This is my go-to yellow cake, one you can make from scratch in 40 minutes. Try it with my 2-minute chocolate frosting that has only 2 tablespoons of butter. What I like the most is all the things you can do with this quick and easy recipe.
For a fast dessert, I make this cake and frost it right in the pan. It’s a healthier dessert I feel good about and it really satisfies my sweet tooth. I have made it using 1% and 2% low fat milk as well as whole milk. All versions turned out great.
I have also doubled the recipe and made two cakes using two cake pans and used it for my fresh strawberry cake so now you can make my wildly popular strawberry cake with no butter at all!
The one I really love is my Boston cream cake that I make with just one 9-inch cake, which I slice across in half, fill it with homemade custard and top with a chocolate glaze. (why do they call it Boston cream pie? – it’s not pie!)
One thing of note: this is a much better cake when you use a cake strip. See in the picture how the cake is perfectly flat? I highly recommend using a cake strip, also called a baking strip, whether you buy one or make your own. It keeps the edges of the cake from over-baking. Click here to learn about cake strips.
If you want a healthier cake that’s low in sugar and saturated fat, try my recipe. You can use my frosting or do your own thing with this simple, easy recipe. Click herefor the recipe. – Jenny Jones
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
I have stopped buying bread. When it’s this easy to make your own homemade bread with no work and no kneading, and you can eat it fresh and hot from the oven, this is the only way to go. No knead breads are so flexible and forgiving, you can create your own like I did. I’ve made several different versions so far but this is my favorite one.
This loaf is super crusty when it’s first baked and by the second day, it’s not crusty (no breads are the second day) but it’s still a fabulous moist loaf that’s easy to slice and eat. I make it with three equal parts of whole wheat flour (not whole wheat pastry flour), rolled oats, and bread flour or all purpose flour. I would love to make it 100% whole grain but it’s just too dense for me.
This loaf joins my growing list of no knead breads that I’ve made so far:
That’s five more ways to make this easy bread. My first recipe for faster no knead bread works well with the faster, same-day method because it uses bread flour or all-purpose flour. But when you start adding whole grains like this new multigrain bread, it really needs the overnight method. It takes more time but still no work at all.
Here’s how I do it. In the evening around 9-10:00 p.m. I mix the ingredients together (takes 2-3 minutes) and let them sit overnight. The next morning around 8-9:00 a.m. I proceed with the final steps and by noon, I have a fresh, hot, crusty loaf of delicious homemade bread. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Blueberries 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
It 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…
These 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
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
Today is my sweetheart’s birthday and he, again, asked for his favorite cake. It’s my fresh strawberry cake and oh my… it is so good! It weighs almost six pounds! That’s because it uses two pounds of fresh berries, two layers of white cake, and a whole pint of whipping cream.
The strawberries are sliced and mixed with sugar to bring out lots of their juices and then you build the cake. It’s a layer of cake, covered with half of the macerated strawberries as the juice quickly soaks into the soft cake below, and you cover the berries with freshly whipped cream. Don’t even think about using Coolwhip!
Then you add the second layer of cake, top it with the remaining strawberries and juice, which soaks into the top layer of cake. Now you cover the whole thing with whipped cream. OMG!!
This is clearly a special occasion cake and one of the few things I bake using butter but it’s unbelievably delicious – it just melts in your mouth. Click here for the recipe. Oh, Happy Birthday, Denis! ♥ ♥
Pssst! Don’t tell anyone these are whole wheat! Just tell them you made delicious apple pancakes for breakfast. Even I was surprised how soft and fluffy these yummy pancakes are. And there’s a ton of apples in there. I use a huge Granny Smith apple that usually weighs over a half pound, which I peel, core, and dice into 1/2- inch pieces. The batter is thick and lumpy and that’s a good thing.
This is my basic buttermilk pancake recipe that I use for blueberry pancakes too. And buttermilk makes the best pancakes! The key to great pancakes is not to over-mix. Never use an electric mixer. Just combine the dry and liquid ingredients together gently by hand until just barely combined. Some bits of visible flour is fine. Then fold in the apples… gently… and you will have a thick and lumpy batter. That’s perfect.
If buttermilk is not available where you live, look at my “Substitutions” blog category. You can make your own but the real thing is better. For cooking my apple pancakes, I use a non-stick electric griddle but you can make pancakes in your largest flat pan. If it’s non-stick you don’t need to grease the pan at all but if you like, you can rub the pan first with a stick of butter.
