Recipes

Slow Cooker Short Ribs

Slow Cooker Short Ribs  |  Lemon & Mocha

This is a decadent, belly-warming, curl-up-on-the-couch-afterwards dinner. Isn’t that the epitome of a fall and winter meal?

Slow Cooker Short Ribs  |  Lemon & Mocha

These Slow Cooker Short Ribs are full of rich flavor and tender meat. It literally falls off the bone and there’s no knives required for eating this dish. I feel like I don’t use my slow cooker nearly enough, but it is perfect for these short ribs.

Slow Cooker Short Ribs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Short ribs are unapologetically rich so I fully embraced it and added crispy pork belly as well. If you’ve never had pork belly, it’s basically bacon before it has been cured and smoked. Like bacon, it gives off grease while it cooks, which we will be using to sauté the mushrooms, onions, carrots and garlic. Yes, you read that correctly, and no, we won’t be apologizing for it because it’s so delicious. The other reason I used pork belly is because it is a very inexpensive cut of meat; opposite of short ribs, which are definitely pricey. I used the pork belly and the mushrooms to help us stretch our meal out.

Slow Cooker Short Ribs  |  Lemon & Mocha

If the thought of using pork belly makes you nervous you could substitute in some slab bacon or even pancetta, although I’ve never tried it with pancetta so I’m not sure how much that would change the flavor profile. Short ribs are a pricier cut of meat so I usually make it for special occasions, such as Christmas dinner, but it is also one of Matt’s favorite dishes so a couple times a winter I’ll make it to treat ourselves.

Slow Cooker Short Ribs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Since it’s a heavier entree I like to serve it with cauliflower mashed potatoes to help balance the meal. Find that recipe here!

Slow Cooker Short Ribs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Slow Cooker Short Ribs
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2½ pounds bone-in short ribs or 1½ pounds boneless short ribs (see note)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ pound pork belly slices, cut into small pieces
  • 5 ounces whole cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • ½ onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 4 medium carrots, ends removed, scrubbed and cut into 1” pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley or 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2½ tablespoons water
Directions
  1. Season the short ribs all over with the salt and pepper, pressing into the meat as needed.
  2. In a large high-sided skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Brown the short ribs on all sides then place in the bottom of a slow cooker. Carefully wipe any excess oil from the skillet.
  3. Heat the skillet to medium-high and add the pieces of pork belly. Cook until browned, stirring occasionally, being cautious about any popping grease. Add the mushrooms, onion, carrots and garlic. Cook until lightly browned then add the contents of the skillet to the slow cooker. Add the beef broth, tomato paste, parsley and bay leaf to the slow cooker. Stir then slow cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. When the meat is tender, discard the bones and bay leaf. Then move the meat and veggies to a serving bowl leaving just the juices in the slow cooker. Keep the contents of the serving bowl warm. If there’s a lot of excess fat on the meat, place the fatty piece of beef on a cutting board and use a knife or fork to shred the meat away from the fat. Discard the fat and return the meat to the serving bowl.
  5. Skim the fat off the juices in the slow cooker. Transfer the juices to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water. Add to the boiling juices and let cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve the sauce with the short ribs and vegetables.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

Autumn Harvest Chili Stuffed Butternut Squash

Autumn Harvest Chili Stuffed Butternut Squash  |  Lemon & Mocha

As I’m writing this post it is cold, rainy and seriously gloomy outside, making it the perfect time to write all about cozy comfort food. This is an easy veggie-packed turkey chili that gets scooped into creamy roasted butternut squash halves. I’m feeling warmer just looking at these photos! I’m kidding, I’m still chilly, but now I’m also hungry.

Autumn Harvest Chili Stuffed Butternut Squash  |  Lemon & Mocha

Of course because I’m me, aka food-obsessed, I still remember the first time I made this dish. I made it for Matt and I in a teeny kitchen; I have no idea how I sliced the butternut squashes in half since our knife was horrible and probably missing the tip. Side note: for best and safest results, make sure you use a good, really sharp, big knife for halving the squashes. It probably took a lot of muscle, cursing, almost cut fingers and help from Matt, but when you’re determined to eat some chili in butternut squash bowls you can make anything happen!

Autumn Harvest Chili Stuffed Butternut Squash  |  Lemon & Mocha

When we sat down to eat it on our tv trays – there was no kitchen table – we were both in love. Then I didn’t make it again until now because my never-ending waiting list of recipes got in the way. Thankfully when I was looking back through my Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook cookbook I stumbled across it and knew I needed to make it again immediately.

Autumn Harvest Chili Stuffed Butternut Squash  |  Lemon & Mocha

My version is a bit different from the original for quite a few reasons, but one in particular is because I’ve added ground turkey instead of keeping the recipe vegetarian. If you do want to eat the meal meatless, skip the ground turkey and instead add in a can of black beans per Rachael’s recipe.

Autumn Harvest Chili Stuffed Butternut Squash  |  Lemon & Mocha

Since there’s a gooey layer of cheese over the top it’s a little difficult to see all the different vegetables packed in there. We have mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini, corn and onions – and don’t forget the butternut squash! Although I actually just Googled butternut squash and it’s a fruit because of its seeds, but it “is used as a vegetable,” whatever that means. I’ll take that to mean we’re “using it as a vegetable” in this dish so you’re being super healthy and can splurge on dessert, okay? Enjoy!

Autumn Harvest Chili Stuffed Butternut Squash  |  Lemon & Mocha

Autumn Harvest Chili Stuffed Butternut Squash
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 small butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces ground turkey
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into ½” dice
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Chili powder, see note
  • 1 can diced hatch chiles
  • 10 ounces frozen corn, or 3 ears of corn on the cob shucked
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 cup shredded yellow cheddar cheese
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Arrange the butternut squash, flesh side facing up, on a large baking sheet. Drizzle the squash halves with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil then season with salt and pepper. Flip the squash over so they’re flesh side down and roast for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, carefully turn the squash over and bake for another 15 minutes to brown the edges. If your squash are larger they will need more time to cook to become tender.
  3. While the squash is cooking, heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey, season with salt and pepper and cook until browned, breaking up in the pan as needed. Remove the cooked turkey from the skillet and set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the bell pepper and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and add the vegetable stock, smoked paprika, dried oregano, chili powder, can of hatch chiles, corn, tomato paste and maple syrup or honey. Using an immersion blender or a food processor, puree a cup or two of the chili mixture. This helps thicken it. Add the pureed chili back in (if you used a food processor) and add the ground turkey back in. Let cook for 5 more minutes then reduce heat to low until the butternut squash is done.
  5. When the butternut squash halves are done roasting and the chili is ready, scoop the chili into the butternut squash. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar over the mounded chili. Broil the filled squashes for 3 minutes to melt the cheese then serve.
Notes
I don’t like spicy food so I only used about ¼ teaspoon of chili powder. The original recipe calls for 2-3 tablespoons of chili powder so use according to your preference.

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!

Roasted Turmeric Spiced Cauliflower

Roasted Turmeric Spiced Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

This might sound weird, but I love cooking vegetables. Anyone else or am I the only weird one? When I was growing up we always only had steamed vegetables. After countless nights of steamed broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and asparagus, I thought of vegetables as boring, required food. I was required to eat them, which meant I required cheese sauce poured over all of them in order to do so.

Roasted Turmeric Spiced Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

When Diane and my Dad got married, Diane introduced me to exciting vegetables, like grilled zucchini and sautéed mushrooms. I realized that vegetables could taste not just bearable, but actually good, no cheese sauce involved – who knew? When I started cooking on my own, I quickly discovered how many ways there are to make really, really good-tasting vegetables. And not just delicious for a vegetable – just delicious period!

Roasted Turmeric Spiced Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love vegetables and definitely no longer think of them as a boring food group. With a ton of variety, both in ingredients and cooking techniques, this food group is anything, but boring.

