Dec 4, 2013

Polish Poppy Seed Roll

 Polish Makowiec Recipe

There are no words to describe the fabulous flavor of this traditional Polish holiday bread we call Makowiec. The filling is a distinctive combination of ground poppy seeds, orange and lemon peel, and ground toasted almonds. I love this bread! I grew up with it! It’s perfect for afternoon tea or as a light dessert.

My recipe is pretty easy to make but you will need to grind the poppy seeds and I found an easy way to do that. I bought a spice & nut grinder (Cuisinart) and it grinds the poppy seeds and the almonds. Until I discovered the grinder, the only way to grind the seeds was to use an old fashioned meat grinder that you clamp to the counter and crank with your hand. I tried a food processor and a blender but neither one did the job. But it’s really easy with the spice grinder.

The bread is sweet and the filling is to die for! After baking, you can drizzle the loaf with a glaze or another option is to brush it before baking with either melted butter or with an eggwash and sprinkle with poppy seeds.  My recipe requires only one rise and if your filling seeps out a little when it’s done, that happens a lot so don’t fret over it. It will still taste great. My how-to video for this awesome bread will be up next week.  Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Dec 2, 2013

Plain buttermilk pancakes

Emily asks… I don’t know how long it was but you did a video on how to make Buttermilk Pancakes. They were so light and fluffy. I have lost the reciepe and I was wondering if you could send it to me. They were so easy to make. They were plain with nothing else with it. Thank you.

My response… Just use my recipe for Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes and leave out the blueberries. It’s super easy to make pancakes from scratch. There is a video here to watch or just click here for the printable recipe.

Nov 24, 2013

Make Ahead Gravy (and it’s low fat!)


Who wants to make gravy at the last minute? Not me! I love to cook a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with mashed potatoes but I’m starting my gravy today. It’s one less thing to deal with on Thursday. Here’s how I do it: I picked up a package of turkey wings this morning and roasted them in the oven. I just rubbed them with oil, salt & pepper and put them on a baking sheet, roasting for an hour at 375 degrees. Now I’m using them to make stock. I put the wings and every bit of their drippings into a big pot of water along with some onion, carrot, celery, parsnip, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. I will cook it down for 2-3 hours, let it cool, and refrigerate. (The meat from the wings makes a terrific sandwich).

Once the stock cools overnight, I skim off and discard the fat off the top and now I have a delicious roasted turkey stock, ready and waiting in the fridge, to use in my stuffing and to make gravy the day before. Any leftover stock… either becomes soup or I freeze it in ice cube trays for other cooking.

Use this with your own gravy recipe or try mine…

2 Tbsp. butter

1/4 cup flour

2 cups turkey stock

1. Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes.

2. Slowly whisk in the stock, stirring constantly until it’s smooth. Cook for 10-15 minutes.

3. Let it cool and refrigerate.

4. DAY OF: Just heat up your gravy and once your turkey is done, pour the drippings into a glass measuring cup and let them stand until they separate (I use a separating cup). Pour off and discard the fat and add the dark particles left on the bottom to your gravy. Taste for salt.

This makes a delicious, low fat gravy with no last minute stress. And for a lighter dessert, try my Lightened Pumpkin Cheesecake. Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 19, 2013

Lightened Pumpkin Cheesecake


I’m sharing one of my prized recipes just in time for Thanksgiving. This is one people will talk about long after it’s gone and they’ll probably ask for the recipe. My lightened pumpkin cheesecake is made using all reduced fat ingredients so it’s a healthier dessert, perfect after you’ve stuffed yourself senseless with turkey. This lighter cheesecake won’t weigh you down and the recipe is fairly simple but you will need a springform pan.

The crust is just graham crackers sprinkled on the bottom so there’s no heavy butter-laden crust. And the secret to this light and airy cake is to beat the egg whites separately and fold them in at the end. I get the best results using Daisy Brand light sour cream and Philadelphia brand 1/3 less fat cream cheese. I tried neufchatel but didn’t like the result, and I would never use Knudsen reduced fat sour cream for anything!

So if you try this amazing holiday dessert, make sure you have all your ingredients at room temperature and leave enough time to let it cool for at least two hours on the counter and then refrigerate for at least two hours as well. This is my Thanksgiving gift to all you cooks who will soon be stuffing turkeys and faces! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Nov 15, 2013

Black Bean Quesadilla


Got 15 minutes? Then you have time to make a quick and easy meal. This black bean quesadilla is my go-to meal when I’m pressed for time and with the holidays coming, I’ll be having lots of quesadillas. Of course, I use my own homemade whole wheat tortillas, which I usually have on hand, but you can use store-bought ones too. Try to find them without saturated fat.

I realize it’s convenient to use pre-shredded cheese but because of the additives it won’t melt as well as using a block of cheese. So take the extra 30 seconds – yes, that’s how long it takes to shred 2 ounces of cheese – and you’ll have a nice “cheesy on the inside, crispy on the outside” quesadilla.

If you like spicy food, you will love the spicy version of my black bean quesadilla. Simply replace the reduced fat jack cheese with reduced fat pepperjack, and use the hot canned diced chiles.  Oooh, Mama!

Whichever way you swing, serve it with salsa (pico de gallo is my fave) or guacamole… or both. Click here for the recipe.  – Jenny Jones

Nov 13, 2013

Beet & Cabbage Borscht


I absolutely love my beet & cabbage borscht. It has a complex flavor but is really easy to make. You basically put all the ingredients in a pot and cook. It’s the best soup I know to restore electrolytes and boost your immune system.

Every time I make this soup, I devour it in no time. I think your body knows when it’s getting something super healthy and yesterday I had two big bowls of it for dinner – nothing else. We Polish people usually add a little dollop of sour cream to our borscht. My dad had his own way of eating it. Instead of adding diced potatoes to the soup, he would make a side of mashed potatoes and put some potatoes in his spoon, then dip it in the soup so every bite had mashed potatoes and delicious borscht. Yummm.

Beets alone are an anti-aging powerhouse. They are said to stabilize blood sugar & cholesterol, support the liver & urinary tract, and help fight heart disease and cancer. The rich variety of other vegetables can protect against prostate, lung and other cancers, heart disease, macular degeneration and memory loss.

Winter’s coming and that’s soup season. Try my beet and cabbage borscht on the next cold night but don’t wear white when you’re making it. Beets turn everything red. Even…. well…. you’ll see the next morning. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Nov 7, 2013

Simple Garlic Bread

Here’s the How-To video for my easy garlic bread. You must see how quick and easy it is to make fresh, homemade garlic bread. I swear I can smell the garlic just looking at a picture of it! I just made some last night in my toaster oven and had it with a big bowl of vegetable-bean soup. Make sure you serve it warm.

By the way, garlic has antibacterial, antiviral, and antibiotic properties and is a good source of selenium, a powerful antioxidant. Garlic might help prevent colds, reduce blood pressure and protect the heart. But here’s one I never heard before: You can remove splinters with garlic. Placing a slice of garlic over the sliver and covering it with a bandage or duct tape has been a folk cure for years. As natural remedies gain in popularity, people swear this one works. I guess I’ll need to go rub some plywood to see if it works. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

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Nov 7, 2013

Trans fats can start packing their bags

FDA takes first step toward banning trans fats from U.S. Foods

(CNN) — The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday took a step toward potentially eliminating trans fats from the food supply with a preliminary determination they are no longer “generally recognized as safe.”

Trans fats are found in a variety of frozen, canned and baked processed foods. Partially hydrogenated oils are the major dietary source of trans fats in processed food. Trans fats have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

If the preliminary determination is finalized, according to the FDA, then partially hydrogenated oils will become food additives subject to premarket FDA approval. Foods with unapproved additives cannot legally be sold.

Nov 4, 2013

Simple Garlic Bread

GarlicBread_JJ_600Is there anything better to have with a salad than garlic bread? I love it! And since I make my own garlic bread all the time, I keep it simple and fast. What I usually do is preheat the oven (actually, I make mine in a toaster oven), prepare the bread, which takes less than 5 minutes, and I set it aside. Then I make my salad and dinner. When it’s ready for the table, I pop the garlic bread into the oven. Then I warm a plate, line it with a cloth napkin, and bring the fresh warm garlic bread to the table because fresh out of the oven is the best way to have it. And oooh, that smell!

I like to use thick slices of sourdough bread because you get a soft, golden top and nice crispy edges. And any day that I bake a loaf of bread, that’s always a garlic bread day. If you’ve ever had homemade garlic bread on homemade bread, well… I’m pretty sure you had three slices! My easy recipe makes two slices so double it up if you need more. Line your baking sheet with foil and there’s no cleanup.

There are lots of things people add to garlic bread like herbs or fresh parsley but I don’t think it’s needed. Try my version and let me know if you agree. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Oct 27, 2013

More whole wheat pastry flour in desserts

Jennifer asks… I was wondering if more of your dessert recipes can use all whole wheat pastry flour in place of all purpose flour? Would there be any changes needed to ingredients or baking times if using all whole wheat pastry flour? The only one I’ve found that does is the chocolate brownies.

My response… Your question is timely because every time I cook or bake, if I can make something even healthier than the last time, I always try.  And because I love to bake, that means using more whole wheat flour in my desserts. Just tonight I made 100% whole grain chocolate chip-cherry cookies and they were fantastic (that recipe is coming soon). With desserts 100% whole grain is always best but not at the expense of texture and taste. That’s why I still make my pizza crust and cinnamon rolls with all purpose flour. I’ve tried using whole wheat but in those cases, it just didn’t deliver.

We all know it’s better to eliminate white flour and you will find a lot of my upcoming baking, especially cookies, will be made with 100% whole wheat pastry flour. It’s not that I haven’t been trying to use it more, I just haven’t always loved the results. Otherwise, I would use nothing but whole wheat. Currently, besides my brownies, my chocolate French toast, kitchen sink cookies and my crispy crunchy oat cookies are 100% whole grain. I have also made my apple muffins with 100% whole wheat pastry flour and my tortillas too. Coming soon will be my: 100% whole grain chocolate chip-cherry cookies, my crunchy munchy cookies with crisped rice, a delicious apple cake, and my farm bread – all 100% whole wheat. Rest assured I am on the case!

UPDATE/Nov. 7th: I made my apple muffins again this morning using 100% whole wheat pastry flour and they were great. So I am changing the recipe. Thanks, Jennifer, for the nudge I needed!

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