Janet's Notebook
Luscious Lemons Add Flavorful Twist to Mealtime

Roasted Shrimp and Lemon Salad

With the coming of warm weather so too comes my absolutely unquenchable thirst for homemade lemonade! The first batch of the season made an appearance at Easter dinner and now there's no going back. To me, lemons are like drops of edible sunshine... perfect for brightening so many dishes.

Gillespie, IL cook Gay Farrar long ago figured out a way to bring her own special rays of sunshine to the breakfast table. Her recipe for Lemonade Muffins is the perfect combination of sweet and tart.

"These are one of my daughter's favorites, not only to make but eat as a little girl," says Gay. "Now that she is grown and has a family of her own, she loves to make these muffins."

And frankly, so do we. The lovely lemony sweetness comes from a simple can of frozen lemonade concentrate. Talk about no muss, no fuss! I have designs on using PINK lemonade the next time around for an added whimsical twist.

For a lemony lunch, there's not much that I can imagine topping Roasted Shrimp, Corn, Orzo, Lemon and Parsley Salad. This salad from Atlanta's Amelia Schaffner is a mouthful, in more ways than one. Not only is it a tongue twister, but it's many bold, fresh ingredients will have you returning for seconds... and thirds.

"I made this recipe for my volunteering group and it was gone 'in a pinch'" exclaims Amelia. "Everyone loved it and wanted to know how I made it."

We couldn't be happier that Amelia decided to spill the beans to us about her recipe secrets. Not only does this salad serve up stellar flavor and nutrition, but it's flat-out pretty as a picture, too. Oh, and if you prefer a smokier grill flavor, Amelia suggests breaking out your tongs and tossing the shrimp and corn on an outside grill!

Jo Anne Sugimoto of Kaneohe, HI recently won a Blue Ribbon for her love of lemon and the wonderful way it melds with ginger, honey and soy sauce! Her Lemon Ginger Chicken is a treat for all of the senses. By combining common ingredients, she has managed to concoct an uncommonly tasty main course.

"[It] is a tangy, sweet and savory recipe for chicken. I think many of us like the combination of these flavors on our taste buds," she says. "Have a taste, go on, you'll love it!"

We did, and we do! Jo Anne recommends serving the chicken over sauteed vegetables and brown rice. The subtle, earthy flavors of the veggies and rice are a terrific compliment to the flavorful chicken. Add a glass of fresh lemonade and you've got a light, refreshing dinner for the whole family.

With a menu filled with lemon recipes it just wouldn't be right to sign-off without mentioning some of our favorite lemony desserts. You folks have submitted SO many great citrus sweets that it would be impossible to mention them all in this limited space. (So be sure to check them all out throughout the Club!) That said, I can't leave you without pointing out a few stand-outs!

Mary Nell Forester's Lemony Doodle cookies have not only one of our favorite recipe names to say, but also some of our favorite flavors to eat! This Missouri grandmother has combined the brightness of lemon with the classic richness of snickerdoodles.

"This is a recipe that came about because of my love of all things lemon," says Mary Nell. "My kids and grandkids love snickerdoodles (don't we all!) One night I was playing around and thought I want to make a lemon cookie, couldn't find a recipe that I liked, so decided that I would experiment. This is what I came up with!"

Mary Nell's family have given her the nickname "Goddess of the Kitchen" for making these fantabulous sweets. Talk about a ringing endorsement!

And finally, what is dessert-time without cake? I am a huge proponent of all things cake, and Brittany Clapp's Lemon Poppy Seed Cake is no exception. This exceptionally moist cake is the perfect ending to a perfect summer day. The glaze is the secret to all the lemony flavor - it's so good, we always make a double batch - while the poppy seed-laced cake boasts the slightest hint of delicate almond.

"This was my mom's recipe," says Brittany. "She passed it on to me through her hand written cookbook."

It's memories just like that that keep our cooking traditions alive and well in kitchens all across the country. By cooking and sharing the recipes we love, we are creating a legacy for our loved ones. It's the family dinners, the holiday traditions, the signature recipes that will be remembered... so be sure to add your own drops of sunshine to your mealtimes.

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Nancy Jensen - May 16, 2011
I LOVE this site! It has such an array of different recipes and it makes it fun to search for new ideas. Rids all of the drudgery of looking through cookbooks, recipe boxes or magazines. Other sites are fine, but yours really makes it fun, so I WANT to cook!
Sandy Owens - May 15, 2011
Oh my goodness I just think I have found heaven what a awesome website I could get lost in here. But I have to go to bed I'll be back though thanks I hope people try my rib recipe I have many many more that i plan to share with you. :)
Goldie Barnhart - May 13, 2011
Oh and don't forget my Lemon Crunch Dessert!! SOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!
Mary Nell Forester - May 10, 2011
That is just one of the nicest things! Thank you so much!