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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

Feb 6, 2017

Easy Homemade Ciabatta Bread

Easy Ciabatta Bread

Look what I made! It was just an experiment but it turned out to be amazing! Anyone can make no knead bread without a Dutch oven. The secret is to create steam inside the oven just like it’s created inside a Dutch oven. And it’s easy. Steam is what makes a crispy crust and it’s really easy. What you do is put a small pan in the oven before you preheat it and then when it’s hot, you put in the bread to bake and pour some hot water into the small pan and it bursts into steam right away and fills up the oven. Then you quickly close the oven door to keep the steam inside and after 30 minutes, you will have an amazing loaf of ciabatta bread with a soft interior full of lovely holes and a beautiful golden crispy crust.

You can use a variety of pans to create the steam (do a google search for ideas if you like) but I find that process is not easy on the pan. I prefer this disposable foil pan because it’s small and fits right next to the baking pan in my oven. But if it does not fit on the same rack as your baking pan, just place it on a rack below. You may have to remove a rack to make room but whether beside the bread or on a rack below, keep it off to the side and don’t put it directly under the bread. Either way, place the muffin pan close to the front for easy access. Here is how I place mine and how you can place it below if your oven is smaller.

I pour about 3/4 cup of hot tap water into 3 or 4 of the muffin cups. It’s good to use an oven glove when you pour the hot water because it creates steam right away and be sure to close the oven door immediately so the steam can’t escape. You can re-use the muffin pan, although it will turn dark. So there it is. I hope my photos help and now everyone who does not have a Dutch oven will be able to make this fabulous no knead, easy, homemade crusty ciabatta bread. 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

Jan 9, 2017

Make Caesar Salad at Home

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Caesar salad! Now I don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant to get a classic Caesar salad. It was always a mystery to me because I thought I had to use whole anchovies but for me, anchovy paste is perfect and it’s also easy to use. It takes just minutes to make this dressing but you need the right ingredients. You just shake it all up in a jar and it’s done.

Traditional Caesar salad is made with romaine lettuce and for me, hearts of romaine make the best presentation, not to mention homemade croutons. I usually make croutons with slices of my faster no knead bread and my recipe is super easy too. Click here to see how to make homemade croutons.

I encourage everyone to eat a salad every day and now you can make one of those salads a classic Caesar. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Nov 27, 2016

Spice Cake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

Buttermilk Spice CakeI really enjoy this moist buttermilk cake, especially because it’s another one of my easy, one-bowl recipes. The combination of spices in the cake along with a mild cream cheese frosting really works for me and I always like any frosting I can make without butter, but it’s also good with chocolate frosting. (You can use the frosting from my zucchini chocolate cake.) It may not be a fancy special occasion cake but my favorite cakes are quick and easy so I mostly bake and frost in the same pan. However, it’s easy to transfer this cake onto a plate and frost the sides as well, like in my photo.

I kept the recipe simple using just all purpose flour but it’s hard to tell the difference between the 100% all purpose and the one made with half whole wheat pastry flour. This recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups of flour so I use 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour with 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of whole wheat pastry flour. If you like desserts without butter like I do, you should try this easy spice cake. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Nov 15, 2016

Simple Make Ahead Stuffing

Simple Bread StuffingIf you’ve ever cooked an entire Thanksgiving turkey dinner then you know it’s all about surviving. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who does it all from scratch deserves a one-week cruise in the Bahamas! I do it all from scratch: the turkey & mashed potatoes, the gravy, the stuffing, cranberries, green beans, and pumpkin pie. How do I survive? By doing everything I possibly can… in advance.

That includes the pumpkin pie, the fresh cranberries, the stuffing, and even the gravy. I make my gravy in advance and just stir in some of the turkey drippings before serving. To make the best gravy and stuffing, I need a good stock so here’s how I schedule my prep:

One week ahead: I bake my easy white bread with 1 Tbsp. sugar and dry it to make cubes for the stuffing. The dried cubes keep well for days but they must be completely dry.

Two days ahead: I make turkey stock using two turkey wings. I rub them with oil, salt & pepper, and roast them on a sheet at 375° F for an hour. Then I put the wings and drippings in a soup pot with about 8 cups of water and all the same veggies & spices as my chicken soup. I cook it for 3 hours, strain, cool & refrigerate. Then I skim the fat off the top before using. Oh, I take the meat off the wings for snacking – it’s delicious! I also cook the fresh cranberries.

One day ahead: I bake my pumpkin pie and make my gravy and stuffing.

Obviously, not everyone wants to work this hard so a store bought loaf of white bread is fine and you can use chicken stock (Swanson’s unsalted in the carton is good). Some people like to crisp the stuffing in the oven but I prefer it soft. It feels more like it was cooked inside the bird that way. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

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Nov 3, 2016

Easy Potato Soup

easy_potato_soupEven when it’s not cold outside, I still make my potato soup. Russet potatoes are best for this creamy comfort food and it only takes 1/2 hour to make. Cutting the potatoes into small 1/2-inch pieces helps it cook quickly and I always have my homemade chicken stock in the freezer for soups and stews. You don’t need cream to thicken this soup, only a little flour is all it takes.

Another thing I always have on hand is my (low fat) sour cream. Don’t all Polish people have sour cream at home? It seems like we eat everything with sour cream… cabbage rolls, pierogi, borscht, and potato soup. I always stir sour cream into this soup just before eating and if you want the full Polish experience (zupa ziemniaczana ~ but we called it zupa kartoflana) top it with a little freshly chopped dill. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Oct 23, 2016

The Easiest Coconut Cake You’ll Ever Make

easy_one_bowl_coconut_cakeYou won’t find a coconut cake anywhere that’s this easy to make. One bowl. Simple ingredients. Quick and easy recipe. It’s a variation of my easy one bowl yellow cake with just a couple of changes and one of them is of course, lots of coconut. This is an easy cake you can make quickly and have a delicious homemade dessert ready any time.

I try to always use ingredients that most people either have on hand or can easily find. And I always try to bake without butter and I have done it again with this cake. Even the cream cheese frosting is made without butter and I promise you will not miss it. What you will miss is the rest of the cake because it will disappear very quickly! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Oct 13, 2016

Cancer Fighting Soup

cancer_fighting_soupEvery single ingredient in this healthy cancer-fighting soup is there for a reason. These are the vegetables that researchers believe contain powerful anti cancer compounds. So I put them all into one delicious, nutritious, easy to make soup. And when you make it with homemade chicken stock, you increase the health-promoting properties even more. Here’s what’s in it and why:

Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower – These are cruciferous vegetables, the most widely recommended food group to eat to protect against cancer.

Carrots – Orange colored vegetables are believed to help against many types of cancer.

Kale – Dark greens like kale and spinach are key to cancer and disease protection. If you use spinach, stir it in just at the end when the soup is done.

Tomato – Red tomatoes are a must for anyone concerned about prostate cancer. They are a good source of lycopene, especially prepared and canned tomatoes (even ketchup and tomato sauce or paste) but they need a little fat to be absorbed, so that’s why you must include the olive oil. I use canned tomatoes because canned are a better source of lycopene than fresh.

Garlic & Onion – They both have strong anti-inflammatory properties and it’s believed they can help slow down the growth of cancer cells.

So if you are looking to protect your health in the future or trying to prevent a recurrence of cancer, research tells us that eating these vegetables can help.  Or if you just want to be as healthy as possible, you will love this quick and easy homemade vegetable soup. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Sep 30, 2016

Easy Zucchini Chocolate Cake

zucchini_chocolate_cake

Not eating enough vegetables? Here’s one way to eat a little more. Besides adding a bit of nutrition to this easy cake, zucchini also makes it beautifully moist. This yummy cake is made without butter, only using vegetable oil or extra light olive oil instead. Most cakes tend to get overdone around the edges so I recommend using a cake strip. Click here to learn more.

Have some fun and serve this “chocolate cake” to your family and ask them to guess what’s in it. Nobody would guess zucchini. I’m always finding new ways to bake without butter so the only butter here is a little in the frosting if you choose to use it. As for this delicious cake, you can just call it what it is –  a delicious, moist, and a little bit healthier chocolate cake. Click here for the recipe.  – Jenny Jones

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