meyer lemon bars.

meyer lemon bars | Cody Uncorked.

During an average week, Jeff and I cook dinner at home three or four nights. It sounds daunting, especially since we both have full-time jobs and a spry little dachshund who needs his daily walks.

The key for us is planning the week’s menu ahead of time (I mentioned this in my last post!). When you write your recipes out on paper, it’s easier to find common ingredients and ways to incorporate leftovers (a roasted chicken at the beginning of the week means stock for soup on night and meat for enchiladas another). Additionally, organizing your grocery list in order of your market’s aisles will Change. Your. Life. Seriously, do it.

Sometimes, however, I still go to the store with absolutely no ideas, no planning, no list of any sort. It usually still results in some delicious meals, but always results in a ton of aimless wandering…and some sort of indulgent dessert.

meyer lemon bars | Cody Uncorked.

A while back, I roamed the nearby Whole Foods with nary a recipe nor list, awestruck with all the colorful vegetable and fruits. When I passed a display of meyer lemons, I put two in my basket without even thinking about it. They were priced 2 for however much and they were bright and pretty and I couldn’t resist.

Luckily, when I got home and set out to find the perfect recipe for them, I found an already earmarked dessert from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook for Whole Lemon Bars.

meyer lemon bars | Cody Uncorked.

(I didn’t have a square baking dish – things still worked out.)

These were the easiest thing to make – they came together in an hour and the only things I had to clean were my food processor, some measuring cups and a spatula. Also, the recipe uses the whole lemon, peel, pith and all, so you can feel good about that.

They are not, however, the most healthy dessert you’ll ever encounter. You’ll need two sticks of butter – one for the shortbread-like crust and one for the filling. Cut the squares small, share them with friends and eat a salad for dinner (or not), it’ll be okay.

meyer lemon bars | Cody Uncorked.

Would you be interested in more info about how we plan our meals for the week and get organized to go grocery shopping? Lemme know in the comments!

Meyer Lemon Bars
adapted slightly from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook

ingredients

for the crust:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into chunks

for the filling:
1 small/medium meyer lemon
1 cup sugar (1 1/3 if using regular lemon)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into chunks
4 eggs
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
powdered sugar (optional)

directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take an 8” square baking pan (or a round cake pan…whatever) and line with two overlapping pieces of parchment paper. Make sure they’re a few inches longer/wider than your pan so that the edges hanging out of the pan can be used to pull the lemon bars out once they’re cooled. Spray the paper with cooking spray.

crust: Blend flour, sugar and salt together in bowl of a large food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture looks powdery, but if you pinch it holds its shape.

Turn the dough crumbs out into the prepared baking pan and press dough evenly to cover the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork, then bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set on cooling rack. Leave oven on.

filling: If you’re using a regular lemon, start by cutting it in half and examining the rind. If the white part (pith) is wider than 1/4”, remove the skin from half the lemon and discard before proceeding. If it is thinner than 1/4 inch, leave as is. Also make sure to increase the sugar to 1 1/3 cups!

Cut your lemon halves into thin rings and toss the seeds. Put the lemon slices in the bowl of the food processor and add the sugar. Process until the lemon is thoroughly pureed, about 2 minutes.

Add the butter and run the machine until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, cornstarch, and salt and pulse until everything is well combined.

Pour the lemon mixture over the crust and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the filling is just set. It should only wiggle a little bit.

Let the pan cool completely either on a wire rack. Use the parchment paper ‘sling” to carefully remove the bars from the pan and place on a cutting board. Dust with powdered sugar, then cut into 16 squares (or square-ish shapes if you use a round pan like I did!)

meyer lemon bars | Cody Uncorked.

Whether you plan ahead or not, I hope you have a week (and weekend) full of deliciousness!

LYLAS,

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how to get excited for salad.

summertime chopped salad - Cody Uncorked.

One of my favorite things about planning meals for the week ahead is that I have all day to look forward to whatever is on the calendar for that night. Seriously y’all…even right after I’ve eaten breakfast, I’m thinking about lunch and what’s gonna be for dinner. #notashamed

The weird thing is - every time a salad is on the schedule, I struggle to get excited for it. By the end of the day I’m usually ready to throw in the towel and change the plan for the night to something that sounds a little more exciting.

