Recipes

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil  |  Lemon & Mocha

Look at this sizzling skillet of juicy pork chops and caramelized peaches! Ugh, this meal was so good. Both Matt and I decided we would love to have these Skillet Balsamic Pork Chops with Feta and Basil along with the Summer Peach Greek Quinoa Salad every week this summer.

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil  |  Lemon & Mocha

Of course that will never happen since I’m always too busy trying out new recipes, but I’m determined to fit it into our busy meal schedule at least a few more times this summer because I already cannot wait to eat it again.

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil  |  Lemon & Mocha

This was my first time cooking bone-in pork chops and I was super impressed with how flavorful and juicy they were being cooked in our cast iron skillet. The pork chops get a nice sear on the stove-top before adding in an easy sauce of balsamic vinegar, honey and oregano that gets thickened as the pork chops cook. Fresh peach slices are added to the skillet and then the whole dish is broiled in the oven so the peaches can get caramelized.

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil  |  Lemon & Mocha

Final touches include some salty feta and sweet basil and you have yourself a drool-worthy, company-worthy and easy dinner. I was skeptical of how the finished dish would taste since I had previously tried a peach and chicken dish that I did not care for, but the peach and pork combination is a definite winner.

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you don’t have a cast iron skillet you can use any oven-safe pan instead, or you could sear in a pan then transfer to a baking dish for the broiling portion, but I highly recommend getting yourself a cast iron skillet so you can easily make stove-top to oven dishes like these Skillet Balsamic Pork Chops, this Strawberry Dutch Baby or this Caramelized Onion and Apple Dip. I hope you all enjoy this meal as much as we did!

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil  |  Lemon & Mocha

Skillet Balsamic Peach Pork Chops with Feta and Basil
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 bone-in pork chops, about ¾” thick
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 peaches, pitted and sliced
  • ⅓ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Feta, for topping
Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper. When the olive oil is hot, add the pork chops and sear both sides for 3-4 minutes each. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
  2. While the pork is cooking, whisk together the balsamic, honey and oregano. When the pork has 2 minutes left in cooking time, pour the balsamic mixture over the pork. Remove from the heat when the pork has reached 145 degrees F and add the peaches. Broil the skillet for 4-5 minutes or until the peaches are lightly charred. Top with the basil and feta before serving.

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Recipe slightly adapted from Half Baked Harvest.

Summer Peach Greek Quinoa Salad

Summer Peach Greek Quinoa Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve been sharing a lot of appetizer and dessert recipes lately, but I have a whole bundle of dinner recipes that I cannot wait to post here on Lemon & Mocha. Matt and I have definitely been living the good life with our meals the last couple of weeks! I’ve done a lot of experimenting in the kitchen and I’m sharing the very best ones with you all this month.

Summer Peach Greek Quinoa Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

One of these dishes is this Summer Peach Greek Quinoa Salad. I can’t get enough of fresh fruit all summer long, but one that I look forward to the most are juicy, sweet peaches. Last year summer had passed by and I had only managed to share one peach recipe on the blog – these Raspberry Peach Turnovers with a Fresh Raspberry Glaze. So I immediately started brainstorming peach recipe ideas for this summer.

Summer Peach Greek Quinoa Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have a few peach dessert recipes already here on Lemon & Mocha so my mind went the savory route and I got this idea in my head of a Greek quinoa salad with peaches in it. Of course since I thought of it after peak peach season was over I had to wait until this summer to test out of my creation.

Summer Peach Greek Quinoa Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

The verdict? SO good. The ingredients are simple; quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta and a quick homemade Greek vinaigrette plus the sweet peach twist. This Summer Peach Greek Quinoa Salad doesn’t have to be a dinner dish as you could certainly serve it for lunch or as a side at a barbecue, but Matt and I had it along an incredible pork dish that I’ll be sharing on Wednesday and it was pure perfection!

Summer Peach Greek Quinoa Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

What summer fruit do you look forward to the most?

Summer Peach Greek Quinoa Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Summer Peach Greek Quinoa Salad
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (or 3 cups cooked)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved (about 12-13)
  • ¼ red onion, minced
  • ½ English cucumber, small diced (about ⅔ cup)
  • 1 fresh peach, pitted and diced
  • ½ cup feta crumbles
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Combine 1 cup uncooked quinoa with 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool; the quinoa should be cooked and the water should be absorbed.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, dried oregano and garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a mixing bowl, toss together the cooked quinoa, tomatoes, onion and cucumber. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Gently stir in the diced peach and feta crumbles. Add more feta if desired.

 

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl  |  Lemon & Mocha

Ever since Matt and I went to Seattle in 2013 I’ve been a sucker for any chocolate cherry combination. While we were there on vacation we did a food tour of Pike Place Market and one of the vendors they introduced us to was Chukar Cherries. They source their cherries right in the state of Washington and make all kinds of cherry goodies. It began an instant love affair and Matt and I have ordered deliveries from them several times just to satisfy the occasional craving that still pops up six years later.

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl  |  Lemon & Mocha

Their chocolate covered cherry treats single-handedly converted me to a fan of the chocolate cherry flavor profile in all forms. Including this easy and healthy Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl. The chocolate flavor hits you first, but then the fresh cherry flavor comes through and you’re in chocolate-cherry heaven. The texture is similar to the Chocolate Tahini Banana “Soft Serve” recipe I posted back in March, which is that it is like partially melted ice cream. This chocolate cherry version is more of a smoothie bowl because I included some nonfat milk, although you can use whichever milk fat or milk alternative you prefer.

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl  |  Lemon & Mocha

I stumbled upon this Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl recipe last summer while I was trying out different desserts that would satisfy my after-dinner sweet tooth and chocolate craving, but that were still relatively healthy. During one hot week last summer I had it for dessert every night. You can use either a fresh or frozen banana, but I prefer using a fresh banana since it’s easier to blend in my blender, I never remember to put bananas in my freezer and I like the more melty texture of the smoothie bowl. Matt prefers the thicker texture of the smoothie bowl with the frozen banana so it’s totally up to you.

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl  |  Lemon & Mocha

The frozen cherries and the frozen cauliflower, which I snuck in there for some veggies, provide plenty of frozen goodness to the bowl. I figured this treat might be especially welcome after all the 4th of July hot dog and flag cake consumption so I hope you enjoy!

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup nonfat milk (or milk of your preference)
  • 1 frozen banana (or unfrozen if you like it more melty)
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • ¼ cup frozen cauliflower florets
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon agave (or honey)
  • Fresh pitted cherries, chocolate drizzle and granola, for topping
Directions
  1. Blend the milk, banana, cherries, cauliflower, cocoa powder and agave in a high-speed blender until smooth. Top with desired toppings and eat immediately.

Recipe adapted from Sprouting Zen.

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

How fun is this Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter? As I’ve mentioned in past posts, Babu and I used to make a classic flag sheet cake every Fourth of July. Now my new tradition seems to be coming up with a tasty new alternative every year instead! I really enjoyed putting together last year’s Flag Fruit and Dessert Platter and I wanted to do something similar this year.

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

Just like mini appetizer food, dessert boards encourage informal snacking and eating, which is especially welcome during lazy summer barbecue parties. When it’s hot out and all the yummy fruits are in season during the summertime I find myself craving fruity desserts. Even better if they’re light and refreshing. This red, white and blue platter essentially turns an already simple dessert into a top your own angel food cake bar.

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

The white stripes consist of chunks of fluffy angel food cake. Buy it at the store, bake it from scratch or use a box mix; totally up to you! I went basic with the red stripes and just layered juicy strawberries. Strawberries, raspberries and pitted fresh cherries are all great choices that would pair well with the angel food cake.

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

For the blue section of the flag I have a quick sauce made with blueberries. It was my first time making this easy four-ingredient sauce from Barefoot Contessa and it will definitely not be my last. Striking the perfect balance of sweet and tart, the blueberry sauce tastes so good drizzled all over the angel food cake and fresh berries.

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

Finally, in a bowl nearby since it doesn’t really fit into the flag is some homemade whipped cream because you can’t have summer cake and berries without whipped cream! If you’re going for all simple this holiday then just break out some Cool Whip. I promise no one will complain. However, if you do take the extra few minutes to make the fresh whipped cream then I also promise you will have some extra rave reviews of your top your own angel food cake bar. Enjoy and have a great holiday!

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter
 
Yield: 1 platter; 2 cups blueberry sauce
Ingredients
for the platter
  • 1 angel food cake, cut into cubes
  • 24 ounces strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
for the blueberry sauce
  • 1½ pints blueberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Directions
for the platter
  1. Arrange the cake cubes on the platter in stripes, leaving room for the strawberries and a bowl filled with blueberry sauce in the upper left corner. Place the strawberries on the platter right before serving.
  2. In a cold metal bowl of a stand mixer or in a large cold metal mixing bowl with a hand mixer, use cold beaters to beat the heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it. You can make the whipped cream a day ahead, just store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve then lightly beat with a whisk.
for the blueberry sauce
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the blueberries, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and ¼ cup water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. The sauce should be thickened. Remove from the heat and blend in a blender or with an immersion blender. Alternatively you could strain in a mesh strainer to remove the blueberry chunks. If you prefer the chunks of blueberries in the sauce then you can just leave it as is. Cool to room temperature then store in the fridge until ready to serve.
Notes
I used a box mix and baked it in two square baking pans. I lined the baking pans with parchment paper then made the angel food cake according to the package instructions, baking at 325 degrees (my pans were nonstick) for 35 minutes, or until the tops were dark golden. When they came out of the oven I leaned the pans on their sides and when they were mostly cool I took them out of the pans and cut them into cubes.

Blueberry sauce recipe adapted from Ina Garten.

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Even though it’s still June I’m here sharing the Food Network Magazine July cookies because they are perfect for the Fourth of July. Like the May macarons I skipped, these cookies were slightly involved, but there’s also ice cream so of course I stuck it out.

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Have you ever made homemade ice cream sandwiches? I have a handful of times, but they can be difficult to get right because the texture of the cookies is so important. The cookies needs to be soft enough that they don’t get too hard in the freezer so you can actually bite through the ice cream treat. They also can’t be too soft that the cookie falls apart when you try to put the ice cream sandwich together.

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

One thing the Food Network Magazine got right was definitely the texture of the cookies for these Ice Cream Sandwich Stars. I thought they were too soft and underdone when I baked them, but they ended up being just the right texture for ice cream sandwiches. The cookies have a malted milk vanilla flavor that isn’t too sweet, which is another reason they work well for making into ice cream sandwiches. I would not recommend baking and eating these cookies on their own; they seem specifically designed for consuming with creamy vanilla ice cream.

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you get the Food Network Magazine then you know their version of these cookies are bright cherry red. I did run out of red gel food coloring so mine shown here only have half the amount the recipe below calls for, but even with the full amount I’m not sure how the cookies would ever be that color since the cookies get fairly browned by being baked in the top 1/3 of the oven. I’m curious to see if anyone else is able to get the ice cream sandwiches that bright red color or if it was all food styling and editing tricks.

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Either way, they still looked cute with all the Fourth of July red, white and blue sprinkles. I have an easy red, white and blue dessert I’ll be sharing next week right before the holiday so stay tuned!

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars
 
Yield: 9 ice cream sandwiches
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons red gel food coloring
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup malted milk powder (such as Carnation original)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Red, white and blue nonpareils or 4th of July sprinkles, for decorating
  • 3 pints vanilla ice cream
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 with the rack positioned in the upper third of the oven. Line a rimmed 13x18-inch baking sheet with parchment paper, buttering the pan so the parchment paper stays put. Butter and four the parchment, tapping out the excess flour.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the vanilla, food coloring and milk. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, malted milk powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, shortening, sugar and brown sugar on low speed until combined. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks, beating after each addition, until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the flour mixture then beat on low until just combined. Add the milk mixture and beat on medium until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and then spread until even. Sprinkle the nonpareils or sprinkles over top then bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake is just set. Cool completely in the pan set on a wire cooling rack. Once cool, use a 3¼-inch star cookie cutter to cut out 18 stars. Let the cookie stars sit in the fridge to firm up until you are ready to sandwich then with the ice cream.
  4. While the cake is baking and cooling, cut out the ice cream stars. Line a baking sheet (that will fit in your freezer) with parchment paper. Take 1 pint of ice cream out of the freezer. Turn it on its side and cut into ½-inch thick slices, right through the cardboard and ice cream, starting with the wide end. You will get 3 to 4 slices out of the pint. Place the pint slices on the parchment and remove then cardboard wrapping then place the baking sheet in the fridge to firm up. Once the slices have firmed up, use a 3¼-inch star cookie cutter to cut the slices into stars, placing the ice cream scraps in a container for another use. Put back in the freezer then repeat with the remaining two pints.
  5. Once the ice cream stars are firm enough to handle, working with a few at a time sandwich the ice cream stars between 2 of the cookie stars. Return to the freezer until ready to eat. If not eating right away, wrap them in plastic wrap after they’ve had a chance to firm up.

 Recipe from January/February 2019 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!