Snacks/Misc

Jan 28, 2015

Some Super Bowl Ideas

Here are some snack ideas for anyone planning to watch the game on Sunday. Because for me, Super Bowl is really about the snacks, and the commercials… in that order. (I do laundry while they’re playing!) Just click on the photos for the recipes.

Chocolate-Covered Football StrawberriesChocolate-strawberries121-585x388

Deviled Eggsrecipes_deviled_eggs_600

Nachos from ScratchNachos_600_2

Caramelized Onion & Roasted Red Pepper DipCaramelizedOnion-RoastedRedPepperDip_600

Good luck to whoever’s playing!!

Jan 22, 2015

Homemade Apple Sauce

How To Make Your Own Apple Sauce

Wait until you experience the taste of fresh apple sauce. You won’t want to buy it any more. Fresh homemade applesauce is so good, I sometimes eat it with a spoon as my dessert. I see lots of recipes with added sugar and stuff, but here’s the thing.  Apples are sweet. They don’t need added sugar so this is the easiest, and healthiest, thing to make. You just cook some apples. Just peel, core, and chop them up and add a little water in the pan to get the cooking started.

You can have fun trying it with different varieties of apples. Not all apples taste the same. Granny Smith are good for baking but to me, not sweet enough for apple sauce. My favorite for sauce is gala but do you have any idea the number of different apple varieties that exist in the world? Seven thousand! You heard me. That’s 7,000!  Here are just a few that I’ve actually seen: Rome, Braeburn, Cortland, Crispin, McIntosh, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Gravenstein, Liberty, Jonamac, Ida Red, Criterion, Winesap, Pippin, Elstar, Cameo, Pink Lady, Spartan, Newton, Sunrise, Empire, Ginger Gold, Red Cort, Northern Spy, Almata, Gold Russet, Maiden’s Blush, Crimson Gold, Dorsett, Honey Crisp, Honey Gold, Winesap, and Anna (I grow my own Anna apples). I get to keep the ones the squirrels don’t eat! 

The point is, you can  come up with a lot of different flavors of apple sauce depending on the type of apple, or use a combination of different varieties. Have fun with this simple, easy healthy snack. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jun 13, 2014

How To Make Croutons

How To Make Homemade CroutonsWho knew croutons were so easy to make? Once you try homemade croutons made with fresh ciabatta bread you will be spoiled forever. You could use a different kind of bread but… why? Okay, maybe sourdough, or maybe a loaf of French bread but make sure it’s fresh. They say to use day old bread but I respectfully disagree. Fresh bread will make fresh croutons. The big surprise is how incredibly easy it is to make them at home. Five minutes prep, twenty minutes in the oven, and you have big chunks of toasty, crunchy croutons for your salad, or soup, or (your choice here).

I like croutons to taste like bread so my recipe is super simple – just olive oil, salt & pepper. But you can always add spices and herbs of your choice, like fresh garlic, fresh parsley, dried oregano or basil, onion powder, garlic powder, or parmesan. If you’re a bread person like I am, and a crunchy food person too, you will love this easy recipe. I especially like croutons or breadsticks with my salads and in my kitchen, homemade is the only way to go. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Apr 14, 2014

Easy Bread & Butter Pickles

Homemade Bread & Butter Pickles

My easy refrigerator pickles are ready to eat in 3 hours! And it can’t get any easier than this. Just heat up the marinade and pour it over the cucumbers. Wait three hours and enjoy! There’s no canning here, not long process, just a simple, easy recipe for these delicious, tangy pickles. When I didn’t have all the spices, I made my pickles with just the salt and sugar and they were still good but they definitely have more depth of flavor with the added spices.

Crispy pickles are my favorite and I find that leaving the peel on makes a much crispier pickle. If you like them soft and more bendable, just peel the cucumbers first. Also, I’m a big fan of red onions and besides looking pretty and being sweeter, they make some great eating along with the pickles.

They call them bread and butter pickles because during the great depression, people ate cucumber sandwiches, made on bread and butter with cucumbers that were easy to grow. At the end of the growing season they pickled the remaining cuces to last the rest of the year and continued to make the new “pickled” cucumber sandwiches on bread and butter.

Cucumbers are best in spring and summer so now is a good time to make your own pickles, seeing how easy it is and all. Even an amateur cook can’t mess this up. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jan 30, 2014

Caramelized Onion-Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Caramelized Onion Dip with Roasted Red Pepper

Are you ready for Super Bowl Sunday? I’m pretty sure it’s a football game but I just watch for the commercials, then I leave the room when the  ball-throwing starts. If you’re looking for healthy snack ideas for this weekend, here’s one you’ll love. It’s my Caramelized Onion-Roasted Red Pepper Dip and this combination of richly caramelized sweet onions and roasted red pepper makes a unique, delicious, intensely flavored dip that may sound complicated but it’s really easy to make. I use bottled roasted red peppers. You could roast your own peppers… but I don’t. Jarred ones are ideal for a dip so the only work is to caramelize the onions – that’s something you can’t buy. Serve this amazing dip and I promise you everyone will love it and probably ask for the recipe.

It’s easy. First you caramelize the onions (which you can do the day before) and then you put them and everything else in a food processor. It’s that simple. In fact, the dip will taste even better if you make it all the day before. So…. let’s see…. you can cook the onions tomorrow, finish the dip on Saturday, and let it marinate in the fridge until Sunday. This delicious recipe raises the dip bar from the old days when we all made onion dip with a package of onion soup mix and sour cream.

This dip is not only tastier, it’s way healthier too. Red onions are full of anti-aging compounds that reduce inflammation and may protect you against cancer, stroke, and memory loss. By using reduced fat sour cream and fat free yogurt, you’ll have a low-fat and healthy dip to serve with crudite or maybe some nice reduced fat chips. Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Dec 22, 2013

The best homemade gift

Best Homemade Gifts from your Kitchen“Homemade caramel corn?! For me?? I love you!” Caramel corn has to be the best Christmas gift you can make. I’ve baked cookies and breads and they make great gifts but people start asking about my caramel corn in September! “Are you making caramel corn again this year?” Everyone goes crazy over it, probably because there is no place you can buy anything that even comes close. I try to bring it in person when it’s just out of the oven and by the time I get home, I get a phone call saying it’s all gone and asking when I’m going to make more.

If you’re looking for something to bake for Christmas gifts, consider making homemade caramel corn. It’s easier to make than cookies because it uses less ingredients. And it’s pretty quick the way I do it. I pop the corn in a paper lunch bag in the microwave, which takes less than two minutes (see my video). The syrup cooks on the stove in five minutes and the rest is waiting time while the popcorn and nuts get covered with a sweet, delicious caramel coating.

Watch my how-to video (click here) and for the printable recipe (click here). – Jenny Jones

Oct 24, 2013

Sweet & Salty Popcorn

Homemade Kettle Corn

As if anyone needs it, I just posted a printable recipe for my sweet and salty popcorn, also known as kettle corn. I could eat this every day! I prefer mine just sweet with no salt but I know lots of people crave sweet & salty so you can make it that way too. Either way, it’s ready in 5 minutes. Making your own homemade kettle corn is easy in the microwave and it tastes way better than anything from the store. Click here for the recipe.

Sep 5, 2013

Homemade Bread Crumbs

Homemade Bread Crumbs

There are many reasons to make your own homemade bread crumbs. First,  you’ll save money. Second, they’ll taste way better than packaged ones. Third, they’ll be healthier. By using whole wheat bread, you’ll be adding beneficial fiber to your meal. And finally, it’s so easy!

Let me clarify: it’s easy if you have a food processor. But even if you don’t, you can still do this. Always start with fresh bread. Nobody wants to eat stale bread so why would you want stale bread crumbs? So fresh bread is a must. You can make crumbs with any kind of bread like white or sourdough, but whole wheat is the healthiest so look for 100% whole wheat bread with 3 grams of fiber per slice. Fiber is your friend.

Some recipes call for dry bread crumbs to make something crispy like breaded cutlets or chicken fingers. Others need soft bread crumbs, like a topping for mac & cheese. My recipe shows how to make both dry and soft crumbs, and also how easy it is to make your own super-crispy Panko crumbs, too!

If you don’t have a food processor, you can finish the dry crumbs in a blender or by putting the dried bread in a plastic bag and rolling with a rolling pan, or even smacking it with a small pan. Soft bread crumbs can be made using the large holes of a grater, but carefully! So whatever kind of breadcrumbs you need, dry ones, seasoned crumbs, fresh or Panko, remember that homemade is always better. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Aug 28, 2013

A better way to make popcorn

PopCorn_600

Yes, there is a better way to make popcorn. It’s fast. It’s cheap. It’s easy. And it’s as healthy as you can make it. Forget the packaged microwave stuff with unhealthy fats and additives, and forget the stove-top way – it’s too much work. All you need is a paper lunch bag and a stapler. Yes, you CAN put staples in the microwave – watch my video. It takes all of three minutes to make popcorn this way and you can do it with no fat at all or you can add a little oil into the bag before popping.

Popcorn is a healthy snack that provides fiber, some protein, and I just learned that the hulls have antioxidants so as long as you don’t load it with butter, you can enjoy a big bowl of popcorn guilt-free. Make sure to use plain popping corn with nothing added. This is the only way I make popcorn these days.

I’ve been a popcorn lover all my life. Here are all the different ways I have made it:

In the 60’s – Shaking the pot on the stove.

In the 70’s – Jiffy Pop that came in a foil pan that ballooned up when you popped it.

In the 80’s – Air popper.

In the 90’s – Whirley Pop, the big silver pot with the crank handle.

In the 2000’s – An electric appliance that didn’t work so I returned it.

In the 2010’s – Paper bag microwave popcorn! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Mar 24, 2013

3-Hour Dill Pickles

Pickles_7871I saw my first really good, crisp pickling cucumbers at the market this weekend so I bought some and rushed home to make my 3-hour refrigerator pickles. It only takes about five minutes to put this easy recipe together and they really are ready in 3 hours! Crisp, tangy, and super easy. If you want fast dill pickles,  click here for my recipe. – Jenny Jones