Poultry

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.

 

Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce

Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you know me well then you know I love chicken fingers. They’re crispy, crunchy, perfect for dipping and full of childhood nostalgia. I even mention them in my about Lauren section. Although I usually only have chicken fingers while I’m eating out, I do (attempt) to keep homemade panko crusted chicken bites in the freezer. I say attempt because the batch is usually gone before the week is over.

Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

While going through my recipe binders that I mentioned in the Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola and Walnuts post I came across these Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders from a 2011 issue of Food Network Magazine. Their recipe calls for shallow frying the tenders, but I knew my baking method for my panko crusted chicken bites was tried and true for creating crispy coated chicken so I baked them instead.

Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

The chicken tenders get dipped in frothy egg whites and then are coated in a combination of panko breadcrumbs, finely chopped pecans, sesame seeds, paprika and salt. The key to achieving crispy chicken tenders in the oven is to place them on a wire cooling rack coated with nonstick cooking spray that you’ve placed on a large baking sheet. This is the same method used for my Baked Pistachio Crusted Chicken. The hot oven air circulates around all sides of the chicken tenders making sure every single bite is crispy – no air fryer needed!

Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I was a little shocked at how obsessed I was with the panko-pecan-sesame combination. They taste so well together and provide a perfect crunch.

Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Since these aren’t ordinary chicken tenders I thought they deserved a simple, but stepped-up dipping sauce. The sesame had me thinking of Asian flavors and since I still had hoisin in the fridge from the Hoisin Beef Kebobs I whipped up a quick dipping sauce of hoisin, mayonnaise and lime juice. It’s creamy, sweet and a little tangy. I hope you love these Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders as much as we do!

Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Crispy Sesame Pecan Chicken Tenders with a Hoisin Dipping Sauce
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1½ pounds bone skinless chicken tenders, or breasts cut into 1” wide strips
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • Cooking spray
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a wire cooling rack with nonstick cooking spray then place on top of a large baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. In a shallow, wide bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, chopped pecans, sesame seeds, paprika and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Working with 1 tender at a time, dip the chicken in the egg whites then dip in the panko mixture to coat completely. Place on the prepared wire rack so the chicken tenders aren’t touching. Lightly spray the top of the chicken with cooking spray (I use olive oil or coconut oil spray) then bake for 20-22 minutes. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Keep on the wire rack until serving with the hoisin dipping sauce.
  4. While the chicken is baking, make the hoisin dipping sauce. In a medium bowl combine the hoisin, mayo and lime juice.

 Recipe adapted from September 2011 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!

Skinny Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Skinny Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole  |  Lemon & Mocha

Skinny Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole, my heart you have stole! Your greatness rivals a crispy egg roll. When eating you for dinner I lose self control! Sadly, after the last bite I was hard to console. Sorry for that, but I’m so excited about this dish that the only way I could express myself was through song. That’s normal right?

Skinny Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole  |  Lemon & Mocha

I first made this Skinny Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole just last week and Matt and I were hooked after one bite. It’s creamy, cheesy and full of comforting flavors. Plus, this healthy dinner dish is guilt-free! I swapped all the rice for a combination of half brown rice and half riced cauliflower. This half and half mix is great because you still get the hearty and chewy texture of the rice, while adding more vegetables and lightness with the tender riced cauliflower. You could always do all cauliflower rice or all brown rice if you prefer.

Skinny Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole  |  Lemon & Mocha

The broccoli has been doubled, which is perfect since Matt and I love broccoli. Each serving gives you a full cup of broccoli meaning you get some tender broccoli bits in every cheesy bite. The dish has also been lightened with nonfat milk and low-fat sour cream, although you can use Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream if you would like.

Skinny Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole  |  Lemon & Mocha

Every night Matt kept questioning if I was making up that it was a healthier dish since it’s so creamy and delicious! It’s incredible how cheesy it tastes, even though there’s only 1/4 cup of cheddar per serving.

Skinny Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m sure this freezes well, although we never got around to trying it since we gobbled it all up! I did, however, sauté the chicken pieces ahead of time then freeze them so when I knew I wanted to make this dish I put the cooked chicken pieces in the fridge overnight to thaw and they were ready to pop into the casserole. I can imagine kids loving this dish so I’m sure this will be a family favorite for years and years to come. Enjoy!

Skinny Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole  |  Lemon & Mocha

Skinny Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
 
Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup brown jasmine rice
  • 2 heads broccoli florets, about 8 cups
  • 16 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 3 cups riced cauliflower
  • 2 cups nonfat milk
  • 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese, about 2 cups
  • ⅓ cup light sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Cooking spray
Directions
  1. If you have a rice cooker with a steamer basket, see note. Otherwise, bring broth to a boil in a large pot (big enough to fit all the broccoli eventually). Add the rice, cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30-35 minutes or until rice is tender. When the rice is 5 minutes away from being done, put the broccoli in the pot and cover to steam. Try not to let too much steam out while you’re doing this or the broccoli will need to stay in there longer. Once the broccoli is tender, remove pot from the heat and add the contents to a large mixing bowl. Rinse and wipe the pot.
  2. Spray a skillet with cooking spray then heat over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes, turning and flipping occasionally. When they’ve reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, add the chicken to the large mixing bowl and wipe the skillet. Lightly spray the skillet with cooking spray again and cook the cauliflower rice until tender. It should only take a couple minutes; if you are using frozen riced cauliflower it usually says to sauté until there’s no more liquid. Remove from the skillet and add to the large mixing bowl.
  3. Heat the milk in the pot from the rice over medium heat until warm then whisk in the flour. Continue to whisk occasionally until thick, about 7-10 minutes, then remove from the heat. Add ¾ of the shredded cheese (about 1½ cups) and whisk until melted. Add the sour cream, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon garlic seasoning and whisk until smooth. Pour into the large mixing bowl. Add the chopped scallions to the mixing bowl then stir until well combined.
  4. Lightly spray a 9x13” pan with cooking spray. Add the contents of the mixing bowl and spread to an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining cheese (about ½ cup) on top. Broil until the cheese is melted; watch carefully because it melts very quickly. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Notes
Substitutions: You can use any fat percentage of milk you prefer. You can substitute plain nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt for the sour cream.
Rice and Broccoli: I made it the way specified above for testing purposes since not everyone has a rice cooker, but for all future times I make this I will just use my Breville Risotto Plus to cook the rice and steam the broccoli at the same time since it’s quicker and the rice comes out perfect every time.

Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.

Skinny Chicken Fusilli Alla Vodka with Basil, Spinach and Parmesan

Skinny Chicken Fusilli Alla Vodka with Basil, Spinach and Parmesan  |  Lemon & Mocha

Two years ago, Matt and I went to California for our one year wedding anniversary. Our first stop was Los Angeles to visit Hollywood, tour movie studios, and, most importantly, eat all the food. On our last night in LA, we went to this Italian restaurant near our hotel called Jon & Vinny’s. Thankfully I had called ahead because when we got to the restaurant there was huge line, but they sat us right at the counter where we could watch all the chefs make the homemade pastas and pizzas. Watching the food be made had us drooling and we ate our way through fresh burrata, incredible pastas and a warm baked bread pudding. We also had our only celebrity sighting of the trip eating dinner there – Gillian Jacobs!

Skinny Chicken Fusilli Alla Vodka with Basil, Spinach and Parmesan  |  Lemon & Mocha

The next morning we both woke up thinking about Jon & Vinny’s. We couldn’t stop thinking about firstly, how delicious it was, and secondly, how much we regretted not ordering a pizza since they looked so good the night before. I finally went to their website and saw that not only were they open for brunch (on a weekday – that’s LA for you), but they also had pizza on their brunch menu! Matt and I headed straight to Jon & Vinny’s and gorged ourselves on bomboloni (Italian filled doughnuts), Nutella and olive oil toast and of course, homemade pizza. Ever since our back-to-back meals, Matt and I joke about heading to LA for the weekend just to eat at Jon & Vinny’s and we probably will do it one of these days.

Skinny Chicken Fusilli Alla Vodka with Basil, Spinach and Parmesan  |  Lemon & Mocha

In the meantime, I was so excited to discover the recipe for their fusilli alla vodka with basil and Parmesan on Bon Appetit’s website! I decided I wanted to be able to enjoy the meal at home more regularly instead of just once in a while as a treat so I made a few changes to turn the dish into a skinny version. This Skinny Chicken Fusilli Alla Vodka with Basil, Spinach and Parmesan has all the flavors of the classic dish complete with plenty of cheese on top, but I’ve made a few swaps.

Skinny Chicken Fusilli Alla Vodka with Basil, Spinach and Parmesan  |  Lemon & Mocha

The biggest is that cauliflower puree is being substituted for the heavy cream. As I learned with the sun-dried tomato sauce from the Chicken Schnitzel and Pesto Spaetzle dish, cauliflower puree is a creamy, flavorful and incredibly healthy substitute for heavy cream.

Skinny Chicken Fusilli Alla Vodka with Basil, Spinach and Parmesan  |  Lemon & Mocha

I also reduced the amount of pasta and replaced it with some chicken and spinach. The end result is so delicious that I think Matt and I could eat it for every meal… at least until we get back to LA to eat our weight in the authentic version!

