July 3, 2014 at 1:00 am

Drink your lemonade, and eat it, too, in these dishes

Adding orange juice brightens otherwise pale Lemon-Basil Jelly Skewers. (Kate Lawson / The Detroit News)

Obviously I can’t say enough about lemonade. Writing about lemonade a few weeks ago, I acquired a thirst for recipes using the ubiquitous summer drink — which makes sense, as lemon is so often used in baking, marinades and other dishes.

Fresh lemonade is key for drinking — and for making lemonade jelly — but when you have a can or two of concentrate in the freezer, you can always be assured you have the right ingredient for a great sweet, chicken or rice dish.

Lemonade cookies or tiny lemonade scones with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or jam goes beautifully with a bowl of summer berries. If you’re grilling this weekend, try marinating chicken in lemonade along with soy for a wonderful Asian flair that’s cool on the calories. Lemonade also perks up rice, and when you add some fresh or frozen chopped veggies, you have a healthy meal or side.

So put that lemonade to some good use for the holiday. Make a pitcher or two of fresh, then add the frozen stuff to the meal and watch the refreshment happen.

Lemonade Jelly with Basil

Lemon makes a tart, grown-up jelly, infused here with basil for an herbal aroma that sets off the summer sweetness. (Leave out the basil if you just want simple lemonade jelly.) Adding a bit of orange juice turns otherwise pale lemon jelly into exactly the bright yellow you would expect from its tart, sunny taste. Recipe from “Bakeless Sweets: Pudding, Panna Cotta, Fluff, Icebox Cake, and More No-Bake Desserts,” by Faith Durand

4 to 5 large lemons, juiced (¾ cup)
1 ½ cups water
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups loosely packed basil leaves, plus more to serve
½ cup pulp-free orange juice
3 teaspoons powdered gelatin
Whipped cream, to serve

Warm the lemon juice, water and the sugar to boiling. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Roughly tear the basil leaves and put them in a small bowl. Pour the lemon juice mixture over the basil leaves and let steep for at least 15 minutes.

Pour the orange juice into a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over its surface. Let the gelatin soften for 5 minutes, then warm the pan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the gelatin is fully dissolved. Turn off the heat.

Strain the basil out of the lemon juice and whisk the juice into the gelatin mixture. Pour the liquid into six small cups or a 1-quart dish. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until softly set. Garnish with whipped cream and basil leaves to serve. Makes six ½-cup servings.

Per serving: 136 calories; 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat; 13 percent calories from fat); 30 g carbohydrates; 26 g sugar; 6 mg cholesterol; 13 mg sodium; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber.

Lemon-Basil Jelly Skewers

To make little bites for a party, double the amount of gelatin in this recipe to 6 full teaspoons. Pour the mixture into an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish and let it set overnight in the refrigerator. Cut it into 1-inch squares, or use a small cookie cutter to cut out 1-inch circles. Skewer one or two pieces on a toothpick or party pick with a leaf of fresh basil folded and skewered at one end. Chill until ready to serve, and pass a bowl of whipped cream for dipping.

Per serving: 140 calories; 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat; 13 percent calories from fat); 30 g carbohydrates; 26 g sugar; 6 mg cholesterol; 15 mg sodium; 3 g protein; 1 g fiber.

Lemonade Scones

Recipe from taste.com

2 cups self-rising flour, sifted
¼ cup superfine sugar (or add granulated sugar to food processor and pulse)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup lemonade
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking tray.

Place the flour, sugar and ½ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the cream and lemonade and mix to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured workbench and knead lightly until combined. Press the dough with your hands to a thickness of about ¾ of an inch. Use a 2 ½-inch round cutter to cut out 8 scones, place on baking tray and brush the tops with some milk. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned. Serve warm with your favorite jam. Makes 8.

Per serving: 194 calories; 6 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 28 percent calories from fat); 31 g carbohydrates; 8 g sugar; 21 mg cholesterol; 550 mg sodium; 4 g protein; 1 g fiber.

Lemonade Chicken

Marinated in a mixture of lemonade concentrate, soy sauce, herbs and spices, this chicken has a sweet, lemony flavor that is fantastic. This chicken is great on its own or perfect for salads and sandwiches. Recipe from about.com

1 can (6 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate
¼ cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ freshly ground black pepper
8 chicken breast halves

Combine lemonade concentrate with soy sauce, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper in blender and mix until smooth. Place chicken in a large, resealable plastic bag. Pour in half of the lemonade mixture. Turn to coat and let sit for 30 minutes. Preheat grill. Remove chicken from marinade and place on hot grill. Grill for about 6 to 7 minutes per side, basting with reserved marinade. Grill until done, about 12 to 15 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, and serve. Serves 8.

Per serving: 263 calories; 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat; 17 percent calories from fat); 13 g carbohydrates; 12 g sugar; 108 mg cholesterol; 498 mg sodium; 40 g protein; 0.2 g fiber.

Lemonade Cookies

Recipe from allrecipes.com

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 (6 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
2 tablespoons white sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and 1 cup sugar. Blend in eggs. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking soda; gradually beat into butter mixture, alternating with ½ cup lemonade concentrate. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoons onto the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly brown. Brush lightly with remaining lemonade and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Makes 3 dozen.

Per serving: 124 calories; 6 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 44 percent calories from fat); 17 g carbohydrates; 8 g sugar; 26 mg cholesterol; 94 mg sodium; 1.5 g protein; 0.3 g fiber.

Lemonade Bundt Cake

Recipe from about.com

1 package lemon cake mix
1 (3 ounce) package instant lemon pudding mix
4 eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup cold water
1 (6 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
½ cup superfine or granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 10-inch tube pan.

Combine the cake mix, lemon pudding mix, eggs, vegetable oil and the cold water. Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and prick cake all over with a fork. Immediately pour lemonade glaze over top of cake. Let cake stand in pan until cool.

To make lemonade glaze: Combine the thawed frozen lemonade and the white sugar. Mix thoroughly and pour over still warm cake. Serves 10.

Per serving: 492 calories; 22 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 40 percent calories from fat); 72 g carbohydrates; 50 g sugar; 85 mg cholesterol; 482 mg sodium; 4 g protein; 0.2 g fiber.

Lemonade Rice with Mixed Vegetables

Recipe from DaVita.com

12 ounces lemonade concentrate
½ cup water
1 cup rice, uncooked
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 cup frozen or fresh mixed vegetables (such as diced zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, green beans)
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
18 teaspoon salt

Pour lemonade and water into rice cooker or saucepan. Add rice, onion, mixed vegetables and black pepper.

Start rice cooker or cook on stove, covered, over medium heat for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle nutmeg and salt over rice and stir before serving. Serves 6.

Per serving: 193 calories; 0.3 g fat (0 g saturated fat; 1 percent calories from fat); 48 g carbohydrates; 31 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 51 mg sodium; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber.


Frozen lemonade concentrate goes into this cake. (Kate Lawson / The Detroit News)