fresh version for summertime and came up with this Tropical Kale Salad. I’ve added shredded red cabbage, red bell pepper, scallions, avocado, mandarin oranges and strawberries then tossed it with a quick homemade sesame ginger soy dressing.

Tropical Kale Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you don’t love kale you could always swap it out for some fresh spinach or lettuce. I love salads with a bit of sweetness to them and the mandarin oranges and strawberries are just right to get those tropical summer vibes. The creaminess of the avocado is a necessary addition; if you are worried about your avocado getting brown you could always wait and add it right before eating.

Tropical Kale Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve never had someone get so excited about me saying I’ve made a kale salad than Matt, although after writing this I wonder how much to contribute to the taste and how much to contribute to the ease of immediately having something to eat after walking in the door! (I just asked Matt and he said he loves the salad, but that ready-to-go dinner is nice, too – haha!) Do you have any strategies you use for weeknight meals to avoid the takeout trap?

Tropical Kale Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Tropical Kale Salad
 
Yield: 2 servings as a main dish or 4 servings as a side salad
Ingredients
for the salad
  • 10 ounces kale
  • ¾ cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • ½ avocado, diced
  • 2 mandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 3 large strawberries, hulled and chopped
for the dressing
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon sesame seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
Directions
for the salad
  1. Remove all thick ribs and stems; roughly chop. Place in a large mixing bowl. Continue to tear and massage the kale for 5 minutes. To massage the kale scrunch it up with both your hands, release, and scrunch up some more, tossing and tearing as you go. This helps tenderize the kale and reduce its bitterness by breaking down the cellulose structure.
  2. Add the cabbage, bell pepper and scallion. Pour the dressing over top then toss to combine. Add the avocado, oranges and strawberries then gently toss to combine. Top with more sesame seeds if desired.
for the dressing
  1. Whisk together all the ingredients until combined.