Strawberry Lemonade Brownies Recipe

Sweet, Tart & Fruity - Sound like anyone you know??

I had the best strawberry lemonade at a family birthday party last weekend!  We were celebrating my daughter and my niece both turning 13 this spring!  The lemonade was sweet and tart and fruity - kind of like thirteen year old girls - hehe!  (Love u girls!)  Well anyway, Stacy, my cousin-in-law makes the most awesome strawberry lemonade!!  Seriously - I've been thinking about it a lot - so much so, that this idea popped into my brain - Strawberry Lemonade Brownies!

I thought I'd start with my Lemon Brownie recipe from two years ago and go from there.  I wanted to add fresh strawberries, but thought they would be too wet in the brownie, so I chopped them and gave them a quick roast in the oven while I made the rest of the recipe.  The roasting concentrated the strawberry flavor and helped release some of the excess moisture in the berries.  I also crushed up a bag of freeze dried strawberries and mixed them in with the dry ingredients - double strawberry goodness!  The batter was the most gorgeous pink!  I couldn't wait to see the color of the baked brownie!

I cut into the baked brownies and they were - beige - what??  What happened to the gorgeous pink?? ) :  They tasted great, but I really wanted them to look a little pink.  So, back to the drawing board I went - I spoke to one of the nice bakers at Whole Foods about using beets to make it pink and she thought the beet flavor would overpower the strawberry and lemon flavors, so she sold me some of her natural red food coloring and I decided to try some old school McCormick's red food coloring as well.  The results all tasted the same - but if you want some pinkish color, you're going to want to add some coloring.  The glaze on top gets its color from a little of the powdered freeze dried strawberries - it seems the color holds up well when it's not subjected to heat.  

     Strawberry Lemonade Brownies: Step-by-Step Photos

Strawberry Lemonade Brownie Recipe:

Christina Verrelli - epicuricloud.com
(Makes 24 brownies)

Ingredients:

Non-stick baking spray

2 cups chopped fresh strawberries

1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

4 eggs

2½ teaspoons lemon zest, divided

4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, divided

1½ teaspoons lemon extract (look for “pure” or natural)

Red food coloring (1½ teaspoons natural/14 drops traditional)

1½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 (1-ounce) bag freeze dried strawberries (crushed), 1 tablespoon reserved

1 cup white chocolate chips 

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Toss chopped fresh strawberries with 1 tablespoon sugar and spread on baking sheet.  Roast for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Prepare 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan: Spray with nonstick baking spray and if desired, line with a double layer of foil or parchment paper cut to fit and extended past top of pan – fold over edge of pan.  Spray the foil/parchment with additional non-stick spray  (This will allow you to remove the brownies from the pan when cool for easy cutting.)

In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with mixer.  Add eggs one at a time and mix until just incorporated.  
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, lemon extract and food coloring.  Stir the flour and salt together in a small bowl and add to wet ingredients along with the crushed freeze dried strawberries (reserve 1 tablespoon for glaze.)  Mix until just incorporated.  Stir in white chocolate chips and the roasted berries.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-35 minutes (time may vary based on your oven) or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  
While baking, make glaze: In small bowl, stir together confectioners sugar, remaining 1 tablespoon crushed freeze dried strawberries, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice and remaining 1 teaspoon lemon zest.  Remove brownies from oven and prick evenly 25 times with a fork.  Spread glaze over warm brownies.

Allow to cool completely.  Use overhanging foil/parchment to lift out of pan to large cutting board and cut into 24 squares. 
(I use my electric knife to cut really neat bars.)  

Printable Recipe Link: Strawberry Lemonade Brownies

Perfect for Pinning to Pinterest: ⬇

strawberry lemonade brownies - epicuricloud

Thanks for spending some time in the cloud with me!  I hope you enjoy the recipe!  Tina ( :

Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup Recipe

Damn you Panera Bread!

Based on heredity my kids should be soup lovers.  I've been trying to win them over for years and sometimes they like it, sometimes they don't, sometimes they just humor me and stir it around in the bowl willing it to evaporate.  But take them to Panera Bread and suddenly soup is scrumptious. "Mom, taste this Broccoli Cheddar Soup, it's aaah-mazing!" (me rolling my eyes.)  

Now, nothing against Panera Bread, we do end up there quite often as it certainly does seem like a better "fast food" option.  Love the bread, the baked goods are tempting and I do eat the soup - I liken it to a decent pre-packaged soup…However…it does not compare to good old homemade!!  So, in my riled up state, I set out to create a soup that would inspire "oohs" and "aahs" at home.  A soup that would be healthier because I selected, and could pronounce, every ingredient that goes into the pot.  

After a few rounds of my own broccoli cheddar soup (recipe to come), I developed this Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup.  You roast up the head of cauliflower while you pull together a broth and a cheese sauce.  In the end you combine them all into a creamy, cheesy, chunky, "roasty" cauliflower filled delicious soup.  Well, how did they like it you ask?  I'll tell you this…the soup did not lay uneaten in the bowl, oh no, my un-soupiest eater asked for seconds!!  Woo Hoo!!  Take that Panera Bread! ( ;

Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup Step-by-Step:

Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup Recipe:

Christina Verrelli - epicuricloud.com

Makes 3-quarts  (4-6 servings)

Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS: 

For Cauliflower & Broth:

8 cups finely chopped cauliflower (from 1 large head)

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup shredded carrot

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

48-ounces low-sodium chicken broth

For Cheese Sauce:

6 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

2 cups whole milk

3 cups shredded white cheddar (approx. 3/4 pound)

Garnish with some fresh chopped parsley, if desired.

DIRECTIONS: 

Arrange oven racks to accommodate two sheet pans. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray.
Cut the cauliflower head into fourths from the top through the stem.  Trim off the tough center stem.  Cut the florets from the stalks and cut them all into small pieces (1/2" - 1") or use a food processor to pulse the stalk pieces, then the florets.  Place the chopped pieces in a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread on prepared baking sheets and roast for 30 minutes, rotating halfway.  The cauliflower should be browned on the edges when finished.  While the cauliflower is roasting prepare the broth and cheese sauce.  

For the broth: add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to a large pot (4-quart or larger) over medium heat.  Add onion and carrot and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until the the onions are translucent.  Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaf and stir for a minute.  Add the broth and bring to a simmer.  

For the cheese sauce: melt the butter in a saucepan (2-quart or larger) over medium heat.  Stir in flour, salt, pepper, dry mustard and white pepper.  Cook stirring constantly for about 3 minutes or until bubbly.  Whisk in milk, little by little, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.  Turn off heat and stir in cheese.  Stir until melted.

Add the roasted cauliflower to the broth.  Stir the cheese sauce into the broth.  Cook the soup on medium for about 5 minutes or until hot and steamy, but do not boil.

NOTES:  Can be made ahead and reheated.  Do not boil when reheating.

Printable Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower & Cheddar Soup

Perfect for Pinning to Pinterest ⬇

Thank you for spending some time in the cloud with me!  

I hope you enjoy the recipe!  Tina ( :

Cornbread and Taco Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Need a new idea for that pound of ground beef?

I was speeding my way through the grocery store with a pound of ground beef and bargain 6-pack of red peppers, trying to figure out what I was going to make for dinner, when the idea came to me - stuffed peppers!  Truth be told, not everyone (I won't mention any names) in our house is a huge fan of traditional stuffed peppers, so I rarely make them.  Time to think up a new idea…they like pretty much anything with taco seasoned ground beef and they love cornbread - maybe I could combine those into a stuffed pepper - I'd give it a shot.  Peppers filled with taco seasoned ground beef, cheese and topped with cornbread!  

It took several tries to work out all the details (like the cheese layer in the center of the pepper that helps to keep the cornbread from absorbing all the juicy taco filling) but eventually they turned out great!  It's fun to cut into the pepper and see the hidden taco surprise (I know I'm easily amused!)  I actually got a little cheer the last time I announced that we were having Cornbread & Taco Stuffed Peppers for dinner!  Score 1 for Mom!

Cornbread & Taco Stuffed Peppers Step-by-Step:

Cornbread & Taco Stuffed Peppers Recipe

This is my favorite taco seasoning.  I love penzeys products.  

Christina Verrelli - epicuricloud.com

Makes 6 Stuffed Peppers

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Bake Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

6 large red bell peppers

1 cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons oil, divided

1 pound lean ground beef (I used 95% lean)

1 packet or 4 tablespoons taco seasoning

water (follow amount on taco seasoning package - usually 1/2 - 3/4 cup)

1 1/2 cups prepared salsa

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

2 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese

"Serve with" options: sour cream, lime wedges, chopped cilantro, shredded iceberg lettuce, tortilla chips

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Slice a small sliver off the bottom of each pepper, trying not to cut through the pepper wall, so the peppers will stand upright.  Cut the tops off the peppers and scoop out the seeds and ribs.  Chop the pepper tops, discarding the stem.  Add 1 tablespoon oil to a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes or until softened.  Add ground beef to the peppers and onions and brown, breaking up while cooking.  Drain off any excess fat.  Mix in taco seasoning and water, reduce heat to low and put lid on pan.  

Pour salsa in the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish and arrange the peppers in the dish.  Cover dish with plastic wrap or lid and microwave for 6-7 minutes or until the peppers are softened.  Spoon the beef mixture into the peppers until about 2/3 full.  Spoon any additional beef mixture around the bottom of the dish.  Using 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, evenly sprinkle a layer of cheese onto the beef mixture in each pepper. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and remaining 2 tablespoons oil.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just moistened.  Spoon an equal amount of the cornbread batter into each of the peppers.  

Place in oven and reduce temperature to 375 degrees F.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Top each pepper evenly with the remaining cheese.  Continue to bake for 10 more minutes or until the cornbread is cooked through.  You can insert a toothpick and see if it comes out clean.

NOTES:

They reheat beautifully - you can make these a day or two ahead and reheat them.  

Printable Recipe: Cornbread & Taco Stuffed Peppers

Perfect for Pinning to Pinterest: ⬇

Thank you for spending some time in the cloud with me!  

I hope you enjoy the recipe!  Tina ( :