Skinny Chicken Fusilli Alla Vodka with Basil, Spinach and Parmesan  |  Lemon & Mocha

Skinny Chicken Fusilli Alla Vodka with Basil, Spinach and Parmesan
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets, about 7-8 medium-large florets
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ shallot, minced
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely minced
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons vodka
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces fusilli
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 ounce fresh grated Parmesan, about ¼ cup, plus more for serving
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cooking spray
Directions
  1. Make the cauliflower puree. Bring the chicken broth, vegetable broth or water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets, cover and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower and liquid to a high-speed blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray then heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken pieces in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F, turning and stirring the chicken in the pan as needed. Remove from the pan and carefully wipe the pan.
  3. Heat the olive oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste and cook until the paste starts to caramelize, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the vodka and stir constantly until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the pureed cauliflower, spinach leaves and the red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and let the spinach wilt. Remove the pan from the heat, but leave everything in the pan.
  4. Cook the pasta until al dente, drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta liquid.
  5. Place the skillet back over medium low heat and add the pasta, ½ cup of the pasta liquid, 1 tablespoon butter and the cooked chicken. Cook and stir until the butter has melted and it has formed a thick sauce. If it is too thick, add some more pasta water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide between 4 bowls and top with the basil and more Parmesan.
Notes
The vodka sauce can be made 5 days in advance. Cover and store in the fridge.
Use any type of pasta you prefer. We used pasta with added protein.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.

Turkey Veggie Mushroom Burgers with Goat Cheese and Sautéed Shiitakes

Turkey Veggie Mushroom Burgers with Goat Cheese and Sautéed Shiitakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Remember how last week I was writing about how excited I was to finally share some family favorite healthy recipes this month? These Turkey Veggie Mushroom Burgers with Goat Cheese and Sautéed Shiitakes are definitely one of those recipes!

Turkey Veggie Mushroom Burgers with Goat Cheese and Sautéed Shiitakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I first made these burgers this past summer after being inspired by a Food52 article about half-veggie half-meat burgers. I like to occasionally reduce the amount of meat at meals for environmental and cost reasons so I made burger patties using ground turkey, sautéed mushrooms, brown rice and quinoa before topping them with goat cheese, sautéed shiitakes and balsamic glaze.

Turkey Veggie Mushroom Burgers with Goat Cheese and Sautéed Shiitakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

We were so obsessed with these burgers after one bite that I posted my dark dinner photo of them on my Instagram feed, missing bun and all since I had forgotten them at the store! I think I can fairly say that these are the most moist burgers I’ve ever made, thanks to the mushrooms and grains, which usually is not something said about turkey burgers. They are also one of the most flavor-packed burgers and you could definitely skip the bun if you wanted to since they taste great either way.

Turkey Veggie Mushroom Burgers with Goat Cheese and Sautéed Shiitakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Part of what makes the flavor so good is that I use a Seeds of Change brown rice and quinoa with garlic packet. This isn’t sponsored, but as I mentioned in my Sheet Pan Chicken Fajita Bowls post, the brown rice and quinoa is fluffy and tastes awesome. Mix that together with the ground turkey, some sautéed cremini mushrooms, shallot and garlic and you have a winning burger.

Turkey Veggie Mushroom Burgers with Goat Cheese and Sautéed Shiitakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I make these I like to make a few extras and freeze the uncooked patties for future dinners. I always defrost them before grilling, but you might be able to cook them straight from frozen. I will be sure to try it out next time I freeze some of the patties. I hope you all enjoy these for (almost) Meatless Monday!

Turkey Veggie Mushroom Burgers with Goat Cheese and Sautéed Shiitakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Turkey Veggie Mushroom Burgers with Goat Cheese and Sautéed Shiitakes
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 10 ounces whole cremini mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 ounces ground turkey
  • 1 cup Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 5 ounces sliced shiitakes
  • 4 burger buns, optional
  • Goat cheese, for topping
  • Balsamic glaze, for topping
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped cremini mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 4 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic, continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat, put in a medium mixing bowl and let cool.
  2. Place a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper on a dinner sized plate. Once the mushroom mixture has cooled slightly, add the ground turkey, quinoa and brown rice and dijon mustard. Use your hands to combine the mixture, but do not over-mix. Form the mixture into 4 patties and place each patty on the prepared dinner plate. Put the patties in the fridge to firm up for about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Heat your grill or grill pan, being sure to lightly grease the grill pan. Once hot, cook the patties for 7-8 minutes per side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  4. While the burgers are cooking, sauté the shiitake mushrooms. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and sauté the mushrooms for 6-8 minutes.
  5. When the burgers are done, place on the buns, if using, then top with the sautéed shiitakes, goat cheese and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

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!