Hi friends. Please note that I am away on vacation in Canada this week and next week. I usually try to answer your questions right away but I am not able to while I’m away. It’s great to get away, to see and do new things, but I am also forced to eat all my meals in restaurants! I miss my own cooking!!! I’ll be back soon. Thanks for your patience.
A healthy, high fiber breakfast is important but it can also be fun. And waffles are fun. Let’s talk about how healthy they are first. My waffles are made with 100% whole wheat pastry flour and extra light olive oil so… fiber and heart healthy fat. Then I bake each one with a big pile of sliced almonds for extra protein and extra crunch. The almonds get baked into the waffle and then you get a fantastic toasted almond flavor with each bite. Oh, and they are easy to make from scratch. Putting the batter together takes less than five minutes!
Now let’s talk about the fun part… what to put on your waffles. Well, there’s a little butter and of course real maple syrup, or honey, maybe some sliced bananas, strawberries, blueberries, peanut butter, yogurt, or take a minute to cook up some caramelized apples. Here’s how I see it. Let’s say you have three waffles. Put some healthy fresh fruit on the first one, some maple syrup on the second one, and the third one can be dessert. What’s wrong with a few chocolate chips or a little drizzle of chocolate syrup if it means you’re having whole grain waffles? A friend of mine wouldn’t tell you but she puts vanilla frozen yogurt on her third waffle… but you never heard it from me. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
This is the only way I make traditional pizza dough any more. Who wants to wait for pizza dough to rise? Not me! It’s enough that I have to wait for the oven to heat up but that’s why this is the perfect pizza dough. You put it together and let it rest for 10 minutes… or longer. That’s the best part. After the 10-minute rest, if your oven and toppings are ready, you can shape your pizza right away. But if you need time, it can rest as long as you need to preheat the oven and get your toppings ready.
So here’s how I make my homemade pizzas. First, I preheat the oven because that takes time. If I’m baking on a pizza stone, it takes about 45 minutes for my oven to get hot enough. If I’m baking on a pan with holes, even that takes about 35 minutes. While the oven heats up I make my dough and while it rests, I prepare my toppings… and what fun that is!
Depending what combo I’m making that day, I might be slicing peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives, or fresh basil. If it’s pepperoni then I degrease my reduced fat turkey pepperoni (see how in my pepperoni pizza video). And finally, I always shred my own part skim mozzarella cheese and you should too. The pre-shredded cheese sold in packages will never melt like freshly shredded cheese because they add some stuff to it. I also find that the enemy of a crispy pizza is moisture so I always try to remove some moisture before adding toppings, especially the ones with the most moisture – mushrooms.
To reduce some of the moisture for a crispier pizza crust, place sliced mushrooms between double layers of paper towels between 2 plates. Microwave for a minute and then blot them dry. I also blot every vegetable before putting them on my pizza because I refuse to use a fork to eat my pizza. I want to pick up a slice with my hand and eat. No drooping, no grease… and no leftovers! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Look what I made! I decided to experiment with my faster no-knead bread and make olive bread. I’ve been making the plain bread regularly with 100% whole wheat flour and for a softer loaf, I also make it with 2 cups of whole wheat and one cup of bread flour. I’ve had olive bread before and loved it. I had a jar of olives handy so I made this loaf yesterday with my 2/3 + 1/3 flour mixture and WOW! It’s moist and soft enough for sandwiches and so delicious. I even had it for breakfast. (the crispy crust is the best part!) Olive bread is a way to include heart-healthy olives in your diet. If you haven’t tried the no knead method for bread, it’s amazingly easy.
I first posted my faster recipe for plain bread (click here) and then another recipe for my whole wheat version (click here). Now I have this fabulous olive bread and I am posting the recipe here because it’s so simple. To make my no knead whole wheat olive bread, you would follow the method used in my whole wheat version but with the ingredients below:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread or all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt (reduced from original version due to salt in the olives)
3/4 cup chopped, patted dry kalamata olives
1 1/2 cups of cool water
UPDATE: March 3, 2016: I just posted the entire recipe in the Breads category so now you can just click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Eat a piece of cheesecake and run! That’s because to burn off the calories from one slice of old fashioned cheesecake, you would have to jog for over an hour. But not so with my lightened up ricotta cheesecake. A walk around the block should do it. This is a healthier cheesecake for sure because it’s made using part skim ricotta cheese with no cream cheese or sour cream in sight. It’s also called Italian Cheesecake and the first time I had it was at an Italian restaurant. I ordered the cheesecake intending to share because it was, you know… cheesecake. But it was so light I ate the whole piece and could easily have had another one.
It was delicious! I had to learn how to make my own and I did. I even lightened it up some more by using part skim ricotta cheese and this delicious dessert just melts in your mouth. So no more full fat cheesecake for me. The last time I had regular full fat cheesecake at that “factory,” I wanted to stop at the mall on the way home and buy bigger pants. Make my Light as a Cloud Ricotta Cheesecake and you won’t need new pants. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
I used to think you could only buy crusty dinner rolls at a bakery but wait ‘til you see how incredibly easy it is to make your own homemade rolls from scratch. And forget everything you thought you knew about baking bread. Here’s what you will NOT have to do:
1. Proof your yeast.
2. Take the temperature of your water.
3. Knead the dough.
4. Rise the dough twice.
5. Rise it in a warm spot.
6. Get stressed about baking with yeast.
All those things are history! Once I learned that you could bake amazing crusty bread at home with no kneading and almost no work, I set out to make it as fast and easy as possible. I’ve already shared my method for making the fabulous crusty bread that bakes in a Dutch oven.
