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Divas on a Dime: Versatility makes frozen lemonade a food favorite

I’m always on the lookout for inexpensive ingredients that can be used in lots of recipes. I’m especially happy when I find unexpected uses for a common ingredient. So, I was wandering the frozen foods aisle and did a doubletake on a can of frozen lemonade and the wheels began to turn.

I always had juice concentrate in the freezer when my kids were little, but I seldom buy them for myself. Lemonade was always a favorite because it’s useful for many different beverages.

You can add strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries to make fruity lemonade. Add mint or basil for a sophisticated twist. You can mix with different soft drinks, like lemon-lime soda or ginger ale for bubbly treats. Mix with iced tea to make an Arnold Palmer.

Summer cocktails come to life mixed with lemonade. Who doesn’t enjoy a hard lemonade slushie by the pool? Or a Lynchburg lemonade mixed with whiskey? Or a shandy made with half lemonade, half beer? Lemonade even makes a perfect base for a margarita.

Since frozen is as frozen does, lemonade is a natural to make ice pops. So refreshing! And there’s the classic frozen lemonade icebox pie. Remember that one?

In case you forgot, here’s that easy recipe. You mix one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, one 12-ounce container thawed whipped topping, with a 6-ounce can of frozen lemonade. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch graham cracker crust and freeze until solid. Tart and creamy, cold and dreamy.

But here’s where I got excited! I thought, what is frozen lemonade? It’s a concentrate of lemon juice, citrus pulp, lemon oil and sugar. You know what else uses those ingredients? Marinades. Especially marinades for chicken and pork. I can feel your skepticism as I type. Stick with me!

I went all mad scientist in the kitchen and played around until I came up with two marinade recipes all my taste testers loved. I promise, they’re not sweet! Here are the winners.

Both recipes make one cup of potent marinade, enough for 3-4 pounds of your preferred chicken pieces.

LEMON, ROSEMARY AND GARLIC MARINADE

What You’ll Need:

6 ounces frozen lemonade concentrate

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon garlic cloves, crushed (or more!)

1 ½ teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary)

½ teaspoon onion powder

Here’s How:

In gallon-sized resealable food storage bag, combine lemonade concentrate, Worcestershire, vinegar, garlic and rosemary. Add chicken pieces, seal bag and smush to blend. Marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, or even better overnight. Optional – before you add the chicken; reserve ¼ cup of marinade and mix with 1 cup plain yogurt to make a delicious sauce for the chicken.

LEMON, GINGER AND SOY MARINADE

What You’ll Need:

6 ounces frozen lemonade concentrate

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon crushed garlic cloves

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Here’s How:

In gallon-sized resealable food storage bag, combine lemonade concentrate, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and pepper. Add chicken pieces, seal bag and smush to blend. Marinate in refrigerator at least 1 hour or overnight.

To cook the chicken – To oven bake, preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165˚F. You can also grill, broil or pan-fry this chicken.

Please note, lemonade concentrate comes in two sizes: six ounces and 12 ounces. These recipes call for six ounces, so you may get two recipes from one can. When buying concentrate look for brands that don’t contain high-fructose corn syrup. They may cost a few cents more but it’s totally worth it.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com

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