Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lemon Squares

Adapted from BHG Fast Fix One Dish Meals

Cookie Ingredients:
2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c butter, softened

Filling Ingredients:
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel*
3/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c milk

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x13" pan with foil; grease foil and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the 2 c flour, 1/2 c powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Using a pastry blender or large metal whisk, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Press the flour mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 18-20 min. until edges are golden brown.

4. Meanwhile, make filling: in a medium bowl, stir together the eggs, granulated sugar, flour, lemon peel, lemon juice, and milk.

5. When crust is done baking, pour filling over hot crust and bake in 350F oven for 15-20 minutes (or more) until the center is set.

6. Cool on a wire rack and sift powdered sugar over top. Cover and store in fridge.

* When I don't have fresh lemon peel/zest, I've used dried orange peel. Adds a nice, mild citrus flavor to the bars (note: also gives them a bit of a freckled look). I've also used a combination of lemon and lime juice or lemon and orange juice, when I've been low on lemon juice. Works just as well -- just provides a different flavor.

Crockpot Applesauce

8 large apples, peeled and cored (I used fuji)
2 cinnamon sticks
3/4 cup apple juice
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp maple syrup (or sugar or honey)

Place all ingredients in crockpot, stir, and cook 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Mash to desired consistency.

Creme de Menthe Brownies

Adapted from BHG Fast Fix One Dish Meals

Brownie Ingredients:
1/2 c butter
2 oz unsweetened chocolate (or 6 Tbsp cocoa* and extra butter)
1 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp mint extract
2/3 c all-purpose flour

Topping Ingredients:
1/4 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbsp green creme de menthe
1 oz semisweet chocolate
8 Andes mints or other layered mint candies (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375; grease an 8x8x2" baking pan and set aside.
2. Place 1/2 c butter and 2 oz chocolate in a double boiler or other saucepan and heat over low until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the granulated sugar, eggs, and mint extract. Beat lightly by hand until just combined, then stir in flour.
3. Spread batter in the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes and then cool completely (1+ hours) on a wire rack.
4. In a medium mixing bowl, beat 1/4 c butter with an electric mixer on med-high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add 1 c of powdered sugar. Beat in creme de menthe. Gradually beat in enough of the remaining 1/2 c powdered sugar to make frosting of spreading consistency.
5. Spread creme de menthe frosting over the brownies. In a small saucepan (or microwave) melt the semisweet chocolate over low heat, then drizzle over brownies. If desired, chop the layered mint candies and sprinkle them on the brownies.

Cover and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Makes 16 brownies, 231 cal each, 12 g fat, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein

* I have peppermint hot cocoa mix that I've used in this recipe, in lieu of the unsweetened chocolate. Because the peppermint cocoa is sweetened, I use less sugar, and a little less mint extract. Yum!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sweet and Sour Apricot Chicken Skewers

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

* 1 cup apricot jam
* 1 tablespoon soy sauce
* 1 teaspoon dried basil
* 1/4+ (to taste) teaspoon cayenne
* 2 lemons (5 oz. each)
* 1 pound boned, skinned chicken breast halves
* About 1/2 cup dried apricots
* Salt and pepper


1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat jam in a microwave oven at full power (100%) until melted, about 1 minute. Stir in soy sauce, basil, and cayenne.
2. Rinse chicken and pat dry; cut into 1-inch pieces.
3. Add chicken and apricots to the marinade and stir; refrigerate and soak as long as possible.
4. Rinse lemons and cut crosswise into (very thin!) 1/8-inch-thick slices. Discard ends and any seeds.
5. Thread 2 pieces of chicken onto an 8- to 10-inch-long skewer. Fold 1 lemon slice around 1 dried apricot and thread onto skewer through both sides of lemon slice. Repeat to fill 4 skewers equally. Set skewers on a rack in a foil-lined 10- by 13-inch broiler pan. Brush remaining marinade generously all over chicken and fruit.
6. Broil about 4 inches from heat, turning once, until chicken is no longer pink in the center (cut to test), 8 to 9 minutes total. If desired, set pan over high heat, add any remaining jam mixture, and stir, scraping up browned bits, until boiling; pour into a small bowl and serve with meat. Add salt and pepper to taste.