Lemon Bars

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Thoughts Before Baking:

This recipe is from Paula Dean’s cookbook The Lady & Sons, Too!: A Whole New Batch of Recipes from Savannah. I really wanted some lemon bars and like Dean’s recipes, so I thought I would test them out.

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Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Cup of Confectioners/Powdered Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Cup (2 Sticks) of Butter, at room temperature

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Lightly grease a 13X9 inch pan.
  3. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Cut in the butter to make a crumbly mixture.
  5. Press the mixture into the prepared pan, (you may need to coat your fingers with powdered sugar/flour to keep it from sticking to your fingers).
  6. Bake for 20 mins.

Filling Ingredients:

  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Cups of Sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 6 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice

Directions:

  1. Mix the eggs, sugar, flour, and lemon juice.
  2. Pour this over the baked crust and bake for 25 mins.
  3. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, when the bars are done.

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Thoughts After Baking:

I thought it was pretty tasty.

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It wasn’t as light and fluffy as I usually like it, but otherwise perfect.

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For more Paula Dean recipes, go to Polka Dot Macaroni and Cheese

For more lemon recipes, go to Sour Cream Lemon Pie

For more bar cookies, go to Apple Orchard Bars

For more desserts, go to Chocolate Covered Cherry Delights

 

Sour Cream Lemon Pie

Happy Pi Day!

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Thoughts Before Baking:

As you see above, today is Pi day so I decided to make a pie. I’ve been wanting to make a lemon pie, but was looking for something other than lemon meringue, as I’m not a huge fan of meringue. So I looked around on pinterest until I found this one. I had never had it before, but thought why not test it out?

The recipe comes from allrecipes.com for the crust and Bunny’s Warm Oven for the pie filling.

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Graham Cracker Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Cups of Finely Ground Graham Crackers (~9 crackers)
  • 1/3 Cup of White Sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons of Butter, Melted

Directions:

  1. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter.
  2. Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch pie pan.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7 mins. Cool.

 

Sour Cream Lemon Pie Filling

Ingredients:

  • One 9 inch Pie Shell Baked, or 9 inch Graham Cracker Crust
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 3.5 Tablespoons of Cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon of Lemon Zest
  • 1/2 Cup of Lemon Juice
  • 3 Egg Yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 1/4 Cup of Butter
  • 1 Cup of Sour Cream
  • Whipped Cream for Garnish

Directions:

  1. Combine sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, beaten egg yolks, and milk in a heavy duty metal saucepan.
  2. Stir.
  3. Cook the ingredients on medium heat, stirring constantly, until filling thickens. This takes about 10 mins.
  4. The filling will thicken and then boil. As soon as it boils remove from heat and add the butter.
  5. Stir until butter is well incorporated.
  6. Let it cool for 10 mins in the pan and then add the sour cream.
  7. Stir until incorporated.
  8. Pour filling into baked pie shell.
  9. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
  10. Garnish with whipped cream and serve.

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Thoughts After Reading:

The graham cracker crust didn’t come out right, it just fell apart. I think the next time I make it I would do a regular crust.

The filling was amazing, it was very thick and rich. Although I felt the whipped cream on top was overkill and it was better without.

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For more lemon recipes, go to Lemon Meringue Chiffon Cake

For more pies, go to With the 4th of July Comes Apple Pie

For more holiday posts, go to Cocoa M&M Cookies

For more pinterest recipes, go to Mozzarella Tomato Toast

For more desserts, go to Apple Orchard Bars

Lemon Meringue Chiffon Cake

lemon

So the title recipe of this book is Lemon Meringue Pie, something I was planning on making. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to do that recipe or any other from Lemon Meringue Pie Murderso instead I decided to use this delicious recipe.

Thoughts Before Baking:

This recipe comes from a 1971 Betty Crocker cookbook. One year my sister and I made dinner and dessert for my mother’s birthday, and when I asked what cake she wanted, she said this one.

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The picture looked great, and as I love lemon cake too, I thought this would be a winner.

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Ingredients:

Cake:

  • Betty Crocker Lemon Cake Mix

Lemon Filling:

  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons of Cornstarch
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Can (6 oz) Frozen Lemonade Concentrate, Thawed
  • 4 Egg Yolks, slightly Beaten

Meringue

  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Grated Lemon Peel
  • 1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice

Directions:

Cake:

  1. Bake the lemon cake according to package directions.
  2. Split the batter to make three layers.

Filling:

  1. In a medium saucepan mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
  2. Add enough water to the lemonade concentrate to measure 2 cups.
  3. Gradually stir the lemonade into the sugar mixture.
  4. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute.
  5. Gradually stir at least half of the hot mixture into the egg yolks. Stir the remaining half into the hot mixture in saucepan.
  6. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
  7. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat; and cool completely.
  8. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the lemon filling, setting it aside.
  9. Use the rest of the lemon filling to fill the layers.

Meringue:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Beat the 4 egg whites until foamy.
  3. Beat in 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time as you continue to beat until stiff and glossy. Do not under beat
  4. Fold in 1 teaspoon of grated lemon peel and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
  5. Frost the sides and top of cake with the meringue.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light brown.
  7. Thin reserved filling with hot water, and spoon over cake allowing some to drizzle down the side.

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Thoughts After Baking:

This recipe is long, complicated, hot, and quite a lot of work. But you know what? It is all worth it. This cake is so delicious, once a piece passes your lips you will forget how tired you are. And how many dishes you need to wash.

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For more cakes, go to Strawberry Shortcake

For more desserts, go to Pumpkin Rice Krispies

For more recipes, go to Dinomite’s Fluffy Bites

Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano

My-Fathers-Daughter-by-Gwyneth-Paltrow

Thoughts Before Cooking:

I really wanted to make this recipe as it is super hard to find recipes that use actual lemon juice from a lemon and not just the lemon zest.

Of course I don’t have as much money or resources as her so I had to do a few things differently.

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lbs of Spaghetti
  • Coarse Salt (I just used regular)
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 1/2 Cups of finely grated fresh Parmesan Cheese + some for later
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3-5 Tablespoons of Pasta Water
  • Handful of Basil Leaves (~4 Leafy Stems)

Directions:

  1. Shred Parmesan cheese.
  2. Boil the spaghetti in boiling water according to package directions.
  3. Grate the zest from the lemon (the lemon peel), and place it in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Cut the lemon in half and juice it. Add juice to the bowl.
  5. Add the parmesan cheese, pepper, salt, and olive oil to the bowl.
  6. Mix until it forms a wet paste.
  7. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it BUT save your water.
  8. Add 2-3 tablespoons of pasta water to the large mixing bowl.
  9. Add the spaghetti and toss throughly, coating all the noodles. Add more pasta water if needed.
  10. Roughly tear in the basil leaves.
  11. Serve each portion with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

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pasta

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Thoughts after cooking:

So in the preamble to the recipe Paltrow says [direct quote]:

“Again, easy peasy. Not only can this be made while the pasta is cooking, you have plenty of time to make a lovely salad and assemble a cheese plate for after dinner.”

Yes it is easy, but uh no you cannot have this done by the time the pasta is cooking. Parmesan cheese takes forever to grate, especially that much. Do it first as it will make everything a lot easier.

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I also hated how there were no pictures of this pasta in her book, instead all we have is a picture of a lemon. That’s not helpful when I am trying to gage whether my sauce is thick enough.

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I doesn’t work

However, this was amazingly delicious and I will definitely make it again.

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For more pasta recipes, go to Broccoli and Tortellini Salad with Pesto

For more recipes, go to Dark Choco Almond Butter Cookies

Best Guacamole Ever! (Plus Make Your Own Tortilla Chips!)

While My Pretty One Knits

So in While My Pretty One Knits, one of the characters, Suzanne Cavanaugh, makes guacamole. They give a recipe for it at the back of the book, but I chose not to follow that one. Instead I’m going to give you the best recipe for Guacamole ever, our old, very healthy, family recipe (I’m Mexican if you were wondering).

Guacamole

Thoughts prior to cooking:

I never used to like avocados or guacamole as a kid, but now it is like I want it on everything.

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  • Avocados
  • Lemon Juice

Wash the avocado and cut it in half. Remove seed.

Using a spoon, scoop out the innards, separating it from the outer skin, and placing it in a bowl. Mash the avocado.

Squirt a bit of lemon juice and serve. 🙂

Tortilla Chips

Now what is guacamole without chips? Well I’ll tell you how to make your own, healthier and cheaper ones.

  • Corn Tortillas
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Cut the corn tortillas into 8 wedges and lay them on a baking sheet.

When you have filled the sheet, lightly spray or squirt olive oil on them. Add salt to taste.

Bake them in the oven until crispy, be sure to flip them over from time to time.

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For more recipes involving avocados, go to Zucchini-Tomato Soup

For more recipes, go to Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken

Zucchini-Tomato Soup

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Thoughts prior to cooking:

This is another recipe that I discovered, not from a book, but online. As it was mysterious as to whether or not it would taste good I decided to post it. Now this isn’t the exact recipe, as I changed it quite a bit. The main reason why I wanted to try it was that I needed a vegetarian recipe and this seemed like it would be an instant hit.

The original recipe didn’t call for a lot of spices, so I decided to remedy that as I like my food flavored, not bland. I also added cheese to it, as I love cheese. So here it is.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 8 Medium Zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 4 Medium Carrots, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 1 Can of peeled chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Can of peeled chopped tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 28-oz cans of vegetable broth
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 Teaspoons of dried Oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped Parsley
  • 2 Large Avocados, cut into cubes
  • Lemon juice
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese

In a pot, heat the oil over medium heat.

Add the onion and cook, until translucent. Then add the zucchini, carrots, and the can of tomatoes and one half of the tomatoes & chile can (If you like your soup spicy add the whole tomato & chile can). Add salt to taste.

Add the vegetable broth, bay leaves, oregano, and parsley. If there isn’t enough juice to suit, add more water.

Bring to a boil and reduce heat, continuing to cook until all vegetables are tender.

Cut up the avocado and place it in a dish, Squeeze a little lemon juice on it and mix it up.

To serve, first remove the bay leaves. Ladle soup in a bowl and place avocado and cheese on top.

Enjoy!

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 Thoughts after cooking:

This was extremely delicious as the chiles really gave the soup an extra kick. The avocados and cheese were just perfect additions to the soup as well. I absolutely loved this and would totally make it again.

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For more recipes, go to Pasta e Fagioli

For more soups, go to Gazpacho