Mar 16, 2017 Mar 3, 2017
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 23, 2017
It pays to experiment. Today I decided to try making whole wheat no knead bread faster to avoid the overnight wait. I increased the amount of yeast and it worked! Most no knead breads use 1/4 teaspoon of yeast so I tried 1 teaspoon and let the dough rest for just three hours instead of overnight. I was so happy with the result. It’s a nice hearty loaf with a soft interior. This is not 100% whole wheat because that is a heavier, dense loaf. This is 2/3 whole wheat to 1/3 bread flour but it’s still a good source of fiber.
So now I have NINE different variations of no knead bread from Fruit & Nut to Multi-Grain to No Dutch Oven at all. And I’m working on number ten! Keep in mind that any whole wheat bread will never be as soft and crispy as the white version but this is still a delicious, hearty, healthier whole wheat bread and it takes almost no work at all. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Feb 18, 2017
In response to the many people who either do not have a Dutch oven or find it difficult to lift such a heavy pot, I decided to try making my no knead bread on a baking pan. Well guess what? It works. It makes a great loaf that’s soft inside with a beautiful golden crust. It’s not quite as crispy of a crust as the Dutch oven method but it’s close. It’s important to find a way to create steam in the oven because steam is what makes a crispy crust. But even without steam, it still bakes up nicely but with a softer crust.
For my ciabatta bread, which needs steam, I used a disposable foil 6-cup muffin pan, which you can place beside or just below the bread.
But I also found a small 9 by 5-inch baking pan for $3.50 and a restaurant supply store and it works well too. It’s what I used for this loaf.
It’s important to add the hot water right when you put in the bread and close the oven door right away. The steam is most effective right at the beginning. I use a metal measuring cup with a handle to pour the hot water. I hope my photos are helpful and that now, anyone without a Dutch oven can make this super easy, delicious, artisan bread. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Feb 6, 2017
This 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
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 9, 2017
There are three reasons why I love this recipe:
- It’s vegetarian.
- It has lots of superfood veggies.
- 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
Nov 27, 2016
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 15, 2016
I 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 3, 2016
If 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
Even 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