March 25, 2010 at 9:21 a.m.

What a great time to include citrus in your meals

What a great time to include citrus in your meals
What a great time to include citrus in your meals

Isn't it great that we can enjoy so many fresh citrus fruits at this time of year...oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, clementines, grapefruit and some of the exotic cousins like the Seville orange, bergamot (I don't know what that is but I'll ask a produce manager if he knows what it is and I'll see what he says). Nutritionally citrus fruits have a lot of vitamin C and potassium. One dozen oranges will make about 4 cups of juice. If you make orange juice from concentrate, you'll get a tastier glass of juice if you squeeze about 1/4 c. of fresh juice into each glass, then fill the rest of the glass with reconstituted juice. It's about using oranges, along with other citrus fruits in recipes today.

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ORANGE CHICKEN AND VEGGIES WITH RICE

1-1/2 c. uncooked instant rice (Minute rice), cooked according to pkg. directions

1 T. plus 1/3 c. cornstarch, divided

1 c. orange juice

1 T. soy sauce (I use low sodium)

1 t. sugar

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

1 lb. chicken breast cut into 1-inch cubes (1-1/4 c.)

3 T. olive oil, divided

1-1/2 c. fresh carrots sliced about 1/4-inch thick

1 c. diced green pepper

1/2 c. diced onion

Set aside cooked rice. In a small bowl, combine 1 T. cornstarch with next 5 ingredients; set aside. Put rest of cornstarch in a large zipper plastic bag. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time and shake to coat. Set aside and do the same with the rest of chicken. In a large frying pan over medium heat, cook chicken in 2 T. oil for 8 minutes, stirring gently a couple of times. Remove chicken from pan and set aside on paper towel, covering chicken with another paper towel to keep warm. In the same pan, saute carrots in rest of oil for 2 minutes. Add green pepper and onion; saute 2-3 minutes longer or until veggies are crisp tender. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken, heat through. Serve with brown or white rice.

Makes 4 servings.

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LIME FLUFF DESSERT

1-12 oz. can evaporated milk

1-3 oz. pkg. lime gelatin

1 c. sugar

1-1/3 c. boiling water

1/4 c. lime juice

2 drops green food coloring - optional

1-3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs, about 26 squares (not rectangles)

5 T. butter, melted

Pour milk into a small metal or glass bowl; put mixer beaters in the bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, dissolve gelatin and sugar in boiling water. Stir in lime juice and food coloring. Cover and refrigerate until syrupy, about 1-1/2 hour. In a small bowl, combine crumbs and butter; set aside 2 T. for garnish. Press rest of crumbs onto the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan. Beat chilled milk until soft peaks form. Beat gelatin until tiny bubbles form. Carefully fold milk into gelatin. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with crumbs. Cover and refrigerate until set. Cut into squares.

Makes 12 servings.

Note: If you wish you can substitute lemon for the lime juice and gelatin in this recipe, but don't add food coloring.

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GRAMMA'S LEMON BREAD

1 c. butter, softened - no substitutes

3 c. sugar

5 eggs, separated

1 T. finely shredded lemon peel

3 T. lemon juice

4 c. flour

1/2 t. baking soda

1 c. milk

Powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, gradually add sugar, beating well. In a small mixing bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in lemon peel and juice. Combine flour and baking soda; add alternately with milk, stirring well after each addition. Beat egg whites until stiff; fold into batter. Pour into 2 well greased and lightly floured 9x5-inch baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 65-70 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans onto wire rack to cool completely. Dust tops with powdered sugar when ready to serve.

Makes 2 loaves of bread, 24 slices each.

Note: the bread will taste richer if you wrap each loaf with foil and refrigerate for 1 day.

TFD: I've learned...that it's those small, enjoyable daily happenings that make life so wonderful.

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