Poultry

New England Classic Quesadilla

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m going to jump right to the point here with this post. It is the last post in my apple series and I wanted a recipe that would blow your socks off. My alma mater, Boston College, has some unbelievable sandwiches. They spark constant debates, long lines and even extensive blog posts.

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

However, there is no denying that the New England Classic Panini is among the top contributions to society that this New England college has ever shared. Turkey breast, slices of Granny Smith apple, creamy honey mustard and sharp cheddar cheese come together in sandwich perfection. The sandwich is pressed until the cheese is gooey, which is of course the best way cheese can be consumed.

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

Boston College’s version, and the reason it is so remarkable, is the special cranberry-apple bread they serve it on. I do not have their amazing bread so instead of trying to completely replicate the New England Classic I decided to make my own spin on it. This quesadilla brought me right back to the dining hall and I was so absorbed in how delicious it tasted I devoured it with unusual speed.

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

The crispy fried tortilla envelopes the turkey, apple, honey mustard and cheddar cheese perfectly. Tartness from the Granny Smith, saltiness from the cheddar and creaminess from the honey mustard come together in sweet lip-smackin’ harmony. If you really want to get fancy with it you could grab some cranberry sauce for dipping. Okay fellow Eagles, it’s your turn:  what do you crave the most from BC dining?

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha

New England Classic Quesadilla
 
Yield: 1 quesadilla
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tortilla
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard, plus more if desired
  • ⅓ cup shredded yellow extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices deli turkey
  • ¼ Granny Smith Apple, peeled & thinly sliced
Directions
  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat.
  2. Spread the honey mustard all over one side of the tortilla then place in the skillet, honey mustard side up. Evenly sprinkle the cheese all over the honey mustard so it’s completely covering the tortilla. Place a lid or splatter screen over the skillet to help the cheese melt.
  3. Once the cheese is melted evenly place the turkey slices so they are covering the whole tortilla. Evenly place the apple slices on one half of the tortilla. Carefully use a spatula to fold the tortilla in half.
  4. Turn the heat up to medium-high to crisp the exterior of the quesadilla. Watch carefully, this should only take a minute or two. Once browned, flip the quesadilla to crisp up the other side. When the quesadilla is browned on both sides remove from the heat. Let sit for a minute or two then cut into sections before serving.
Notes
To make your own honey mustard mix together 1 tablespoon honey, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise and 2 teaspoons dijon mustard. Adjust honey-mayo-mustard ratio according to taste.

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings  |  Lemon & Mocha

Remember my Uncle Rob from the filet tailgate sandwiches with whiskey marinade? Well he is a multi-talented man. In addition to grilling up delicious tailgate eats he also harvests honey! As in he has bees in the backyard and a complete beekeeper’s suit. “Rob’s Love Nectar”- check it out! I may be afraid of the bees, but I certainly love their honey.

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings  |  Lemon & Mocha

Recently Uncle Rob mailed me a big bottle of his honey so I decided to make a series of honey posts out of it. These sticky and sweet honey baked wings are the first of four honey installments and are definitely the best way to kick off this series.

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings  |  Lemon & Mocha

I was am will-always-be obsessed with these wings. The marinade consists of honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and rice wine vinegar to create a balanced flavor profile. The honey caramelizes while the wings are baking in the oven and makes these bad boys incredibly addictive. Finger-lickin’-can’t-breathe-too-busy-eating addictive.

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings  |  Lemon & Mocha

They are also extremely low maintenance as you can just stick them in the oven and let the magic happen. I was very nervous to break down the wings myself, but after a couple snips with a pair of kitchen shears I had the process down.

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings  |  Lemon & Mocha

Currently Rob’s Love Nectar is only available through personal gifting, but shop local honey and support your neighboring beekeepers! Also honey pollinated from bees local to your area is said to help with seasonal allergies so that’s another reason to source your honey locally.

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 pounds chicken wings & drumettes
  • 1 scallion, chopped, for garnish
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9" x 13" with nonstick tin foil and set aside.
  2. Combine the soy sauce, honey, vegetable oil, rice vinegar, garlic and ginger in a medium saucepan with a whisk. Bring the honey mixture to a boil then simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Place the split chicken wings in the prepared pan. Pour the heated honey mixture over the wings then toss to coat.
  4. Bake the chicken wings for about 1 hour or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and the skin has darkened. Garnish wings with scallions and sesame seeds before serving.
Notes
To break down the wings follow the steps below:
*Clip off the wing tip at the knuckle using a pair of kitchen shears. Dispose the wing tip or save for homemade chicken stock.
*Make a small snip in the fat between the wing and the drumette so it's easier to get to the joint.
*Cut the knuckle between the wing and the drumette to separate them.
*Cut off any excess fat.

Recipe from the Cookin’ Canuck.

Chicken Cacciatore with Mushrooms and Artichokes

I am shocked and I hope you are utterly disappointed in me. This is only the third pasta recipe that has been posted on Lemon & Mocha. The nerve of me! Pasta is one of my all-time favorite foods. I certainly can’t pick a single favorite because that would be like choosing between children or classic Nickelodeon shows, but pasta is way high up there on the list. So it is only fitting that this post featuring Lemon & Mocha’s second ever pasta recipe is also commemorating another special day: Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day is this Sunday and I wanted to do something special. I am a firm believer in thinking positive, looking for the good in the bad and trusting life’s course. So I can only say that I am both lucky and blessed to have, and have had, three amazing mothers in my life.

Today I am posting this savory linguine with chicken, mushrooms and artichokes dish to celebrate my wonderful stepmom. As you learned back on her birthday, many of my favorite foods and ingredients are the result of my stepmom and her determination to have me eat something other than macaroni and fish sticks for the rest of my life.

This dish is my interpretation of one she used to make to get us to try new things. I know you probably think I’m being ridiculous, but my dad, brother and I were not initially familiar with shredded chicken in pasta and mushrooms on our plate. The original dish had olives, but I substituted artichokes, another food my stepmom opened my eyes to. I am so thankful to have such a great supporter, caring person and friend in my life. Sometimes the best mothers in your life are the ones that don’t go by “mom”, but love you just the same.

Chicken Cacciatore with Mushrooms and Artichokes
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound split skinless chicken breasts, bone-in
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 12 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 26-ounce jar of tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves, about 4 leaves
  • ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • ½ pound cooked linguine
Directions
  1. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown it, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium on the stockpot and add the remaining olive oil. Add the garlic and shallots and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until browned, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Push the mushrooms to the side so that there’s room on the bottom of the stockpot and return the chicken to the pot.
  3. Add the tomato sauce and sugar. Lightly stir then bring the pot to a boil before covering and reducing to a simmer on medium-low heat. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  4. Keeping the sauce warm, remove the chicken, shred off the bone with 2 forks, then return to the sauce. Add the artichokes, basil and Parmesan to the sauce. Add the linguine and stir to coat. Serve topped with fresh Parmesan, if desired.

 

Roast Chicken with a Pomegranate Molasses and Apricot Glaze

The first time I made a whole roast chicken was all due to a happy accident. Vehicle-less and not wanting to lug groceries on the T, my college roommates and I decided to test out Peapod online grocery delivery service. After the roommates and I added all our items, Matt added a couple of his own before completing the order. When it arrived a couple days later I pulled out an entire ten pound chicken. What college student buys a ten pound chicken? Especially in an apartment where we were living on grilled cheeses, frittatas and pasta! Turns out in his haste Matt accidentally ordered a whole chicken instead of chicken breasts. So we stuck it in the freezer until we could work up the courage to tackle the bird.

But when we finally did and took the first bite out of our labor of love we had seasoned, buttered and basted for hours, it was absolutely glorious. There is something so delicious about a roast chicken. It could be that the anticipation goes to your head while you’re waiting for it to cook. It might be that you get overwhelmed by a sense of accomplishment at having completed such a monumental task.

But if I was to really try and put my finger on it I’d have to keep it simple: from the juicy white meat to the tender thighs to the crispy skin a whole roast chicken is just damn tasty. This pomegranate molasses and apricot roast chicken is certainly no exception. The meat is moist, flavorful and fragrant, while the exterior is sweet and sticky. Finger-lickin’ great chicken.

You will wish you had five ovens so you could whip up a whole bunch of these bad boys at once. If you have never made roast chicken before don’t be shy! I promise you that if a couple of grilled cheese making college kids can do it then so can you. And if you have made a whole roast chicken before then you will regret not giving this one a shot. So go ahead, use some of that precious pomegranate molasses and tackle that bird.

Roast Chicken with a Pomegranate Molasses and Apricot Glaze
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 4-6 pound chicken, giblets removed
  • 1 orange, cut in slices
  • 1 lemon, cut in slices
  • ½ onion, cut in half
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup pomegranate molasses
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the chicken inside and out and dry thoroughly.
  3. Salt and pepper then inside of the chicken the stuff the cavity with the orange slices, lemon slices, onion pieces and garlic cloves.
  4. Use kitchen twine to tie the legs together, tucking the wings under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken breast-side down on the roasting rack in a deep roasting pan.
  5. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes. Use the melted butter to baste the chicken allover. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and continue to cook for 45 minutes. After 20 minutes baste the chicken again with butter.
  6. While the chicken is in the oven make the glaze. Whisk together the pomegranate molasses, orange juice, apricot jam and lemon juice until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. After the 45 minutes are up flip the chicken so the breasts are up then coat allover with the glaze. Cook for 30 minutes, basting with the glaze again after 15 minutes. Remove from the oven when the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F or when the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.

Recipe adapted from The Global Jewish Kitchen.

Grilled Pineapple and Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas

Oddly, quesadillas are a food quite dear to my heart. It’s not as though they are a family favorite we used to have every week or a dish I always requested on my birthday. Nothing like that. My food memories with quesadillas come from a variety of places. Like how my grandma and I would order them as an appetizer, along with the chicken noodle soup she loves, if we were extra hungry during our weekly Friendly’s trips. Or how my stepmom would always make them for me, with extra sour cream, if my dad wasn’t home for the night. Or how they were the first meal Matt and I ever cooked together in his summer college dorm with tortillas and cheese picked up from the local convenience store, just excited to have a kitchen to cook in for the first time.

Whether or not you have loving food memories with quesadillas like I do, their cheesy goodness and ease of preparation is undeniable. I love seeking out interesting combinations for this great dish and when I stumbled upon a grilled pineapple and barbecue chicken version I knew I had to try it for myself. It certainly did not disappoint.

The beauty of barbecue sauce is you can veer this dish in any direction you prefer. Spicy, sweet, tangy, it’s up to you. The sweetness from the pineapple, the smokiness from the grill and the flavor from the barbecue sauce will have you chowing down silently, minus the moaning escaping from your lips between bites. And when you dip these into the grilled pineapple guacamole and some sour cream then take a bite? Well this meal might start sounding R-rated.

Grilled Pineapple and Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 sections of whole pineapple (see note), or 4 rings of pineapple
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • ½ cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup shredded colby jack cheese
  • ¼ of a red onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sliced scallions, sour cream, guacamole and salsa for serving
Directions
  1. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat and lightly coat with cooking spray. Grill the pineapple 2-3 minutes per side, or until light grill marks appear. Once grilled, cut the pineapple into ½”- 1” chunks.
  2. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Lightly coat the same grill or grill pan over medium-high heat and grill the chicken breasts. Cook for 6-8 minutes per side or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. During the last couple minutes of cooking coat both sides of the chicken with barbecue sauce. Remove and cut into 1” pieces.
  3. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and add the olive oil. Place 1 of the tortillas in the pan then top with ¼ cup of the cheddar cheese. Arrange half of the grilled pineapple chunks, half of the chicken pieces and half of the red onion on top. Drizzle with a little extra barbecue sauce if desired then top with ¼ cup of the colby jack cheese and a second tortilla.
  4. Cook until the cheese has melted and the bottom tortilla has started to brown, about 6 minutes. Flip the quesadilla then cook until the other side lightly browns, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  5. Cut into 6 wedges and serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa and scallions.
Notes
If using fresh pineapple follow these instructions:
1. Cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple.
2. Sitting the pineapple upright, cut it in half, then into quarters.
3. Standing each quarter upright, cut it in half to make 2 wedges.
4. Standing each wedge upright, cut the point off down the entire length of each wedge to remove the thick core, about ½” - ¾” into the pineapple.
5. Still standing each wedge upright, cut the skin off each wedge.

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman.