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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

Filed Under: Holiday, New
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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

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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

Sep 21, 2016

Soup That Heals

wound_healing_soup_vegetablesIf you know anyone recovering from an injury or surgery, make them soup using these vegetables: carrot, potato, sweet potato, red pepper, broccoli, spinach and add some lima beans. By researching, I learned that there are certain nutrients that can help heal the body from an injury, a wound, or surgery. The most essential are vitamins A, C, and E along with zinc, calcium, potassium, and protein. So I created this recipe using ingredients highest in these nutrients for a powerful healing soup. It’s also a delicious vegetable soup and any vegetable soup will have health benefits, but using these specific ingredients provide the best concentrate of what is needed by the body to heal.

I make this soup using my own homemade chicken broth. Chicken broth has its own health benefits and it’s the best liquid to use. Vegetable broth is also a good choice but even if you use plain water, all the wound healing benefits will still be there. If someone is not able to eat due to a closed jaw or dental surgery, this soup can be pureed to drink, or pureed and thinned to drink with a straw.

One more food with excellent healing enzymes is fresh pineapple (not canned – only fresh has enzymes). So the most beneficial meal to help recover would be a big bowl of wound healing soup with some fresh pineapple for dessert.

By the way, even if you’re not trying to heal, this is an incredibly healthy vegetable soup full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. If you want to use my chicken soup as a base, click here for the recipe. You can make the stock the day before and after it’s refrigerated, remove the fat from the top and proceed with this vegetable soup. Once you have the stock, my wound healing vegetable soup takes just 30 minutes to make. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Aug 14, 2016

Remember Tapioca Pudding?

Tapiolca Pudding2_1200_0722

Light and fluffy tapioca pudding was my favorite dessert growing up. I still make it today and it’s so easy to make.  Classic old fashioned tapioca pudding is plain, flavored only with vanilla but I have also made a butterscotch version as well as chocolate and coconut. But plain old vanilla childhood tapioca is still the best. Thank goodness they still sell Minute Tapioca in the red box.

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It’s easy to forget but you should shake the box before measuring. I actually keep my tapioca in a jar so I just stir it before measuring. Tapioca is naturally fat free and sodium free. I make my pudding with low fat 1% milk and it’s a very light dessert. I hope this takes you back to your childhood too. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Filed Under: New, Sweets
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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.

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