Spring is excellent time to return lemons to the kitchen

Lemon dressing can be used on greens and pasta and roasted into juicy chicken. | Jodie Mirosovsky photo

Spring signals a time for a refreshing change in ingredients in our menus.

For me, spring often means using lemon. Whether it is their bright happy colour in the kitchen, their vitamin C content for immunity or their “pucker-up taste” in our palette, lemons are a welcome addition to recipes.

That good salad

This recipe comes with rave reviews. The lemon dressing is easy to make and can be used on any greens.

  • 1 c. slivered almonds 250 mL
  • 1 large romaine lettuce head
  • 2 c. cherry tomatoes,halved 500 mL
  • 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese 125 mL
  • 1 c. croutons, coarsely chopped (optional but a nice crunch) 250 mL

Dressing:

  • 1/4 c. lemon juice 60 mL
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 c. olive oil 175 mL
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • generous dash of lemon pepper

Add the almonds to a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, until lightly browned. Cool.

Chop the romaine into bite-size pieces. Place in a large serving bowl and add the remaining ingredients.

In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice and garlic. Pour the oil slowly into this mixture, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and peppers.

Toss the salad with the dressing just before serving. Makes six small servings as a side and four servings as a meal salad.

Variations: add fresh bacon bits, equivalent to about eight slices, to the salad for flavour, or some left-over chicken or beef cut into small pieces to make a meal salad.

Swap out the cherry tomatoes for fresh berries for a sweeter salad. Source: adapted from www.neighborfoodblog.com

Lemon cream chicken

Such flavourful chicken with healthy mushrooms.

  • 1/2 c. plus 1 tbsp. all-purposeflour, divided 125 mL plus 15 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper 2 mL
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 c. butter (you could use oil if desired) 60 mL
  • 1 c. chicken broth 250 mL
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream, divided 250 mL
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice 60 mL
  • 2 c. sliced freshmushrooms 500 mL
  • dash seasoning salt
  • 2 tsp. paprika 10 mL
  • 2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley(optional) 30 mL

In a shallow bowl, mix 1/2 cup flour, salt and pepper. Dip chicken breasts in flour mixture to coat.

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Cook chicken for five to seven minutes per side. Remove chicken, reserving drippings in pan.

Add broth to skillet over medium heat until the liquid bubbles. Then simmer, uncovered, until liquid is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 10 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup cream, lemon juice, mushrooms, seasoning salt and paprika. Cook for an additional five minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining flour and cream until smooth; stir into sauce. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, one to two minutes. Add chicken; heat through.

Top with fresh parsley if desired. Serves four to six. Source: www.tasteofhome.com

Lemon pepper pasta

A change from pasta with tomato sauce.

  • 1/2 of a 375 mL package of spaghetti or other pasta
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced (about 1 tsp. of garlic powder is equivalent)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil 60 mL
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (use first amount if you do not tolerate much heat; it’s available in the spice section) 1 – 2 mL
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, you can use less if desired 60 mL
  • 1 c. finely gratedParmesan 250 mL
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 c. chopped freshparsley 75 mL
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest 5 mL
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (adjust to taste and preferred tartness) 15 – 30 mL

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally until done al dente, which is about three minutes less than package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, big enough to hold the pasta, cook the garlic and the 1/4 cup of oil stirring until garlic is golden, about four minutes.

Then add red pepper flakes, and stir for about one minute.

Using tongs, transfer pasta to the skillet with garlic and crushed pepper, then add the butter, 3/4 cup of parmesan, 1 1/4 cup pasta liquid, salt and black pepper. Cook over medium heat tossing until the sauce is thickened and coats the pasta.

Remove from heat and mix in parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Note: Add in some chicken or protein of your choice. Also delicious with a few added green vegetables such as steamed asparagus or broccoli. Get creative.

Serves four. Source: www.bonappetit.com

Lemon pudding dessert

I made this for my mother-in-law for holidays. She always laughed and would say, just as good as lemon meringue pie and much easier for the cook.

  • 1 c. cold butter ormargarine 250 mL
  • 2 c. flour 500 mL
  • 1 pkg. softened cream cheese 250 g
  • 1 c. icing sugar 250 mL
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice 15 mL
  • 2 c. whipped cream or topping, divided 500 mL
  • 3 c. cold milk 750 mL
  • 2 pkg. (99 g) instant lemon pudding

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).

In a mixing bowl, cut the butter into the flour until crumbs form. Press into a 9×13 inch (22×33 centimetre) pan and bake for 18 minutes. Cool.

Next beat the cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Gently stir in one cup (250 mL) of the whipped cream or topping. Spread over the base.

For the third layer, beat the milk with the pudding mix (unprepared powder) on low speed for two minutes.

Gently spread over the cream cheese layer, let set for five minutes then top with the remaining whipped cream or topping. Refrigerate for one hour before serving and store leftovers in the refrigerator. The recipe makes 16 small pieces.

Italian lemon cookies

These little lemon bites melt on your tongue like a shortbread. So decadent served with hot tea, or an espresso if you want the Italian experience.

  • 1 1/4 c. flour 300 mL
  • 1/4 c. + 2 tbsp.cornstarch 90 mL
  • 1 pinch salt
  • zest & juice of one lemon (approximately 2 tbsp.)
  • 3/4 c. +2 tbsp. butter (softened) 200 mL
  • 1/2 c. icing sugar 125 mL

Lemon Glaze:

  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 45 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. icing sugar 375 mL
  • 1 zest lemon

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, salt and zest.

In another large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Then add half the flour mixture and the lemon juice. Beat to combine. Then add the remaining flour mixture and with a wooden spoon or spatula (or your hands) combine to form a dough ball. If the dough is sticky, add a bit of flour to the surface.

Transfer the dough to a large piece of parchment paper and roll the dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches (four cm) wide. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for one hour.

Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) slices. Place the slices on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for an 20 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 320 F (160 C).

Bake the cookies for five minutes, then raise the oven temperature to 350 F (180 C) and continue to bake for nine minutes. The cookies will be slightly golden.

Cool and remove from the baking sheet to a wire rack. Once cooled, the cookies can be either dusted with powdered sugar or spread with a lemon glaze.

Makes about 22 cookies.

To make glaze, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, icing sugar and zest until smooth. Source: www.anitalianinmykitchen.com

Cooking For a Crew Contest

TEAM Resources is looking for readers’ favourite recipes for feeding their crew, even if it’s only one or two people.

Send your “Cooking for a Crew or One and Two” recipe entries to team@producer.com or mail to:

The Western Producer

1000-3530 Millar Avenue

Saskatoon, SK

S7P 0B6

All entries must be received by April 30. A draw for a selection of cookbooks will be made from all of the entries.

Jodie Mirosovsky is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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