No dutch oven? No problem. If you want to make the no knead bread that bakes in a Dutch oven but you don’t have one, you can make the same dough into these beautiful crusty rolls. All you need is a baking pan. This method is so easy and it’s foolproof. Don’t worry about the water temperature – just use hot tap water. Don’t worry about kneading the dough – you don’t have to. It’s basically like this:
- You mix the dough together, cover, and let it rest for 3 hours.
- You shape it into 8 rolls and let them rest for 35 minutes.
- You take the same 35 minutes to heat up your oven.
- You bake the rolls.
- You eat the rolls!
And if you like sesame seed rolls, just brush them right before baking with egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds and look what you get:
By the way, you can start this dough the night before and let it stand on the counter top overnight for 8 to 24 hours. The only difference is you would use cool water. Then in the morning, shape the rolls and after the 35 minute rest and oven warm-up, you can bake them. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Baked ziti is a classic Italian comfort food, and my version is lower in fat than most and probably easier to make than most too. Here’s my simple step-by-step video showing how I make my baked ziti using store-bought sauce and low fat cheeses.
I always use reduced fat cheese and this casserole is no exception. And you don’t have to use tons of cheese to make this a creamy, melty, cheesy dinner. This is a hearty delicious meal, perfect for Sunday family supper. The meat I use is the leanest I can find, usually ground sirloin, which has less saturated fat but I’ve also made it with ground turkey.
You’ll find that not all bottled/jarred sauces are the same so try some different brands of marinara sauce until you find your favorite. Enjoy the video and let me know if you make my easy baked ziti. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Are parchment paper and wax paper the same?
My response… Parchment paper and wax paper are very different. Wax paper is actually coated with wax and not intended for use in the oven. The wax would probably melt in there anyway and wind up on your food. It’s good to use for messy work like breading or you can sift dry ingredients on it to save washing a bowl. Parchment paper is grease and moisture-resistant and is made for use in the oven. Even in the hottest oven at 500 degrees F, the edges of the paper may turn brown but it’s still safe to use. And it saves a lot of cleanup. If your parchment paper sticks, it’s likely an inferior quality paper. The only brand I use is Reynolds and it never sticks.
I have so many recipes I’m anxious to post but it takes time for me to put each one together. That means writing up every detail so that everyone can understand and follow, even novice or international cooks. And then there’s the photo. Well that takes time because I’m not a food stylist and when I get a good photo, it’s usually a lucky shot. Not being a pro, I just hope the lighting is right and that I’ll get lucky. It usually takes about 200 shots to get one I like. But I enjoy every part of the process and I love what I’m doing.
All your comments mean so much to me, knowing that someone took time to write a note about a personal recipe I shared. These recipes are personal because I am not a “recipe developer.” I am a home cook sharing only the things I make for myself at home so I sincerely appreciate all your comments and compliments. Thank you so much. And here are some of my recipes I’ll be sharing soon….
No Knead Crusty Rolls (super easy, almost no work, perfect if you don’t have a Dutch oven for the Faster No Knead Bread – same recipe but it’s rolls made on a baking sheet)
Spaghetti & Meatballs from Scratch (sauce and meatballs from scratch ready in 40 minutes)
Butterscotch Pudding (healthier, low fat, so easy to make from scratch)
Light as a Cloud Cheesecake (Italian style ricotta cheesecake that melts in your mouth)
One-Pan Roasted Vegetables & Chicken (one of the healthiest meals I make – everything bakes in one pan)
Whole Grain Almond-Topped Waffles (100% whole grain healthy waffles baked with lots of sliced almonds on top)
Lemon Chicken Cutlets (pounded, breaded, pan fried in a little olive oil)
Homemade Apple Pie (no shortening, no butter, awesome apple pie with a flaky crust made with olive oil and three pounds of apples!)
These healthy cookies are always on hand in my kitchen because I love sweets but they have to be as healthy as I can make them. And these are. They are 100% whole grain made with whole wheat pastry flour and oats. Then I add heart-healthy olive oil and this is a cookie I can eat every day (and I do!). The truth is that most of the time, dessert in my house is just a cookie and it’s this cookie more than any other. It’s sweet and satisfying and might actually do you some good. It has lots of fiber, heart healthy fat, and no butter or white flour. Did I mention a few mini chocolate chips?
I tried to decide what to call this… Oatmeal Cookies, Whole Grain Cookies, Healthy Cookies, Olive Oil Cookies, Cookies I Eat Every Day, but then I settled on Everyday Cookies because I have them just about every day. Sure, they are dessert after dinner but why not after breakfast? They have oats and whole grains and nuts – isn’t that what’s in a granola bar? And my granola bar recipe has chocolate chips too. So I do eat these healthy cookies every day, sometimes more than one a day.
These are some crispy cookies, which is good because they keep really well. I keep them in a covered container, mostly in the fridge by the second day, but they don’t last long. With two of us here they disappear fast and when they’re gone, I make more. If you’re looking for a crispy, healthier cookie, one that you can eat every day that might even do you some good, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones