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Oct 17, 2014

Quick & Easy Spaghetti & Meatballs

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Looking for a family dinner that pleases everybody? Make my quick & easy spaghetti & meatballs! It only takes 35 minutes to make this delicious family favorite, all from scratch, and I promise you will never have leftovers. The lean meatballs are made with ground sirloin and they are super soft because they cook right in the sauce. The sauce is my quick & easy spaghetti sauce and I just add the meatballs (& spaghetti) to make this a complete meal… but don’t forget the salad.

This is really a quick & easy recipe because the sauce takes 5 minutes of prep and the meatballs take 10 minutes to put together. Then it all cooks in one pot and you have the most delicious spaghetti dinner. Marinara sauce does not need to cook for hours on the stove. My recipe uses canned plum tomatoes, the best kind for sauce, and I prefer a smooth sauce so I puree the whole tomatoes first. If you like it more chunky, you can cut the tomatoes up with scissors or a knife for a chunkier sauce.

These meatballs and so soft they really just melt in your mouth. That’s because I use fresh bread crumbs and not dried ones. To make fresh crumbs, which are just soft bread in tiny pieces, I process two slices of bread in a food processor. Then I just wipe out the bowl and use the same one to puree the tomatoes. If you don’t have a food processor, you can cut the bread into small pieces and puree the tomatoes in a blender.

Whether you’re having company or a family dinner, you can’t go wrong with homemade spaghetti & meatballs. Try my easy recipe and you’ll see why they call it comfort food. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Filed Under: Main Dishes
3 Comments
Oct 9, 2014

Homemade Apple Pie

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My homemade apple pie is so good, when anyone finds out I made one they invite themselves over. No shame. No made up stories. They just say, “I heard you made pie. I’m coming over.” Homemade apple pie is the most famous American dessert and what a treat it is when it’s made from scratch, especially a deep dish apple pie like mine. No matter how much money you have, there is no place you can buy apple pie like homemade. And this is a healthier apple pie because there is no butter anywhere. The crust is made with olive oil!

I used to be intimidated about making pie and it was always about the crust. Not only was is tricky to do with the ice water method, but who wants to eat all that shortening or butter? Once I discovered that an oil crust is not only flaky and delicious, but super easy to make, that’s all I use now (try my chicken pot pie).

With an oil crust most recipes say to pat the crust into the pan but I say put it between wax paper and roll it out. This way it’s an even thickness and you just have to trim the edges. Another thing I like about oil crusts is you can patch it wherever there is a hole or crack. Just put some extra dough there and press. Actually, you HAVE  to roll the dough to make apple pie because you need a flat top crust. It has to be one flat piece that’s rolled out and you just lay it on top, crimp, brush with milk, sprinkle on some sugar, cut some vents, and bake.

Screen shot 2014-10-08 at 8.56.37 PMThis pie bakes for almost an hour so you need to protect the edges of the crust from burning. That requires a pie ring or shield like the one pictured below.

They sell for about $5 and are much easier to use than making your own out of foil. But if you need to make your own, the easiest way is to cut a circle of foil that’s large enough to cover the whole pie and then cut a big crcle in the center, leaving the entire center of the pie exposed and just the edges of the pie crust covered. Tuck the rest of the foil under the rim, just like the photo below.

Fresh out of the oven, the center crust looks perfect...but how is the edge?

For anyone not familiar with tapioca, it is a starchy substance used in puddings and as a thickener but if you can’t find it you can use all-purpose flour instead.

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I hope you like this recipe. How about this? Next time you’re invited to a family member’s house for dinner, offer to bring dessert. Show up with a homemade deep dish apple pie and watch what happens. There won’t be enough. Your cousins will be arm-wrestling for the last piece. They’ll want you to run for mayor! That’s the power of homemade apple pie. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Oct 1, 2014

No Knead Crusty Rolls: How-To Video

Calling all bread people!! You can make the most amazing crusty rolls at home and it’s easier than you ever imagined. There is no kneading. There is almost no work. The hardest thing is to stop eating these delicious rolls, especially when they’re fresh and hot out of the oven.

Everyone loves no knead bread that bakes in a Dutch oven like magic and comes out with a beautiful golden crust. But if you don’t have a Dutch oven (and they are expensive) you can make no knead crusty rolls instead and all you need is a baking pan.

No knead bread usually requires that you start the dough the night before, using cold water, and let it rest overnight. With my hot water method, you can make the rolls the same day so it’s faster and any time I can make bread faster, I’m a happy baker. These are the best rolls I’ve ever had.

Anyone can make homemade bread or rolls using the no-knead method. If you’re anxious about baking with yeast, you don’t need to be with this easy recipe. Even amateur bakers can make these amazing crusty rolls. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Filed Under: Videos 2 Comments
Sep 29, 2014

Witches’ Brew

Witch Trying To Follow A Recipe.

Filed Under: Kitchen Humor
1 Comment
Sep 25, 2014

Jenny’s One Pan Chicken & Vegetables

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This may be my absolute most favorite meal ever. That’s because it’s easy, healthy, beyond delicious, and there’s almost no cleanup. Eating this many vegetables in one meal along with lean and healthy bits of chicken breast… well, it doesn’t get much healthier than this easy one-pan dinner. Roasting vegetables makes them sweeter and roasting is such an easy way to cook them, not to mention you get a variety of different veggies in one meal. I used to steam them but to me, steamed vegetables are kind of boring but roasting? Well, they look better, smell better, and taste fantastic. Plus roasting vegetables is easier because it’s such a flexible method. A little more or less time is okay. They will still be great.

I came up with this recipe because I’ve been roasting vegetables for years and I always thought there had to be a way to add some chicken for protein to make this a complete meal, but cook it all in the same pan. I tried different ways to add the chicken. I thought marinating it would be a good idea but the marinated chicken added too much moisture to the nicely roasted vegetables. Then I tried sprinkling lemon juice on the chicken and I couldn’t taste the lemon so… why work that hard? The best chicken was the simplest. I just cut it into pieces and rubbed the pieces with a little olive oil, salt & pepper and a pinch of Italian herbs. I also like it without the herbs,  just some oil, salt & pepper.  Try it either way or spice up the chicken with your own way but just don’t add any extra moisture.

I can’t say enough about how much I love this delicious and easy healthy meal. I could eat it every day. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Filed Under: Main Dishes
1 Comment
Sep 16, 2014

Thanks for your patience

Hi friends. Please note that I am away on vacation in Canada this week and next week. I usually try to answer your questions right away but I am not able to while I’m away. It’s great to get away, to see and do new things, but I am also forced to eat all my meals in restaurants! I miss my own cooking!!! I’ll be back soon. Thanks for your patience.

Filed Under: General
3 Comments
Sep 12, 2014

Whole Wheat Waffles

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A healthy, high fiber breakfast is important  but it can also be fun. And waffles are fun. Let’s talk about how healthy they are first. My waffles are made with 100% whole wheat pastry flour and extra light olive oil so… fiber and heart healthy fat. Then I bake each one with a big pile of sliced almonds for extra protein and extra crunch. The almonds get baked into the waffle and then you get a fantastic toasted almond flavor with each bite. Oh, and they are easy to make from scratch. Putting the batter together takes less than five minutes!

Now let’s talk about the fun part… what to put on your waffles. Well, there’s a little butter and of course real maple syrup, or honey, maybe some sliced bananas, strawberries, blueberries, peanut butter, yogurt, or take a minute to cook up some caramelized apples. Here’s how I see it. Let’s say you have three waffles. Put some healthy fresh fruit on the first one, some maple syrup on the second one, and the third one can be dessert. What’s wrong with a few chocolate chips or a little drizzle of chocolate syrup if it means you’re having whole grain waffles? A friend of mine wouldn’t tell you but she puts vanilla frozen yogurt on her third waffle… but you never heard it from me. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Filed Under: Breakfast
6 Comments
Sep 11, 2014

How to Bake Soft Cookies

Parvin asks… Hello Jenny, how can i bake soft cookies? Thank you

My Response… There are a few things than help to make soft cookies:
1. Bake them for the least amount of time, even if they seem soft in the middle.
2. Don’t use dark baking pans, only shiny metal ones.
3. Try reducing the flour just a little.
4. Try adding an extra egg yolk.
5. Use more brown sugar and less white sugar.
6. Use butter and not oil.
7. Replace part of the butter with shortening.
8. Remove cookies immediately from pan when done.
9. Cool the cookies on a flat surface and not a wire rack.
10. Store them in an air-tight container. If needed, put in a piece of white bread.

Sep 10, 2014

20-Minute Pizza Dough: How-To Video

This is the only way I make traditional pizza dough any more. Who wants to wait for pizza dough to rise? Not me! It’s enough that I have to wait for the oven to heat up but that’s why this is the perfect pizza dough. You put it together and let it rest for 10 minutes… or longer. That’s the best part. After the 10-minute rest, if your oven and toppings are ready, you can shape your pizza right away. But if you need time, it can rest as long as you need to preheat the oven and get your toppings ready.

So here’s how I make my homemade pizzas. First, I preheat the oven because that takes time. If I’m baking on a pizza stone, it takes about 45 minutes for my oven to get hot enough. If I’m baking on a pan with holes, even that takes about 35 minutes. While the oven heats up I make my dough and while it rests, I prepare my toppings… and what fun that is!

Depending what combo I’m making that day, I might be slicing peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives, or fresh basil. If it’s pepperoni then I degrease my reduced fat turkey pepperoni (see how in my pepperoni pizza video). And finally, I always shred my own part skim mozzarella cheese and you should too. The pre-shredded cheese sold in packages will never melt like freshly shredded cheese because they add some stuff to it. I also find that the enemy of a crispy pizza is moisture so I always try to remove some moisture before adding toppings, especially the ones with the most moisture – mushrooms.

To reduce some of the moisture for a crispier pizza crust, place sliced mushrooms between double layers of paper towels between 2 plates. Microwave for a minute and then blot them dry. I also blot every vegetable before putting them on my pizza because I refuse to use a fork to eat my pizza. I want to pick up a slice with my hand and eat. No drooping, no grease… and no leftovers!  Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

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Sep 9, 2014

Whole Wheat (No Knead) Olive Bread

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Look what I made! I decided to experiment with my faster no-knead bread and make olive bread. I’ve been making the plain bread regularly with 100% whole wheat flour and for a softer loaf, I also make it with 2 cups of whole wheat and one cup of bread flour. I’ve had olive bread before and loved it. I had a jar of olives handy so I made this loaf yesterday with my 2/3 + 1/3 flour mixture and WOW! It’s moist and soft enough for sandwiches and so delicious. I even had it for breakfast. (the crispy crust is the best part!) Olive bread is a way to include heart-healthy olives in your diet. If you haven’t tried the no knead method for bread, it’s amazingly easy.

I first posted my faster recipe for plain bread (click here) and then another recipe for my whole wheat version (click here). Now I have this fabulous olive bread and I am posting the recipe here because it’s so simple. To make my no knead whole wheat olive bread, you would follow the method used in my whole wheat version but with the ingredients below:

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup bread or all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt (reduced from original version due to salt in the olives)

3/4 cup chopped, patted dry kalamata olives

1 1/2 cups of cool water

UPDATE: March 3, 2016: I just posted the entire recipe in the Breads category so now you can just click here for the recipe.  – Jenny Jones

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