Roasted Turmeric Spiced Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

However, I know a lot of people that don’t eat exciting vegetables, which is one of the reasons I love cooking them for other people. This Roasted Turmeric Spiced Cauliflower is one of those exciting vegetables. As I mentioned in last week’s Thai Peanut Chicken Tacos post, I’ve been experimenting more with different spices and the minute I tried this combination on crispy roasted cauliflower I was obsessed. The flavor is nutty, earthy and a little smoky, which is perfect for fall.

Roasted Turmeric Spiced Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sometimes I have them as a warm side dish and other times I throw them cold over a spinach salad. And sometimes I roast them and just start eating them off the baking sheet since they smell amazing and as usual I probably waited too long to eat lunch so I’m starving. However you decide to eat them I hope you make them soon to remind yourself how crazy tasty vegetables can be!

Roasted Turmeric Spiced Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 heads cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Place the cauliflower florets in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and ground black pepper. Pour over the cauliflower florets and toss to completely coat. You may want to really rub the tops of the cauliflower florets in the mixture to get them completely coated.
  3. Place the coated cauliflower florets on the prepared baking pan and spread them out. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until they are tender and browned. Top with the chopped fresh parsley before serving.

 

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

Yes, this is real life. We’ve taken a layer of cheesecake and stuffed it inside pumpkin bread. Not just plain cheesecake, but cookie butter cheesecake. This, my friends, is the one baked good you need to make this fall. And then again in the winter. And maybe even this spring and summer because you won’t have gotten enough of it yet.

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

The pumpkin bread on its own is the best pumpkin bread I’ve ever had. It’s moist, well spiced and packed with pumpkin flavor. A lot of pumpkin bread recipes end up being bland and too light on pumpkin flavor so I love that I found my perfect go-to recipe. It also has just the right amount of sweetness for me since I definitely have a sweet tooth.

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

If that wasn’t good enough on its own, there’s that cookie butter cheesecake swirled throughout the bread! I like the typical pumpkin and cream cheese pairing, but to me the plain cream cheese tends to overpower the pumpkin sometimes since its slight sourness is in such contrast with the warmly spiced pumpkin. I thought the brown sugar and cinnamon spices of the cookie butter would complement the pumpkin really well. And they do!

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

The cookie butter might even make it taste a little too good. I usually share all the treats that I make, but this was one I had a tough time parting with. I gave away two slices and the rest got cut up, wrapped and put into the freezer. Although I’m not sure why I bothered freezing it since it will most likely be gone by the time I even post this recipe. [Update: it’s most definitely all gone].

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you’ve never bought cookie butter, you can find it in a lot of stores now. I buy the Lotus Biscoff brand, which you can find on Amazon here, and Trader Joe’s has their own brand that’s pretty good as well. Already obsessed with cookie butter? Make my Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits pronto! Maybe even swapping the lemon curd for some pumpkin puree? Okay, I think I just found a recipe to post for next fall!

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread
 
Yield: 1 loaf
Ingredients
for the cookie butter cheesecake swirl
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup cookie butter
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt (any fat percentage, Greek or regular)
  • 1 large egg
for the pumpkin bread
  • 1⅓ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
Directions
for the cookie butter cheesecake swirl
  1. Beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add the cookie butter, yogurt and egg to the bowl and beat until combined. Set aside.
for the pumpkin bread
  1. Make sure your oven rack is positioned in the bottom third of your oven then preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5” loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add the sugar and pumpkin puree. Whisk to combine then whisk in the oil, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and egg. Add in the flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
  4. Scoop out and reserve 1 cup of the pumpkin batter. Pour the remaining batter into the prepared baking pan and spread it evenly. Use a spoon to scoop the cookie butter cheesecake mixture onto the pumpkin batter in the pan. Take the reserved 1 cup of pumpkin batter and pour it in a line down the center of the pan. Using a knife, swirl the batter and cheesecake layer by inserting the tip of the knife into the batter and dragging/swirling it about 5 times.
  5. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top of the loaf is cracked and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack for 30 minutes then carefully invert onto a plate or another cooling rack before flipping upright. Let cool completely. This will take at least another 1½ hours. Dust with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
Notes
You can substitute sour cream for the yogurt.

Recipe slightly adapted from Food Network.

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!

Mushroom Mac and Cheese

Mushroom Mac and Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

Today is Lemon & Mocha’s five year anniversary! Can you believe it? Five years ago today I published the first ever Lemon & Mocha blog post and here we are with another first – the first ever mac and cheese recipe on the site! Can you believe that? I can’t decide which thing shocks me more. I think, and anyone who knows me well will agree, that this being the first mac and cheese recipe is the most surprising part of today by far. I am OBSESSED with macaroni and cheese. I have been since I was a kid and I’m equally surprised I haven’t just turned into a big mac and cheese noodle so far. Although not for a lack of trying – check out my Halloween costume from last year!

Mushroom Mac and Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I was in middle school I would come home from school every day and eat an entire box of Kraft macaroni and cheese. I took my box mac and cheese very seriously, too. I remember one time being at my best friend’s house and telling her mom not to worry, that I would make the box of mac and cheese because I knew the secret way to make it taste best (more butter, less milk, is key!). Nowadays, I’m all about the Annie’s mac and cheese. But what I love most of all is a cheesy, gooey, flavor packed homemade macaroni and cheese.

Mushroom Mac and Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

The flavor packed part is really important because a quality mac and cheese needs to be more than just noodles and melted cheese sauce. It has to have depths to its flavors so each bite takes you on a flavor roller coaster. Not a huge upside down one, but like a medium curvy one so just when you think you’ve settled in another flavor curve hits your palate. I usually use multiple types of cheeses and a little dijon mustard in all my homemade mac and cheeses as a start for that extra depth of flavor.

Mushroom Mac and Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

This mushroom version is some next level mac and cheese though since it’s loaded with umami. If you aren’t familiar with the term, check out my Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms post! We’re sautéing both cremini and shiitake mushrooms in shallots and garlic before putting them in the dish so they’ve reached their peak deliciousness. We’re also using dried mushrooms, which get re-hydrated in some warm water before being sautéed. The reason we do this is so we create a rich mushroom liquid that we use right in the Mushroom Mac and Cheese. This lets rich mushroom flavor permeate every bite, even if you don’t get an actual piece of mushroom.

Mushroom Mac and Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve made this mac and cheese in the past, but this most recent time Matt and I couldn’t get enough of it. The minute I took my last photo I grabbed a fork and started eating it right from the serving bowl – smelling it while photographing had been tortuous! We didn’t want to eat it all over the weekend because it’s, you know, not the healthiest, so I froze a container of it. Needless to say, that container promptly got defrosted the next night!

Mushroom Mac and Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

I can’t believe this is the first macaroni and cheese recipe I’m posting on Lemon & Mocha, but I promise it won’t be my last. Also, how many times did I just type mac and cheese? It must be my favorite word combination. Thank you all so much for continuing to follow this journey with me! As much as I pour my heart into my cooking, I equally pour my heart into my writing each week and connecting with everyone in this tiny online space brings me so much joy. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

Mushroom Mac and Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

Mushroom Mac and Cheese
 
Yield: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 pound dried medium shell pasta
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces whole cremini mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1½ cups shredded fontina cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded sharp or smoked cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Submerge the dried mushrooms in the hot water. Let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. When they are done, remove them from the water, squeeze them out, then chop and place with the other chopped mushrooms. Make sure to reserve the mushroom stock.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9x13” baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta to al dente according to the box instructions. Drain.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallot and garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add the chopped cremini and shiitake mushrooms. Add the dried oregano and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the mushrooms have stopped releasing liquid and are browned. Set aside.
  5. In a large dutch oven or stock pot, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook for about 3 minutes, whisking constantly. The roux should be slightly darkened. Add the white wine, whisk to combine and let cook for 1 minute. Add the milk and whisk. Once the milk has warmed, add 2 cups shredded gruyere, 1 cup shredded fontina and 1 cup shredded cheddar, whisking after each addition. Once smooth, add 3 tablespoons of the mushroom stock (the water the dried mushrooms were in), the mustard and the cooked mushroom mixture. Stir to combine. Add the cooked pasta and stir to completely coat. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Pour the mac and cheese into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup shredded fontina cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes.