It may sound crazy but I love grocery shopping. I like to take my time, meander down the aisles, see what’s new, what’s on sale, what the produce guy just rolled out, and I miss that. I miss my favorite checker who always says, “Hi, Jenny.” She’s from Russia and says she learned how to speak English by watching my talk show. I miss her too. And I worry about her because she is an essential worker, close to my age, and is still working now.
It’s not easy getting groceries so I’ve been cooking and freezing as much as I can. Last night I made my two favorite casseroles to freeze in portions. Left is my baked ziti and right is my angel hair casserole. The ziti is made with a meat sauce and three Italian cheeses and the angel hair casserole uses beef, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese. They are both family favorites and luckily they freeze well. I cut them into serving portions today and froze them so we can still have our favorite meals as getting groceries continues to be a challenge.
If you can get the ingredients, I recommend both of these casseroles for freezing. For the Baked Ziti recipe click here and the Angel Hair click here.
NEW RECIPE: 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.
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
NEW RECIPE: Some days, the faster I can make dinner the better. Today is one of those days and this easy one pan spaghetti with cherry tomatoes and broccoli takes 18 minutes, including prep. I mean it. I’ve even made it in 16 minutes!
This is one of my easy one pan meals where everything cooks in one pan, including the spaghetti. I use thin spaghetti because it cooks in 9 minutes but if you use regular spaghetti you will have to add a little extra time. Stirring is important to keep the spaghetti from sticking so stir it vigorously to separate the strands.
I rarely drain pasta any more. I’m making more and more one pan meals and besides being less work, there’s less cleanup – Bonus! Cherry tomatoes and fresh broccoli are always available so if you keep them on hand, you can always make an easy, healthy dinner in less than 20 minutes.
I’m so excited to share this easy one-pan meal. It’s Mediterranean eating at its best… healthy, low fat, and full of flavor. The whole thing is ready in an hour so there’s plenty of time to steam some broccoli or make a salad.
When using lemon, it’s best to use a non-reactive pan like Pyrex. I found a 13 by 9 pan at the grocery store for 12.49. The marinade is really simple, using one large lemon but you can use more lemon if you like. Here’s how it looks before cooking:
I try to submerge as many potatoes into the liquid as possible so they absorb lots of lemon/garlic flavor. About 10 minutes before it’s done, I turn over the potatoes and chicken. Here is it after cooking:
Most of the liquid will cook off and I use whatever juices are left, including the onions, to pour over the chicken for serving. I slice the chicken so the juices go inside all the slices. I love this easy recipe. They say the healthiest diet in the world is the Mediterranean diet and this is it! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Three things I always have in my freezer: 1) homemade chicken stock 2) homemade bread 3) turkey meatballs. These tasty little meatballs help me put together and quick and easy dinner with some pasta, sauce, and a salad. They are light and healthy and take just a few simple ingredients.
You can use white or soft whole wheat bread to make the fresh breadcrumbs. I use my own homemade bread, both white and whole wheat. There’s not much difference in the result so why not use whole wheat, but make sure it’s a soft whole wheat bread (mine is really easy to make).
This is a quick recipe but it’s hands-on because you have to keep turning the meatballs (sometimes meat squares or triangles) but who cares as long as they taste great. When I add the water, I rarely have any left at the end but all stoves and pans are different so if you have water left over, it just takes a minute or two to cook it off. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
I’ve been busy the past month and when there’s not much time to cook, I still cook. And tonight I made my veggie fried rice. It’s my go-to dinner when I want a quick and healthy meal. I always have broccoli and peppers on hand I always keep frozen peas in the freezer.
It’s a light meal with protein from the eggs and a bounty of nutrients from the vegetables. This time I used broccoli, spinach, peppers, and peas. We had my peanut butter cookies for dessert.
If you want to try this quick and easy vegetarian fried rice, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Food 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 herefor the recipe. – Jenny Jones
I made ribs this weekend with my own rub and sauce and I can see why the video has 5 million views and 35,000 comments on youtube and why my recipe has garnered over 800 comments here on this website. They are fantastic! I always make them in the oven now because I don’t like cleaning the grill. And this time I couldn’t find the silver skin on the back to remove and they were still just as tender as ever.
In case anyone has not tried this easy, foolproof way to make the most delicious fall-off-the-bone-ribs, try this recipe. Use my rub and sauce and you won’t be disappointed.
I went to bed early last night, planning to have the leftovers for dinner tonight but this morning, two of the ribs are missing. Apparently, my husband decided he needed a midnight snack. 😋 Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
There are lots of Mexican restaurants here in Southern California and I love Mexican food but I don’t always feel good after eating it. And tacos are my favorite so I decided to create something of my own that’s healthy, low fat, easy to serve, and really good! Most taco casseroles use tortillas chips but corn tortillas are a healthier choice and they make a taco casserole that’s soft and with more flavor than using tortilla chips. This easy dinner is high in fiber and protein. it has two vegetables, and it’s gluten free.
Quality matters so look for corn tortillas with the shortest ingredient list and not too much salt. I always look for low sodium products including the pinto beans (I use S&W brand). You can always add salt later or even some cayenne pepper if you like it spicy. And do not use pre-shredded cheese because it won’t melt like freshly shredded cheese. And when drizzling the bean liquid be sure to get the edges.
It’s really easy to put this delicious casserole together in layers and and it’s never dry because I reserve the liquid from the drained beans and pour some over each layer. Depending on the brand, I sometimes get 3/4 of a cup of liquid and other times it’s only 1/4 cup so I just add water to bring it up to one cup. Here’s how I layer it:
3 Tortillas + Meat + Drained Beans + Bean Liquid + Cheese. Repeat this two more times to make 3 layers and then add remaining 3 tortillas on top. I like to tear and scatter them over the top in smaller pieces for easy serving. (It’s okay to have some openings in the tortilla layers).
You can serve this taco casserole two ways: Either top it with the shredded lettuce and tomatoes or serve them on the side. It’s fun for everyone to put on as much as they want and you can even use some chopped white onion as an extra topping, or even some sliced jalapeno peppers.
If you like soft tacos and fun, easy family meals, you will love this easy taco casserole. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones