Jan 29, 2015 Jan 18, 2015
With visitors from all over the world (over 170 countries) there was some confusion about the spices in my marinade so I have added a simpler combination of orange & lemon juice, garlic and salt. I made another change too by reducing the cooking time and increasing the oven temperature.
Like most cooks, my recipes evolve over time because I’m always trying to make things better. That’s why I created a special category in my blog called “Recipe Changes/Fixes” so if anyone is confused, thinking something is different than they remember, they can check on any changes I made in that blog posting.
I’m still working on avoiding the messy job of cleaning the rack. I tried roasting the drumsticks on greased foil but they stick to the foil even when it’s greased. I did find one thing, however, that is a disposable foil pan that allowed me to eliminate the rack.
It’s called EZ Foil by Hefty and these cookie sheets are textured on the bottom and there was no sticking whatsoever, and no greasing necessary. The drumsticks turned over beautifully with no effort at all. I’m guessing not all stores will carry these sheets but wow, I love the textured feature. And oh… good news: I wash and re-use them.
I almost always make these skinless chicken drumsticks on Fridays because they make great weekend snacks, even served cold. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Jan 6, 2015
I always wondered if cabbage rolls made with red cabbage would turn out and now I can report on my experiment. I already knew from eating lots of cabbage salads that red cabbage is a little tougher than the green one. That turned out to be true even when the leaves are softened for cabbage rolls. I boiled the whole head of red cabbage for ten minutes, just like I do the green one for my cabbage rolls. The leaves didn’t seem soft enough so I put them back in for another few minutes and they seemed a little softer. I then proceeded as usual, cutting off the thick spine to make them easy to roll.
The main difference occured when rolling. I made both green and red ones so I could really compare and the green leaves rolled up beautifully and didn’t tear or break. But some of the red ones tended to break and crack so I had to patch the crack and then roll up my golabki. So the red leaves were a little harder to work with but I must say they do look good.
And the taste? Wonderful, just like the green ones. So my summary is… if you are making cabbage rolls for the first time, stick with the green cabbage. The soft leaves will be easier to roll and you will be confident in making them again. If you make them in red, just be prepared for a little extra work if they tear but that can happen with green leaves too. When it happens, you remove the filling, lay an extra piece of a cabbage leaf over the tear, fully covering and overlapping the tear, then add your filling and roll it up.
Cabbage rolls made with red cabbage make a beautiful presentation and once they are cooked, the red rolls are just as tender as the green ones. So there is my report. I will definitely make red cabbage rolls again if only for the reaction I’m sure to get when I put them on the table.
My Polish cabbage rolls recipe has been very popular and I’m thrilled with the number of people who have made and love them. Over 1/4 million people (update February 2021 – over 15 million!) If you haven’t made stuffed cabbage yet, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Oct 17, 2014
You only need a few basic ingredients to make this easy tortilla pie: whole wheat tortillas, canned beans, bottled salsa, peppers, and reduced fat cheese. Add some onions and garlic and this comes together pronto in a yummy, stick-to-the-ribs dinner the whole family will love.
Here’s why I love my easy tortilla pie: It has two different kinds of beans, black and cannellini beans; It has three different colors of pepper – red, green and yellow; And it’s made with whole wheat tortillas. Even if you aren’t a fan of whole wheat tortillas, they become so soft when baked with my sauce and cheeses, you can eat this moist layered casserole with a spoon.
There’s a recipe for tortilla pie in my original cookbook but this new recipe is simpler, faster, and healthier, not to mention even more delicious. This is an easy recipe to customize and make your own. If you like is spicy, be sure to include the jalapeño pepper and get a jar of spicy salsa. If you like it mild, you can leave out the jalapeño pepper altogether and replace it with extra bell pepper, or a milder Anaheim pepper, and use a mild salsa.
Here are a couple of brands I use in this recipe:
Tortillas – Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Tortillas
Salsa – Green Mountain Gringo from Whole Foods
I make my pie in an 8-inch round pyrex baking dish with tall sides and a glass lid. Sometimes I cut the tortillas to fit exactly into the baking pan and with this pan, the filling all stays inside and doesn’t spill out. A lot of recipes use a springform pan and if you have one, that’s the pan to use. You can also make this tortilla pie in any kind of pie pan, preferably deep dish. Some of the beans may spill out but who cares? Just make sure you cover it well with foil.
Nutritionally, this healthy meal is hard to beat. There is lots of fiber in the beans as well as the tortillas, and beans also provide calcium and protein. The colored peppers are full of antioxidants to help protect against diseases like heart disease and cancer. And if you make it spicy, spicy foods boost metabolism and that helps with weight loss. But the best reason of all to make this easy casserole is it’s simply delicious. And it’s meatless, too. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Aug 8, 2014
Looking for a family dinner that pleases everybody? Make my quick & easy spaghetti & meatballs! It only takes 35 minutes to make this delicious family favorite, all from scratch, and I promise you will never have leftovers. The lean meatballs are made with ground sirloin and they are super soft because they cook right in the sauce. The sauce is my quick & easy spaghetti sauce and I just add the meatballs (& spaghetti) to make this a complete meal… but don’t forget the salad.
This is really a quick & easy recipe because the sauce takes 5 minutes of prep and the meatballs take 10 minutes to put together. Then it all cooks in one pot and you have the most delicious spaghetti dinner. The sauce needs to cover the meatballs and the pot I use measures 7 1/2 inches across. If your pot is bigger than that, you might need to make more, smaller meatballs so they are covered by the sauce. Marinara sauce does not need to cook for hours on the stove. My recipe uses canned plum tomatoes, the best kind for sauce, and I prefer a smooth sauce so I puree the whole tomatoes first. If you like it more chunky, you can cut the tomatoes up with scissors or a knife for a chunkier sauce.
These meatballs and so soft they really just melt in your mouth. That’s because I use fresh bread crumbs and not dried ones. To make fresh crumbs, which are just soft bread in tiny pieces, I process two slices of bread in a food processor. Then I just wipe out the bowl and use the same one to puree the tomatoes. If you don’t have a food processor, you can cut the bread into small pieces and puree the tomatoes in a blender.
Whether you’re having company or a family dinner, you can’t go wrong with homemade spaghetti & meatballs. Try my easy recipe and you’ll see why they call it comfort food. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Aug 5, 2014
Good news! After the success of my faster no knead bread I wondered if the same concept would work for my pan pizza. It does. The original easy pan pizza recipe, which is the most viewed video on my youtube channel, is a really easy recipe but you have to start the dough the night before and let it stand overnight. The result is an amazing crust that everyone has raved about but now, you don’t have to start it the night before. All you do is use hot tap water instead of cold water (the original recipe calls for cold water) and you can start the pan pizza the day you want it. I’m so excited about this.
Simply by switching from cold water to hot tap water (not boiling), you reduce the overnight rest of 12 hours to only 3 hours. Here’s what to do: Use the same exact recipe but use hot water instead of cold, and instead of letting it rest overnight on the counter, you let it rest for 3 hours on the counter. After 3 hours, you proceed with the original recipe from step #2. There it is. My faster easy pan pizza.
The main thing to remember is that instead of starting it the night before, you can start this easier faster pan pizza about 5 hours before you want to eat. Click here for my original recipe. – Jenny Jones
Jul 31, 2014
If you like lasagna you will love this easy casserole. Baked ziti is a classic Italian dish and my version is light and healthy, made with lean ground sirloin and part skim cheeses. If you’re tempted to buy pre-shredded mozarella for this dish you may be disappointed. Any cheese that is pre-shredded will never melt as well as real cheese that you shred by hand. That’s due to the stabilizers that are added to packaged shredded cheeses. It takes about a minute to shred your own cheese so just do it. You’ll be rewarded with a creamy, melty dish that’s as close to lasagna as I’ve ever had.
Homemade marinara sauce is great if you choose but for this dish, bottled sauce works really well. Ziti is not always available so you can use other shapes of pasta with penne being the closest. The man in my life recently had a birthday and I offered to make him anything he wanted for dinner and for his birthday cake. He could have had anything that I make and guess what he wanted? He asked for baked ziti for dinner and my fresh strawberry cake for dessert. Good call, since I was eating here too. To try my Easy Baked Ziti click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Jul 12, 2014
What do we want? Pizza! When do we want it? Now! Homemade pizza is easier (and faster) than you think. It used to take hours to knead and rise the dough but not any more. My quick & easy pizza dough is made from scratch and is ready to use in less than 20 minutes. I takes longer to heat up the oven but that’s okay because the dough can continue to rest until the oven heats up… or the grill. Yes! I have made pizza on the grill, on a pizza stone on the grill, in the oven on a stone, in the oven on a pan with holes, and even in a cast iron skillet on the stove. You can see that a pizza lover like myself needed to find a way to make pizza dough as quick and easy as possible. And I have.
This recipe is flexible too. You can use either bread flour or all-purpose flour. The difference is subtle but I find the crust a little crispier with the bread flour. And… you can use either instant yeast or regular active yeast, the only difference being the temperature of the water. If you read the package of yeast you’ll see that instant yeast calls for hotter water (120° F) while active dry yeast requires water at 110° F. Did I say flexible? There’s even more. Once you put this dough together, you can also choose to let it rest for an hour or more. It will puff up and double in size. Or… (wait for it)… you can refrigerate it for pizza the next day, or the next 2 or 3 days. Refrigerating pizza dough does result in a better crust but I don’t always plan my dinners ahead. Here’s my typical pizza-making schedule:
An hour before dinner, I preheat the oven. Then I put the dough together and let it rest. While I wait for the oven I prepare my toppings and make a salad. I shred my own cheese because the pre-shredded kind does not melt the same. I slice toppings and try to remove some of their moisture for a crispy pizza. Once the salad is made, I roll the dough, put on the toppings, and put the pizza in the oven, which has had time to heat up by now. (don’t put pizza in until the oven is hot enough) While the pizza cooks, we have our salad. As soon as we finish the salad, the pizza is done, hot, crispy, and ready to eat.
I seriously don’t know anyone who doesn’t like pizza. And once you start making quick and easy pizza at home you will never want to get delivery again. It simply will never compare. Besides, you can make your own pizza healthier, with reduced fat cheese, healthy toppings, and a crust the way you like it. Thin crust? Just roll it thinner and make two. I hope this easy recipe motivates more people to make healthier and faster pizza at home.
UPDATE (June 17, 2020) Since posting this recipe I find myself more often refrigerating the dough overnight. The flavor does get better with time and the edges of the crust seem to puff up more when it cooks. My favorite method these days is using a wooden paddle and pizza stone. But no matter what, any kind of homemade pizza is the best! ?
Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
May 22, 2014
Any time I can cook dinner all in one pan – in 30 minutes – it’s a good day. And it leaves me more time to make dessert! This is one of my go-to healthy meals because it’s quick and uses just a few ingredients. Nutritionally, it’s a superstar with all these colored peppers. Brightly colored vegetables each have their own set of antioxidants. For instance, a red pepper has more vitamin C than an orange. Yellow and orange peppers support lung and eye health while green ones fight asthma. But all peppers help protect against many degenerative diseases so I try to include all the colors in my cooking.
This recipe was in my cookbook but I’ve simplified it (like I’m doing most of the recipes there) because my goal is to motivate more people to cook at home, so if I can make a recipe easier, faster, and healthier, my work is done. I wish I liked brown rice better but it’s still a struggle for me so I use Uncle Ben’s converted rice here. But you can use brown rice if you like and just cook it an additional 25 minutes.
Does anybody think this would also work with shrimp? Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
May 21, 2014
I’ve reinvented by barbeque chicken pizza! It used to take almost 2 hours but now… 50 minutes! That’s right. Less than an hour from start to pie hole! I make homemade pizza so often that I’ve learned how to make it faster and better. I no longer let my pizza dough rise for an hour. A ten minute rest is enough to make a fantastic crispy crust and healthier pizza than most. I always use reduced fat mozzarella and with this pizza, it’s lean chicken breast so it’s a healthier, low fat pizza and that means I can eat it more often.
I made this one on a pizza stone, which is a great way to get a crispy crust but if you don’t have a pizza stone and wooden peel, I also make this recipe using a regular pizza pan. The best kind of pan is the perforated one with the holes to help make it crispy (like the one in my pepperoni pizza video). My kind of pizza is crispy. I never use a fork… I just pick up a slice and eat. Oh wait… I do use a fork… for my salad. I always have salad with pizza.
If you ever have some leftover chicken, especially barbeque chicken, use it to make pizza. When I don’t have leftovers, I just cook a chicken breast and shred it with two forks. And a note on cheese: I know they sell pre-shredded pizza cheese and I have one way to handle pre-shredded cheese: with a ten foot pole! They put something in that stuff that makes it dry and it will never melt like real cheese, so take a minute and shred your own like I do. I makes a big difference.
You don’t have to make this pizza the quick way. You can always take longer and let the dough rise for an hour but I just don’t do it any more. Who wants to wait for pizza?! Not me! To try my barbeque chicken pizza, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
It never fails. It always impresses. And it’s quick and easy. This is my go-to chicken dinner for weeknights and also for company because it feels like something from a fancy restaurant but wait until you see how quick and easy it is. It’s basically chicken in a creamy mushroom sauce that only tastes rich but it’s made with low-fat milk and no butter. I like this because it cooks in 15 minutes with only three main ingredients: chicken, mushrooms, and green onions. I normally serve it over rice but it’s also good with noodles.
Mushrooms have many health benefits including immune support, that hard-to-get vitamin D, many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like selenium for disease prevention. But here’s my problem with mushrooms: They’re squishy when you cook ’em. I love the smell and the taste but can’t bring myself to chew a squishy mushroom. Solution: I chop them up really tiny and there’s no problem. I left them sliced for the photo but I normally make this recipe with tiny bits of mushroom so I can enjoy this delicious meal.
No meal is complete for me without vegetables and I usually serve my chicken & mushrooms with steamed broccoli. If you like that idea, here’s an easy way to do it. I put my rice on to cook in a pot on the stove and about five minutes before it’s done, I quickly lift off the lid, toss the broccoli on top of the rice, lid back on, and finish the rice. Uncle Ben’s converted rice cooks in 20 minutes and then you let it stand for a few more and that’s just enough time to steam the broccoli with no extra dishes or pots. I love it!
Try my quick and easy chicken & mushrooms. It has never failed me and everyone loves it. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones