March, 2014

Mar 25, 2014

How To Make Chicken Pot Pie

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

If no one was looking, I really think I could eat this whole chicken pot pie myself… in one sitting. I love comfort foods so much and when it’s healthy and this good, then stand back and give me a big fork!

Chicken pot pie is an American classic and homemade is the only way to go. This recipe makes it so easy to have one of the best comfort foods you’ll ever have. Most pot pies are made with butter and cream in the filling plus butter or shortening in the crust and don’t even get me started on puff pastry – just look at the ingredients!

My recipe has no cream and no butter anywhere. The filling is rich and creamy and the crust is light and flaky (it’s made with olive oil). The whole thing takes an hour to make, start-to-finish, and that includes prep. Well… except you have to let it sit for 15 minutes before serving – just enough time to make a salad.

The prep is pretty easy. Besides the lean chicken breasts, you’ll need to chop carrots, celery, and onion. The peas are frozen and thawed and I use store-bought chicken stock. I hope this easy recipe becomes a family favorite for anyone looking for a healthy, easy meal made from scratch. Make it once and I know you’ll make it again. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Mar 24, 2014

My ribs are NOT spicy hot.

Best Oven Bbq Ribs Recipe

My fall-off-the-bone ribs are NOT spicy hot. This recipe has been really popular but having an international following has brought on some new challenges. I’m hearing, “I made your fall-off-the-bone ribs and they did fall off the bone but they were so spicy hot we couldn’t eat them.” It turns out that spices are not the same all over the world and the different labeling in some countries has caused my delicious ribs to be too hot to eat. But I don’t like spicy foods and my ribs are not supposed to be hot, so I am here to clarify the confusion for my international visitors.

My rub and sauce recipes call for Chili Powder but I think some people are using Chili Pepper which is not the same thing. Not at all.  Chili Powder is a mixture of spices and peppers and is a bit spicy but not anywhere near hot. That’s why I use 2 teaspoons in my rub and my sauce. But 2 teaspoons of Ground Chili Pepper, which is pure cayenne pepper, will bring tears to your eyes!

As if that’s not enough, the terms “chili” and “chile” are often used interchangeably but they don’t always mean the same thing. Chili powder is usually a blend of spices and it not considered hot, while Chile powder most often refers to pure ground spicy hot chiles. Since every country is different, the only way to tell is to READ THE INGREDIENT LABEL and DO NOT USE pure ground cayenne red chili pepper.

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The recipes I post are all the things I make for myself and I do not like hot & spicy foods so I hope this helps everyone from Malaysia to Australia to Belgium enjoy these delicious fall-off-the-bone, NOT SPICY HOT ribs. And my thanks to Lee and Alissa who took time to let me know. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Mar 23, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie: How-To Video

Take a look at how easy it really is to make a healthy chicken pot pie from scratch. The whole thing takes about an hour and that includes the prep and even a homemade crust. Mine is an oil crust made with olive oil and it’s easily rolled between sheets of wax paper. I never use butter or shortening in a pie crust. With store-bought chicken stock and frozen peas, it’s a pretty easy process. This is a really delicious pot pie with a comfy, creamy filling and flaky crust and could just become a new family favorite. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

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Mar 23, 2014

Green tea… it’s too bitter!

Lori asks… Jenny, PLEASE help me to enjoy the taste of GREEN TEA !!! I have tried it straight, with honey, lemon. I can’t stand the taste….too bitter, what am I doing wrong???

My response… I can’t even remember the first time I drank green tea but I probably didn’t like it either. Now I sip green tea all day long. Here’s what I’ve learned…

1) Don’t use boiling water – that makes it bitter. Use water around 180 degrees. It doesn’t have to be exact – you can boil water and let it stand for a minute before using.
2) For me, honey is too heavy and won’t help the taste but you could try adding a little sugar. Eventually, you could use less and less as you adjust to the taste.
3) Try flavored teas. Green and white teas flavored with things like passionfruit, white peach, & jasmine are fantastic. A little sugar would make these so easy to drink – about 1/4 teaspoon per cup.
4) Don’t use tea bags but brew whole leaf tea. It costs more but I’ve never had a green tea bag that wasn’t bitter.
5) Not all green teas taste the same – not even close. Keep sampling different ones from different sources (I prefer Chinese over Japanese teas).
6) Try buying from a tea store or online. You do get what you pay for and a smooth tasting green tea may cost more but it’s an investment in your health.

Mar 22, 2014

Whole wheat lemon brownies? You betcha!

Whole Wheat Lemon Brownies

Any time I can make a recipe better or healthier, I’m always willing to try. I was craving lemon brownies today (maybe because my lemon tree is getting full!) so I decided to make lemon brownies and this time, I decided to experiment with whole wheat pastry flour. “These are just for me,” I thought, “so if they don’t turn out, nobody has to eat them.” I expected they would be too dense and heavy but you never know if you don’t try and any time I can bake with whole grains, I do it. I just assumed it would not work with my light and soft lemon brownies.

Guess what? They were fabulous!!! I seriously could not tell the difference from the original ones I made. All I did was replace the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour and now my lemon brownies are even healthier: no butter and no white flour! I could hardly wait to share this with everyone because “Easiest Lemon Brownies” is one of my most popular recipes. Even the picture looks the same.

Whole grains worked with my chocolate brownies and now the lemon ones too. I guess I should have known but this was a learning experience for me, to always be open to making things better. I’m so glad I decided to try this and I have just changed the printable recipe to include the whole wheat pastry flour. Everything else stays the same. If you haven’t tried them yet, you should. I just had one that was still warm. Make that two. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Mar 18, 2014

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons (easy!)

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I love easy cookie recipes where you just dump everything into a bowl, stir, drop, and bake. That’s how easy these coconut macaroons are to make. It only takes five ingredients to make these show-stopping cookies and that includes the chocolate. And there’s no butter! Chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons make perfect gifts. People will think you’re a gourmet baker but this is a foolproof, easy recipe.

I make these cookies every year for our annual holiday open house and there’s one guy who only comes to have these cookies. (Mark, you know who you are!) No matter how many I make, they always disappear too soon and now I think I may have to check his pockets when he leaves… 🙂

Here’s how easy it is to make these chocolate-dipped macaroons. Everything but the chocolate goes into a bowl and you combine it with 2 forks. That’s the best way I’ve found to stir it all together. Then I shape the mounds on the baking sheet using the 2 forks but you can use spoons if you like. While the cookies bake, I melt the chocolate. I used to do that in a double boiler where I placed a pyrex bowl over simmering water (the bowl can’t touch the water) but now I just microwave the chocolate to melt it. I check it at 30 seconds and a minute to stir so if you microwave, keep checking and stirring until it’s melted.

There are so many ways to add the chocolate. 1) You can cover half the cookie with chocolate and leave half plain. 2) You can drizzle strands of chocolate across the cookie back and forth with a spoon. 3) You can dip the bottom first and then add chocolate to the edges like in the photo. That’s how I usually do it. I found the first few were easy to roll around to cover the edges but when there’s less & less chocolate, I spooned it onto the edges. Then you place the chocolate-dipped cookies onto wax paper to set.

If you make them, send me a picture! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Mar 13, 2014

Easy Whole Wheat Bread

Easy Wholemeal BreadI can’t remember the last time I bought bread at the store. I’m finding easier ways to make my own delicious and healthy homemade bread and this may be the easiest and fastest. I’m done with proofing yeast and rising dough twice. This is my go-to bread that I use for sandwiches, French toast (it soaks up the eggs in seconds!), and soft bread crumbs.

A few things to keep in mind when baking bread: 1) An instant read thermometer really helps to measure the temperature of the milk. Too hot and you’ll kill the yeast – too cold and it won’t grow. 2) Other additions should not be cold, like the oil and egg. If I’m short on time to warm up a cold egg I have been known to put it in my apron pocket and let my body heat warm it up. Note to self: *Next time, let your partner know about the egg before he hugs you goodbye!

If you want this bread to rise even faster so you can eat it sooner, just reduce the whole wheat flour and increase the bread flour by the same amount (1/4 cup or 1/2 cup). But for more fiber, use my recipe. I tried making it with only whole wheat flour but without much success. It didn’t want to rise and it was too dense and heavy so it needs some bread flour in the mix.

I’m calling it simple whole wheat bread because it really is. This is as easy as it gets to bake bread so I hope you’ll try it. Did I mention that your kitchen will smell terrific too?  Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Mar 11, 2014

If We Watched Cooking Shows…

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Mar 7, 2014

I Reinvented my Carrot Cake

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I’ve been so busy working on new recipes and photos that I’ve neglected some of my older recipes and this week, I had a taste for carrot cake. I was surprised at how much healthier my baking is now and I thought that if any cake could be made with olive oil, it’s carrot cake. There is so much flavor there with the pineapple, toasted pecans, and cinnamon, I didn’t think you would ever taste the olive oil. So I tried it… and I was right. But that wasn’t the only change I made.

I also made it with whole wheat pastry flour so now it’s whole wheat carrot cake and I’ve even simplified the process. Carrot cake is such a great American creation. I remember the first time I was offered a piece of carrot cake. It was in the early 60s and my landlady in Las Vegas asked me if I wanted to try some carrot cake. Who puts carrots in a cake? You might as well put broccoli in my ice cream! What’s happening here? I must have made a face because she immediately said, “I know it sounds weird, but it’s really good. Just try it.” So I did. Wow! I loved it then and still love it today.

If I’m going to have cake, it has to be as healthy as I can make it and whenever I can avoid butter, I do. This cake has no butter, not even in the frosting. It’s a cream cheese frosting made with reduced fat cream cheese. Regarding the flour, the new recipe calls for 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour and half all purpose flour but you can make it with 100% whole wheat pastry flour or even 100% all purpose flour if you like. All variations taste great.

One more thing: toast your nuts! There is a world of difference in flavor between raw and toasted nuts. And it’s easy. Put the raw nuts on an ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees F  for 7 – 10 minutes. I toast a whole bunch at a time and keep them in the fridge for all my baking. I prefer pecans in this recipe but walnuts work too… toasted!  I hope you’ll try my new Whole Wheat Carrot Cake. Click here for the recipe.

Filed Under: Sweets
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Mar 5, 2014

Easy Chicken Stew

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This creamy chicken stew cooks in just 25 minutes. And I love it so much! Don’t be surprised if it becomes a family favorite at your house too. It’s really a chicken-vegetable stew with lots of health-building veggies: potatoes, carrots, celery, mushrooms, and broccoli so it’s a complete meal, all in one bowl. The mushrooms add so much flavor but they aren’t really vegetables, are they? This chicken stew may look too rich to eat but wait until you see how light it is. There’s no butter here, no cream, or even milk. I use a touch of olive oil, lean boneless chicken breast, and lots of vegetables.

To make this a quick dinner, I usually use store-bought chicken stock (Swanson’s unsalted) but if you use a salted stock, be sure to taste for salt before adding any at all.  This creamy and delicious dish comes together quickly, almost like a stir-fry so make sure you have everything prepped before you start. The last time I made this chicken stew, it only took 35 minutes but I’m a fast peeler and slicer/dicer.

If you like comfort food, you will love this easy, healthy recipe. Mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D and broccoli is one of the best defenders against cancer. So here’s the bottom line: It’s easy. It’s healthy. It’s low fat. And it’s awesome! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones