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Jan 13, 2014

Homemade Chicken Soup

ChxNoodSoup_600It doesn’t take much skill to make delicious homemade chicken soup… just a little patience. The best chicken soup starts with the best homemade stock so I am sharing my recipe for easy chicken soup and stock, which is all the same to me.  And wait ’til you see how easy it is. There’s really not much to do.

ChickenSoup_7389_Edit_600You just put everything into the biggest soup pot you have and cook it. The best flavor comes from chicken parts with a lot of bones, which is why I use backs & necks and wings. Ideally, I get a package of each since there is more meat on the wings. So forget making soup with chicken breasts – you won’t be happy.

Aromatic vegetables are a must and those include onions, carrots, celery, and I like to add a parsnip too. You can put them in whole or chop them up. The main thing is time. I cook mine for three hours and it never fails. After three hours of cooking, there’s not much left of the vegetables so I always discard them. And I pick the meat off the bones and store that separately.

So this recipe is technically a chicken stock and I always make it the night before because once it’s refrigerated, 100% of the fat will rise and solidify on the top for easy removal. It’s saturated fat and we don’t need that. In fact your soup will keep even longer in the fridge if you keep the fat layer on the top, kind of like an airtight lid.

The next day, my stock is ready to use in all of my cooking and just perfect as a soup.  Once the fat layer is discarded if I want chicken noodle soup, I chop some fresh carrots and cook them with the noodles in the stock. I also use the stock to make other soups like vegetable soup, bean soup, chili, and I also drink it as a healing broth. Chicken soup does have healing compounds if you have a cold or flu so this is the perfect time to try my healthy homemade chicken soup recipe.

Sure it’s three hours, but so were the Golden Globes last night — you could have watched it AND made soup. That’s how to multi-task! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jan 12, 2014

My cooking videos: over a million views!

My cooking videos have just logged over a million views! It happened this morning and I’m super excited. I know there are a lot of cooking channels on Youtube so I never expected that many people  to watch mine. But the number of views has been steadily increasing and based on the comments, they are watching all over the world. So thank you to everyone who is watching and especially for letting me know when they try one of my healthy recipes. I’m not selling anything so the only reward I need is to know that I’m making a difference.

Now… what should I make next???

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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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Jan 7, 2014

Easy Beef Stew

When you see how easy it is to make my beef stew, it might become a regular Sunday thing in your house. In this video I show the simple steps to make a delicious healthy beef stew with meat that falls apart with a touch and potatoes full of  flavor.

I use the leanest meat possible and brown the heck out of it. That’s important, so making old-fashioned beef stew is not for the impatient but it’s oh so worth doing it right. My recipe never fails and it’s proof that you don’t need meat with a lot of marbling to make tender, delicious stew. I just use packaged stew meat, which is cheaper, I cut off any fat I can see, and it comes out perfect every time.

This easy beef stew is one of my most popular recipes – try it once and you’ll see why. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones 

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Jan 3, 2014

Prevent the Flu

It’s flu season and there is a lot you can do to keep from getting sick. Here are some of the foods that are known to boost your immune system. I haven’t had a cold or flu in decades, probably because I eat every one of these things regularly, except mushrooms. They’re just so…squishy… but I’m working on it. I’ve been chopping them up really tiny and it does eliminate the squish factor. No excuses!

1. Oily fish: Oily fish—including salmon, tuna, and mackerel—are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, compounds that help reduce harmful inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation prevents your immune system from working properly, and can contribute to colds and flu as well as more serious diseases.

2. Garlic: These pungent cloves do more than just flavor your food. Garlic also contains allicin, a sulfuric compound that produces potent antioxidants when it decomposes.

3. Yogurt & Kefir: We usually think of bacteria as a bad thing, but some of these microorganisms are essential for good health. Eating probiotic foods, such as yogurt and kefir, is a good way to replenish beneficial strains of bacteria, which promote digestive health and help prevent stomach ailments. There are over 10 trillion bacteria living in our gastrointestinal tract, so you want to make sure the good ones outnumber the bad ones.

4. Tea: Everyone knows a steaming hot cup of tea can help break up chest congestion and soothe a sore throat, but the benefits may run deeper.  All tea—black, green, or white—contains a group of antioxidants known as catechins, which may have flu-fighting properties.

5. Red Peppers: Like citrus fruits, red peppers are high in vitamin C. In fact, one red pepper has 150 milligrams of the nutrient—that’s twice the recommended daily allowance for women. (A large orange, by comparison, only has about 100 milligrams.)

6. Mushrooms: White button, Portobello, shiitake, and Maitake are just a few of the varieties you’ll find in your grocery store. Fortunately, just about all mushrooms contain some form of immune-boosting antioxidants, along with potassium, B vitamins, and fiber.

7. Leafy Greens: The darker the greens, the higher the nutrient content. So when you’re shoring up your defenses for cold and flu season, choose arugula and kale over iceberg lettuce. Bitter greens like arugula may even help relieve chest congestion, sniffles, and coughs.

8. Dark Chocolate: Ounce for ounce, pure cocoa contains more of the disease-fighting antioxidants known as polyphenols than most berries—and it’s loaded with zinc, to boot. Too often, however, the nutritional benefits of cocoa are overshadowed by the sugar and saturated fat found in chocolate bars and other treats. To reap the immunity-boosting benefits without the unhealthy extras, stick with bite-sized portions—about one quarter-ounce per day—of dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher.

9. Carrots & Sweet Potatoes: Orange fruits and vegetables are rich in beta-carotene. When we eat these foods, our bodies convert this organic compound into vitamin A, which is essential for maintaining a strong immune system. Vitamin A is especially important for areas that go haywire when we catch a cold: It keeps the mucous membranes that line our nose and throat—one of the body’s first lines of defense—healthy and functioning properly.

10. Lean Protein:  We think we need protein to build muscle, and we do—but actually, we need it to build antibodies and fight infection in the body, as well. Chicken, turkey, and pork are all good sources of protein, but you can also get plenty from meatless sources such as beans, nuts, and dairy. Lean protein is also important because the immune molecules are made of protein.

Filed Under: Nutrition
3 Comments
Dec 27, 2013

Easy Pot Roast

EasyPotRoast_8498_600Why do I love my pot roast? 1) It’s easy to make. 2) It all cooks in one pot.  3) It’s a complete meal. 4) It’s comfort food squared!

Old fashioned pot roast is a crowd pleaser and takes very little work. It’s mostly cooking time. Who doesn’t love meat that’s moist and tender with potatoes full of flavor? Okay, maybe your vegetarian friend. But meals like this pot roast are my favorite Sunday suppers. While it’s simmering in the oven, I have time to make a salad and dessert.

If you make pot roast, here are a few tips: Browning the meat is crucial for developing the best flavor. As for the liquid, I have made it with both beef stock and chicken stock (I usually make my own but I’ve also used unsalted store-bought stock). And the cooking time is very flexible. Feel free to cook it even longer depending on the cut of meat and how tender it’s becoming. Finally, adding salt is not always necessary.  It depends on  your stock and how much sodium it has, so test it near the end of cooking before adding salt. If you add too much, there’s no way to fix it.

Then there’s the leftovers! You can use the leftover meat in soup, a burrito, shepherd’s pie, nachos, Italian beef sandwiches, or just eat more pot roast! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Dec 25, 2013

Merry Christmas, everyone.

GingerbreadHouse_MerryChristmas copy2

Dec 22, 2013

The best homemade gift

CarCornGift_7001“Homemade caramel corn?! For me?? I love you!” Caramel corn has to be the best Christmas gift you can make. I’ve baked cookies and breads and they make great gifts but people start asking about my caramel corn in September! “Are you making caramel corn again this year?” Everyone goes crazy over it, probably because there is no place you can buy anything that even comes close. I try to bring it in person when it’s just out of the oven and by the time I get home, I get a phone call saying it’s all gone and asking when I’m going to make more.

If you’re looking for something to bake for Christmas gifts, consider making homemade caramel corn. It’s easier to make than cookies because it uses less ingredients. And it’s pretty quick the way I do it. I pop the corn in a paper lunch bag in the microwave, which takes less than two minutes (see my video). The syrup cooks on the stove in five minutes and the rest is waiting time while the popcorn and nuts get covered with a sweet, delicious caramel coating.

Watch my how-to video (click here) and for the printable recipe (click here). – Jenny Jones

Dec 18, 2013

Polish Faworki – Chrusciki

Best Recipe Chrusciki Christmas in Poland isn’t official until someone makes chrusciki. These powdered sugar crullers are actually pretty easy to make but if you don’t have a rolling pin it’s not going to happen because the key is to roll the dough paper thin. Chrusciki are the only things I deep fry because there is no other way to make this light-as-a-cloud cookie – I guess that’s why they also call them angel wings. So I’m sharing my recipe for these Polish Christmas cookies but it turns out they are not just Polish. Here is what they’re called in other countries:

Belarus – хрушчы (chruščy) or фаворкі (favorki)
Croatia – krostole
Denmark – klejner
France – bugnes
Germany – raderkuchen
Hungary – csöröge
Italy – bugie, cenci, chiacchiere, crostoli, frappe, galani, sfrappole
Lithuania – žagarėliai
Malta – xkunvat
Romania – minciunele, regionally: cirighele, scovergi
Russia – хворост (khvorost)
Sweden  – klenäter
Ukraine – вергуни (verhuny)

Merry Christmas to all you cooks out there and thank you for all your comments and notes. I do appreciate the feedback. I hope you’ll try this show-stopping, delicious holiday cookie. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Dec 16, 2013

Poppy Seed Roll

Just in time for Christmas, here is the how-to video for my Polish Poppy Seed roll. It’s a delicious sweet bread that you can’t buy anywhere and it’s really not that hard to make. To someone like myself who grew up in a Polish household, the aroma of this poppy seed filling made with toasted nuts and citrus peel is downright intoxicating! Forget the wine – pass me another slice of Makowiec!

It’s a popular holiday bread in much of Eastern Europe, called bulochki s makom in Russia, makový závin in Chekoslovakia, ruladă cu mac in Romania, mohnkuchen in Austria, aguonų vyniotinis in Lithuania, makovnjača in Bosnia, and of course makowiec in Poland.  Oh, and they call it ʋiːˀnɔˌbʁœːˀð in Latvia… who knew? Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

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