A few weeks ago, when my post-holiday “lemonade” cleanse took an unexpected bad turn, I was left with more lemons than I knew what to do with.
So the challenge for the remainder of the week: make as many recipes that called for lemons. Those damn lemons were no match for my competitive drive and frugal mind – it was on like Donkey Kong! After tapping into a few of my favorite go-to recipes, trying new recipes from cookbooks and even asking for recommendations on Facebook (btw, thanks for all the wonderful ideas, folks!), I successfully used up every last one of those pesky lemons. A double bonus: I managed to incorporate many of my leftover CSA produce as well. Below are highlights of some of my favorite dishes from the “challenge.”
Pioneer Woman’s Baked Lemon Pasta
I love, love, love the Pioneer Woman’s cookbook and was thrilled to find this simple and delicious pasta recipe featuring the lemon as the star ingredient. You can easily adjust this recipe to feed a larger group if you’re entertaining. It also reheats wonderfully – I should know, I ate it for lunch for 2 days in a row .
Food Network’s Chicken with Lemon Herb Sauce
For this recipe, I opted to deglaze the pan with the herb sauce before serving it over the chicken. Flavor-wise, this was a good decision. The downside: the sauce went from a beautiful bright green to a poopy brown color – ick. I served the chicken with some brown rice and this recipe for grilled mushrooms basted with a “lemony” sauce.
Ina Garten’s Lemon Yogurt Cake
By midweek I was having a bit of a sweet tooth so I decided to step my challenge up a notch and face my ultimate fear in the kitchen: BAKING! I had actually seen a recent episode of Barefoot Contessa where Ina made this lemon yogurt cake and it took everything in me not to start licking the TV screen, haha!
I had some blueberries that I needed to use up so I added them to the glaze to give the cake a little extra pizazz. The cake was every bit as delicious as Ina promised it would be, but I actually prefer it sans glaze. Then again, I’ve never been a huge fan of glazes or frostings on my baked goods.
Chicken Souvlaki with Lebanese Tabbouleh
I have my lovely coworker Nathalie to thank for this meal — she responded to my S.O.S message on Facebook and shared her DE-LICIOUS Lebanese tabbouleh recipe. To round out the meal, I decided to keep with the Mediterranean theme and serve it alongside Cooking Light’s chicken souvlaki with homemade tzatziki sauce.
For those wanting to try the Lebanese tabbouleh, here is the recipe from Nathalie:
Serves a kajillion (but it stays fresh in the fridge for several days).
- 1.5 cups bulgur wheat
- 6-8 large tomatoes, finely diced
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 large bunch parsley, minced
- 3-4 fresh mint leaves, minced
- ½ cup good quality olive oil (Jenn’s Note: Since this isn’t a cooked dish, it’s important to get a very good quality olive oil)
- Juice of 10 lemons
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon (Jenn’s Note: the subtle hint of cinnamon really makes this dish!)
- ¼ tsp minced garlic (or to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Soak the bulgur in cold water; set aside. While the bulgur soaks, prep the remaining ingredients and mix together in a large bowl – adjust the seasonings to taste. (Jenn’s Note: I started off by adding about 1/3 of the lemon juice and gradually added more until the flavor was to my liking). Drain the bulgur and add to the rest of the ingredients; mix together well. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving.