Mar 1, 2020 Feb 28, 2020
This is no ordinary focaccia. It’s not the soft kind that you bake in a pan. This is focaccia the way I like it: thin and crispy. It’s like a slice of pizza without the pizza stuff. I have only been able to accomplish this using a baking stone and a pizza peel, and a very hot oven. That’s how they make those great pizzas at Italian restaurants. They use very hot ovens, and slide the pizzas in using a wooden peel like this.
Parchment paper is a must for two reasons. One, it makes pressing the dough into a circle easier because the dough sticks to the paper. And two, it makes it a breeze to slide the dough onto the hot baking stone. The parchment will turn dark from the high heat as you can see in the recipe photo. My focaccia recipe is quicker than most, taking only 90 minutes start-to-finish. As long as I don’t need my oven for cooking dinner, I can make this incredible focaccia and time it to be ready to eat with our salad.
You can make traditional rosemary focaccia or use a store-bought blend of Italian herbs. I actually use both. I mix them into the dough for lots of Italian flavor, and then put a little more on top. Some of the spices on top fall off but the dough has enough flavor inside to make up for any of that. I like the result better with bread flour so that’s the only one I use.
Another good thing is that if you don’t eat it all (what are the chances, really?) you can re-crisp it the next day directly on the oven rack at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. It has never taken me more than 90 minutes to make this fabulous crispy Italian focaccia. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Feb 21, 2020
I realize that my “Quick & Easy” chocolate cake is the most popular and I often make it when I need cake fast. Some days, we just need cake fast! But sweet potato chocolate cake is still my favorite. It starts with a whole sweet potato, which I cook and mash with a fork. I used to boil it but now I chop and steam the sweet potato. This way it retains more vitamins and I like that this is a dessert with some nutrition. And because sweet potatoes are so sweet, this recipe uses less sugar.
This chocolate cake always turns out moist and delicious. I frost most of my cakes right in the pan, only on the top. If you want to try my favorite recipe for sweet potato chocolate cake and get a little vitamin A in each slice, click here.
Feb 12, 2020
It seems like everyone in the world is making no knead bread and it’s no wonder. I make it all the time myself. I have my favorites like multi-grain and 10-grain but today I made a whole wheat loaf and it’s just so good and so easy. I often use the overnight method because it’s ready for baking first thing in the morning.
Whole wheat Dutch oven bread doesn’t bake as tall as the white version but it’s still delicious and hearty, like the farm breads I grew up on. If you haven’t tried it yet, I urge everyone to try some of my high fiber no knead breads, like this no knead whole wheat loaf. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Jan 31, 2020
These are just some of the recipes that I have either improved or simplified since they were originally posted. I’m always learning and improving my skills so if anyone is using a recipe that was posted a while ago or if you printed it some time ago, please check the “Recipe Changes/Fixes” category in my blog.
So far I have made changes to about 100 recipes but many of the changes are minor, like increasing salt or reducing sugar but others, like my 15-Minute Veggie Pasta, now use an easier, faster, all-in-one-pan method. I’m always looking for ways to make something healthier or faster or to simplify the process so every time I cook, if I try a better way and it works, I adjust the recipe and share the exact changes I made in the blog.
I encourage all of my regular cooks to occasionally check the “Recipe Changes” category here in my blog to make sure you are using the newest and best version of each recipe. As I evolve as a better (& simpler) cook, I will continue to occasionally update my recipes. To see if any changes were made to your favorite recipes, click here.
Dec 21, 2019
I love casseroles. Cook once / eat twice /or three times. And casseroles are always flexible: a little more of this, a little less of that, and they still turn out. This is a little like my Spicy Mexican Casserole but made not spicy using an Anaheim pepper, with corn tortillas and added vegetables. I always try to include as many vegetables as possible in every meal, besides the salads I make every day.
Vegetables are the key to good health so besides lots of fresh tomatoes, I include antioxidant-rich bell pepper along with the Anaheim green chili pepper. Anaheim peppers (also called long peppers) are green and measure about 7 inches long.These peppers are great for anyone not liking anything too spicy but who does like a flavorful pepper. Of course you can use Jalapeño peppers instead but the Anaheim pepper is perfect for me.
This recipe is high in fiber from the black beans and corn tortillas. All corn tortillas are not the same, in fact they can be very different. I tried Whole Foods 365 brand and they were dry and disappointing. My preference is Guerrero brand if you can find them.
You can make lots of variations with this recipe, using cheddar cheese instead of monterey jack, pinto beans instead of black beans, and you can add spices if you like, but I do recommend staying with the fresh tomatoes. They add moisture and fresh taste to this easy casserole.
UPDATE June 3, 2020: I found myself using less and less tomatoes in this recipe and I now prefer it that way. It also means less chopping! ? I suggest trying it with only about 1/2 pound of tomatoes.
Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Dec 15, 2019
I’m wrapping Christmas presents today. It’s not Christmas yet but everyone is asking when I’m going to make my caramel corn so today is the day for making homemade caramel corn for Christmas gifts. My first batch is done and cooled.
To keep if fresh I pack it in a zip top plastic bag first and then wrap it with cellophane tied with pretty ribbons. This way it’s easy for people to snack on and save some for later but I hear that it’s mostly gone in the first pass.
Every Christmas I give a variety of gifts to everyone in my life but this caramel corn is the gift that gets the most raves. Sadly, no matter how much I make there never seems to be enough. That could be due to the constant sampling that goes on when my back is turned. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Nov 17, 2019
I’m loving my easy one pan meals, especially now around the holidays when there’s lots to do so recipes like this are just what I need. Everything cooks in the pan and it couldn’t be any easier. The marinade is simple… just olive oil, fresh lemon juice, lots of garlic, oregano and salt. Did I mention it’s Greek style? (oregano = Greek!).
There’s no fuss with this easy sheet pan dinner. I marinate the chicken and potatoes while the oven heats up and then when they bake in the marinade, they soak up all those wonderful flavors. It bakes all by itself so you can do other things, like make a salad. You only stir it once when you add the beans.
Speaking of beans, I don’t know what happened to regular green beans lately but they are terrible, usually dry, full of dark spots and sometime even hollow inside. I actually stopped eating green beans until I discovered French ones. French green beans usually come in a bag with no preparation needed and they are smaller, more tender, they cook faster, taste better, and they definitely look better.
If you’re as busy as I am this month, try this easy one pan Greek Lemon Chicken, Potatoes, and Green Beans. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Nov 10, 2019
Everyone is making these easy Christmas cookies but it’s not even Thanksiving yet! What gives? I guess you’re all just testing them out to make sure they’ll turn out during the holidays. The only way to know for sure is to test out the recipe in advance and eat as many as you can because, you know, you can’t be too sure. I’m “testing them out” today and I can report that they did turn out really well. It’s just a public service I thought I should provide for everyone. 🙂 I can confirm that this is the easiest recipe ever for Christmas pecan balls, so easy that even amateur cooks are making them. “I didn’t know they were so easy to make,” they say.
And there’s more. These delicious little Christmas treats keep really well so you can make them in advance, and they freeze well too. It just keeps getting better. They are sometimes called pecan balls, snowballs, or Mexican wedding cookies. I’ll just call them easy. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
I only make this holiday bread once a year (okay, maybe twice ?) because it may be called bread but let’s face it… it’s dessert. Here are a few progress photos of how to make my Spiral Chocolate Cinnamon Christmas Bread. First, you divide the dough in half, roll & press each half into a rough 9 x 9-inch square, and spread the chocolate/butter mixture all the way to the edges.
Next, you cover each half with the brown sugar/cinnamon/cocoa mixture, all the way to the edges.
Now roll each of them up, starting at the right and left edges, rolling them towards each other. It’s a little messy but that’s okay. Oh, one more thing. You can also scatter about 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on each half before rolling them up.
The fun part is twisting the logs into a loaf. Bring the logs together (it doesn’t matter where the seams go) and twist them together 3 or 4 times (like you’re wringing out a towel) to make a spiral, but messy, loaf. Tuck the edges under and plop it into your parchment paper-lined loaf pan.
Bake for 30 minutes but after 15 minutes, put a foil tent on top to avoid over-browning. I hope these photos are helpful. For the recipe click here. – Jenny Jones