Lemony Chicken & Orzo

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After I typed up the recipe portion of this recipe, I looked up at our most recent posts and apparently we’re going a little overboard with the lemon (Lemon Blueberry Muffins, Lemon Blueberry Skillet Cake)! So sorry, but we’re featuring lemons again tonight. This is one of those recipes that got passed around because it’s just so good! My sister saw it on Half Baked Harvest and made it for my parents earlier this summer. My mom thought it was so good (and easy!) that she decided to make it for us in the week or so after we came home with the baby. We loved it too and now I have to add it to my repertoire (and share it on here…)

It’s a great dish that feels a little fancier than what we normally have on weeknights, but really isn’t that much work! It uses one pot and takes maybe 30 or 40 minutes to completely come together. And your protein, starch, and vegetable are all right there in the one pot! Win, win, win!

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Lemony Chicken & Orzo

(Adapted from the always delicious Half Baked Harvest)
Ingredients: 
  • 2+ tbsp neutral oil
  • 4 (bone-in, skin-on) chicken thighs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bunch kale, destemmed & roughly torn
  • 2 lemons (1 zested & juiced, 1 sliced)
  • Salt & pepper
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Generously season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp oil in cast iron skillet, dutch oven, or another stove & oven – safe dish over medium-high heat. Once hot, sear the chicken thighs, starting with the skin-side, for ~5 minutes on each side. Then remove the chicken to the side.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium. [If there isn’t enough oil/chicken grease, add another tbsp. We had plenty!] Add the garlic and orzo and cook, tossing frequently, for just 2-3 minutes.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Follow this with the chicken stock, lemon juice, lemon zest, and kale. You might have to add the kale in batches, pushing them into the liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil.
  5. Return the chicken to the pan. Nestle them into the liquid with the skin exposed and top with lemon slices. Place in the oven and cook for 15 – 20 minutes.
  6. Serve topped with an additional sprinkle of salt if desired.
Serves 4

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Happy Labor Day Weekend! The unofficial end of summer has arrived. You’d be hard-pressed to know that here though, given that it’s going to be sunny and in the upper 80s. We’re spending our weekend at “The Land” as we call it – in rural Amherst County. While we still have the last remnants of summer with us, here are some bright, summery muffins with summer favorite blueberries. These muffins come together pretty easily and are juicy and tart, not overly sweet. The perfect thing to have available for snacking over a long weekend!


Lemon Blueberry Muffins

(Adapted from here!)
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large lemon (zested & juiced)
  • 6oz fresh blueberries
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the first four dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, egg, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  4. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, as the mixer is running. Mix until well-combined.
  5. Gently stir the blueberries in by hand.
  6. Spoon into lined muffin tins. Bake for 15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to sit until cool enough to handle.
Makes 12 muffins

Lemon Blueberry Skillet Cake

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Today marks my first full week of being home with the baby on maternity leave alone and Selim’s first week being back at work. I’m learning that neither is easy. Selim has to get up early, after having frequently interrupted sleep all night, go to work all day, and be separated from this little baby he loves so much. Me, I don’t have to do most of those things, but my life completely revolves around this little 8 pound dictator. We’re lucky though – from what we understand, she’s a really good baby. (Of course, we think she’s the best baby in the entire world…!)

But I wanted to celebrate our first week back at work/home alone and have been thinking about making this cake all week. We have some lovely summer blueberries and several lemons that have been staring at me from our kitchen all week. I got this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Seasons & Suppers (as I’ve mentioned several other times on here… Other recipes of hers that we’ve tried & shared here: Prosciutto & Basil Topped Lemon Ricotta Pappardelle & Maple & Mustard Pork with Shallots). Every recipe from this blog looks amazing, partially due to her gorgeous photography, and every single one I’ve been has turned out wonderfully! The original recipe is just for lemon cake; I added the blueberries after thinking about the combination of lemon and blueberry for the past week. Most of the blueberries sunk to the bottom while baking, making this feel like halfway between a crumble and a cake at the end. It’s moist and flavorful; definitely a keeper even if it doesn’t exactly look like a cake in the end! Also, don’t be alarmed when your pour the liquid “sauce” over the cake batter at the end. It seems like a lot of liquid and maybe a bad idea and maybe you misread the recipe – don’t worry!

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Lemon Blueberry Skillet Cake

(Adapted from Seasons & Suppers)
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter + extra
  • 1 cup sugar (divided)
  • 2 lemons, juiced (divided)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 3/4 cup AP flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 {heaping} cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • Hot water
  • Powdered sugar
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 10 inch cast iron skillet (or a similarly-sized baking dish) with some extra butter.
  2. In bowl of stand mixer, cream together the butter and 1/2 cup sugar. Once combined, add in the juice of 1/2 a lemon.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly beat the 2 eggs together, then add them to the mixture. Follow this with the vanilla and milk.
  4. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add this into the mixture. Once combined, gently stir the blueberries in by hand.
  5. Now, spoon the batter into the greased skillet and spread out evenly.
  6. In another bowl, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with the cornstarch. Place the remaining juice from the other 1 1/2 lemons in a measuring cup. Additionally, fill to the 1 1/4 cup mark with hot water. Whisk this in with the sugar and cornstarch mixture.
  7. Once combined, gently pour over top of the batter and immediately place in the oven.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle with powdered sugar prior to serving.

Lemon Aioli

 

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We made this light lemon aioli to dip our Shrimp Beignets in, which was a nice contrast the the fried spiciness of the beignets. This aioli is light and almost delicate – not so sour as to make your mouth pucker! It worked great as a dip for our beignets, but I think it would pair well with all sorts of seafood-based dishes.

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Lemon Aioli

Ingredients: 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup neutral oil
  • Zest from 1 large lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
Instructions: 
  1. Place garlic and egg yolks in a medium bowl.
  2. Zest the lemon into the bowl.
  3. Slowly drizzle the oil into the bowl, whisking continuously.
  4. Once base has come together, stir in the lemon juice.
  5. Refrigerate if not eating immediately.

Prosciutto & Basil Topped Lemon Ricotta Pappardelle

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Awhile back, I (probably via Pinterest let’s be honest) came across Seasons & Suppers. This food blog, or “online food and cooking diary,” as its author describes it, is honestly what I aspire for our blog to be. First off, we like to think of our site as our own personal culinary diary as well. Secondly, her photography is gorgeous. Gorgeous is an understatement. Breathtaking. Spectacular. Drool-inducing. Stunning. Insert whatever superlative adjective you prefer. And all of the recipes I see on the site, I immediately want to make. Somehow, Jennifer (the author) produces dishes that are homey and down-to-earth, without “fancy” ingredients or techniques, yet every dish seems fit to serve the Queen of England. I distinctly remember the day I discovered the site. I just kept clicking and pinning, clicking and pinning. I wanted to save ALL of the recipes to attempt myself! With all of this being said, this is the first recipe of hers we’ve attempted. Why? I don’t know, but I suspect that deep in the recesses of my brain I don’t want to see my results side by side with hers.

When we decided to have pasta for dinner tonight, I immediately thought of this recipe I’d seen from Seasons & Suppers a few weeks back – Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Prosciutto and Pea Shoots. How perfect for spring! Ricotta provides for a lighter sauce than many other pasta dishes (like our favorite Homemade Pasta Carbonara) and the lemon certainly adds spring-like brightness. We did make a few changes for our version, namely the addition of basil and homemade pasta, but what a beautiful inspiration! One tip: eat immediately after serving. As the ricotta cools, it becomes less sauce-like. It tastes delicious either way.

In conclusion? Go check out Seasons & Suppers for beautiful food photography and a plethora of recipes. And then try this pasta dish, whether her version or ours!

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Prosciutto & Basil Topped Lemon Ricotta Pappardelle

(Adapted from Seasons & Suppers, clearly)
Ingredients: 
  • Pasta
    • 1 1/3 cup AP flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 eggs
  • Sauce
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 shallot, minced
    • 1 1/2 cups ricotta
    • 2 lemons, zested & juiced
    • Fresh ground black pepper
    • Pinch of salt
    • 6+ slices of prosciutto, torn
    • Fresh basil
Instructions: 
  1. Prepare pasta as described in Our How To Make Basic Pasta.
  2. Once the dough has set, roll out and divide into quarters. Using the pasta roller attachment on the stand mixer, flatten out (to #5 if using KitchenAid’s model) or do it by hand. Slice into ~ 1/2 inch ribbons. Let the flattened dough rest on a floured surface.
  3. Meanwhile, in a deep sauté pan, or a sauteuse pan, heat the olive oil over medium. Once hot, add the shallots. Cook for 5 minutes, until fragrant.
  4. Mix together the ricotta, 1/3 cup of lemon juice & 2 tbsp zest, and several turns of fresh ground black pepper. Pour into the pan with the shallots. Turn heat down to low.
  5. When ready to cook the pasta, bring large pot of water to a boil. Salt liberally. Cook pasta for just 2 minutes, until al dente.
  6. Drain the pasta, reserving some pasta water. Add pappardelle to the pan with the ricotta sauce and toss well. Thin the sauce as desired with reserved pasta water (we did not use any). You may increase the heat here if your sauce isn’t quite hot, but do so gently.
  7. Once the sauce is warmed to your liking, serve the pasta into bowls and top with torn prosciutto, basil, a pinch of salt, and more fresh pepper if you desire.
Serves 2-4

Tangy Rice Pot with Chicken and Green Beans

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Let’s talk about sumac. In the US, it’s not a very common ingredient. I’m going to be 100% honest with you, internet… When I first saw a recipe with sumac as an ingredient, I immediately though about poison sumac, the third in the itchy trifecta of poisons ivy, oak, and sumac. Why would anyone want to eat that?? No one wants to and turns out, no one is. Looking into it, I learned that the sumac spice is made of ground Rhus coriaria berries, one of several dozen of plants in that genus. Poison sumac on the other hand is officially Toxicodendron vernix, but it used to be known as Rhus vernix! Hence the colloquial name that matches the other sumacs.

I came to realize that I’ve had sumac many times before, in restaurants and in pre-made spices mixes like za’atar. I just didn’t know what it was! When we started cooking more Turkish dishes since we started this blog, the lack of sumac in my spice cabinet became more noticeable. {Check out our sumac tag for other recipes we’ve made featuring this spice!} It took us a little while to find some, but check out your nearest Middle Eastern or Mediterranean grocer. Now that I’m an experienced sumac consumer, I want to put it on everything! I mean seriously, I have no idea why this spice hasn’t crossed over into mainstream American kitchens yet… It is delicious and can add such a unique flavor to many different dishes. I made up this dinner around the leftover lemon I had in the fridge from making Lemon-Lime Ricotta Cookies, and I thought I’d combine tang with tang and add the sumac. It worked well without being too sour or overpowering. It’s a perfect one pot dish for a weeknight, with fairly minimal hands-on cooking time.

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Tangy Rice Pot with Chicken & Green Beans

Ingredients: 
  • 1 tbsp+ neutral oil
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup rice, uncooked
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (~3 tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • ~1lb fresh green beans, snapped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • Salt & pepper
Instructions: 
  1. Select a saute pan with tall sizes (alternatively, a dutch oven would work). Heat the oil over medium.
  2. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and season with salt & pepper. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pan. Cook for just 3-4 minutes, reducing the translucency, and then remove to the side. (The chicken will not be cooked all the way at this point.)
  3. Add a bit more oil if needed, then cook the garlic and onions. Season with some more pepper. Cook until fragrant and softened, ~5 minutes.
  4. Return the chicken to the pan, along with the rice, stock, spices, and lemon juice. Stir. Make sure rice is submerged in the liquid.
  5. Top with the green beans, pushing them down into the liquid gently. The green beans do not have to be completely submerged.
  6. Bring to a boil and then immediately lower heat to low. Cover, ensuring that the liquid is only lightly simmering.
  7. Cook over low heat for 30-40 minutes. Roughly halfway through, stir and then re-cover.
  8. Watch closely towards the end. Depending on your variety of rice, you may need a little more liquid or a little more or less cooking time.
  9. Season with additional salt as need. Ours definitely needed it, but we also used salt-free chicken stock.
Serves 4.

Lemon-Lime Ricotta Cookies

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This is our last batch of end-of-the-rotation thank you treats. Why? Because this week we are completing our LAST clinical rotation!! We graduate in almost exactly ONE MONTH, on May 11th! We’re really looking forward to be gainfully employed adults again.

⇑⇑ Current excitement level ⇑⇑

But don’t worry, we have one more delicious treat for this last month. These cookies are soft and almost cake-like, as is typical of Italian cookies made with ricotta, and full of bright citrus flavors. I think they’re just perfect for spring! Light and bright = spring, right? While Pinterest-ing, I kept coming across people saying how they usually “don’t like ricotta cookies because they’re boring.” Is that a thing? Who are you people who don’t like light, fluffy, cake-cookies? The whole point is that they TASTE good right??

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Lemon-Lime Ricotta Cookies

(Adapted from My Baking Addiction via Pinterest)
Ingredients: 
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 16oz (whole fat) ricotta
  • 2 tbsp lime juice, divided
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice, divided
  • Zest from 2 limes
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In stand mixer or with a hand-held mixer, cream together sugar and butter.
  3. Sift together the dry ingredients in another bowl (flour, baking powder, salt).
  4. Zest and juice the citrus fruits. Combine the zests in a small ramekin and set aside. {You’ll likely only need the juice from 1 lemon and 1 lime, but I like to have the zest from both.}
  5. Add the eggs, ricotta, half of the citrus zest, and 1 tbsp each of lime & lemon juice to the bowl with the sugar and butter. Gently stir together.
  6. Slowly add in the bowl of sifted dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  7. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Drop dough onto the cookie sheet in dollops of ~2tbsp each.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the bottoms are a golden brown.
  9. Rest cookies on a rack to cool until easy to handle (15-20 minutes).
  10. While cookies are cooling, prepare the glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar, the other 2 tbsp of lemon juice & 1 tbsp lime juice each, and remaining zest.
  11. Once glaze is smooth, dip the cookies into the glaze. Return the glazed cookies to the rack to sit until the glaze has hardened (~2 hours).
Makes ~4 dozen