What I Cooked Today

Mar 26, 2016

Easy Whole Wheat Rolls

Easy Recipe Whole Wheat RollsCan you use my Simple Whole Wheat Bread recipe to make rolls? YES! I finally tried it today and that quick & easy bread recipe that everybody loves makes fabulous rolls. I used the exact same recipe but after the 10-minute rest, instead of shaping the dough into a loaf, I cut it into 18 pieces, shaped them into balls, and placed them in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan and covered the pan with plastic wrap, like this…
IMG_8309 copyThen I put it in a warm spot to double in size. After 45 minutes, it looked like this…

IMG_8312 copyThen I baked my rolls in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F. for about 16 minutes (I would suggest 15 to 17 minutes). And they were delicious. I sampled one (I was beautifully soft) and then I brushed some melted butter on some of them, and they looked like this…

IMG_8344 copyThey are delicious either way and super easy to make. The whole thing took less than two hours. Click here for the recipe, and Happy Easter! – Jenny Jones

Mar 24, 2016

Loving my Fruit & Nut Bread

No Knead Fruit & Nut BreadI absolutely love my no knead fruit & nut bread. I made it again today and added just a touch more sugar (4 Tbsp total) and that little extra sweetness is perfect for me. With sugar in this recipe, the bread can burn due to the high oven temperature. That’s why I say to reduce to temperature to 400° F when it bakes. But I found another solution to keep the bread from burning.

I raised up my oven rack one slot and it keeps the bottom of the Dutch oven a little farther away from the heat. I used my 3-quart Dutch oven and it easily fit on the raised up oven rack. I still reduced the temperature to 400 per the recipe and I was thrilled with the result – no blackened crust and a perfect loaf of sweet breakfast bread. If your try this whole wheat fruit & nut bread with lots of sweet raisins and walnuts, and if your Dutch oven still fits, try it with the oven rack raised up a notch. This could be a good Easter recipe.

Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Feb 28, 2016

I Made Biscotti

Homemade Chocolate Almond BiscottiI made my double chocolate almond biscotti today. I like crispy, crunchy things (except for meatloaf 🙂 ) and biscotti are the best. Mine have tons of toasted almonds and I used two kinds of chocolate – semi sweet and dark (70%). They take a little time to make but then you have dessert for days because they keep so well. Since they’re baked dry, you can keep them for 2 weeks!

I keep mine in an air-tight container, refrigerated, but they never last two weeks. I keep having them for dessert, dunked into a glass of milk. The almonds really need to be toasted for the best flavor. I toasted mine while putting the batter together, at 350° F for 7 to 10 minutes, and I spread them out to cool because they should be cooled before adding.

By the way, if you want to make an impression, biscotti make fantastic gifts because they stay fresh for so long. Homemade biscotti is a rare treat so I hope you’ll try it. My recipe uses some whole wheat pastry flour for added fiber and of course, no butter.  Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

UPDATE Feb. 29th – I just made a slight change in the recipe. That is to turn the oven off for the final 20 minutes of drying the biscotti. The oven stays hot enough and it reduces the risk of burned edges.

Feb 19, 2016

Chinese for Dinner

Homemade Orange Chicken RecipeLike most people, I’m often short on time to cook dinner and a stir fry is usually my solution. Last night I made my quick & easy orange sesame chicken. You should see the reaction I get when I serve it to company. “How did you make this?” “Is this takeout?” “It must take forever to make a sauce like this!”

Actually, it takes 20 minutes… not just to make the sauce but to make the whole meal. That’s why I love to cook Chinese for dinner. Making it at home is always fast and it’s never deep fried, at least not the way I make it. The chicken is briefly marinated and then lightly sauteed and the sauce is so simple you won’t believe it. I make it with…

–  fresh orange juice  –  rice vinegar  –  soy sauce  –  garlic  –  sugar & salt.  It’s thickened with cornstarch and once it cooks you drizzle on some toasted sesame oil at the end. Wow! Make sure you use toasted sesame oil and not plain because the flavor when it’s toasted is intense. Then a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and you have something so much better than takeout and so delicious, it might be your newest 20-minute meal.

By the way, some steamed broccoli on the side goes perfectly with this. I love it! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Oct 30, 2015

Homemade Pierogi

Homemade Piroshki RecipeAlmost every time I make Polish pierogi, one or two don’t make it. They come apart when I boil them because I unknowingly left an opening or a little hole when I sealed them up. But not today. Every single one was perfect! I made 27 piroshki and they all survived.

We had them as a side dish for dinner with chicken and some brocolini although when I was growing up, pierogi was the entire meal… along with fried onions, bacon bits, and lots of sour cream. So I had a little sour cream and onions but I skipped the bacon bits.

Whoever invented the concept of mashed potatoes wrapped in dough, I thank you. Next I’ll be working on a sauerkraut-mushroom filling. Yummm! But potato & cheese pierogi will always be my favorite. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Sep 15, 2015

I made apple pie without butter

Homemade Apple Pie

Any time I make apple pie there’s an air of excitement around here. Has it cooled yet? How long before we can taste it? Don’t tell the neighbors – they’ll come over for sure and I want it all for myself. Homemade apple pie never loses its appeal and let me tell you this was delicious.

I used three pounds of granny smith apples and my popular oil crust and it made dinner more than just a meal… it was an event. That may be because I made my orange-sesame chicken, one of my favorite quick dinners. The picture may not show it but this easy chicken stir fry is really really good. And it’s fast. When dessert takes a little longer, like apple pie, I usually opt for a quick and easy dinner.

So anyhoooo… I’m just sharing what I cooked today. Click here for my homemade apple pie recipe. – Jenny Jones

Sep 4, 2015

Caramelized Apple Oven Pancake

Weekend breakfasts are the best because there’s more time to make things like my caramelized apple oven pancake. It only takes 30 minutes and boy, is it good! You need a 9-inch cast iron skillet and lots of apples. I use two huge apples, weighing 1/2 pound each and I’ve used both Granny Smith and gala, cut into 1-inch chunks.  There’s more apple than pancake in this delicious breakfast but that’s a good thing.

First you melt a little butter and brown sugar in the skillet and cook the apples on the stove top over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until they get caramelized. After 5 minutes, they should look like this.

Skillet Apple PancakeNow you just pour the batter right on top of the apples. The batter is really light and super easy, made with milk, eggs, and flour basically and you just whisk it by hand – no mixer. As soon as the batter is added, using an oven glove, you put the hot pan in the oven (preheated to 400 degrees F) and fifteen minutes later, it’s done. Then you carefully, with oven gloves, invert in onto a big serving plate and it will look like this…

Caramelized Apple Skillet PancakeThe edges of the pancake are caramelized just like the apples, which are soft and sticky sweet. You don’t need any topping like syrup but you can sprinkle it with a dusting of powdered sugar if you like. If this is all you’re eating, it will serve two but if you have some eggs and toast and this on the side, it will serve four. And if you’re starving and you make this easy apple pancake, someone I know actually ate the whole thing in one sitting. It wasn’t me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Aug 4, 2015

I made pickles

Homemade Pickles Recipe

I forgot how easy it is to make homemade pickles. It was a lot easier than putting together that jig saw puzzle they’re sitting on. The pickles took 5 minutes. The puzzle? Three months!

These are bread & butter pickles, which are also called refrigerator pickles, and now is a good time to make them. Cucumbers are at their best during summer and it’s the Kirby cucumber (not the Persian one) that is best for pickles. I sliced the cuces super thin this time and they are so soft they bend but they’re still crispy,  probably because I left the skin on. If you peel the cucumbers, the pickles are a lot softer.

I also put more sugar in this time and I found I like the pickles a little sweeter. So I added a note to the recipe that you can use more sugar if you like sweeter pickles. Don’t be freaked out by the amount of sugar: it’s 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup because remember, the sugar mostly stays in the water.

So make some pickles. If you start now, they’ll be ready to eat in 3 hours. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jul 21, 2015

Lemon Blueberry Cake – a good mistake

Lemon Bueberry Bundt Cake RecipeBlueberries are on sale! That means I need to make my lemon blueberry bundt cake today and I need it in time for dinner. I always made this amazing cake with only 1/3 cup of butter but today I mistakenly used only 3 tablespoons of butter and guess what? It was moist and delicious! This was a good mistake.

OMG – this is so delicious! And now it has even less butter. I use the zest of three lemons and a whole bunch of blueberries (one and a half cups). If you wash the berries, make sure they’re dry before adding them to the batter. Otherwise, they can sink.

It’s the fresh lemon zest that gives all the flavor so don’t skimp on the lemons. When you take the zest off take just the yellow part and avoid the white part, which is bitter.

Start with all your ingredients at room temperature and take your time. It takes 7-8 minutes with an electric mixer to get the batter just right. But what a reward! I like to top my finished cake with a simple glaze made with lemon juice and powdered sugar but you can also dust it with a little powdered sugar. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jul 19, 2015

Breakfast Cookies Again? Yes!

Healthy Breakfast CookiesIt must be Sunday morning because I’m making breakfast cookies again. Here they are before baking. There are three things that are a constant in my kitchen (besides me)… three things that when I almost run out, I make more. They are: breakfast cookies, granola bars, and tortillas. This morning I ate my last breakfast cookie, there’s one tortilla left and I made granola bars yesterday. So it’s breakfast cookie and tortilla-day today.

Are you wondering why these three? Because you can’t buy anything even close to homemade tortillas. My granola bars are out of this world. And my breakfast cookies may not be pretty, but they are fantastic, especially if you want more fiber in your diet. Those are chopped prunes you see there… or wait… those could be pieces of dark chocolate!

My recipe uses bran cereal, whole wheat pastry flour, and oats (did I mention there are 4 grams of fiber in one cookie?). Then I add some moist chopped prunes (they do not taste like prune cookies!) and either chocolate chips or this time I chopped up some of a dark chocolate bar. And here they are all done…

High Fiber Breakfast CookiesThese are cookies of substance, great taste and texture, and many health benefits. Dark chocolate benefits the heart and all that fiber benefits your digestive system and keeps you regular. As for prunes, besides fiber, they are very high in antioxidants. Prunes benefit your eyes, heart, immune system and can help prevent bone loss.

Just like people, don’t judge this cookie by its appearance. It’s what’s inside that matters. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones