Quick & Easy

Aug 26, 2018

Quick & Easy Taco Casserole

Soft Taco CasseroleNEW RECIPE: 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 after coating the bottom of the pan with a little bean liquid:

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

Jul 28, 2018

One Pan Spaghetti, Spinach & Meat Sauce

One Pan Pasta Veggie Meat SauceI’m loving my one pan meals because they are easier, faster, and there’s less cleanup. And when things all cook together, they just taste better. This  quick and easy recipe for pasta, meat sauce, and spinach only takes 30 minutes, including prep. That’s because I use store-bought jarred marinara sauce.

Quality matter when you buy prepared products so try to find the best quality sauce you can, especially one made with Italian plum tomatoes. I use Silver Palate Low Sodium Marinara Sauce and I always use fresh baby spinach – a whole 5 ounce package. It’s a tight squeeze adding that much spinach on top of the sauce and I can do it in my 11-inch skillet because it has a domed lid, but you can also use a larger pot.

One issue with cooking spaghetti in sauce is the spaghetti tends to stick together. That’s why regular stirring is important and I find the best tool for that is a large fork. Using a fork to twist and turn the pasta helps a lot to keep it from sticking, but make sure it’s not metal if your pan in non-stick. I use my giant silicone fork for stirring.

Three things to remember with this recipe:

1) Keep the sauce boiling the whole time but not too high or you’ll cook off too much liquid. If that happens, just add a little more water. Once the pasta is added, I start off on medium heat and as it cooks down, I gradually reduce the heat to low.

2) To keep the spaghetti strands from sticking together, regular stirring is important and you can use tongs but a fork is a better choice. Once the spaghetti starts to soften, I twist and turn the spaghetti every 2 minutes and mine never sticks together.

3) It makes great leftovers. You can reheat it a pot or pan, with a little added water to keep it moist, cover and reheat over low heat, stirring a few times. You can also drop in some more spinach, which will wilt nicely as you heat and stir.

This is a comfort food meal and at my house, every meal has to have at least one vegetable so it’s a win-win. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jun 30, 2018

Easy One Pot Chicken Veggie Pasta

Creamy Chicken Veggie PastaWhy boil and drain pasta when you can cook it right in your sauce? In fact, everything here, the chicken, all these healthy vegetables, the creamy sauce, they all cook in one pot. And get this… 1) easy cleanup… 2) four vegetables in every serving… 3) start-to-finish : 30 minutes!

It’s vital to eat vegetables every day and this easy dinner has broccoli, carrots, peppers, and peas. There are probably more veggies than pasta in this fast and easy dinner but that’s a good thing. The creamy sauce it made with whole milk and a little flour and the result is an awesome healthy dinner that tastes much richer than it is.

My husband calls it Chicken Pot Pie Pasta because it reminds him of my chicken pot pie. I find myself looking for even faster and even healthier meals to cook and this one is going on the top of my list.  To make this fast and healthy chicken veggie pasta, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Apr 4, 2018

Polish Stir-Fry ( Haluski )

Best Recipe HaluskiHow can something so easy be so good? I love haluski so much I just can’t get enough. My mother used to make it and I never asked her for the recipe but I finally figured out how to make it like she did and it’s so good! It’s basically a Polish stir fry of cabbage and onions that is quick and easy so you need to prep everything in advance. It only takes 20 minutes to make. I slice the cabbage by hand and then rough chop it after that.

Most haluski recipes use lots of butter but you don’t need to. This whole pan has only 2 tablespoons of butter and some of that is stirred in at the end for a great flavor and finish.

Now about the sauerkraut: I LOVE the addition of sauerkraut but I know it’s not for everyone (except us Poles 🇵🇱) but I do recommend trying the kraut version for a true Polish experience. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jan 27, 2017

Veggie Fried Rice

Best Recipe Fried riceThere are three reasons why I love this recipe:

  1. It’s vegetarian.
  2. It has lots of superfood veggies.
  3. It takes less than 20 minutes to make.

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