Poultry

Pesto Presto Chicken

Pesto Presto Chicken  |  Lemon & Mocha

Welcome to the second recipe I made to use up my batch of Basil Pesto! This recipe is adapted from another cookbook I’ve had for a while and really love – Rachel Ray’s Look + Cook. The cookbook has awesome step-by-step photos to 100 different recipes that make my mouth water every time I flip through it.

Pesto Presto Chicken  |  Lemon & Mocha

It seems like people either love or hate Rachel Ray. I love her because all her recipes that I’ve made have come out so good. Matt, on the other hand, can’t stand when she comes on the Food Network and starts saying “EVOO” and “GB” (garbage bowl). Whatever Matt thinks about her acronyms, he is definitely a fan of this dish.

Pesto Presto Chicken  |  Lemon & Mocha

Rachel Ray named it Pesto Presto Chicken in her cookbook, so I kept the title since that’s how I always think of it. My version is chicken breasts stuffed with a pesto goat cheese mixture and topped with tomatoes and a little Parmesan. I know a lot of people don’t like tomatoes for textural reasons so you can certainly leave off the tomatoes if you are not a fan. If you are a fan, they add a fresh and juicy element to the dish that you don’t want to miss!

Pesto Presto Chicken  |  Lemon & Mocha

The first time I made this dish was for my Dad and I. As I’ve mentioned before, my Dad is very picky, especially when it comes to dinner meals. The chicken got rave reviews and he said he would definitely eat it again, which shocked both me and Diane! It’s kind of hard not to like this dish, though. Creamy pesto stuffed inside chicken? Yes, please!

Pesto Presto Chicken  |  Lemon & Mocha

The presto part comes from how quick the dish is to make. The only thing that takes me some time is butterflying and pounding out the chicken breasts so sometimes I will do that the day before so I can just fill and bake them the next night. Pesto Presto Chicken is perfect alongside some pasta or eaten with a side of asparagus or broccoli – yes, I know, my answer to everything! My Dad is my ultimate picky-meter so I guarantee your family will like this dish!

Pesto Presto Chicken  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pesto Presto Chicken
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup pesto
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 3 tablespoons milk (whatever you have in your fridge is fine)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup Parmesan, divided
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tomato
  • Cooking spray
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the pesto, goat cheese, milk, garlic, Italian seasoning and ¼ cup of the Parmesan. If your goat cheese is too hard to stir, microwave it for 15 seconds or so until soft.
  3. Butterfly each chicken breast so it resembles an open book. You do this by using a sharp knife to slice the chicken horizontally, but don’t cut all the way through to the other side because you want to be able to open it like a book. Lay plastic wrap over the butterflied chicken breast then evenly pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until it’s ¼-inch thick. Place the chicken breast on the prepared baking sheet, still open. Spread ¼ of the prepared pesto mixture on one half of the chicken breast then fold the other half over top of it. Repeat with the remaining 4 chicken breasts.
  4. Lay the tomato slices over top of the folded over chicken breasts. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the tomato slices. Bake for 20 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. If you want more color on the tomatoes and Parmesan on top you could always broil them for 1 minute towards the end of baking.

Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray’s Look + Cook.
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!

Baked Pesto Turkey Meatballs over Lemon Cauliflower Rice

Baked Pesto Turkey Meatballs over Lemon Cauliflower Rice  |  Lemon & Mocha

Grab your pesto because you need to make these Pesto Turkey Meatballs as. soon. as. possible! I got the idea for these meatballs from a Hello Fresh box Matt and I got a couple months ago. Usually I already have our meals planned out, but every once and a while we will order one of those meal prep boxes to switch it up. The inspirational meal was pesto turkey burgers. It basically only used pesto to flavor the ground turkey, but I was shocked when the burgers were juicy and so flavorful. I decided to take that concept and create Pesto Turkey Meatballs.

Baked Pesto Turkey Meatballs over Lemon Cauliflower Rice  |  Lemon & Mocha

Since I made first these, we’ve eaten them right from the oven, reheated in the microwave and even baked from frozen. Every time they taste so damn good! Ground turkey can tend to be dry, but the basil pesto keeps the meatballs incredibly moist, while also imparting a strong garlic, herb and Parmesan flavor. I added a little olive oil to the ground turkey mixture because I wanted to make sure they would be moist enough.

Baked Pesto Turkey Meatballs over Lemon Cauliflower Rice  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love that once you make a bunch they are such a quick and easy meal. I included instructions for freezing them in the recipe below. As delicious as these Pesto Turkey Meatballs are, I need to talk about this Lemon Cauliflower Rice. As you all know, I’m obsessed with lemon and it pairs really well with pesto. Remember way back when to the Kale and Walnut Pesto Pasta with Lemon Shrimp?

Baked Pesto Turkey Meatballs over Lemon Cauliflower Rice  |  Lemon & Mocha

I wanted to keep the meal healthy and veggie-centric so I decided to use cauliflower rice. How awesome is it that you can get frozen or fresh riced cauliflower (and other veggies!) in pretty much every grocery store now? It is such a healthy and fun way to switch up your usual meals. The Lemon Cauliflower Rice is so simple it’s ridiculous, but like a super addictive and flavorful ridiculous. You sauté garlic and the riced cauliflower together then stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Done!

Baked Pesto Turkey Meatballs over Lemon Cauliflower Rice  |  Lemon & Mocha

I served these with some steamed broccoli and it was definitely two nights of silent dinner – also known as we didn’t say anything because we were too busy stuffing our faces!

Baked Pesto Turkey Meatballs over Lemon Cauliflower Rice  |  Lemon & Mocha

Baked Pesto Turkey Meatballs over Lemon Cauliflower Rice
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the pesto turkey meatballs
  • 16 ounces ground turkey
  • ¼ cup basil pesto
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
for the lemon cauliflower rice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 16 ounces riced cauliflower, about 4 cups
  • ½ lemon, zested
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
Directions
for the pesto turkey meatballs
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking pan with nonstick aluminum foil or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey, pesto, olive oil, salt and pepper. Try not to over-mix. Form the mixture into 16 meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. I like to divide the mixture in the bowl into 4 sections, then make 4 even-sized meatballs out of each section. Bake for 20 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Serve over the cauliflower rice with steamed broccoli.
for the lemon cauliflower rice
  1. Mince the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the riced cauliflower and cook until almost tender. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and remove from the heat when the cauliflower rice is tender.
Notes
This is what I did to freeze the meatballs. I lined a small baking sheet that would fit in my freezer with wax paper. Then I formed the meatballs and placed them on the prepared baking sheet. Put them in the freezer and leave them in there until they harden then remove and put them all into a freezer bag. I baked them right from frozen and just added a couple minutes onto the baking time. Just temp them and make sure they reach 165 degrees F.
You can use fresh or frozen riced cauliflower for this recipe. I used the Trader Joe’s frozen riced cauliflower.

 

Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls with an Avocado Dipping Sauce

Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls with an Avocado Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Happy Wednesday everyone! Can you believe we’re halfway through August? Ah, I shouldn’t have even brought it up! Where did the summer go? I bet if I look at my past summer posts I probably said the same thing, but it still shocks me every year. To cheer us all up I’m sharing these flavor-packed and crunchy Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls with an Avocado Dipping Sauce.

Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls with an Avocado Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I first made these, Matt and I were so hooked that I made them three weeks in row. That never happens! The egg rolls also got prettier each week as I had more practicing wrapping them. I also got a lot quicker at putting them together; it’s a lot more simple than you would think. I walk you through it in the directions, but if you get the Nasoya brand egg roll wrappers they have a diagram on the back of the package for how to wrap them up.

Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls with an Avocado Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

The ground turkey, corn and spinach filling for these Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls is packed with spices that give it a smoky taste. They aren’t spicy since I don’t like spicy foods, but you could certainly amp up the chili powder if you preferred. The can of diced green chiles is key because it adds depth of flavor and also liquid to keep the ground turkey extra moist. I usually grab a bunch every time I’m at Trader Joe’s. You can use pepper jack cheese if you want a little more heat or if you prefer them more mild like me than you could use shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls with an Avocado Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Either way, they get baked for eight minutes on each side and when the egg rolls come out they are crispy, crunchy and ready to be dipped in my simple avocado dipping sauce. It’s basically a quick homemade guacamole that has been thinned out to make it a prime time egg roll dipping sauce.

Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls with an Avocado Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

We usually eat these Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls as a meal with a salad or some stir-fried snap peas, but they would also be so good as a party appetizer. If you’re going to make them as an appetizer you should definitely double the recipe because they will be gone fast!

Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls with an Avocado Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls with an Avocado Dipping Sauce
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the egg rolls
  • 8 ounces 93% lean ground turkey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ⅓ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 garlic cove, minced
  • 1 can diced green chiles, about 4.25 ounces
  • 5 ounces fresh spinach
  • ¼ cup corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons sliced scallions
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Pinch of chili powder
  • 12 egg roll wrappers, see note
  • ¾ cup shredded pepper jack or Monterey jack cheese
for the avocado dipping sauce
  • 1 avocado, cut open and pitted
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
for the egg rolls
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil or coat with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Coat a medium skillet with cooking spray then heat over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey and the salt and cook until it’s almost done browning, about 3 minutes. Break apart the ground turkey with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula as it cooks and browns. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic then cook until the onion and pepper is a little tender, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the can of green chiles, spinach, corn, cumin, smoked paprika and chili powder. Stir and continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated and the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat and let cool a little.
  3. Before filling the egg roll wrappers, make sure you have a little bowl or cup of warm water and a clean work surface. Place the egg roll wrapper down so that a corner is facing you. Scoop 3 tablespoons of the turkey mixture and place it near the bottom corner of the wrapper. I like to adjust the mixture so it’s more of a log shape then a big mound. Place a tablespoon of the shredded cheese on top. Take the bottom corner of the wrapper and fold it up and over the mixture so it’s completely covering it then continue to roll it one more time. Fold in the left and right corners so they create a little envelope then continue to roll it until it’s 1 roll away from the top corner. Wet your finger with the water and use it to moisten the whole exposed top corner. Fold the corner down to close up and seal the roll. Place it on the baking sheet. Repeat for the remaining rolls then coat all the rolls with cooking spray.
  4. Bake the rolls for 8 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 8 minutes. They should be crispy and golden brown. Serve warm with the dipping sauce.
for the avocado dipping sauce
  1. In a high-speed blender, combine the avocado flesh, water, lemon juice and garlic powder. Blend until combined, about 40 seconds. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
I use Nasoya egg rolls wrappers. I find them in the refrigerated section of my grocery store near the hummus and guacamole.

Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste Fast and Slow.
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!

Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken

Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken  |  Lemon & Mocha

You know this is a quick and easy recipe since it’s from the “10-Minutes Meals” section of my Cook This, Not That! cookbook! Now, I’ve never accomplished this meal in quite that short of a time frame before, but it’s still a fast meal to whip up. I got this little cookbook the year after I graduated college and I cooked about 13 different meals from it for Matt and I that year.

Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken  |  Lemon & Mocha

Whenever I get asked about my favorite cookbook I always laugh and mention Cook This, Not That! It’s such a little cookbook and it’s not by any celebrity chef, but I’ve actually cooked a fair amount of recipes from it and they’ve always been really good! In fact, one of my favorite go-to meals, whether it’s just Matt and I or we’re having company, is this Chicken Cordon Bleu from the cookbook. I’ve never made these Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken for company, but I make them for Matt and I as make-ahead lunches or dinners whenever we are in the mood for an Asian noodle fix.

Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken  |  Lemon & Mocha

The sauce is creamy, tangy and super peanut-ty. I’m obsessed with peanut butter, like most people without nut allergies, so I love that the peanut taste really comes through here. Every time I make it I just want to start pouring it on everything! And by everything I mean on food items so I can then eat them, not covering items in my house with peanut sauce for no reason. I don’t know why I said no reason, I don’t think there would ever be a reason you would cover household items with peanut sauce, but anyways I’m getting sidetracked here!

Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken  |  Lemon & Mocha

I throw in sautéed chicken, broccoli, red bell peppers and snow peas, but you could switch it up with whatever protein and vegetables you would prefer. This would be so good with some flank steak, peppers, onions and asparagus – yum! You can also use whatever type of pasta you prefer; I like using long noodles for this, but sometimes I switch up the type of long noodle and use brown rice noodles or whatever else is in my pantry.

Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken  |  Lemon & Mocha

The chopped peanuts, toasted sesame seeds and scallions on top add the perfect amount of crunch and texture to this dish. Okay, just describing these Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken has made me start craving them so I guess I need to make them again soon! I hope you all enjoy!

Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces linguine pasta
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup snow peas, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, plus more for noodles
  • Chopped peanuts, toasted sesame seeds and scallions for topping
Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta. When there’s 5 minutes left on the pasta, add the broccoli florets. Drain the pasta and broccoli together then toss with a little sesame oil and a little rice wine vinegar in a large bowl to keep the pasta from sticking. If you don’t have rice wine vinegar just a little sesame oil is fine.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, start the chicken and veggies. Cut the chicken into thin slices then cut in half if the pieces are too long.
  3. Sauté the chicken in the olive oil on medium high heat until almost browned. Season the chicken with a little salt and pepper right after putting it in the pan. Add the bell pepper and snow peas. Cook until the bell pepper is tender and the chicken is browned then remove from the heat.
  4. In a small microwave safe bowl, add the lime juice, peanut butter, water, soy sauce and sesame oil. Microwave for 45 seconds and then whisk or stir until combined. Pour over the noodles and broccoli and toss to coat. Add the cooked chicken and veggies then toss to combine. Top with the chopped peanuts, toasted sesame seeds and scallions, if desired.
Notes
I usually use Jif creamy peanut butter for this recipe. I find the natural peanut butters tend to separate and not mix as well when I cook or bake with them. I haven’t tried this specific recipe with natural peanut butter so if you do give it a shot let us know how it worked!
This recipe accounts for 2 ounces of pasta per person, which is the FDA’s recommended serving size. If you are used to larger pasta portions you can certainly use more! The dish is loaded with chicken and veggies though so we find the dish filling as is.

Recipe adapted from Cook This, Not That!.
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!

Mini Strawberry Balsamic Pizzas with Chicken & Sweet Onions

Mini Strawberry Balsamic Pizzas with Chicken & Sweet Onion  |  Lemon & Mocha

Has anyone else been obsessed with strawberries this season? I got hooked on baking with them after I made the Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Muffins. That prompted me to bake the Beet Donuts with a Strawberry Rhubarb Brown Butter Glaze and I even made strawberry rhubarb white chocolate chip cookies. The cookies were purely for eating, not blog purposes, but comment below if you want the recipe!

Mini Strawberry Balsamic Pizzas with Chicken & Sweet Onion  |  Lemon & Mocha

Not to mention the large amounts of fresh strawberries Matt and I have consumed so far this summer. I had not done any savory cooking with them though and that needed to change! Enter these Mini Strawberry Balsamic Pizzas with Chicken and Sweet Onion. To say Matt and I loved these mini flatbread pizzas is an understatement. Matt proclaimed he would be okay eating these naan pizzas every night and I would have to agree.

Mini Strawberry Balsamic Pizzas with Chicken & Sweet Onion  |  Lemon & Mocha

We need to dive into these pizzas layer by layer to truly appreciate how much deliciousness I’ve snuck in there for you. First, the base is naan flatbread. Naan is similar to pita bread, but softer and fluffier. I like using naan for this recipe because then everyone can have their own little pizzas and all the work of dealing with fresh dough has already been done for you. Easy! If you don’t have naan at your store you could always use pitas or pizza dough.

Mini Strawberry Balsamic Pizzas with Chicken & Sweet Onion  |  Lemon & Mocha

Next, these pizzas don’t have marinara sauce, pesto or garlic oil. They have something even better – fresh strawberry balsamic spread! This is the only “cooking” part of the recipe and it couldn’t be more simple. Finely chopped strawberries are combined with some honey and balsamic then you let them sit for 15-20 minutes. This is called macerating the berries and letting them sit out with sugar (in our case, honey) releases their juices and softens the strawberries. Once their macerated, you mash them together and ta-da! Strawberry balsamic spread. Look at the strawberry balsamic spread!

Mini Strawberry Balsamic Pizzas with Chicken & Sweet Onion  |  Lemon & Mocha

The acidity from the balsamic balances out the sweetness of the berries and honey making it the perfect base for our other toppings. Next up we have chicken and sweet onion. I used grilled chicken, but you could use rotisserie chicken if you prefer. Chicken pairs well with the strawberries and the onions get nicely softened, which mellows their taste, in the oven. Classic mozzarella is the cheese of choice for these pizzas along with just the right amount of goat cheese to add some extra flavor pockets without overpowering the whole pizza.

Mini Strawberry Balsamic Pizzas with Chicken & Sweet Onion  |  Lemon & Mocha

I wanted these pizzas to really scream strawberry so in addition to the sweet and tart strawberry spread, we also have fresh sliced strawberries nestled into the melty mozzarella. Finally, a drizzle of balsamic glaze and sprinkling of fresh basil to finish the pizzas off once they’re out of the oven. Even though I just took a long time to break down these pizzas – sorry I’m just so excited! – they are incredibly simple to whip up making them ideal for lazy summer nights. I hope you try these soon and make sure to let me know in the comments below if you try them!

Mini Strawberry Balsamic Pizzas with Chicken & Sweet Onion  |  Lemon & Mocha

Mini Strawberry Balsamic Pizzas with Chicken & Sweet Onions
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup finely chopped strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 naan flatbreads
  • ½ cup chopped cooked chicken (either grilled or rotisserie)
  • ⅓ small sweet onion, sliced thin
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella
  • ½ cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 ounce goat cheese
  • Chopped basil, for topping
  • Balsamic glaze, for topping
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a shallow bowl, stir together the chopped strawberries, honey and balsamic vinegar. Let sit for 15-20 minutes to let the strawberries soften and release their juices. Once the strawberries have softened, mash with a potato masher and stir together.
  3. Place the naan flatbreads on a baking sheet. Divide the mashed strawberry topping between the two pizzas. Spread the strawberry mixture out, leaving a small border on each pizza for the crust. Top each pizza with ¼ cup chopped chicken and half of the sliced onion.
  4. Top each pizza with ¼ cup of the shredded mozzarella, sprinkling over the chicken and onion. Then top each pizza with ¼ cup of the sliced strawberries. Crumble the goat cheese over the strawberries, dividing between the two pizzas, and sprinkle on the remaining mozzarella as well. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is browning.
  5. When the pizzas are out of the oven, top with the chopped basil and balsamic glaze before serving.
Notes
You can find balsamic glaze in the grocery store. If you want to make your own: combine ½ cup good quality balsamic vinegar with 2 tablespoons brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer until the mixture is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. The glaze should be thick and syrupy. Let cool before serving. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.