Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese

Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

Why do mini food items always taste better? Does their cuteness enhance their deliciousness? Or is it that knowing you can eat more of the tiny bites makes them even more irresistible? Whatever the reason may be, the mini raviolis in this dish certainly increase the tasty factor.

Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

And using store-bought raviolis and prepared sauce is a winning weeknight dinner combination. This pasta meal was an unplanned dish born from the ingredients in my fridge, but I was so happy with the results I decided to share it here on Lemon & Mocha.

Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

The sautéed garlic, shallots and sun-dried tomatoes tend to be my go-to pasta trifecta. They are the perfect base to almost any pasta dish, providing full-packed savory flavoring.

Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

The fresh spinach leaves are a great way to sneak in some veggies and are a great pairing for the ricotta-filled raviolis. The goat cheese adds a depth and creaminess to regular prepared sauce, almost giving it the taste of a vodka sauce.

Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

Feel free to swap out the spinach and use your favorites veggies to mix and match this pasta dish. I think asparagus and mushrooms or eggplant and zucchini would both be delicious variations. I might have to go give them a try!

Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha

Mini Raviolis with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach & Goat Cheese
 
Yield: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
  • 12 ounces fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, regular or garlic & herb
  • 1-2 cups prepared tomato sauce, depending on sauciness preference
  • 1 pound mini raviolis, prepared according to package instructions
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, if desired, for serving
Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the minced shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot has softened and started to lightly brown.
  2. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach leaves, a handful or so at a time, stirring often, until all the spinach has been aded and wilted.
  3. Stir in the goat cheese until melted. Add the tomato sauce and stir until warm.
  4. Carefully stir in the prepared mini raviolis until coated. Serve hot with freshly grated Parmesan, if desired.

 

Garlicky Stir-fried Bok Choy

Garlicky Stir-fried Bok Choy  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have two more simple dinner recipes here for you on Lemon & Mocha this week. First up is the third solution for my quick and healthy vegetable side dish dilemma. Asparagus with creamy orange sauce, steam-sautéed broccoli and now garlicky bok choy. I had never cooked with bok choy before this recipe, but I love vegetables so I was excited to try something new.

Garlicky Stir-fried Bok Choy  |  Lemon & Mocha

Matt and I enjoy cooking Asian stir-fries, but we get tired of always using broccoli and snow peas for our green vegetables. This garlicky bok choy is a delicious solution.

Garlicky Stir-fried Bok Choy  |  Lemon & Mocha

The vegetable itself is really mild so it takes on the flavor of the garlic and the soy sauce really well.

Garlicky Stir-fried Bok Choy  |  Lemon & Mocha

Did I mention that this recipe took less than ten minutes from start to finish? Talk about a simple dish!

Garlicky Stir-fried Bok Choy  |  Lemon & Mocha

Do you have a quick vegetable dish that is a staple in your kitchen? I’d love to try them out!

Garlicky Stir-fried Bok Choy  |  Lemon & Mocha

Garlicky Stir-fried Bok Choy
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1½ tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1¼ pounds bok choy, ends trimmed and discarded, stalks and leaves cut into 1” pieces (halve the stalks lengthwise if more than 1” wide); keep stalks and leaves separate
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Whisk together the broth, soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl until the cornstarch dissolves. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle add the book toy stalks. Stir frequently for 1 minute then add the bok choy leaves and prepared sauce.
  3. Stir the bok choy and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat when the bok choy is crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.

Recipe slightly adapted from Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables.

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

Remember last week in the asparagus with creamy orange sauce post how I went on and on about how I struggle with finding simple, healthy and tasty vegetable recipes? Well, I stumbled across another solution last week!

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

Behold: steam-sautéed broccoli! I’m sure plenty of folks have been using this quick technique for years, but I am giddy with excitement over it.

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

The broccoli gets lightly sautéed in the pan, a small amount of flavorful liquid is added before putting the lid on, and the broccoli steams up right in the pan!

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

I used chicken broth for the liquid and that combined with the garlic infused oil you sauté the broccoli in made it so shockingly delicious.

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

I came across this quick recipe in a new cookbook I found at the library that is filled 100% with only vegetable recipes. It is chock-full of gorgeous color photos, which is essential for a quality cookbook perusal. The author almost didn’t include this recipe because it was just a way to cook broccoli that she had been doing for years and it is so simple she didn’t even really consider it a recipe. But her sister requested it’s inclusion and I am so happy she did. No more plain steamed broccoli in my house!

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli  |  Lemon & Mocha

Steam-Sautéed Broccoli
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 small cloves or 1 large clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of broccoli, crowns cut into bite-sized florets and stalks peeled and diced, kept separately
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Place the oil and the garlic in a large skillet or pan then place over medium heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the diced broccoli stalks to the pan and cook for about 1 minute while stirring.
  2. Add the broccoli florets to the pan and stir to combine the broccoli with the garlic oil. Cook the florets for 3 minutes, or until the broccoli turns bright green in color.
  3. Add the broth then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan. Let the broccoli steam for about 5 minutes, or until the broccoli is desired tenderness. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.
Notes
If you prefer using only broccoli florets, simply omit the broccoli stalks.

Recipe slightly adapted from Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables.

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have huge news to share with you today. Huge! Among my overflowing collection of cookbooks, this chicken cordon bleu recipe from Cook This, Not That! is my absolute favorite. There may certainly be recipes I have that I crave more or that are more awe-inducing (cue my large dessert cookbook category), but when you compare those to a delicious, healthy, looks-fancy-but-only-took-me-30-minutes dinner? Game over, chicken cordon bleu for the win.

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Gooey melted cheese, savory ham, moist chicken, crunchy breadcrumb coating, and creamy honey mustard sauce all work together to create weeknight meal perfection.

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

When you make this dish your family and friends will think, “Wow, such a fancy meal! Such technique! He/she really pulled out all the stops for me!” When what you actually did was secretly quite simple.

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

First, you pounded out the boneless skinless chicken breasts until they were about ¼ inch thick. Think about that aggravating e-mail you got at work or that jerk that cut you off right before the stoplight and whack away with your meat mallet! If you want to save a little bit of time this step could be done the night before. Then layer two slices of ham and one slice of Swiss cheese on the cutlet.

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Completely roll up the chicken from the short end. It’s okay if some cheese or ham is poking out. Then dredge the whole rolled chicken in flour, then beaten egg, then panko bread crumbs. This part sounds bizarre and complicated, but just make sure you hold the chicken roll tight and you’ll be just fine. Bake the breaded chicken roll for 18 minutes and you’re done!

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Well as soon as you smother it in easy homemade honey mustard sauce… jeez Louise, pass me a fork!

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Honey Mustard Sauce
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the chicken cordon bleu
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 thin slices deli ham
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
for the honey mustard
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
Directions
for the chicken cordon bleu
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil and set aside. Place the flour, egg and panko each in their own bowl and set aside.
  2. Place 1 chicken breast on a cutting board and cover the chicken with plastic wrap. Pound the chicken until ¼” thick with a meat mallet or heavy skillet. Repeat for the remaining 3 chicken breasts.
  3. Layer 2 slices of ham and 1 slice of cheese on each chicken cutlet. Working one at a time, carefully roll up the cutlet from short end to short end. It’s okay if some of the ham and cheese is sticking out. Holding on tight to the rolled up cutlet, dip it in the flour bowl until completely coated, making sure to get the ends as well. Then dip in the egg mixture to completely coat, make sure the excess egg drips off. Finally, completely coat the rolled chicken in the panko bowl. I usually use my other hand to help coat and press the panko onto the chicken. Place the breaded chicken seam side down on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the cutlets.
  4. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and the breading is golden. Serve hot with the honey mustard sauce.
for the honey mustard
  1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, lemon juice and dijon mustard then adjust according to personal taste.
Notes
If you want the bottom of your chicken cordon bleu to be crispy as well, you can spray a cooling rack with nonstick spray then place on top of the baking sheet. I normally don’t do this, but I thought I would mention it.

Recipe slightly adapted from Cook This, Not That! Easy & Awesome 350-Calorie Meals.

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

These next couple weeks are all about simple weeknight recipes. Sometimes when I plan the meals for the week I have such large ambitions and enthusiasm. It’s a Sunday morning, I’m feeling well rested, and Matt and I are ready to head to the grocery store with nothing but a lazy day in front of us.

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Skip ahead to a regular weeknight. I was just at work for 9 hours, now I’m driving through traffic to pick Matt up at work and go home, we’re hungry, tired and that hour long multistep dish is so not happening. Sound familiar?

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I absolutely love cooking, but most weeknights, dinner is just something I want to get done so I can get to work on my to-do list, read or just flop on the couch. Lately, one of my biggest dilemmas has been coming up with different, but still quick, ways to cook our veggies. Enter this asparagus with creamy orange sauce!

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and orange zest are combined to provide a bright and tangy complement to steamed asparagus stalks. The sauce adds a little something extra to the asparagus while adding only a minute more of cooking time.

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

So keep it simple, but exciting, this weeknight and jazz up your veggies!

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Asparagus with Creamy Orange Sauce
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound asparagus spears
  • 2 tablespoons plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • Pinch of paprika, ground cayenne pepper or chili powder depending on heat preference
  • Slices of oranges for serving, optional
Directions
  1. Snap off the woody stems of the asparagus and discard. Steam until crisp tender.
  2. Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, zest and ground spice in a small bowl. Spread over the cooked asparagus before serving. Serve with the sliced oranges if desired.

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.