Jun 5, 2015 May 27, 2015
I 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 struggling to cut it in the pan after it’s cooked.
With the traditional method, a pastry brush is used to grease each layer of phyllo but using an oil mister makes the job easier. A mister is easier, faster, and it also keeps the delicate phyllo sheets from breaking. (my mister is made by Prepara) And using parchment paper means you just lift the whole thing out onto a cutting board for easy slicing.
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
Goodbye Snickers. Goodbye Mr. Goodbar. There’s a healthier way to get your chocolate-crunchy-nutty fix and you can make it yourself in fifteen minutes. With only TWO ingredients! It’s really easy, and they’re really good. I’m basically melting a good quality dark chocolate bar and dropping in some toasted almonds. My favorite chocolate bars for this recipe are Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet, which comes in a 4-ounce bar and Scharffen Berger 62%, which is 3 ounces. World Market also makes a good 72% 3-ounce bar. I do this with a double-boiler method but who has a double boiler these days? Not me.
So I put a glass pyrex bowl on top of a small saucepan with about an inch of water and that’s my double boiler. It’s important that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water and that you do not use a rapid boil. Just bring the water to a boil and then to a low simmer to melt the chocolate. I break the chocolate bar (3 ounces) into chunks, into the bowl, and let it melt, stirring occasionally. While it’s melting, I set out fifteen little one-inch candy paper cups. They’re like cupcake liners but smaller.
When the chocolate is melted, turn off the burner and start dropping in the nuts. Stir them around until they’re coated and lift them out in clusters, using 2 teaspoons, and drop them into the cups. At the end, whatever chocolate is left can be taken up with a little spatula and dropped onto some of the clusters. You may have to re-warm the chocolate at the end. I have made these clusters without the paper cups and just dropped them onto wax paper to cool and it works, but they will spread. The cups make a nicer presentation too.
I strongly urge you to toast the nuts and not to use plain raw almonds. Toasting nuts greatly enhances their flavor and aroma and you can do that in advance. I just toast all the nuts I use at one time and keep them refrigerated for my baking. I do a sheet of walnuts, then pecans, and then almonds and they are always available without having to wait for them to cool. I just did some over the weekend.
To toast nuts place them on an ungreased baking sheet into a 350° F preheated oven for 7 to 10 minutes. It’s good to stir and turn them over about half way through. If you do a whole bag of almonds and have them on hand, you’ll be glad you did because you will make these chocolate clusters again, especially when you see how easy this is. The whole process takes about 15 minutes. And I’d like to see you eat just one. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
May 14, 2015
I 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
May 10, 2015
These easy patties are one of my go-to meals because they can be ready in less than 20 minutes and they always satisfy. Here’s how I do it. First, I pound the chicken between plastic and most of the time I use a plastic produce bag. Definitely use plastic because it’s less cleanup and you won’t get chicken splatter all over the place.
Then I lay out a long sheet of wax paper with a bowl in the middle. The flour goes on one side and the bread crumbs on the other (I use my homemade whole wheat crumbs). I use a fork to stir the salt & pepper into the flour. I zest the lemon and chop the parsley, adding them to the crumbs. Then I juice the zested lemon and add the 2 tsp. of juice to the egg.
Now my assembly line starts. I dip the chicken in the flour, the egg, and the crumbs. What I find is that the parsley seems to mostly disappear from the crumbs before I’m done so I keep a little extra parsley on the side and stir it into the crumbs later when needed.
It doesn’t take much oil to make these cutlets nice and crispy and I only add a little at a time when turning the cutlets over. I have a really big fry pan I got at Target (10 inches across!) but I still have to work in batches. If you crowd the chicken in the pan it won’t brown as well and they won’t be as crispy.
This recipe is quick so I always start my side dish first and that’s usually my spaghetti with chard or rice with kale. But last night I made Greek spinach rice and it went great with the chicken cutlets. I will post that recipe soon. Breaded chicken cutlets are one of those flexible recipes you can make your own. Do you like rosemary? Add some dried rosemary to the crumbs. No lemons? Just leave them out. Like things spicy? Add some cayenne to the flour and serve with hot sauce instead of lemon. Using this basic formula you can add any dried spices you like to either the flour or crumbs. But I hope you’ll try it this way because it will probably become your family favorite too. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
May 8, 2015
This is my Sunday routine… having some green tea and making tortillas. Ever since I started making my own homemade tortillas, I have never bought them at the store. They are just so much better, especially when you eat them fresh right out of the pan. Wow! I always enjoy making them for someone who has never had one that’s homemade and watching their expression when they take the first bite. I always tell them, “This is what tortillas are supposed to taste like.” Then they ask for the recipe.
Once they’re made, I store (what’s left) in an air-tight zip top bag, refrigerated. There’s so much you can do with tortillas. Roll them up with scrambled eggs for breakfast (that’s happening right now), make quesadillas, or tortilla pie, or any rolled up sandwich. Or just slap some butter on them and enjoy. So that’s what I made today. …just sharing… – Jenny Jones
Click here for the recipe.
May 6, 2015
On the menu this morning – bran muffins. And I’ll tell you why you should try this easy recipe. We all need fiber. You could try one of those cereals with tons of fiber — you know, the ones that taste like particle board chips. Or you can make your own delicious bran muffins, which by the way, are very portable for breakfast on the go.
Fiber is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and gastrointestinal diseases. Fiber also promotes regularity and can prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. By the way, when you increase your fiber you also need to increase your water intake. So I had one and a half muffins for breakfast with a big cup of green tea and some peaches. And that’s what I cooked today (so far). …just sharing… – Jenny Jones
Click here for the recipe.
May 4, 2015
Here’s a snapshot of dinner today, my one-pan thighs and fries made with skinless chicken thighs, lots of potatoes, and asparagus. The recipe may seem complicated on paper but it’s really easy and there is no cleanup. None. I’m posting this so you can see how it looks on the pan. I line my rimmed baking pan completely with foil. Then I place a disposable broiler pan at one end. This broiler pan is needed because all the fat will drain off the chicken thighs and it will stay in the broiler pan and not spread onto the potatoes.
After coating the chicken and potatoes with an easy mixture of olive oil and spices, I put the chicken thighs in the broiler pan and the potatoes on the rest of the baking pan. Then it bakes in a 425 F oven for 45 minutes. The potatoes get crisp and the chicken gets tender. After that you just push the potatoes over to make room for asparagus (or green beans). Then back in the oven for another 10 minutes and it’s done.
To serve, I lifted the chicken off the broiler pan with tongs, scooped up some potatoes and asparagus and we had a fabulous dinner. Then I threw away all the foil and only had to wash two dishes. So that’s what I cooked today. …just sharing… – Jenny Jones
Click here for the recipe.
May 1, 2015
I try to be good, I really do. But I made my amazing cinnamon rolls for brunch today. Well, it wasn’t really brunch – it was just breakfast but when I put cinnamon rolls on the table, it became brunch. Isn’t that why we all love going to brunch? “Let’s get the eggs and omelettes over with so we can get to the sweets!”
So that was me this morning, having my obligatory scrambled eggs and whole grain toast to clear my conscience in preparation for cinnamon rolls. Boy are they good! I see why so many people love this recipe. It’s easy and you can actually make this recipe with no butter at all, which is what I did. I used Canola Harvest instead of butter for the filling and didn’t miss the butter at all. Click here for the recipe.
These sweet rolls are soft and gooey and they smell amazing. I used Saigon cinnamon, which is more potent than the popular Ceylon cinnamon and I highly recommend it. Anyway, there’s only half a pan left now and that won’t be around long since I’m having it for dessert tomorrow.
Today I also made my ribs and potato salad for dinner so we’re having leftovers tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be a good day with ribs, potato salad, and cinnamon rolls for dessert! And that’s what I cooked today. …just sharing… – Jenny Jones
Apr 29, 2015
Looking for an easy chocolate cake from scratch? This is it. Oh… and looking for a healthier chocolate cake recipe? This is it too. It’s not a fancy cake but it’s really moist and rich tasting even thought it’s made without eggs or butter. I make it with extra-light olive oil but my frosting does have two tablespoons of butter. If you use my frosting, that means each slice would have 3/4 teaspoon of butter. I can manage that. But you can also skip the frosting, make it a vegan chocolate cake, and just dust it with some powdered sugar.
For baking with chocolate I always use Dutch-processed cocoa for a beautiful dark color and it’s also less bitter than the regular one. It can be hard to find but World Market carries my brand (Droste), which I used in this recipe. This is the perfect cake to make last minute since there is no butter to soften and no eggs to warm up to room temperature. I often put it together before dinner and by the time we eat, the cake is cooled and then I whip up some frosting and… we have dessert.
This easy chocolate cake from scratch is perfect for Sunday family dinner… everyone does have a Sunday family dinner, don’t they? For the frosted version, click here for the recipe. For my chocolate cake with no butter recipe, click here. – Jenny Jones
If you haven’t tried my chicken pot pie you’re missing something really good… and really easy. I haven’t had it for a while and when I made it today, I had forgotten how quick and easy it is and how absolutely delicious it is too! I use white meat chicken breast, carrots, celery and peas so it has lean protein, some vegetables, and I top it with my easy oil crust (made with extra-light olive oil) and wow – it was awesome! Here’s the recipe. I also made a salad (I make one just about every day) – this one had baby lettuce, cabbage, green onion, garbanzo beans, and a cherry vinegar dressing. And for dessert, I made chocolate cake.
But this is not just any chocolate cake. It’s the easiest and one of the healthiest cakes ever. It’s an easy one-bowl cake made without eggs or butter so only the frosting has butter and that’s only two tablespoons. But if someone wants to avoid butter completely, you could skip the frosting and just dust it with some powdered sugar. I don’t know why I haven’t posted the recipe. I think it’s because I just frost it in the pan and it’s not very fancy looking. But it’s so good, I will be posting the recipe. I make it all the time here at home.
We were just negotiating over the size of the servings. In order to avoid any hurt feeling, I try not to make my slice any bigger than his. It’s just easier that way. So that’s what I cooked today. …just sharing… – Jenny Jones