If you think roasting a whole chicken is a lot of work, I am about to change your mind. Roasting it at a higher temperature for a shorter time produces beautifully tender meat with absolutely no work at all. This method has been around for years, usually called Blasted Chicken, and it is incredibly easy. There is no basting, no trussing, no rubbing with butter or oil, and with me, no spices except salt and pepper, although you can tuck in a piece of lemon, garlic, or your favorite herb if you like.
I don’t even wash the chicken, just bring it to room temperature and pat it dry. I like to make this on Friday so we have leftover chicken to snack on, or for chicken paninis. You can roast this chicken on a baking pan but I prefer a broiler-style pan to draw away the fat and I always use a disposable one. I did not invent this method but I want to make sure everyone has this easy recipe for blasted chicken.
I serve it by removing the skin and then cut or tear the chicken into big pieces. There is no easier way to roast a chicken and my way means no cleanup. Gotta love that! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
If you ever need fast comfort food, this is it. Today I made my quick and easy mac & cheese and it was ready in 20 minutes. With only four ingredients, it’s pretty hard to mess up, and I use low fat milk and cheese so I don’t feel guilty about enjoying this American classic. Plus I always serve it with a green vegetable on the side. Sometimes this simple mac & cheese becomes a side dish to some chicken and salad. Even though it’s a quick stovetop recipe, you can also bake it in the oven for a crispy top. Here’s how I do it:
While I prepare the recipe on the stove I preheat the oven to 375. Once the stovetop version is done I stir in some chopped & drained fresh tomato (this is optional) and I transfer it all to a greased 3-quart casserole dish. I top it with a cup of fresh breadcrumbs and bake for 20-25 minutes for a golden, crispy top. You make fresh breadcrumbs by processing a couple of slices of white or soft whole wheat bread in a food processor.
Whether you need a quick 20 minute recipe or you prefer a creamy mac & cheese with a crispy top, either way you’ll get a much healthier version of almost everyone’s favorite comfort food… macaroni and cheese. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
I love this simple vegetarian casserole. It’s a healthier way to enjoy Mexican food because it uses fresh tomatoes, whole wheat tortillas. I use my own homemade tortillas, the whole wheat version, and they turn nice and soft in this dish. I wanted to try it with store-bought tortillas but could not bring myself to buy them after reading the ingredients. If you make the tortillas ahead of time this meal can be made in about 45 minutes.
If you like things super spicy, you can switch from jalapeño pepper to a spicier one like serrano or the super hot habanero. For me, the jalapeño version is perfect – not too spicy at all. And I always say it: don’t use pre-shredded cheese. It will never melt like fresh cheese because they add some type of stabilizer to the pre-shredded kind. It takes less than a minute to shred six ounces of cheese. I always serve this dish with a little sour cream on the side. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
This easy casserole just might become your new family favorite. I’ve been making it for years and everyone loves it. And I love it for two reasons. One: it’s delicious. Two: it’s easy to make. It takes just a few simple ingredients and less than an hour for some good homemade comfort food. By using lean ground beef and reduced fat cheese, I never feel stuffed after my second and third helping.
Much of the flavor comes from the sauce and you can use a homemade marinara but I use store-bought sauce. Two that I like, but can’t always find, are Silver Palate Low Sodium Marinara but this time I couldn’t find it so I used Terlato Kitchen Pomodoro, also lower in sodium and it was fantastic. Not all jarred sauces are the same so I encourage everyone to read the label for the least number of ingredients as well as sodium. Even with a low sodium sauce, this recipe doesn’t even need salt or pepper.
And don’t be tempted to use more pasta. It will seem like it’s not enough when you put it together but it’s just the right amount for this easy family casserole. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
This is a light, easy supper that I love to make, depending what I have on hand. My favorite combo is this one with broccoli, baby spinach, bell peppers, and peas. But I have also made it with other vegetables, sometimes broccollini instead of broccoli, Swiss chard instead of spinach, or other subs like asparagus, shredded carrots, bok choy, or Chinese snow peas, so you see it’s just a great way to get a variety of cooked vegetables in one meal. But I always use at least four different veggies.
Cold cooked rice works best so I usually cook the rice the day before, and refrigerate it overnight. Mostly I use Uncle Ben’s converted rice but I have also made it with brown rice. Either way, if your rice is cooked in advance, this is a super-quick meal. Be sure to have everything ready before you start because a stir-fry means you don’t leave the pan once you start and it cooks in less than 10 minutes! So chop everything first and have everything in place before starting. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Roasting vegetables is just about the easiest way to cook them. I love this dish so much, probably because roasting brings out the sugar in vegetables so they are sweeter, and in many cases, have more nutrients than they do raw. Today I used red potatoes, sweet potatoes, red & yellow peppers, green beans, Brussels sprouts, red onions, and carrots. I added some olive oil, salt & pepper and roasted them at 400 along with my pork tenderloin. Here they are after roasting…
This may look like a lot but between the two of us there was not one piece of vegetable left on this tray. We usually save some of the sweet potato slices for dessert because they are so sweet after roasting. With all these beautiful colors, the antioxidants here are enormous. I have two recipes you might like. One is just the roasted vegetables as a side dish. The other is what I made tonight, my fabulous pork loin dinner. (there’s no pork left either!)
Pork is one of the leanest meats you can find, and so delicious! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
I made one of my top ten favorite recipes today: Orange Sesame Chicken. It’s fast, healthy, and so much better than restaurant orange chicken, which is usually batter fried. My lean chicken is stir fried in 2 teaspoons of oil and made with freshly squeezed orange juice and toasted sesame oil. If you haven’t tasted (and smelled!) toasted sesame oil, it’s unbelievably fragrant. And bonus: this recipe takes 20 minutes. But that’s not even why I like it so much. It is deeeelicous!
If you’re wondering, here is the entire top ten list of my own personal favorite recipes, the ones I make the most:
Chicken Pot Pie
Multigrain No Knead Bread
Giant Breakfast Cookies
Orange Sesame Chicken
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Pork Loin Dinner
Happy Labor Day weekend to everyone and if you want to try my orange sesame chicken, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Not all chicken meatballs are soft but these are. The secret is to cook them right in the sauce. Ground chicken breast is very lean and healthy but since it contains so little fat, it’s easy for chicken meatballs to become dry. But when they’re cooked in the sauce, they are beautifully soft and even more flavorful from absorbing the sauce.
Using fresh bread crumbs also helps with their beautifully soft texture. Fresh crumbs are made by using fresh bread, in this case whole wheat bread, and running it through a food processor. Since I always bake my own simple whole wheat bread, that’s what I use for the crumbs so it’s important to use a soft whole wheat bread for these fresh crumbs. Click here for my recipe and video on making bread crumbs.
You can put this meal, with sauce, together in about 1/2 an hour if you use myQuick & Easy Spaghetti Sauce. In fact, you can follow myQuick & Easy Spaghetti & Meatballs recipe and just swap the beef meatballs with my chicken recipe. Both of these sauce recipes are exactly the same. If you don’t want to use sauce and would prefer to pan-fry or oven-bake these chicken meatballs, you can do that. They won’t be quite as soft, and not as pretty, but they still taste really good.
I experimented with both pan-frying and oven-baking and here’s how you would do that. To pan-fry, heat a little olive oil in a large pan and cook the meatballs for about 10 minutes, gently turning to brown all sides. They won’t be meatballs any more… more more like meat triangles. To oven-bake, place the meatballs on a greased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400° F oven for about 20 minutes. The meatballs are done when the inside reaches 165° F. As I said, they won’t be as pretty as the sauce version and here is the proof:
I told you they weren’t pretty!! Of the two options, the pan-fried meatballs tasted better, probably because they were browned. So now you have options, but I highly recommend cooking these chicken breast meatballs in sauce for the best result. – Jenny Jones
You only need four ingredients to make this easy chicken recipe. Well, four plus the chicken. For anyone just learning to cook or simply short on time, this oven-baked chicken is quick, easy and healthy. I make a basting sauce of fresh lemon juice and garlic with olive oil and herbs. The chicken bakes in the oven, you baste it a couple of times, and it’s ready in 30 minutes. And get this: I line my baking pan with foil so there’s no cleanup!
For my herbs, I use a prepared formula of Italian dried herbs that includes basil, rosemary, thyme & oregano but you can use your own favorite mix. Or just use one herb that you like. Once the chicken is cooked, you let it rest for 5-10 minutes, then slice it and pour all the juices left in the pan over the chicken, making sure you get all the bits of garlic too. The combination of garlic, herbs, and lemon goes perfectly with chicken. Click herefor the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Here’s a new addition to my 30 Minutes or Less dinner category. It’s lean white meat chicken, bow tie pasta and asparagus in a creamy, low fat Alfredo sauce. It’s super easy, quick, and yummy. The whole meal takes just 25 minutes to make and it also works with broccoli.
The only difference if you use broccoli is you add a little pasta water to the broccoli when you saute it. This recipe was in my cookbook but that version used butter. My new way does not use butter and it’s much easier to make. In fact, almost any recipe I made ten years ago is not the same today. I’m always finding ways to make things simpler, easier, and faster.
The creamy sauce is my version of alfredo sauce. Did you know they call fettucini alfredo a “heart attack on a plate?” That’s because alfredo sauce is traditionally made with all cream and butter. I will never do that. Mine uses no cream or butter. I use 1% milk and I get a creamy, satisfying comfort meal that I can feel good about eating. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones