Poultry

Thai Peanut Chicken Tacos

Thai Peanut Chicken Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Did you know that tomorrow is National Taco Day? I have zero idea who decided Thursday, October 4th should be National Taco Day instead of a Tuesday, but maybe they just wanted people to celebrate tacos twice this week instead of stacking the celebrations. It also seems a little odd to have National Taco Day in October instead of some spring or summer date when tacos seem to be more on people’s menus, but I am definitely not complaining. Just curious. I’m especially not complaining because it prompted me to create these outrageous Thai Peanut Chicken Tacos! Spiced chicken thighs are layered inside warm tortillas along with some cabbage, cucumber and carrots before being drizzled with an Asian peanut sauce. The tacos are then topped with chopped peanuts and pickled red onions.

Thai Peanut Chicken Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

The initial inspiration for doing a Thai flavored taco smothered in peanut sauce came from my favorite burrito chain, Boloco. You might remember them from my New England Harvest Salad post, where I even mentioned their Bangkok Thai burrito. I knew if peanut sauce could work so well in a burrito that it would easily translate to tacos. Even though the easy microwave peanut sauce, similar to the sauce for the Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken, is delicious, the real star is the marinated chicken thighs. Lately I’ve been experimenting with spices I’m not as familiar with, such as turmeric and coriander, and Matt and I have surprised ourselves by being really into all the dishes I’ve tried so far. I also have been using chicken breasts for all my recipes for so long that I forgot how succulent and juicy chicken thighs can be.

Thai Peanut Chicken Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

The chicken only needs to marinate for one hour or it can be left overnight if you want it ready when you come home from work. The spiced chicken thighs get baked in the oven for about 18 minutes and after sampling a bite it was really hard to save all the chicken for the tacos and not dive right in. The seasonings along with the lime juice and zest have such a good balance of citrus, nuttiness and warmth, without being spicy. Unless you want it spicy and then you can certainly kick up the chili powder.

Thai Peanut Chicken Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Another element in this recipe that I totally took from Boloco is the pickled red onions. Pickled red onions are sweet, vinegary, crunchy and have a very subtle onion flavor. They’re also bright pink and really amp up most burrito or taco combinations. The recipe here is for quick pickled red onions so all you need to do is heat apple cider vinegar, water, sugar and salt before pouring over the thinly sliced red onions to let them sit for one hour. That’s it! It’s so simple I’m shocked I don’t pile pickled red onions on every dish I make.

Thai Peanut Chicken Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

All together this taco has a winning combination of savoriness, acidity and sweetness and I am declaring it definitely worthy of being enjoyed on National Taco Day – and all subsequent Taco Tuesdays!

Thai Peanut Chicken Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Thai Peanut Chicken Tacos
 
Yield: 4 servings, 8 mini tacos
Ingredients
for the peanut sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1½ teaspoons sesame oil
for the pickled red onions
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
for the tacos
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon chili powder (depending on spice tolerance)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Zest from ½ lime
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 8 6-inch tortillas, warmed
  • ½ cup sliced red cabbage
  • ½ cup matchstick cut cucumber (see note)
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts
Directions
for the peanut sauce
  1. Combine the lime juice, peanut butter, soy sauce, water and sesame oil in a small bowl. Microwave for 45 seconds and stir until smooth.
for the pickled red onions
  1. Combine the water, apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves then remove from the heat.
  2. Place the sliced red onions in a bowl then pour the vinegar mixture over top. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
for the tacos
  1. In a container or bowl large enough to hold the marinating chicken, combine the minced garlic, lime juice, olive oil, cumin, turmeric, coriander, ginger, chili powder, salt, black pepper and lime zest. Add the chicken thighs and toss until they’re fully coated. Marinate the chicken for at least one hour (it is safe to marinate for as long as overnight if you would prefer).
  2. You can grill or bake the chicken. See the recipe note for grilling instructions. To bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil then place the chicken in a single layer. Bake the chicken for 18-20 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Let the chicken rest for a couple minutes then slice.
  3. Top each warmed tortilla with the sliced chicken, red cabbage, cucumber, carrot, parsley and peanuts, dividing between the 8 tacos. Top each taco with some pickled red onions then drizzle each taco with the peanut sauce.
Notes
To cut the cucumber into matchsticks, first cut off the ends of your cucumber. Then, cut your cucumber in half or thirds if it’s really long so you have two (or three) pieces of cucumber. Then cut each piece into ¼” thick slabs. Stack the slabs and cut them into ¼” thick matchsticks.
To grill the chicken: Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side, until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. If you want to make sure you don’t overcook your chicken, you could grill them until they reach just over 160 degrees F and then allow for some carryover cooking. This is when the chicken continues to cook after it’s been removed from the grill. Temp it after a few minutes and make sure it has risen to 165 degrees F.

 

Crispy Baked Chicken Cutlets with an Orange and Arugula Salad

Crispy Baked Chicken Cutlets with an Orange and Arugula Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m back with another delicious family-friendly dinner recipe, courtesy of Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook cookbook. When I was flipping through the cookbook to get to the Pesto Presto Chicken recipe a few weeks ago I kept seeing all these recipes I made from the book when I first got it that were so good. I was suddenly craving all these dishes I hadn’t made in years because I always have a million new recipes on the agenda. I decided these Crispy Baked Chicken Cutlets with an Orange and Arugula Salad needed to be pulled out of the archives immediately so here we are.

Crispy Baked Chicken Cutlets with an Orange and Arugula Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m so excited I rediscovered this dish because I am always looking for new ways to cook chicken for dinner. This dish has a fresh twist on your classic baked chicken cutlets by including some orange zest in the breadcrumb mixture. The chicken cooks at a high temperature to get super crispy without any frying. One quick tip is to move the cooked chicken cutlets to a wire cooking rack as soon as they are done cooking in the oven so they stay extra crispy until you’re ready to eat them.

Crispy Baked Chicken Cutlets with an Orange and Arugula Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Since I tend to cook and photograph during the day when the light is best, Matt and I eat a lot of reheated food for dinner. I was so bummed Matt couldn’t try this dish right when I made it because it definitely lost its crispiness. He still loved it, but this isn’t a dinner you will want to make ahead of time. Which is fine since it’s so quick to make!

Crispy Baked Chicken Cutlets with an Orange and Arugula Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love recipes that are an all-in-one deal so I don’t have to worry about additional side dishes. While the chicken is baking, you make a very simple salad of peppery arugula, juicy orange segments, fresh yellow tomatoes, red onion and a little extra virgin olive oil. Season with some salt and pepper and it’s the perfect fresh accompaniment to the crispy chicken. I especially love the sweetness the oranges bring to the chicken when you get a bite of the two of them together.

Crispy Baked Chicken Cutlets with an Orange and Arugula Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I hope you all enjoy this quick and tasty dinner dish!

Crispy Baked Chicken Cutlets with an Orange and Arugula Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Crispy Baked Chicken Cutlets with an Orange and Arugula Salad
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves, divided
  • 2 seedless naval oranges
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 1 pound
  • 2 yellow tomatoes
  • ½ small red onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups baby arugula leaves
  • Salt & pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Set up your breading station with 3 shallow bowls. Place the flour in the first bowl. In the second bowl, add the beaten egg. In the third bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs, the Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon of the chopped parsley. Add zest from 1 of the oranges. Stir to combine.
  3. Split the chicken breasts in half lengthwise so that you have 4 chicken cutlets. Season both sides of the chicken cutlet with salt and pepper then coat the cutlet with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Dip the flour-coated cutlet into the egg mixture, letting any excess drip off. Then place it in the panko mixture and make sure the cutlet gets completely coated, pressing panko on if necessary. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat for the rest of the cutlets.
  4. Spray the breaded chicken cutlets with cooking spray then flip them over to spray the other side. Bake for 10 minutes then flip the cutlets over and bake for another 12 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. When the cutlets are done, place them on a wire cooling rack if you aren’t ready to serve them right away so they stay crispy.
  5. While the chicken is baking, make the orange and arugula salad. Peel the oranges, then section and dice them. Seed and dice the tomatoes. Finely chop the red onion. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the diced oranges, tomatoes, chopped red onion and the remaining ½ tablespoon chopped parsley with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When you’re ready to eat, add the arugula, toss and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

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!

Greek Chicken Bowls

Greek Chicken Bowls  |  Lemon & Mocha

I don’t know where to start with these Greek Chicken Bowls. I know it’s unusual for me to be at a loss for words when it comes to food, but I think it stems from there not being an interesting or exciting reason as for why I created this dish. There’s no restaurant meal these bowls are based on. The recipe isn’t adapted from some cookbook I like. I wasn’t making them with anyone particular in mind that loves Greek food or anything. I was simply trying to create a healthy lunch I could meal prep for Matt and I that wasn’t anything like any of the dishes I normally make. So that’s how these Greek Chicken Bowls came to be. Super uninteresting and definitely not exciting. But what is exciting is how a healthy meal can be so packed with flavors and textures.

Greek Chicken Bowls  |  Lemon & Mocha

These Greek Chicken Bowls have a few more components than my normal prepped meals, but all the components are so simple that I don’t even mind it. The star of the dish is the marinated chicken. It took me a couple tries to get it right, but the version I landed on imparts plenty of lemon and oregano flavor after the chicken has been baked with only thirty minutes of marinating time.

Greek Chicken Bowls  |  Lemon & Mocha

I also love that I always have all the ingredients right in my pantry or fridge so I can whip this Greek marinated chicken up any day of the week. I like using chicken tenders because they take less time to bake than chicken breasts. They also have more edges to soak up the Greek vinaigrette marinade making for even more flavorful Greek Chicken Bowls.

Greek Chicken Bowls  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you would rather grill your chicken, go for it! The juicy chicken gets served alongside some lemon cous cous, a quick cucumber salad and an easy yogurt mint sauce. I’m lemon obsessed and Greek food is big on lemon flavors so you knew I had to sneak it into multiple components! You could definitely make the chicken on its own and serve with different sides, but if you’re going to make more components than just the chicken I strongly recommend you make all four components. The chicken, cous cous, cucumber salad and yogurt sauce all balance each other and bring unique flavors to the dish creating that perfect bite!

Greek Chicken Bowls  |  Lemon & Mocha

Greek Chicken Bowls
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the chicken
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
for the cous cous
  • ½ cup uncooked cous cous
  • 1 tablespoon packed parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • Zest from ½ lemon
for the cucumber salad
  • 2 cup diced English cucumber, about ⅔ of a large English cucumber
  • 1½ tablespoons finely diced red onion
  • ½ - 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon feta cheese crumbles
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tomato, for garnish
for the yogurt mint sauce
  • 1 container plain nonfat Greek yogurt, about 5.3 ounces
  • 2 leaves fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
Directions
for the chicken
  1. In a shallow bowl or container big enough to fit the chicken, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, dried oregano, dried parsley, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Add the chicken and make sure all the pieces get completely coated. Marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. When the chicken is done marinating, bake for 30 minutes (22 minutes for tenders) or until they register 165 degrees F with a meat thermometer. Let cool slightly then dice and divide among the 4 containers.
for the cous cous
  1. Bring ½ cup water to boil in a small saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the cous cous and a pinch of salt. Stir then cover, letting sit for 10 minutes. The cous cous should absorb the water and be soft. Fluff with a fork then stir in the lemon zest and chopped parsley. You can add some olive oil if you would like, but I skipped it since I was trying to reduce the amount of oil in the overall dish. Divide the cous cous among the 4 containers.
for the cucumber salad
  1. Combine the diced cucumber, diced red onion, minced garlic, olive oil and red wine vinegar in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide among the 4 containers then divide the feta cheese between the 4 containers and sprinkle on top of the salad.
for the yogurt mint sauce
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Divide among the 4 containers.
Notes
This bowl is meant to be eaten cold because of the cucumber salad and yogurt sauce.

 

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.