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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.

Whether you make it ahead or on the day of, stir in a little of your turkey drippings before serving – it makes a big difference. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Filed Under: Holiday
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Nov 13, 2016

Sunday Fruit & Nut Bread

No Knead Fruit and Nut BreadSunday morning breakfast becomes Sunday brunch when I make my beloved no knead fruit & nut bread. I used the overnight method because I wanted it ready sooner than later this morning. There were two kinds of raisins in the pantry to so I mixed red and yellow ones and the nuts were toasted walnuts. The oven should be preheated to 450 and then reduced to 400 for baking because the sugar in the dough can cause the bottom to burn. So I tried something new this time and after the 30 minutes when you remove the lid and parchment paper to finish baking, I lifted out the bread and pushed down the parchment paper into the bottom of the pot. Then I placed the loaf back on the pile of parchment and finished the baking process for another 12-13 minutes. This was the best bottom crust I have made yet. And this is truly the best fruit & nut bread I have ever had. And it’s whole wheat! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Nov 5, 2016

How to Keep Tortillas Soft

If your tortillas are not soft there can be several reasons:

  1. You did not use all purpose flour.
  2. You did not use a cast iron pan.
  3. Your pan was not hot enough.
  4. You did not roll them thin enough.
  5. They are not stored properly.

I store mine in a zip top plastic bag (put them in while they are still warm) and then close it up and remove all the air. Mine are always soft and every time I remove one, I close the bag back up, air removed each time. I keep them refrigerated this way for as long as 10 days. If you want to make your own homemade tortillas, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Best Way To Keep Tortillas Soft

Nov 3, 2016

Easy Potato Soup

Homemade 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

Oct 5, 2016

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip CookiesThis may be the easiest cookie recipe ever. No mixer, no flour, no butter, and only five ingredients. Well… make that six. It’s my peanut butter cookie recipe but this time I added chocolate chips. Wow! They were so good I made them twice this week. It’s a winning combination: peanut butter and chocolate, and even healthier by using dark chocolate chips so I just had to share my “new” recipe.

This recipe is so flexible that next time I might add some extra chopped peanuts too. This simple recipe is so easy, even if you don’t bake, you can make these cookies. – plain or with chocolate chips.  Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones