Main Dishes

Mar 16, 2017

My Mexican Casserole is Easy (and Vegetarian).

I love this simple vegetarian casserole. It’s a healthier, lighter way to enjoy Mexican food because it uses fresh tomatoes, whole wheat tortillas, and reduced fat cheese. I use my own homemade tortillas, the whole wheat version, and they turn nice and soft in this dish. I wanted to try it with store-bought tortillas but could not bring myself to buy them after reading the ingredients. If you make the tortillas ahead of time this meal can be made in about 45 minutes.

If you like things spicy, you can switch from jalapeño pepper to a spicier one like serrano or the super hot habanero. For me, the jalapeño version is perfect – not too spicy at all. And I always say it: don’t use pre-shredded cheese. It will never melt like fresh cheese because they add some type of stabilizer to the pre-shredded kind. It takes less than a minute to shred six ounces of cheese. I always serve this dish with a little sour cream on the side. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Feb 18, 2017

Easy Angel Hair Casserole

Easy Angel Hair CasseroleThis easy casserole just might become your new family favorite. I’ve been making it for years and everyone loves it. And I love it for two reasons. One: it’s delicious. Two: it’s easy to make. It takes just a few simple ingredients and less than an hour for some good homemade comfort food. By using lean ground beef and reduced fat cheese, I never feel stuffed after my second and third helping.

Much of the flavor comes from the sauce and you can use a homemade marinara but I use store-bought sauce. Two that I like, but can’t always find, are Silver Palate Low Sodium Marinara but this time I couldn’t find it so I used Terlato Kitchen Pomodoro, also lower in sodium and it was fantastic. Not all jarred sauces are the same so I encourage everyone to read the label for the least number of ingredients as well as sodium. Even with a low sodium sauce, this recipe doesn’t even need salt or pepper.

And don’t be tempted to use more pasta. It will seem like it’s not enough when you put it together but it’s just the right amount for this easy family casserole. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jan 27, 2017

Veggie Fried Rice

There are three reasons why I love this recipe:

  1. It’s vegetarian.
  2. It has lots of superfood veggies.
  3. It takes less than 20 minutes to make.

This is a light, easy supper that I love to make, depending what I have on hand. My favorite combo is this one with broccoli, baby spinach, bell peppers, and peas. But I have also made it with other vegetables, sometimes broccollini instead of broccoli, Swiss chard instead of spinach, or other subs like asparagus, shredded carrots, bok choy, or Chinese snow peas, so you see it’s just a great way to get a variety of cooked vegetables in one meal. But I always use at least four different veggies.

Cold cooked rice works best so I usually cook the rice the day before, and refrigerate it overnight. Mostly I use Uncle Ben’s converted rice but I have also made it with brown rice. Either way, if your rice is cooked in advance, this is a super-quick meal. Be sure to have everything ready before you start because a stir-fry means you don’t leave the pan once you start and it cooks in less than 10 minutes! So chop everything first and have everything in place before starting. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Sep 29, 2016

Snapshots from Dinner

roasted_vegetables_beforeRoasting vegetables is just about the easiest way to cook them. I love this dish so much, probably because roasting brings out the sugar in vegetables so they are sweeter, and in many cases, have more nutrients than they do raw.  Today I used red potatoes, sweet potatoes, red & yellow peppers, green beans, Brussels sprouts, red onions, and carrots. I added some olive oil, salt & pepper and roasted them at 400 along with my pork tenderloin. Here they are after roasting…

roasted_vegetables_afterThis may look like a lot but between the two of us there was not one piece of vegetable left on this tray. We usually save some of the sweet potato slices for dessert because they are so sweet after roasting. With all these beautiful colors, the antioxidants here are enormous. I have two recipes you might like. One is just the roasted vegetables as a side dish. The other is what I made tonight, my fabulous pork loin dinner. (there’s no pork left either!)

pork_loin_dinnerPork is one of the leanest meats you can find, and so delicious! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Sep 1, 2016

My Top Ten Favorite Recipes

orange_sesame_chickenI made one of my top ten favorite recipes today: Orange Sesame Chicken. It’s fast, healthy, and so much better than restaurant orange chicken, which is usually batter fried. My lean chicken is stir fried in 2 teaspoons of oil and made with freshly squeezed orange juice and toasted sesame oil. If you haven’t tasted (and smelled!) toasted sesame oil, it’s unbelievably fragrant. And bonus: this recipe takes 20 minutes. But that’s not even why I like it so much. It is deeeelicous!

If you’re wondering, here is the entire top ten list of my own personal favorite recipes, the ones I make the most:

  1. Granola Bars
  2. Tortillas
  3. Chicken Pot Pie
  4. Multigrain No Knead Bread
  5. Giant Breakfast Cookies
  6. Orange Sesame Chicken
  7. Spaghetti & Meatballs
  8. Cabbage Rolls
  9. Pork Loin Dinner
  10. Deviled Eggs

Happy Labor Day weekend to everyone and if you want to try my orange sesame chicken, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jul 8, 2016

How to Make Soft Chicken Meatballs

how_to_make_soft_chicken_meatballsNot all chicken meatballs are soft but these are. The secret is to cook them right in the sauce. Ground chicken breast is very lean and healthy but since it contains so little fat, it’s easy for chicken meatballs to become dry. But when they’re cooked in the sauce, they are beautifully soft and even more flavorful from absorbing the sauce.

Using fresh bread crumbs also helps with their beautifully soft texture. Fresh crumbs are made by using fresh bread, in this case whole wheat bread, and running it through a food processor. Since I always bake my own simple whole wheat bread, that’s what I use for the crumbs so it’s important to use a soft whole wheat bread for these fresh crumbs. Click here for my recipe and video on making bread crumbs.

You can put this meal, with sauce, together in about 1/2 an hour if you use my Quick & Easy Spaghetti Sauce. In fact, you can follow my Quick & Easy Spaghetti & Meatballs recipe and just swap the beef meatballs with my chicken recipe. Both of these sauce recipes are exactly the same. If you don’t want to use sauce and would prefer to pan-fry or oven-bake these chicken meatballs, you can do that. They won’t be quite as soft, and not as pretty, but they still taste really good.

I experimented with both pan-frying and oven-baking and here’s how you would do that. To pan-fry, heat a little olive oil in a large pan and cook the meatballs for about 10 minutes, gently turning to brown all sides. They won’t be meatballs any more… more more like meat triangles. To oven-bake, place the meatballs on a greased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400° F oven for about 20 minutes. The meatballs are done when the inside reaches 165° F. As I said, they won’t be as pretty as the sauce version and here is the proof:

IMG_0588 copyPan-fried                                              Oven-baked

I told you they weren’t pretty!! Of the two options, the pan-fried meatballs tasted better, probably because they were browned. So now you have options, but I highly recommend cooking these chicken breast meatballs in sauce for the best result. – Jenny Jones

Click here for the recipe.

Apr 21, 2016

Easy Lemon Herb Chicken

Lemon Herb Chicken Breast1200_8653You only need four ingredients to make this easy chicken recipe. Well, four plus the chicken. For anyone just learning to cook or simply short on time, this oven-baked chicken is quick, easy and healthy. I make a basting sauce of fresh lemon juice and garlic with olive oil and herbs. The chicken bakes in the oven, you baste it a couple of times, and it’s ready in 30 minutes. And get this: I line my baking pan with foil so there’s no cleanup!

For my herbs, I use a prepared formula of Italian dried herbs that includes basil, rosemary, thyme & oregano but you can use your own favorite mix. Or just use one herb that you like. Once the chicken is cooked, you let it rest for 10 minutes, then slice it and pour all the juices left in the pan over the chicken, making sure you get all the bits of garlic too. The combination of garlic, herbs, and lemon goes perfectly with chicken.

I’m having it tonight with roasted vegetables. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jan 8, 2016

Creamy Chicken Asparagus Bow Ties

Creamy_Chix_Asp_Bowt1200_9936_Edit_2Here’s a new addition to my 30 Minutes or Less dinner category. It’s lean white meat chicken, bow tie pasta and asparagus in a creamy, low fat Alfredo sauce. It’s super easy, quick, and yummy. The whole meal takes just 25 minutes to make and it also works with broccoli.

Creamy Chx-Broc1200_9976The only difference if you use broccoli is you add a little pasta water to the broccoli when you saute it. This recipe was in my cookbook but that version used butter. My new way does not use butter and it’s much easier to make. In fact, almost any recipe I made ten years ago is not the same today. I’m always finding ways to make things simpler, easier, and faster.

The creamy sauce is my version of alfredo sauce. Did you know they call fettucini alfredo a “heart attack on a plate?” That’s because alfredo sauce is traditionally made with all cream and butter. I will never do that. Mine uses no cream or butter. I use 1% milk and I get a creamy, satisfying comfort meal that I can feel good about eating. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jan 8, 2016

Five Minute Alfredo Sauce

5-Minute Alfredo Sauce1200_0041Do you miss Fettuccine Alfredo? Avoiding it because you don’t want to die? My Alfredo sauce has no heavy cream and no butter, in fact it’s made with 1% milk and it’s deeelish. And you can be eating it in five minutes. That’s how long it takes to make the easiest Fettuccine Alfredo ever, and the healthiest too.

This is the same sauce I use in my Creamy Chicken Asparagus Bow Ties recipe but if you just want pasta alone with a creamy, easy sauce, this is it. Alfredo sauce is traditionally served with fettuccine but today, I’m making Bow Ties Alfredo. Put it on bow ties, elbows, or any pasta shape you like. You won’t feel weighed down after this light sauce… or tired from all that 5 minutes of work! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Sep 18, 2015

Skinless Thighs & Fries

Skinless Chx Thighs&Fries2_1200_8009

I’m posting my new simpler way to make one of my favorite one pan meals. This no-fuss dinner cooks in one pan and it takes almost no work. Plus the whole house smells divine with all the spices as they cook. Both the chicken and the potatoes are coated with a mixture of aromatic spices & olive oil and as they’re cooking along in the oven, you have plenty of time to make a salad or cook a side vegetable.

What I like most about this recipe is that the two foods can be separated at the end if either the chicken or potatoes need a few more minutes. Chicken thighs come in all sizes – sometimes I get four in a pack and sometimes six. So smaller pieces will cook faster.  And depending how big you cut your potato wedges, they may need more or less time. So at the end, you can separate the chicken from the potatoes and cook just one of them a little longer if needed. I only had to do that once.

The broiler-type pan is important because chicken thighs have a lot of fat and all the fat cooks off and stays in the broiler pan, not touching the chicken, and not spreading onto the flat part of the pan where the potatoes cook and that keeps the potatoes crispy.

I had posted this recipe before when I used to cook asparagus on the same pan but it was too much trouble so now I just cook my green vegetable separately. This chicken dinner goes really well with asparagus and I’ve had it with broccoli and brussels sprouts, too. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

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