Soups/Salads

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

NEW RECIPE: It 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

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

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

Sep 21, 2016

Soup That Heals

Wound Healing SoupIf you know anyone recovering from an injury or surgery, make them soup using these vegetables: carrot, potato, sweet potato, red pepper, broccoli, spinach and add some lima beans. By researching, I learned that there are certain nutrients that can help heal the body from an injury, a wound, or surgery. The most essential are vitamins A, C, and E along with zinc, calcium, potassium, and protein. So I created this recipe using ingredients highest in these nutrients for a powerful healing soup. It’s also a delicious vegetable soup and any vegetable soup will have health benefits, but using these specific ingredients provide the best concentrate of what is needed by the body to heal.

I make this soup using my own homemade chicken broth. Chicken broth has its own health benefits and it’s the best liquid to use. Vegetable broth is also a good choice but even if you use plain water, all the wound healing benefits will still be there. If someone is not able to eat due to a closed jaw or dental surgery, this soup can be pureed to drink, or pureed and thinned to drink with a straw.

One more food with excellent healing enzymes is fresh pineapple (not canned – only fresh has enzymes). So the most beneficial meal to help recover would be a big bowl of wound healing soup with some fresh pineapple for dessert.

By the way, even if you’re not trying to heal, this is an incredibly healthy vegetable soup full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. If you want to use my chicken soup as a base, click here for the recipe. You can make the stock the day before and after it’s refrigerated, remove the fat from the top and proceed with this vegetable soup. Once you have the stock, my wound healing vegetable soup takes just 30 minutes to make. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Aug 23, 2016

Eat a Salad Every Day

How To Make The Healthiest SaladEvery meal I have starts with a salad. And this is a typical salad that I make every day, full of health-building antioxidants. It’s probably part of the reason I simply never get sick. I have not had a cold or flu in over half a century. Anyone can make a salad, I thought, but I’m sharing a photo of my typical salad to motivate more people to include salads with every meal. It doesn’t have to be this one but eat those vegetables if you want a long and healthy life.

People always ask me why I never get sick. How do I get such glowing skin? Am I really seventy years old? It’s because I cook every day and the meal always includes a salad and at least one cooked vegetable. Certain vegetables, like spinach or carrots, have more health benefits when cooked so have both raw and cooked veggies every day.

Romaine lettuce is considered the healthiest choice for salads with more nutrients than iceberg, but I sometimes use red leaf or butter lettuce. I always add some cabbage for its many health benefits and colored peppers. A mix of colors will provide the biggest variety of antioxidants so if I use red tomatoes, I use yellow or orange peppers. If I use yellow tomatoes, then red peppers. Red onions add a nice kick but that’s not why I add them. Onions and garlic a loaded with immune-boosting elements. Garbanzo beans add fiber and calcium but I sometimes use red kidney beans.

If I haven’t convinced you yet,  just look at why I make this particular salad the most – and these are only some of the health benefits since there are too many to mention:

Romaine Lettuce contains lutein for protect against vision loss, fiber, vitamins A, C, K, and folic acid.

Green Cabbage can protect against cancer & heart disease and boost your immune system.

Bell Peppers have more vitamin C than oranges and they support eye and lung health. Red peppers have more vitamins A and C than green.

Tomatoes can protect against heart disease as well as breast and prostate cancer.

Garbanzo beans are full of protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium, and iron.

Red onions help strengthen collagen, support bone health, prevents cell damage, and supports a strong immune system.

Oh… one more thing: No bottled dressing! Just look at the ingredients. Olive oil is the best and only choice for a healthy salad. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jul 16, 2015

Authentic Greek salad

How To Make Greek Salad

Give me a giant Greek salad and a big fork and watch me go! I love Greek salad! I love all Greek food.  My stepmom is Greek and I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy her cooking and as well as all the fabulous foods at those Greek festivals we go to. The Greeks love to dance and they know how to eat. Opa!

The main vegetables in my Greek salad are romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion. Romaine lettuce also happens to be the healthiest lettuce to eat, so use lots. My favorite cucumbers for salad are Persian – the skins are so thin you don’t even have to peel them, but you can if you like. The red onions can be sliced super thin or cut into bigger pieces. Tomatoes can be any kind – cherry, grape, big, small, red, yellow, heirloom… whatever floats your boat. Keep in mind that tomatoes should not be refrigerated so if you want to prepare the salad ingredients in advance and refrigerate them, leave the tomatoes out and add them later, when you add the dressing.

That’s also when I add the kalamata olives and feta cheese – after the dressing is on. And try to buy a piece of feta cheese and not the one that’s already crumbled. Fresh feta cheese is better tasting with more moisture and it’s so easy to crumble. You just break off a piece of feta and crumble it easily with your fingers.

Greek salad dressing is easy to make and it’s fast too. I just put everything into a jar, shake it up, and it’s done. But try to make the dressing in advance so the flavors can blend. My Greek salad dressing recipe makes about 3/4 cup of dressing – enough for many salads so use just enough to coat your vegetebles and save the rest. It will keep indefinitely so keep it refrigerated and you can have Greek salad any time with a well-seasoned dressing.

Greek or not, try to have a salad at every meal. I do. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

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