Soups/Salads/Side Dishes

Jun 12, 2019

Easy Cucumber Salad

Simple Cucumber SaladThis is such a refreshing salad to serve in the summer and now is the best time to get crisp, fresh Persian cucumbers. If you can find organic cucumbers, you can just scrub them and leave the peel on. If they’re not organic, it’s best to peel them for this salad.

I slice the cucumbers very thinly, no more than 1/8 of an inch thick, and for the onion, the thinner the better as well. The dressing uses a good amount of sugar but remember that most of the dressing is not eaten. You serve this salad with a slotted spoon and leave the liquid behind so don’t fret about using a tablespoon of sugar.

If you serve this cucumber salad right away it will be quite crisp, and if you refrigerate it for an hour or more, the cucumber slices will soften and absorb a little more dressing. They are good either way but it’s best to serve this salad on the same day.

I wish everyone a fun summer with lots of good, healthy, homemade food, including this cool and crisp, cucumber salad. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jan 22, 2019

Pasta Fagioli Soup

Quick Easy Pasta Fagioli SoupIt takes less than 30 minutes and just a few basic ingredients to make this easy pasta fagioli soup from scratch. Cannellini beans and ditalini pasta are traditional  for this popular Italian soup. I use canned cannellini beans but I can never find ditalini so I use a different small pasta, DeCecco small elbows (no. 81).

For the tomato, I use Pomi Strained tomatoes that come in a box. Once opened, I freeze 1/2 cup portions specifically to have on hand for this delicious soup. One box gives me six 1/2 cup portions. I also use my own homemade chicken stock (there’s always some in the freezer) but you can use store bought stock.

I thicken the soup by dividing the beans in half and mashing one half with a fork, which takes less than a minute and I focus on the broken ones for mashing (the whole ones look better for serving).

And this is good: You’ll only have one pot to wash. Most recipes cook the pasta separately but I cook mine right in the soup. Prep your vegetables first because this easy recipe  comes together quickly. Sometimes, it’s all I need for a meal – just a big bowl of pasta fagioli and a slice of my crusty bread. If it’s all you’re having, this recipe makes two large servings. Otherwise, it will serve three. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Oct 26, 2018

One Pan Spaghetti with Beets

Spaghetti With BeetsLook at this beautiful spaghetti! It’s not just beautiful but it’s delicious and healthy too, full of brain boosting beets. And wait until you see how easy this pasta dish is. Everything cooks in one pan. No draining the spaghetti and no extra pots to wash. I am loving my new one-pan and one-pot recipes and this one makes a dramatic presentation. (anyone thinking Christmas?)

The ingredients are so simple: garlic, beets, spaghetti, and Parmesan cheese. You’ll need a pan at least 8 inches across so the spaghetti can fit, but you still have to break the spaghetti in half. These days, whenever I sauté garlic, I add it before the oil gets hot. This way there is no chance it can burn and the garlic flavor infuses the oil as well.

Beets are red… very red. Do not wear white clothing when handling beets and remember they can also stain white or wood utensils. I use the big holes on a box grater like this to shred the beets:Beets are full of fiber and nutrients and are good for lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, supporting brain health, and they have anti-cancer properties. So besides the stunning presentation, there are may reasons to make this easy and healthy side dish. Keep in mind it’s important to stir the spaghetti well and often so it doesn’t stick.  Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Apr 29, 2018

Potato Salad Without Mayo

Potato Salad Without MayoPotatoes are my friend – boiled, mashed, roasted, hash browned, I love them every way, and in the summer, potato salad is my favorite. I tried for years to make a good potato salad without mayo but was never happy with the result. It was always too dry and if I added more oil, it was too oily.

This time I decided to try something different. I added some of the potato cooking water to my dressing and it was better but still not good enough. Then I tried something crazy. I mashed a little bit of potato and added that to the dressing along with the water. Bingo! It was great. The potato salad was creamy, tangy, and delicious.

So now I’m sharing this recipe for creamy potato salad no mayo, just in time for summer. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Mar 17, 2018

Simple Rice with Brussels Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts RiceI don’t make plain rice any more. Why would I when it’s so easy to add a vegetable to rice while it cooks? And Brussels sprouts make a really good (and healthy) addition. They are a cruciferous vegetable that can protect you against cancer and heart disease. They also benefit your eyes and provide lots of minerals, vitamin C, fiber, and even protein!

My rice of choice is Uncle Ben’s converted rice, which cooks beautifully in 20 minutes, just enough time for the Brussels sprouts to turn soft and tender, and kind of sweet.

There is no meal in this house without at least one cooked vegetable, and always a salad, and this is an easy way to get people who may not like steamed and cooked vegetables to have them mixed into a tasty rice. This easy side dish goes really well with my salmon patties or lemon chicken cutlets. This is a really easy, simple recipe that anyone can make. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Feb 16, 2018

15 Minute Veggie Pasta

15 Minute Quick Veggie PastaI just found a better and simpler way to make pasta with vegetables. Everything cooks in one pot and you don’t even have to drain the pasta. With a small amount of water the pasta and vegetables all cook in the same pot. I love it.

I make it with two of the most important vegetables for health: broccoli and spinach but it also works with just broccoli. This super fast vegetarian meal takes just 15 minutes and here a couple of tips:

  • Be sure to keep the water boiling (not too high or too much water will boil away).
  • If too much water boils away, you can add a little more water as needed.
  • A timer is really helpful so you can set it for the pasta cooking time and then keep an eye to know when to add the veggies.
  • When you add the broccoli, just open the lid briefly, toss the broccoli on top, and quickly close the lid. The broccoli will steam right on top.
  • Add more or less parmesan. I like it with three tablespoons.

This can be a side dish or main dish. I plan to try it next with whole wheat pasta and will share my results.  Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jan 6, 2018

Simple Pea Soup – It’s Fat Free

Best Split Pea Soup RecipeWhen it’s cold outside, make soup. This thick and hearty soup is just right for a cold winter’s day. You only need six ingredients and water – no fat, no ham hock, nothing you don’t want.

This is my version of Andersen’s famous (in California) split pea soup only I simplified it a bit and it’s deeeelicious! I like this soup thick but you can make it thinner using more water if you like. Or test it out and you can just add some hot water at the end of you want it thinner. The creamy texture comes from straining the soup through a fine sieve and it’s really easy using a soup ladle to press it through. I do not recommend using a blender or food processor because it creates too much foam.

Besides fiber and protein, pea soup has lots of nutrients including iron, potassium, isoflavones, vitamins B1, B5, K, folate, iron, magnesium, and zinc. What’s not to love? Click here for the recipe.  – Jenny Jones

Jan 9, 2017

Make Caesar Salad at Home

Homemade Caesar SaladI LOVE LOVE LOVE my Caesar salad! Now I don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant to get a classic Caesar salad. It was always a mystery to me because I thought I had to use whole anchovies but for me, anchovy paste is perfect and it’s also easy to use. It takes just minutes to make this dressing but you need the right ingredients. You just shake it all up in a jar and it’s done.

Traditional Caesar salad is made with romaine lettuce and for me, hearts of romaine make the best presentation, not to mention homemade croutons. I usually make croutons with slices of my faster no knead bread and my recipe is super easy too. Click here to see how to make homemade croutons.

I encourage everyone to eat a salad every day and now you can make one of those salads a classic Caesar. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Nov 3, 2016

Easy Potato Soup

Homemade Potato SoupEven when it’s not cold outside, I still make my potato soup. Russet potatoes are best for this creamy comfort food and it only takes 1/2 hour to make. Cutting the potatoes into small 1/2-inch pieces helps it cook quickly and I always have my homemade chicken stock in the freezer for soups and stews. You don’t need cream to thicken this soup, only a little flour is all it takes.

Another thing I always have on hand is my (low fat) sour cream. Don’t all Polish people have sour cream at home? It seems like we eat everything with sour cream… cabbage rolls, pierogi, borscht, and potato soup. I always stir sour cream into this soup just before eating and if you want the full Polish experience (zupa ziemniaczana ~ but we called it zupa kartoflana) top it with a little freshly chopped dill. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Oct 13, 2016

Cancer Fighting Soup

Cancer Fighting SoupEvery single ingredient in this healthy cancer-fighting soup is there for a reason. These are the vegetables that researchers believe contain powerful anti cancer compounds. So I put them all into one delicious, nutritious, easy to make soup. And when you make it with homemade chicken stock, you increase the health-promoting properties even more. Here’s what’s in it and why:

Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower – These are cruciferous vegetables, the most widely recommended food group to eat to protect against cancer.

Carrots – Orange colored vegetables are believed to help against many types of cancer.

Kale – Dark greens like kale and spinach are key to cancer and disease protection. If you use spinach, stir it in just at the end when the soup is done.

Tomato – Red tomatoes are a must for anyone concerned about prostate cancer. They are a good source of lycopene, especially prepared and canned tomatoes (even ketchup and tomato sauce or paste) but they need a little fat to be absorbed, so that’s why you must include the olive oil. I use canned tomatoes because canned are a better source of lycopene than fresh.

Garlic & Onion – They both have strong anti-inflammatory properties and it’s believed they can help slow down the growth of cancer cells.

So if you are looking to protect your health in the future or trying to prevent a recurrence of cancer, research tells us that eating these vegetables can help.  Or if you just want to be as healthy as possible, you will love this quick and easy homemade vegetable soup. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones