Archive for the ‘What’s For Dinner’ Category

How To Make Sorbet Out Of Juice

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

For Christmas, my uncle always sends me a really generous Williams-Sonoma gift card. It takes me WEEKS to decide what to buy with it, since Williams-Sonoma is pretty much my favorite store on the planet. Sometimes I blow the whole thing on something huge, like my KitchenAid mixer and sometimes I break it up into a bunch of small but useful things, like the year I got a strawberry huller and some treats and some spatulas and the best kitchen tool ever. This past year I split it between a grill tray and an ice cream maker – the Cuisinart Stainless-Steel 2 Quart Ice Cream Maker to be exact (Five stars! Highly recommend!)

And then I let it sit in my basement for 5 months, waiting for ice cream weather. Once the warm weather arrived, I spent hours online looking for the best, most delicious, most complicated ice cream and gelato and frozen yogurt and sorbet recipes. But in the end, it turns out EASY and ON-HAND beats fanciest every time so I’ve perfected a recipe for turning whatever-the-heck you have in your fridge into delicious, refreshing sorbet.

how to make sorbet out of juice

When I say juice, I literally mean any kind of juice. Grape, pineapple, cherry, whatever. You could make carrot sorbet if you wanted to, although that’s not really my cup of tea. TEA is more like my cup of tea, since the Sweet Tea Sorbet I made barely got photographed before I shoved it all into my face.

Here are a few of the kinds I made in the past week:

orange mango tango sorbet

Newman's Own Orange Mango Tango Juice

pink grapefruit sorbet

Stop & Shop Ruby Red Grapefruit 100% Juice

V8 Fusion Pomegranate Blueberry Juice

V8 Fusion Pomegranate Blueberry Juice (hidden veggies!)

Market Pantry (Target) Sweet Tea

Market Pantry (Target) Sweet Tea

Welch's White Grape Peach Mango

Welch's White Grape Peach Mango Juice

Are you ready for the recipe yet? Gentlemen, start your ice cream makers!


1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 cup juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest

Put the water and the sugar in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is all dissolved, then simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer syrup to a container and refrigerate until cold*. Zest a lemon – use a vegetable peeler if you don’t have a zester and chop up the zest a little. Then cut the lemon in half and squeeze out all the juice. Add the lemon juice and zest to your syrup. Once everything is cold, pour the syrup/lemon mix and the 1 1/2 cups juice into your ice cream maker**. Following your machine’s instructions, let it churn until it’s frozen (mine takes about 25 minutes). Eat as is – it will be a little soft – or transfer to an airtight container and freeze for a couple hours until it’s more like store-bought sorbet. SO GOOD. Don’t forget to put your ice cream maker bowl back in the freezer to make more tomorrow.

*Look, you just made simple syrup! You can make it in larger batches using the same 1/1 sugar/water ratio and keep it on hand for more sorbet or other delicious things like a blueberry gin gimlet or sparkling lemonade.

**This is SO SUPER EASY with an ice cream maker, but if you don’t have one you can just pour everything into a large flat baking dish. Put it in the freezer and let it freeze, scraping the top occasionally to make it fluffier. The end result will be a little icier than with the ice cream maker but it’s still delicious! If you want a softer finished product (like a Rita’s Water Ice) pulse it in a blender or food processor for a few seconds after it’s frozen. Eat immediately and enjoy!

I’ve practically broken my arm patting myself on the back for this recipe. I love the fact that I can make any possible flavor of sorbet with minimal effort. I love the little bits of lemon zest to even out the sweetness. I love that it’s fat free. And I love that I can bribe my kids to do pretty much anything for a spoonful – and they have no idea it’s practically the same juice they can get any old time.

Suggestions and variations:
If you don’t like lemon, use some other citrus. If you don’t like citrus, leave it out.
If you want a less-sweet sorbet, use 1/2 cup simple syrup and 1/2 cup water.
If you don’t have juice, use pureed fruit and/or squeeze your own.
Top with fresh or frozen berries (duh).
Blend it with tequila or rum for a delicious frozen drink.

p.s. After my super home-made food photography shoot on Saturday, I had three adorable little dishes of sorbet just sitting on my counter melting. Obviously I had to fix that problem immediately.

Get in my belly! The blueberry-white grape was especially delicious together.

What’s For Dinner? Volume 11

Monday, June 11th, 2012

More dinner ideas, right here! I’ve been on the hunt for dinners I can make for the kids and myself that E can easily take out of the fridge and/or reheat when he gets home from work at 9.

1. Lemon and Herb Pasta Salad – Rachel Ray
2. Spaghetti with Turkey-Pesto MeatballsParents Need To Eat Too (I LOVE this cookbook!)
3. Chicken Andouille & Shrimp Jambalaya – Rachel Ray
4. Thai Chicken Pizza  – Me! I was out of carrots so I used cucumber. Still delicious!

5. BLT Pasta Salad – The Big Book of Backyard Cooking
6. Grilled Nachos – I bought this tray at Williams-Sonoma with my Christmas gift card and it’s AMAZING.
7. Chicken Satay Naan – Rachel Ray
8. Mango Lime Couscous – Idea from the Weight Watchers Points Plus Cookbook, but I ignored most of the recipe. It’s just whole wheat couscous cooked in vegetable stock, mango, red onion, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice and a little olive oil, all to taste. I served it with baked Cajun chicken.

I’ve been working towards changing my attitude towards food – redefining “good” food and “bad” food and what I’m “allowed” to eat – so suddenly a whole new world of recipes are open to me and I’m pretty excited. My friend Erin might even have sold me a little on the whole Paleo thing. She sold it with promises of bacon. At this point I feel like I’ve tried every diet in the world and they all WORK…but only until I get bored. I need to figure out what to eat forever.

Sour Cherry Pie

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Sour cherry pie is one of the very easiest yet most delicious kinds of pie. The only problem is you need sour cherries. My mother-in-law grows and cans her own, and I’ve been lucky enough to receive several jars over the past few years. But since there is NO WAY I am giving up my stash, you’ll have to track some down yourself. I know Oregon Fruit has tart cherries, so check with their other fruit at your grocery store (or order them from Amazon).

quart mason jar of cherries

Once you have the cherries in your hot little hands, this recipe is easy as…well, you know.

lattice top sour cherry pie

Sour Cherry Pie


2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
5-6 tablespoons ice cold water

Throw the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Toss in the shortening too and then mash it up with a fork until it’s in little pieces. Don’t mix it TOO well, since the little pieces of shortening in the crust is what makes it flaky. Add cold water about a tablespoon at a time until the dough is sticky enough to hold together. Do most of your mixing with the fork but make sure you test it by squishing it together with your hands or you’ll end up adding too much water. Separate the dough into to balls. Roll it out one ball, press into a 9 inch pie plate and crimp the edges. Roll out the second ball and cut into 8-10 1/4 inch wide strips.


3 1/2 – 4 cups canned tart cherries (approx. 1 quart)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 tablespoon corn starch

Drain the cherries but save 1 cup of the juice. Combine juice, sugar, extract and corn starch in a small sauce pan and heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture thickens. Pour cherries into the prepared crust and then pour the juice mixture over it. Use the strips of crust to make a lattice top, weaving them over and under. Pinch the edges together all the way around.

Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes or until filling it bubbly and the crust is lightly browned.

lattice top sour cherry pie

I SUPPOSE you could also use store bought crust to make this even easier, if you hated deliciousness. And America.

Eat and enjoy!

Lemon Blueberry Bars With Coconut Crust

Monday, June 4th, 2012

I spent all morning Sunday on Pinterest. That’s pretty much all you need to know to understand the next couple of posts I have planned. Let’s just say I was REALLY hungry afterward.

These are actually more cake-like than the traditional powdered sugar dusted lemon bars – sort of like lemon brownies (these are actually what inspired me try making my own recipe). If you aren’t a fan of coconut, you could easily omit the crust – just watch the bake time closely. And if you don’t happen to have any blueberries, you could leave those out too. But personally, I think this is the perfect combination of sweet, fresh and tart.

lemon blueberry bars with coconut crust

There's a tiny hand photobombing my lemons in the background

Lemon Blueberry Bars With Coconut Crust



Mix all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined. Press into a well-greased 9×13 baking dish. Put it into the fridge while you make the filling.



In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Pour the lemon mixture into the flour mixture. Beat at medium speed until the batter is smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Turn off mixer, fold in blueberries by hand. Spread filling over crust. Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees, until the center is baked through and the edges are lightly browned. Let the bars cool completely before you try to cut them.



Wisk together until it’s all combined. Drizzle over cooled bars and spread around with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate until the glaze hardens. Eat and enjoy.

lemon blueberry bars with coconut crust

lemon blueberry bars with coconut crust

She's trying SO HARD not to touch them

lemon blueberry bars with coconut crust

She couldn't resist anymore!

Baked Green Bean Fries

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

To be honest, I am not a huge fan of green beans. The only time I ever really like them is battered and deep fried but by that point they’re barely a vegetable any more and definitely not a health food. And although I’m sure some kids eat green beans willingly for breakfast, lunch and dinner, mine prefer french fries…and I do too.

So I made my green beans into fries. Sort of. Healthy ones!

Baked Green Bean Fries
Serves 4

12 oz green beans
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup egg substitute (or 1 egg)
Splash of water
1 cup Italian panko bread crumbs*
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and coat a rimmed cookie sheet with non-stick spray.

First you have to blanch the green beans, which sounds like a long, fancy, unnecessary step, but is easy and quick. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a little salt. Toss in the green beans and boil for 3 minutes. As soon as the time is up, drain the beans in a colander and then put them in a bowl of ice water for at least 3 more minutes. They should still be green and crunchy.

Drain the beans again and pat them dry. Put them into a dry bowl, pour the flour over them and toss until they’re all coated. Put your egg in a bowl with a splash of water and scramble it, then put your bread crumbs and salt in another bowl. This next part is a little tedious but I tried doing it other ways and they didn’t work as well. Working a couple beans at a time, dip them in the egg mixture, then roll them in the bread crumbs until they are well coated. Put them on the cookie sheet. Repeat until they are all coated and in a single layer on the sheet (use another cookie sheet if you run out of space). Bake for 18-20 minutes until the coating starts to brown.

Serve with your choice of dipping sauce for little fingers or something spicy for grown ups (I dipped mine in Kraft Horseradish Dijon Mayo but if you were REALLY fancy you could make your own).

*If you wanted to make them spicy, add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the bread crumbs. I was trying to keep them kid friendly for the picky 3 year old (the baby loves spicy stuff).

Caroline approved!

I calculated the Weight Watchers Points Plus and each serving is only 2 points – so feel free to eat most of them in 1 sitting. Or all of them you can keep away from the kids. Enjoy!