Sides

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

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

Jun 5, 2015

Spanakopita made easier & healthier

Spanakopita1200_3170I love Greek spinach pie so much I had to come up with an easier way to make it – and I have. The old way meant washing spinach about five times to get the sand out, cooking the spinach, draining the spinach, etc., etc., and then brushing the phyllo with oil and having it stick to the brush and break into pieces. And cutting it in the pan was never easy.

But oh… I have a much easier way to make this incredibly delicious Greek treat. Here’s what you won’t have to do:

  • No washing of spinach.
  • No cooking of spinach.
  • No draining of spinach.
  • No brushing the phyllo so it breaks.
  • No struggling to cut it in the pan after it’s cooked.

There are two things you will need to make this recipe: an oil mister and parchment paper. Of course you can do it without but you will work harder and be frustrated trying to work with phyllo (filo) pastry, which is tissue paper thin. With the traditional method, a pastry brush is used to grease each layer of phyllo but using a mister is a godsend! A mister is easier, faster, and it also keeps you from brushing on too much oil. I will never use a brush again. And cooking spinach pie on parchment paper means you just lift the whole thing out onto a cutting board for easy slicing. (my mister is made by Prepara)

My recipe uses pre-washed packaged baby spinach and I use it fresh, without pre-cooking because it cooks quickly inside the pie. Most spinach pies have a dense spinach filling from either pre-cooking or even worse using frozen spinach. Using fresh baby spinach is less work and it makes a less dense filling with a delicious light texture.

You must plan ahead if you’re going to make this recipe because the phyllo comes frozen and you need to thaw it overnight in the fridge and then bring it to room temperature before using. I forgot to thaw it once and just placed it on the counter top for a few hours and it did thaw, but it kept breaking into pieces.

The reason I make Greek spanakopita is because once I tasted my own with the fresh filling and the flaky layers of phyllo, I can never buy it anywhere again. Nothing comes close. If you like Greek food, you must try this recipe. I won’t say it’s easy but it’s definitely easier than most and the pie is so incredibly light, I’ve been known to eat four as a snack. Yes… four. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

May 21, 2015

Easy Greek Spinach Rice

Greek Spinach Rice1200_3008I admit I’m not a fan of cooked spinach when it sits alone in a big glob, but when it’s cooked in with rice and some onions, garlic, and dill, Greek style… I love it. With baby spinach available pre-washed and ready to go, this is a quick and healthy side dish. It’s what I usually have with my lemon chicken cutlets – they sound kind of Greek too.

This recipe is also in my cookbook but I’ve simplified the process a little to encourage everyone to try it. Spinach is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients and when it’s cooked, those benefits are even greater with a long list of vitamins, protein, iron, calcium, folate, and it has more potassium than bananas. Eating spinach will benefit your eyes, skin, and hair, support bone health, help protect against cancer & asthma, and it’s even good for your brain. This is a true superfood!

And this is an easy recipe. Everything cooks in one pot while you prepare the rest of your meal. I highly recommend the lemon chicken cutlets because they only take 20 minutes, the same time it takes the rice to cook. Oh, and the quick & easy broiled salmon – that goes great with Greek spinach rice too. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

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Jul 25, 2014

Rice with Kale

Rice With Kale_600Why cook plain rice when you can cook rice that makes a difference? Kale is called the “Queen of Greens” because it’s one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. Even spinach doesn’t compare.  Kale contains a lot of beneficial minerals and some powerful antioxidants with huge amounts of vitamins A, C, and K.  It can help protect you against cancer, heart disease, and inflammation. It’s good for your eyes, your skin and hair, I mean really! Eat some kale!

I prefer Dino kale (also called Lacinto kale) because it’s easier to clean and cut and it’s not so curly. But any kale is a super food so use whatever you can find.

KaleMangoOrangeSmoothie_leavesLately, I never cook plain rice any more. Rice is the perfect vehicle for transporting health-building veggies into your body, but of all the other veggies I have added to rice, kale and broccoli are the most beneficial. As for the rice, I often use brown rice in this recipe but honestly, brown rice is not pretty to photograph and I didn’t want to post an unflattering photo that might not motivate you to make this healthy recipe.  So I made it with Uncle Ben’s converted rice for this photo. It is quicker to make the white rice but it’s definitely  healthier with brown rice, which has more fiber but it also takes longer to cook. So if time permits, use brown rice but either way, this is a delicious and healthy side dish.   Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

May 15, 2014

Lightened Up Potato Salad

LIghtenedUpPotatoSalad_600

It’s 100 degrees outside! That’s potato salad time! And barbeque time! I don’t think I’ve ever made my “fall-off-the-bone” ribs without potato salad. Naturally, I make mine as healthy and low fat as possible and that’s easy to do. I use light mayo in the dressing (Best Foods brand, which is called Hellman’s east of the Rockies) along with low-fat buttermilk. The mayo makes it nice and creamy and the buttermilk gives it some extra tang, and less calories.

My special trick is to soak the still hot potatoes with vinegar and salt before adding the creamy dressing. This quickly infuses the potatoes with extra flavor and just takes a minute to do. I always use red potatoes for my potato salad but other waxy varieties like yellow finn and yukon gold will work too. They hold up better than Russets. When you boil potatoes, try not to over-test them for doneness. And don’t use a fork. It’s best to test a potato with a skinny knife, which won’t allow too much moisture to penetrate the potato and make it waterlogged.

Just a note about celery: to me there is a big difference in the taste of celery hearts and the outside stalks. The hearts are sweeter than the outside parts so try to use the inside hearts of the celery and save the outside bitter stalks for other cooking or making soup. I even chop up some of the tender yellow celery leaves from the very inside, which add some pretty color, too. I’ll be making my lightened-up potato salad all through the summer and I hope it becomes your favorite too. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Apr 18, 2014

Marinated Superfoods

Marinated Superfoods_600Besides being one of the prettiest things you could serve, my marinated superfoods is one of the healthiest. And the fastest! It only takes 15 minutes to put this simple recipe together and it’s such a delicious and easy marinade using fresh lemon juice  – I can’t get enough of it. You can serve it as a side dish or the way I prefer it, which is cold. I like to keep a bowl of this marinated broccoli and cauliflower in the fridge and snack on it throughout the day. To me, it’s better than any vitamin pill.

Both broccoli and cauliflower are cruciferous vegetables, the ones that help protect us against cancer. So here’s the skinny on broccoli: It has calcium for bones, lutein for eyes, and vitamins A, C, and K, as well as sulforaphane, the anti-cancer compound. Cauliflower also has sulforaphane plus lots of B vitamins, potassium, anti-inflammatory properties, brain support and helps detox the liver. Onions are good for the heart, blood pressure, memory, and liver. Red onions have more antioxidants then blueberries. I think I’ve made my point.

I make this dish with white or purple cauliflower. I’m always excited to find the purple one because the color intensifies when you cook it. Even the marinade turns red! It’s beautiful!

Here’s how easy this recipe is. I steam the veggies for 10 minutes. While they steam, I mix up the marinade and slice the onion. Then I pour the marinade over the hot vegetables so they absorb all the flavors, then mix it all up. If you want to stay healthy… make these marinated superfoods… eat them… and make more. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jan 9, 2014

Spinach-Walnut Pesto

Spinach-WalnutPesto NewCropStart your pasta water first because this spinach-walnut pesto will be ready long before your spaghetti is cooked. It takes about five minutes to make this super healthy topping for pasta or almost anything else like a chicken breast, fish fillet, or one of my favorites… a chicken pesto sandwich. Traditional pesto uses all basil and pine nuts but by switching some of the basil out with fresh baby spinach and using walnuts instead of pine nuts, this becomes a much healthier sauce.

Spinach can protect you from cancer, heart disease, stroke, macular degeneration and cataracts.  It’s also called “brain food” because it may slow the aging of your brain. And both olive oil and walnuts provide heart-healthy fats to protect your heart. Even the garlic is good for your circulation and blood pressure. There.  That should be enough reasons to try this simple, quick and easy, super-healthy pesto.

It only takes five minutes because I use pre-washed spinach – a whole bag of it! My food processor holds eleven cups and it’s chock full when I put all the ingredients in but it does process down nicely. If yours seems too full, you can start with half the spinach at first, then add the rest of it after the oil. And use more or less of anything: more garlic, less spinach, it won’t matter. Just taste it at the end for salt… and enjoy. Click here for the recipe.

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Aug 15, 2013

Roasted Vegetables

RoastedVegetables_600I don’t need to tell you why you have to eat your vegetables. Okay, maybe I do. Your mother probably told you they provide vitamins, which your body can not produce so you need to get them from food. But back in the day we didn’t know about the recently discovered antioxidants and phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables, with each different color providing its own specific anti-aging and protective nutrients.  And the more intense their color, the more benefits. Many of these phytonutrients (with names I can’t pronounce) cannot be found in any other food groups.

Bottom line: Vegetables can help prevent certain diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Vegetables are also some of the richest sources of fiber that exist. So if you want to look great and feel great with a strong immune system, do what I do and eat vegetables every single day. I have a salad with every meal and then one or two cooked vegetables as well. Roasting is my favorite way to cook vegetables. Roasting brings out the natural sugars in vegetables and it’s the easiest way I know to cook them and to eat more than one color at a time.

Even a novice cook can make these super easy roasted veggies. Click here for my new recipe. – Jenny Jones

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May 19, 2013

Quick Balsamic Peppers

QuickBalsamicPeppers_9673_2

If I had to choose one vegetable side dish with the most health benefits, it would be balsamic peppers and onions. The vegetables with the deepest colors have the most antioxidants so you can imagine what this stunning combination can do for your health. It looks fancy but this is a simple, easy recipe that cooks in just ten minutes and oh, the fabulous taste. The first time I made it, I wanted to eat only these delicious peppers for my whole meal.

In this quick and healthy recipe, I add just a pinch of sugar to enhance the sweetness of the peppers and if I could have found a sweet Vidalia onion, I would have used that, so if you can find a sweet onion, it would make this dish even better. You can even add a jalapeno if you like things hot. This easy recipe is the perfect side dish for chicken or fish, added to a pita sandwich, on top of a steak, or even part of a healthy breakfast.

Here are just some of the reasons why you should try these green, red, orange, and yellow quick balsamic peppers: Brightly colored fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, which keep the immune system strong. Green vegetables are high in vitamin C (good for bones, teeth, muscles, and skin), red vegetables are high in vitamin A (for eye health) and lycopene (supports prostate health), while yellow & orange ones are high in carotenoids (protect the heart, lungs, and eyes).

Overall, these combined colored peppers may help protect against heart disease, cancer, memory loss, macular degeneration, and by boosting your immune system, might even help prevents colds and flu. Wait, there’s more. Onions have antibacterial properties, help the liver eliminate toxins, and may be better for your heart than red wine!

Whew! There’s your proof that a simple recipe like this can help you live longer! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

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