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Feb 4, 2019

Chicken Veggie Kabobs

Chicken Veggie Skewers OvenFood on a stick is really fun! And easy. And healthy. Mine is made with lean chicken breast, two kinds of peppers, zucchini, and onion, all baked in the oven and it’s delicious. Marinating the chicken is important but my marinade is simple, with just a few ingredients. And I only marinate it while I prep everything else. Then I toss in the veggies just to quickly coat them with the marinade. Soft vegetables like peppers and zucchini are perfect for this quick bake. I tried other vegetables like thinly sliced carrots and halved Brussels sprouts but neither one cooked enough so I suggest sticking with this combo.

I use metal skewers because it’s less work. With wooden ones, they need to be soaked in water before using to keep the wood from burning. Some recipes say to soak for at least 30 minutes while others say overnight but I have never used wood so I can’t say for sure. A few things to note:

  • It’s two skewers per person so try to make them the same so everyone gets served equally.
  • I put the chicken & veggies on a plate only for easier handling & separating as you thread the skewers.
  • It’s best to line your pan with foil, even the edges, because the juices can roll off and burn. I always put parchment paper on top of the foil in case the kabobs stick.
  • Don’t crowd the pieces – it helps them cook faster.
  • Use oven mits because the metal skewers get hot.

My marinade is simple but you can spice yours up any way you like. I always serve this with basmati rice. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jan 31, 2019

Healthier Hot Dog Buns

Guess what? You can make healthier hot dog buns at home and it’s super easy. I made soft whole wheat hot dog buns using my Simple Whole Wheat Bread recipe (the popular one that’s soft and delicious and takes 90 minutes) and this takes even less time because they bake in 12 minutes.

Homemade Hot Dog BunsI made the dough and instead of shaping it into a loaf, I cut it into 8 pieces. I decided to make 4 sandwich rolls and 4 hot dog buns so I shaped four into circles and four into about 7-inch long rolls. I covered them with a towel and let them rise in a warm spot until doubled (about 35-40 minutes).

Healthier Hot Dog BunsHere’s how beautifully they doubled in size.

Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns

Then I baked them for 12 minutes at 375° F. If you want to make easy, soft whole wheat hot dog buns that are healthier than any you can buy, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

p.s. For super-soft homemade hot dog buns you can always use my Simple White Bread recipe.

Jan 29, 2019

Make No Knead Bread in LESS THAN 2 HOURS!

Fastest No Knead Bread Ever

GOOD NEWS! There is an even faster way to make my 2-Hour No Knead Bread. Thanks to a comment by fellow baker, Terry, who simply forgot the 15-minute rest, it turns out you can do without it. So the 2-hour recipe now can be made in 1 3/4 hours! When I saw Terry’s comment I immediately tried it myself. And it worked. I just left out the 15-minute rest and took it straight from the mixing bowl after the one-hour rise, folded it over a few times on a floured surface, and placed in on a sheet of parchment paper. I lifted the parchment and dough, placed it in my preheated Dutch oven, and baked as usual. Look at how well it turned out!

Most bread connoisseurs will agree that the longer the dough rests, the better flavor the bread will develop. This is true but some days I want bread and don’t have much time and I thought this loaf tasted really good.  I’m not sure if I should adjust the recipe so in the meantime, here is all you need to do: 1) Preheat your oven 15 minutes earlier. 2) Skip the 15-minute rest before baking.

Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jan 27, 2019

Impossibly Easy Granola

Easy Homemade GranolaSunday is when I stock up on my homemade granola. It seems to disappear quickly around here but it’s no problem because this is one of my simplest, easiest recipes. I dump everything onto a baking pan, mix it up with my hands, and bake it. I stir it a couple of times and I like to bake it until it’s really well toasted and brown. I use thick oats or regular rolled oats if it’s all I have, along with lots of nuts, brown sugar, coconut, and real maple syrup, plus as little oil and that’s it. My oil of choice these days is cold pressed avocado oil. When something is this healthy and this easy, there’s no reason to eat the store bought stuff. Homemade always tastes better. Click here for the recipe.

Easy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip CookiesSpeaking of “homemade tastes better” I also stocked up on my soft & chewy oatmeal raisin cookies. Well, they are usually oatmeal raisin cookies but today I “accidentally” mistook my dark chocolate chunks for raisins so I guess I’m stuck with these soft oatmeal dark chocolate chunk cookies. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. ?  Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jan 22, 2019

Pasta Fagioli Soup

Quick Easy Pasta Fagioli SoupIt takes less than 30 minutes and just a few basic ingredients to make this easy pasta fagioli soup from scratch. Cannellini beans and ditalini pasta are traditional  for this popular Italian soup. I use canned cannellini beans but I can never find ditalini so I use a different small pasta, DeCecco small elbows (no. 81).

For the tomato, I use Pomi Strained tomatoes that come in a box. Once opened, I freeze 1/2 cup portions specifically to have on hand for this delicious soup. One box gives me six 1/2 cup portions. I also use my own homemade chicken stock (there’s always some in the freezer) but you can use store bought stock.

I thicken the soup by dividing the beans in half and mashing one half with a fork, which takes less than a minute and I focus on the broken ones for mashing (the whole ones look better for serving).

And this is good: You’ll only have one pot to wash. Most recipes cook the pasta separately but I cook mine right in the soup. Prep your vegetables first because this easy recipe  comes together quickly. Sometimes, it’s all I need for a meal – just a big bowl of pasta fagioli and a slice of my crusty bread. If it’s all you’re having, this recipe makes two large servings. Otherwise, it will serve three. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jan 13, 2019

Oatmeal Bars With a Crispy Topping

Oatmeal Bars Cripsy Coconut TopI took my treasured oatmeal chocolate chip bars to a new stratosphere today. Besides using chunks of a dark chocolate bar, I added a broiled coconut-pecan topping and all I can say is, “Somebody, please hide them from me!” This hybrid dessert has no white flour, lots of fiber, dark chocolate chunks, and a crispy topping — I love love love it!

All I did was use the topping from my Oatmeal Snacking Cake and put it on my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars. I broiled it for about a minute and I have a new dessert that is healthier than most and really easy to make. You can use butter or oil in the topping so anyone like me, who prefers baking without butter, will love this too. These healthy bars are so yummy, I froze some because… well I just had to. ?

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

I like this so much I added it as a new recipe. For my new Oatmeal Bars With A Crispy Coconut Top, click hereJenny Jones

Dec 23, 2018

Making Pie & Stuffing in Advance

Easy Pumpkin PieFor my Christmas dinner I make everything I can in advance and pumpkin pie is a natural because it has to cool and be refrigerated to serve cold anyway. My easy recipe uses an oil crust and I made it with cold pressed avocado oil. The filling is a breeze using canned pumpkin and low fat canned milk so it’s light and low fat. Now you won’t feel too guilty about the whipped cream!

Homemade Bread StuffingWhen I make homemade stuffing from scratch, I really mean from scratch. I baked a loaf of white bread yesterday and today I’m drying it into cubes for my simple bread stuffing. This stuffing gets more raves than my turkey! Making things in advance really takes the pressure off of big holiday dinners so today and I’m drying the bread and making the stuffing too. I’ll just reheat it before serving.

Dec 17, 2018

Healthier Christmas Sugar Cookies

Easy Christmas Sugar CookiesThere are too many temptations during the holidays! Sweets are everywhere but they don’t all have to be bad for you. My sugar cookies use half the butter, are low in sugar and you can make them using part whole wheat pastry flour. And by the way, I can not tell the difference between the all purpose flour version and the whole wheat version.

Everyone loves these cookies so I make a lot. That’s why I usually use a cookie press because I need lots of cookies and it’s just faster. They’re not as pretty as the cutouts but they taste just as good. One of the best things about these sugar cookies is they keep well and travel well so they are perfect to give as gifts with no worry that they won’t be fresh.  They also freeze well.

Either cutouts or cookie pressed, why not make Christmas cookies a little healthier for everyone? Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Dec 10, 2018

Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

Soft Oatmeal Cookies No ButterI’ve had a craving for soft oatmeal raisin cookies lately and never knew how to make them. My oatmeal cookies are always crisp so I decided to try making soft and chewy ones. It was easy. They turned out really well with several different variations.

My recipe works three different ways:

1) Made with only butter.

2) Made with half butter, half oil.

3) Made with only oil.

But here’s the surprise. I did a blind taste test (with my husband’s help) and I could not tell the difference between any of them. All of the cookies, made with butter, oil, or a mix of both, tasted the same to me. So if you’re like me and try to avoid butter, make them with oil. I use cold pressed avocado oil. If you prefer butter, use only butter. If you’re undecided, use a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture of each. I think you’ll like them no matter what but keep in mind that they are large cookies because that keeps them soft, and also do not over bake them. If you bake them until they are too brown and golden, they may not be soft. But they’ll still taste good, though.

Oh, and one more thing: You can skip the raisins and use chocolate chips instead. (Do I hear applause??) Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones