Recipes

Asian Chicken Meatball Lettuce Wraps

Asian Chicken Meatball Lettuce Wraps  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love a good lettuce wrap, especially when it has fresh and tangy flavors like these Asian Chicken Meatball Lettuce Wraps. Today I’m sharing another healthy dinner recipe with you all, this time from my favorite little cookbook, the Cook This, Not That! cookbook. This is one that I’ve made sporadically over the years ever since buying that cookbook and every time I make it we talk about how we should have it more often.

Asian Chicken Meatball Lettuce Wraps  |  Lemon & Mocha

The chicken meatballs only have six ingredients, but they are packed with flavor. You can grill them on a grill or grill pan for a nice char. I’ve also baked them successfully. Just like with any good lettuce wrap or taco the key to keep you diving back in for more is a layering of flavors. In addition to the grilled chicken meatballs these wraps are also stuffed with a simple pickled cucumber salad and a delicious ginger scallion sauce. I cannot say enough good things about this sauce! I want to drizzle it over all my protein and rice dishes forever.

Asian Chicken Meatball Lettuce Wraps  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you don’t feel like fussing with the lettuce wraps you could always just serve this as a plated meal over the brown rice, but the lettuce does add some welcome freshness to the dish. Sometimes I have trouble finding ground chicken in the store so I’ve also made this dish with ground pork, which goes incredibly well with the pickled and ginger flavors. I hope you all enjoy this one!

Asian Chicken Meatball Lettuce Wraps  |  Lemon & Mocha

Asian Chicken Meatball Lettuce Wraps
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the pickled cucumber salad
  • ½ large English cucumber, sliced into thin rounds
  • ⅓ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1½ teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes, optional
for the ginger scallion sauce
  • 6-8 scallions, bottoms removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
for the lettuce wraps
  • 1 pound ground chicken or pork
  • ½ red onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (if you don’t like spicy food remove all seeds and pith)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Boston lettuce leaves, for serving
  • Steamed brown rice, for serving
Directions
for the pickled cucumber salad
  1. Combine the cucumber, onion, sesame oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and red pepper flakes (if using) in a mixing bowl. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving. Or make ahead as it will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
for the ginger scallion sauce
  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the scallions, ginger, soy sauce, oil and vinegar. Letting the sauce sit in the fridge for 30 minutes before eating will deepen the flavor.
for the lettuce wraps
  1. Preheat a lightly oiled grill pan or grill over medium-high heat. If using a grill you might want to skewer the meatballs to make them easier to turn and cook.
  2. Combine the ground chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, jalapeño, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl until just combined. Be sure not to over-mix. Divide into 12 evenly sized meatballs. Grill for 4-5 minutes per side until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove from the heat and use the lettuce to make wraps stuffed with the rice, grilled meatballs, pickled cucumber salad and ginger scallion sauce.

Recipe 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!

Cheese and Pear Stuffed Pork

Cheese and Pear Stuffed Pork  |  Lemon & Mocha

This week is all about tasty and healthy dinner recipes! I have so many dessert recipes coming up that I had to make sure I started off with plenty of real food recipes so Matt and I wouldn’t just be eating dessert for dinner every night. I’m always looking for new healthy dinners to rotate through so I was excited to try some new ones out.

Cheese and Pear Stuffed Pork  |  Lemon & Mocha

This Cheese and Pear Stuffed Pork recipe came from my recipe binder archives, this time by way of Cooking Light Magazine. The combination sounded intriguing so I thought I would give it a shot. I made it on a night my Dad was coming over for dinner, which was a bold move since he can be a little particular about food. But Mikey liked it! I mean Dad liked it!

Cheese and Pear Stuffed Pork  |  Lemon & Mocha

The pork tenderloin is split open and then pounded thin before being stuffed with a creamy and crunchy mixture of blue cheese, walnuts, panko bread crumbs and tart sautéed pears. The whole thing gets rolled up and stuck together with toothpicks, which is a lot easier than it sounds.

Cheese and Pear Stuffed Pork  |  Lemon & Mocha

Due to all the prep steps to get this pork tenderloin stuffed and rolled, it’s not exactly a weeknight dish, but the great part is that once you have the pork tenderloin prepared you can cover it and stick it back in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. I served it alongside some green beans and roasted potatoes, but you could also go really light and just serve it over a spinach and pear salad. Enjoy!

Cheese and Pear Stuffed Pork  |  Lemon & Mocha

Cheese and Pear Stuffed Pork
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped Anjou pear (or other firm, tart pear), leave skin on
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see note)
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 12-ounce pork tenderloins
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • Ground black pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a saute pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper and cook for 6 minutes. Add the chopped pear, white wine, Italian seasoning and some ground black pepper. Cook for 2 minutes and remove from the heat. Let cool slightly then stir in the walnuts, blue cheese, panko and parsley.
  3. Butterfly the pork tenderloins by slicing them lengthwise up to, but not through, the other side. Put the first butterflied pork tenderloin between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet until ¼-inch thick. Top the flattened pork with half the pear mixture, being sure to leave a ½-inch border. Roll from the long side and secure with toothpicks. Tuck in the end edges when you secure with the toothpicks as well. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat for the remaining pork tenderloin.
  4. In a saute pan large enough to fit both pork tenderloins, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Saute both rolled pork tenderloins for 5 minutes, turning to make sure all sides get browned. Remove from the heat and transfer the pork to a baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pork reaches 145 degrees F (being sure to temp the pork not the filling). Move the pork from the baking dish to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice the pork before serving.
  5. In the pan used to saute the pork, bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Scrape the pan to make sure you get all the browned bits. Cook for 4 minutes and serve over the pork. Alternatively, you could slice the pork then carefully add to the broth and let cook in the broth as the sauce forms.
Notes
To toast walnuts, bake for 3-5 minutes in a 350 degrees oven, being sure not to let burn.

 Recipe from September 2011 issue of Cooking Light Magazine.

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls  |  Lemon & Mocha

Wow! Wow! Wow! I do not know how else to start this post, but that’s all that flashes in my brain when I think about these epic Pepperoni Pizza Rolls. The rolls are crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and packed full of pepperoni pizza flavor. There’s plenty of garlic and herb seasoning as well as melted mozzarella cheese and pepperoni slices. When they come hot out of the oven a little melted butter, fresh parsley and Parmesan gets brushed on top before serving. Dip a bite into some warm marinara and it’s just like eating a slice of pepperoni pizza except, dare I say it, better!

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls  |  Lemon & Mocha

Tomorrow is National Pepperoni Pizza and since it’s also pizza Friday I thought it would be perfect to post a recipe for pepperoni pizza. I had all of the ingredients ready to go, but couldn’t get motivated to deal with either my pizza stone or my countertop pizza oven and the rolling and stretching of the pizza dough involved. I started brainstorming for an easier solution and came up with these epic Pepperoni Pizza Rolls.

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls  |  Lemon & Mocha

The shredded mozzarella and chopped pepperoni slices get kneaded right into the pizza dough. You then make the dough into a ball, cut it into eight pieces and roll each piece into its own little ball. The little dough balls get baked at 475 degrees F for twelve minutes and voila! Time to eat!

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls  |  Lemon & Mocha

The secret that makes these even easier is that we’re using Sunny Anderson’s 1-2-3 pizza dough as the base for this recipe. I first saw this published in my Food Network Magazine a few years ago and decided that I finally needed to try it. The 1-2-3 is for the only ingredients involved: 1 tablespoon of garlic and herb seasoning, 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt and 3 cups of self rising flour. I halved this to get eight Pepperoni Pizza Rolls, although they’re so good that if you’re making them for more than just your family you will want to double the recipe I have below! It sounds odd, but the ingredients get mixed together with a dough hook in a stand mixer (or you could mix and then knead by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer) and somehow create the most delicious dough.

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you don’t want to use self-rising flour I included a note in the recipe, but it really helps making them even easier. I promise that even the most novice home cook could nail this recipe – and it only takes twenty minutes to make including the baking time! These are definitely going to be a new regular recipe of mine. Try them out – I know you will love them just as much as we do!

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls
 
Yield: 8 rolls
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups self rising flour
  • 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup sliced pepperonis
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • Marinara, for serving
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, lightly spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Add the self rising flour, Greek yogurt, Italian seasoning and garlic powder to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with a dough hook on medium speed until combined, stopping and scraping down the sides and bottom at least once. Continue until the dough comes together.
  3. Add the mozzarella cheese to the bowl of the stand mixer. Chop the sliced pepperonis and add to the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix on medium-low speed until incorporated. Take the dough out of the bowl, form into a large ball and place on a cutting board. Slightly flatten the dough ball then cut into 8 even wedges. Roll each wedge into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes.
  4. While the pizza rolls are in the oven, combine the melted butter, chopped parsley and grated Parmesan in a small bowl. Sprinkle in a little Italian seasoning. When the rolls come out of the oven, brush the tops with the melted butter mixture. Serve hot with the marinara sauce.
Notes
If you don’t have self-rising flour use the following substitution: 1½ cups all-purpose flour, 2¼ teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt plus ⅛ teaspoon salt.

 Pizza dough recipe adapted from June 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!

Copycat Olive Garden Salad

Copycat Olive Garden Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

The Olive Garden holds a special place in my heart. Many years ago during high school that was the preferred dinner spot for my friends and I. We would get all dressed up, as a joke to ourselves that this was our “fancy” dinner spot, wait the hour at the crowded restaurant to be seated and then stuff our faces with salad, breadsticks and pasta. Of course, it was always someone’s birthday so we could get the free chocolate cake and we would rotate through the group as to whose turn it was to be “celebrated.”

Copycat Olive Garden Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

These days I don’t eat there that often, but whenever I do all the nostalgia of those days comes rushing back. Their unlimited salad isn’t just about nostalgia, though, it’s actually just really good. So back in 2009 when Food Network Magazine published their copycat version of the Olive Garden salad I made it right away.

Copycat Olive Garden Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

The salad is simple: romaine lettuce mix with shredded carrots, croutons, Parmesan cheese, olives and pepperoncinis (both of which I leave out). What makes the salad special is the light, tangy and subtly creamy Italian dressing.

Copycat Olive Garden Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I was surprised when I checked out the ingredient list for their copycat version of the salad dressing. Most of it seemed like fairly normal items you would expect: olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt. But then I saw the secret – Miracle Whip. Miracle Whip? Yes, I know, but it totally makes this dressing taste just like you’re sitting at Olive Garden. I had never used Miracle Whip before, but I discovered it is a sauce similar to mayonnaise except it has added sugar, paprika, garlic powder and other spices. It also has this zippy tanginess to it, which helps the dressing achieve both the tangy and creamy qualities while still looking like your regular Italian dressing.

Copycat Olive Garden Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Since then I’ve made this salad countless times and I’m finally sharing it with you all!

Copycat Olive Garden Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Copycat Olive Garden Salad
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the dressing
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Miracle Whip
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
for the salad
  • 1 10-ounce bag American salad blend (romaine blend with shredded carrots and cabbage)
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, quartered
  • 4 pepperoncinis, optional
  • 2 tablespoons sliced black olives, optional
  • ½ cup croutons
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Directions
for the dressing
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. If too thick add 1 additional tablespoon olive oil.
for the salad
  1. Add the salad blend to a large salad bowl then top with the remaining ingredients. Drizzle with the dressing and toss to combine before serving.

 Recipe slightly adapted from June/July 2009 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!

Freezer Burritos: Chicken Verde, Mushroom, Kale and Brown Rice Burritos

Freezer Burritos: Chicken Verde, Mushroom, Kale and Brown Rice Burritos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sometimes you need a quick meal you can grab straight from the freezer and heat up. So today I’m going to walk you through my favorite new freezer meal: freezer burritos. The recipe today is for these Chicken Verde, Mushroom, Kale and Brown Rice Burritos, which are packed with flavor and plenty of good-for-you foods.

Freezer Burritos: Chicken Verde, Mushroom, Kale and Brown Rice Burritos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Not feeling that combination? That’s okay because we’re going to talk about all different tips you can use to make your own personal favorite freezer burritos. You can certainly buy freezer burritos from the store, but they’re typically loaded with sodium, might not have the exact ingredients you prefer and aren’t exactly cost effective.

Freezer Burritos: Chicken Verde, Mushroom, Kale and Brown Rice Burritos  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I decided to try making my own I was skeptical that the version out of the freezer would taste just as good – and that the texture would be just as good – as a freshly made burrito. Much to my delight I discovered with a few simple tricks these homemade freezer burritos would become a mind-blowing game changer! How so? Because you can pop one out of the freezer, microwave it for three minutes and have a fresh, delicious and healthy (depending on what you put in them!) meal any day of the week. If you want to go one extra step further you can even sear it in a skillet for one to two minutes per side after microwaving to add that extra crispy factor. So let’s get into it.

Freezer Burritos: Chicken Verde, Mushroom, Kale and Brown Rice Burritos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Keep Moisture Out of Your Burritos

The key to having a freezer burrito taste like you got it fresh from your neighborhood Mexican joint and not be a soggy mess is to keep away the wet ingredients.

  • You can still have salsa. This doesn’t mean no salsa. Just toss your protein or other ingredients in the salsa before adding to your burrito so that they are coated, but not dripping. This way you get the flavor the salsa provides without the moisture.
  • Drain well. If you’re using beans make sure they are well drained before adding to the burritos.
  • Sauté those veggies. Sautéing the vegetables before adding them to the burritos is a great way to add flavor while also reducing the moisture. Sautéing vegetables like mushrooms, peppers, onions and greens helps get the excess moisture out of them.
  • Room temperature everything. Make sure all your ingredients are room temperature before starting to assemble the burritos. Warm fillings lead to steamy insides, which cause future soggy burritos. This also goes for your tortillas since cold tortillas are stiff and tend to break. You’ll want to use fresh (aka not the ones that have been sitting in your fridge for weeks) room temperature tortillas.
  • Be smart about your fillings. If it doesn’t belong in the microwave then it doesn’t belong in your burrito. That shredded lettuce and sour cream? Back away from your burritos and put it back in the fridge.

Freezer Burritos: Chicken Verde, Mushroom, Kale and Brown Rice Burritos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Wrap the Burritos Well

This goes for making the actual burrito and for wrapping the finished burrito for freezer storage.

  • Wrap a tight burrito. There are plenty of Youtube videos out there that show you how to properly wrap a burrito. I’m not that much of a perfectionist though; I layer my ingredients in a long line towards the bottom of the tortilla closest to me, tuck in the short sides and then wrap as tightly as I can from the bottom. Having all your ingredients tightly nestled in there will help keep moisture out while they’re in the freezer.
  • Prep for the freezer. There’s a few different ways you can go about this, but I prefer to tightly wrap each burrito in plastic wrap or aluminum foil then place all the wrapped burritos in a gallon storage bag, labeling the burrito type on the outside of the bag. This provides double protection and also allows you to easily remove just one burrito at a time.

In a couple weeks I’ll be sharing another favorite of ours: Slow Cooker Pork and Roasted Sweet Potato Freezer Burritos. I’ll also use that post as a follow-up to this one and list out plenty of protein, grain and filling ideas so you can mix and match your own freezer burritos. What do you load into your ideal burrito?

Freezer Burritos: Chicken Verde, Mushroom, Kale and Brown Rice Burritos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Freezer Burritos: Chicken Verde, Mushroom, Kale and Brown Rice Burritos
 
Yield: 6 burritos
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces kale, thick stems removed
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1½ cups shredded cooked chicken
  • ⅓ cup salsa verde
  • 6 10-inch flour tortillas, room temperature
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, cooled
  • ⅓ cup shredded mozzarella or colby jack cheese, optional
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan or lidded sauté pan. Add the kale, season with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add ¼ cup water, cover the pan and cook for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely or put in the fridge to use later.
  2. While the kale is cooking, sauté the mushrooms. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely or put in the fridge to use later.
  3. When you’re ready to make the burritos, combine the shredded chicken with the salsa verde. Make sure all your ingredients are room temperature or cold. Place the first tortilla on a plate. Add some brown rice in a lengthwise strip towards the bottom of the tortilla closest to you. Top with some salsa verde chicken. Top with some kale, mushrooms and cheese, if using. Fold in each side then take the bottom of the tortilla closest to you and tightly roll it up and over the filling. Continue to roll up the burrito, tightly, tucking in the sides additionally as needed. Wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Set aside and repeat for the remaining tortillas and fillings. Place all the rolled burritos in a labeled gallon freezer bag and place in the freezer.
  4. To heat: Remove the burrito from the freezer. Remove and discard the plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place the burrito on a microwave safe plate and microwave at 70% power for 3 minutes. Sear the burrito in a sauté pan lightly sprayed with cooking spray over medium-high heat for 1 minute on each side, until lightly browned. If you don’t want to sear your burrito, microwave for a total of 5 minutes instead of 3.

 
Salsa Verde
 
Yield: About 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1-2 jalapeños, see note
  • ⅓ cup roughly chopped white onion
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves (can include top parts of stems)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Directions
  1. Add the tomatillos, garlic and jalapeño to a medium saucepan and then cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and simmer covered for 10 minutes. The tomatillos should become pale green and should be soft, but not falling apart.
  2. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomatillos, garlic and jalapeño to a high-speed blender or food processor. Add the onion, cilantro and salt then puree until smooth.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the salsa and cook until thickened slightly, about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve warm or refrigerate for later and serve cold or at room temperature.
Notes
If you don’t want your salsa spicy only use 1 jalapeño and remove all the seeds and pith before putting in the blender. If you like it spicy try 1 jalapeño with the seeds and pith and if you want it even more spicy you could add a second jalapeño.