Makeover Recipe: Easy Lemon Squares

 

Easy Lemon Squares

Lemon Squares are often made with gobs of butter and sugar and well, that’s one reason why they are so good. But, they are really about the lemon. Lemon is, or should be, the star of the show. I am convinced there are ways to lighten things up and still have great flavor with baked goods, desserts, and sweet things – lemon squares included. My Easy Lemon Squares are not any harder to prepare and do not require any special ingredients. There are no boxes or mixes. It’s one bowl and one pan. Bonus. My tasters had no idea it was a healthier version of a lemon bar – and loved it. Read on to learn more! (more…)

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Loaded Baked Potato with Shiitake Bacon

Loaded Baked Potato with Shiitake Bacon

Shiitake bacon is not bacon, let’s get that straightened out from the top. Shiitake bacon is not pork. It is not meat. It is not fatty, salty, and smoked. (So much for telling the reader what it is, not what it is not.)  It is however crispy, chewy, intensely flavored, and can be smoky-flavored! Making shiitake bacon is truly one of my favorite plant-based culinary techniques. Read on for How to Make Shiitake Bacon — and a darn good Baked Potato. (more…)

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Nothing says “I Love You” Like Chocolate Pudding

"I Love You" Chocolate Pudding

What other dessert brings out the kid in us more than chocolate pudding?  Sometimes Mama would make chocolate pudding after school, and my sister and I would watch her measure and prepare the ingredients, combine everything, and then cook until the dark mixture would suddenly thicken. She’d pour the molten chocolate pudding into those glass cups with thick ruffled edges and let us swipe our little fingers against the side of the pan to get every last bit. 

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Zero Point Chicken Chili

Zero Point Chicken Chili

When considering this recipe all I could think was does the world really need another chili recipe? Once I made it, tasted it, and punched the points into my app I decided the answer is a resounding yes. I actually chatted up the folks at the WW hotline to confirm I had indeed created a Zero Point Chicken Chili. It’s great as a steaming bowl of chili and I also scooped up a spoonful with a slotted spoon to make a tasty burrito. Perhaps one of my favorite ways of serving it is Chicken Chili Nachos. Read on to learn the secret to Zero Point Chicken Chili.

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Vegetarian Parmesan Broth Collard Greens

 

chiffonade of collard greens on www.virginiawillis.com

Collard greens are as much a cornerstone of Southern cooking as biscuits and gravy. And, the use of the ingredient has evolved like the cuisine. Collard green kimchi, collard green chiffonade, wood-fired dehydrated collard greens, and collard green patra are now part of the Southern culinary lexicon alongside pot likker and sidemeat. However, in much of the country, collards are thought to be prepared one way: drowning in pork fat and cooked beyond recognition into a form of Army green pabulum. Read on to learn how to prepare an umami-packed, point friendly vegetarian collard green recipe perfect for these cold winter days.

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Lemon-Chia Seed Yogurt Cake

 

Lemon-Chia Seed Cake

Lemon Cakes come in all shapes and sizes, all manners of baking. There are lemon-scented tender yellow cakes topped with rich lemon buttercream, dense lemon loaf cakes with their signature golden crown, sturdy lemon genoise bathed in lemon syrup, and light and ethereal lemon chiffon cakes. Lemon Poppyseed cakes are a classic version of lemon cake, as well.  Many recipes for lemon poppy seed cake contain two sticks of butter and two cups of sugar! Yikes. It’s not overly rich, yet and packed with tart lemon flavor. Read on for how to make it. 

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Chicken and Rice Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy

Chicken and Rice Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy Growing up, my mother made a meatball dish with Rice a Roni called porcupines. It consisted of ground beef, an egg, and a box of the “San Francisco treat.” The starchy base of rice and bits of vermicelli was included in the meatball mixture and the flavorful seasoning packet was used to make a savory, salty gravy. Lordy day, it was one of my favorite dishes and processed food at it’s finest. What’s not to love? Meatballs in gravy? Do you want to learn how to make a more modern porcupine with wholesome, fresh ingredients? Better yet, this Baked Chicken and Rice Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy recipe is mostly hands-off and bakes in the oven. It may not be all that pretty to look at, but you are going to love it! Read on to learn more.
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Fried & Griddled Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes are as deeply rooted in Southern culture as a field of kudzu. I have a confession. I am not a huge fan of Fried Green Tomatoes, the vegetable. (I love the movie!) Fried Green Tomatoes served piping hot and fresh out of the skillet can be pretty good. But, usually, sadly they always seem to be soggy, greasy, and dull, best suited as a delivery device for rémoulade (old school) or goat cheese (new school). Ha! Are you ready to take away my “Southerner” card? Well, read on…you won’t believe it. (more…)

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Quick and Easy Garlic Shrimp

Shrimp are perhaps the original fast food. A few years ago while visiting the Low Country I stopped at the pier in Mount Pleasant, SC to pick up some shrimp. The man in front of me asked the young dockhand how to boil them. Before he could answer a lady with a slow Southern drawl interrupted, ” Bring seasoned watah to a boil and add ya shrimp. Take two sips ‘a wine. Stir thuh pot. Thay are done.” This recipe isn’t for boiled shrimp, but it’s nearly just that quick so get your skillet — and your wine glass ready.

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Sheet Pan Supper: Panko Crusted Fish Filet with Asparagus and Tomatoes

sheetpan supper on virginiawillis.com

Who doesn’t love a sheet pan supper? One pan and you’re good to go. It’s an easy and healthy meal that your family is certain to love! I know I am all about simple suppers right now and I bet you are, too! Between all-day zoom calls, juggling schedules, and what I lovingly refer to as “quicksand,” supper has to be ultra manageable. This flexible recipe fits the bill. (more…)

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