Everyone’s stoves and griddles are different so the cooking temperature should be somewhere between 360 and 375 degrees F or just below medium-high on the stove. The pancakes should cook in about two minutes per side. For soft and fluffy pancakes, make sure to use whole wheat pastry flour and not whole wheat flour. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Boy, these are good! They’re easy to make and perfect for a 4th of July party. I’m sharing this idea for the upcoming holiday weekend because I made these Italian sub pinwheels sandwiches for a party once they were a huge hit. But this was a hard recipe to write up because I know everyone will be using different products, depending where they live and what their stores carry. But I did my best.
About the bread: Lavash is perfect for pinwheels because it’s rectangular and easy to roll to get even sandwiches. I used both whole grain lavash and white lavash in this photo but whole grain is my first choice to make these little gems as healthy as possible. I’ve seen lavash in two sizes, 8 by 10 and 9 by 12. If your store doesn’t sell it you can usually find it in a mediterranean or Armenian grocery store. But you can always use large flour tortillas as well.
About the filling:My Italian sub pinwheel is made with some traditional sub fillings like ham, salami, and cheese. But you can make this healthier by choosing nitrate-free ham and salami (I use Applegate brand ham) and I use ultra-thin sliced cheese. Mozzarella is my choice but provolone is also good here. Even the meats should be sliced as thinly as possible for easier rolling. My Italian seasoning blend (Spice Hunter brand) is a combination of basil, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, sage, and oregano. If you don’t have a blend, you can use oregano.
Peperoncini is key to making these taste just like an Italian sub. You can buy them in a jar already sliced.
Oh, and use lots of lettuce. It looks pretty and it’s a healthy green.
About serving: These sandwiches must be made ahead of time, preferably overnight, but at least three hours in advance to give them a chance to hold together and for the bread to moisten. It’s important to roll them up slowly, as tightly as you can, and wrap each roll (you ARE making more than one, right?) in foil and refrigerate. When it’s time to serve, use a sharp serrated knife to cut a little off the ends and then slice the roll into 3/4-inch sandwiches. Place them on your serving plate and keep them covered with plastic as long as you can because they will dry out if left uncovered. But they don’t usually stay around that long. I always serve them with some vegetables – either carrots sticks, cucumbers, or just a plate of crudite.
Other variations: Oh wow, I have made so many different variations. Here are some ideas:
~Turkey and swiss with mayo, mustard, and baby spinach. ~Roast beef with spicy horseradish mustard and lettuce. ~Ham & cheese with cream cheese spread and lettuce. ~Roasted and cooled veggies (peppers, zucchini, onions) with a hummus spread & baby kale. ~Chicken-pesto: Pesto spread (my spinach pesto recipe) with sliced chicken, mozzarella & baby spinach. ~Spicy: Cream cheese mixed with canned “hot” diced green chiles, sliced chicken breast, & lettuce. ~Leftover roast turkey with leftover fresh cranberries (my recipe) as a spread. (I’m making this after Thanksgiving!)
~There are endless variations: add finely sliced onion, olives, pickles, roasted red peppers, shredded carrots, etc., etc., etc.
Click here for the recipe and have a great 4th of July weekend! – Jenny Jones
This recipe is so simple I hesitated to post it. It’s not fancy, or exciting, but I find myself making it so often, on those days when it’s suddenly time for dinner and I haven’t shopped for groceries and I’m hungry… I thought someone else has probably been there too. This simple rice and beans uses canned beans and chiles and long grain rice, all pantry items you can easily keep on hand. And most cooks have onions and garlic in the house – that’s all you need to make a healthy vegetarian meal.
Last night was just such a night. I was starving and wanted something easy and luckily I had canned beans and chiles… I was home free! I love this easy recipe. I didn’t even have chicken stock so I used plain water and it was still good. While it was cooking I had plenty of time to make and eat a big salad. By the way, I tried this rice & beans once with the “hot” chiles – OMG!! Too spicy for me!!
My favorite rice for this is Uncle Ben’s and I like Ortega brand fire roasted chiles. I usually find S&W black beans and I never used to rinse them. The rice got dark brown but I didn’t mind since it didn’t affect the taste but since I was taking a picture, I rinsed them and the dish looks much better.
This dish is not spicy at all. Don’t be scared off by the “fire-roasted” chiles. I use the mild ones and there is no heat at all.
I know this is not a fancy dinner but it’s quick and easy, filled with protein & fiber and it’s economical too. By the way, black beans have the highest antioxidant level of all beans and they also provide the same heart-health benefits as red wine. With black beans you’ll also be getting fiber, calcium, folate, iron, potassium, and protection against cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.