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Jessica Karley: Cooking with lemonade

Tart and Tangy Lemonade Grilled Chicken is great on its own or over a lettuce salad. (Photo by Jessica Karley/Forum News Service)1 / 3
Light & Creamy Frozen Lemonade Pie is sure to keep you cool this summer. (Photo by Jessica Karley/Forum News Service)2 / 3
Summer Lemon Shandy is a perfect drink to sip when the weather gets hot! (Photo by Jessica Karley/Forum News Service)3 / 3

The summer days have really been heating up, and the last thing most of you want to do is slave for hours in a hot kitchen.

Chances are you would rather be spending the afternoon or evening sipping on a cool glass of lemonade than trying to manage dinner and regulate the temperature of the air conditioner. Did you know the lemonade you want to be sipping can also be great for cooking? With the addition of a few extra ingredients, that sweet lemonade can turn your next meal into something special.

Today's recipes will keep you nice and cool because they call for an outdoor grill or your fridge/freezer.

Lemon chicken isn't something new, but it has become somewhat of a standard in many kitchens. Even though it's a simple dish, I knew I could make it even more time-saving by using canned lemonade concentrate instead of zesting and juicing fresh lemons. To make the marinade, simply thaw one can of lemonade concentrate, add fresh garlic paste and fresh cracked black pepper.

Fresh garlic paste can either be made in your food processor by peeling garlic and pressing a button, or you can purchase it in a tube next to the fresh herbs at your local grocery store. Then, pour the marinade over chicken in a resealable plastic bag and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1½ to 2 hours. You'll have a deliciously tart and tangy marinated chicken. Serve the flavorful grilled chicken with your favorite side dish or thinly sliced over a crisp lettuce salad.

Another delicious lemon treat that is sure to keep you cool this summer is Frozen Lemonade Pie. It's very simple, light and refreshing. You can choose to make your own graham cracker crust, but I opted for pre-made to avoid extra heat from baking one in the oven.

This cool and creamy pie couldn't be simpler. It only has three ingredients - aside from the crust - and is made in a matter of minutes. It can be kept in your freezer for as long as two months, but I bet it won't be able to avoid sneaky freezer-raiding forks for that long!

Saving the best for last, I would like to share a recipe for another one of my favorite summer beverages, The Summer Lemon Shandy.

A shandy is a light, refreshing blend of your favorite brew and lemonade, fruit juice or ginger ale. I love lemon in beer, so the lemonade version is often served in my house. I made it a little prettier by rimming the glasses with yellow sugar that can be found in most cake decorating sections of craft or grocery stores. I also make this 100 percent alcohol free by mixing just ginger ale and lemonade for my son. He still gets the rimmed glass and thinks it's a pretty special treat!

So, the next time life hands you lemons, don't stop at the lemonade ... make dinner, dessert and a cocktail.

Lemonade Marinated Chicken

1 12-ounce can of lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 tablespoon garlic paste

2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a medium bowl, whisk lemonade, garlic paste, salt and pepper. Place chicken breast in gallon-size resealable plastic bag. Pour in marinade, remove as much air as possible, seal and place in fridge to marinade for 2 hours. Rotate bag every 30 minutes. Drain. Grill chicken over medium-high heat until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees (about 6 to 8 minutes on each side).

Frozen Lemonade Pie

2 9-inch graham cracker pie crust

2 8-ounce containers cool whip, thawed

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

2 12-ounce cans lemonade concentrate, thawed

In large bowl, whisk lemonade concentrate and sweetened condensed milk until well- combined. Add half of one container of whipped topping. Whisk together. Using a large spoon, gently fold in remaining whipped topping, half of a container at a time in order to keep the mixture as light and airy as possible. Divide mixture between graham cracker crusts. Place in freezer for 6 to 8 hours. Store pies in the freezer until ready to serve. (Pies thaw quickly, so no need to pull out ahead of time). Garnish with candied lemon peel at service time. Yield: Two 9-inch pies

Summer Lemon Shandy

2 chilled 12- to 16-ounce glasses

12 ounces prepared lemonade

12 ounces light, wheat beer

Yellow sanding sugar

1 tablespoon honey

2 lemon wedges

Rim chilled glasses in sugar by dipping paper towel in honey and rubbing over the rim of the glasses. Dip glass rims in sanding sugar. Fill glasses half way with lemonade and top off with beer. Garnish with lemon wedges. Note: Make it kid-friendly and 100 percent alcohol-free by mixing just ginger ale and lemonade. Serve in chilled glass.

Karley can be reached at Read her food blog at