The good news is, I have three super easy ways to make your salad the best thing you’ve had all week. Do these and next thing you know, you’ll be chatting up your cubicle mate about the amazing salad you’re about to have for dinner and he/she will look at you like you’re crazy. It’ll be great.

  1. Using colorful toppings – the more color you add to your salad, the better it will look (and taste – it’s a proven fact!). You don’t have to use veggies you don’t like, but try and get creative. I never thought I would like blueberries on a salad until I tried it.
  2. Make a homemade dressing – making your own salad dressing is easy and way healthier! All you need is some fat – like olive oil, plus acidity – like vinegar or citrus juice, and seasoning – salt, pepper, fresh herbs, etc. You’ll be shocked at how bright and delicious homemade dressings taste when compared to store-bought. (See 5 basic salad dressing recipes here and some fancy recipes if you’ve already delved into DIY dressings)
  3. Toss it all together - Every salad should be a tossed salad. End of story. I haaaaaate when it’s impossible to get everything (in a salad, a burger, a wrap, you name it) in one bite. I want all my flavors to mingle, especially when it comes to salad. To do this, measure out enough lettuce and toppings for however many people are eating, then put everything in a large bowl and toss it all together. Do this right before eating, especially the dressing which, if it sits, can make the salad/toppings soggy. 

summertime chopped salad - Cody Uncorked.

One of my favorite salads for this time of year is this Summertime Chopped Salad by Jessica from How Sweet It Is. It has BACON and CHEESE and AVOCADO so you know it’s legit.

summertime chopped salad - Cody Uncorked.

Happy salad-ing!

XO,

signature | Cody Uncorked.

make-ahead breakfast sandwiches.

I go through serious phases with food. Ask my mom – as a child, one week I’d love mushrooms, the next week I’d hate them – it was impossible for my parents to keep up!

I do the same thing still. Specifically, I waffle (get it?) over breakfast constantly. I’m not talking about brunch, because I’m ALWAYS down for brunch. I’m talking about early morning, before work, first-meal-of-the-day breakfast. For some reason, I’m either really into it or I skip it all together.

Let’s be honest – it’s mostly because I am NOT a morning person. I wake up with enough time to make myself look presentable and get where I’m going without a minute to spare. Because of this, I rarely find the time to make myself something to eat before heading out the door.

Enter these make-ahead breakfast sandwiches. Spend an hour prepping a big batch and you’ll have breakfast for the week. (Or a month, depending on how many you make!) I used Whole Foods soy patties and glazed them with maple syrup and cayenne pepper. I also used smoked Gouda cheese for tons of smoky flavor.

You can use whatever meat you’d like for these make-ahead sandwiches – Canadian bacon, turkey sausage, bacon, you name it. You can always switch out your cheese too…regular ole American would be good, Swiss, cheddar…yum. If you’re feeling super healthy, you could even use straight egg whites!

No matter what, these are a delicious way to start your day with minimal effort. They’ll fuel you up and keep you going, at least until lunch!

make-ahead breakfast sandwiches | Cody Uncorked.

make-ahead breakfast sandwiches

Ingredients
6 English muffins
6 large eggs
6 slices cheese
6 breakfast patties
non-stick spray
salt & pepper
tin foil
freezer bag(s)

Instructions

  • Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees, then spray 6 ramekins with nonstick spray.
  • Next, crack eggs into a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of water, then whisk to combine.
  • Evenly distribute egg mixture into ramekins, season with salt and pepper, then bake for 10 minutes or until egg is fully set.
  • While eggs are baking, toast English muffins and prepare breakfast patties according to package directions.
  • Assemble sandwiches by placing one cooked egg on bottom piece of English muffin, then add one patty and one slice of cheese, finishing it off with the English muffin top.
  • Wrap each sandwhich in foil, then place in freezer bag to store.
  • To reheat: Remove foil and microwave frozen sandwich on high for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave, flip sandwich and cook for 45 more seconds.

Enjoy!

XO,
signature | Cody Uncorked.