Main Dishes

Sep 29, 2016

Snapshots from Dinner

roasted_vegetables_beforeRoasting vegetables is just about the easiest way to cook them. I love this dish so much, probably because roasting brings out the sugar in vegetables so they are sweeter, and in many cases, have more nutrients than they do raw.  Today I used red potatoes, sweet potatoes, red & yellow peppers, green beans, Brussels sprouts, red onions, and carrots. I added some olive oil, salt & pepper and roasted them at 400 along with my pork tenderloin. Here they are after roasting…

roasted_vegetables_afterThis may look like a lot but between the two of us there was not one piece of vegetable left on this tray. We usually save some of the sweet potato slices for dessert because they are so sweet after roasting. With all these beautiful colors, the antioxidants here are enormous. I have two recipes you might like. One is just the roasted vegetables as a side dish. The other is what I made tonight, my fabulous pork loin dinner. (there’s no pork left either!)

pork_loin_dinnerPork is one of the leanest meats you can find, and so delicious! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Sep 1, 2016

My Top Ten Favorite Recipes

orange_sesame_chickenI made one of my top ten favorite recipes today: Orange Sesame Chicken. It’s fast, healthy, and so much better than restaurant orange chicken, which is usually batter fried. My lean chicken is stir fried in 2 teaspoons of oil and made with freshly squeezed orange juice and toasted sesame oil. If you haven’t tasted (and smelled!) toasted sesame oil, it’s unbelievably fragrant. And bonus: this recipe takes 20 minutes. But that’s not even why I like it so much. It is deeeelicous!

If you’re wondering, here is the entire top ten list of my own personal favorite recipes, the ones I make the most:

  1. Granola Bars
  2. Tortillas
  3. Chicken Pot Pie
  4. Multigrain No Knead Bread
  5. Giant Breakfast Cookies
  6. Orange Sesame Chicken
  7. Spaghetti & Meatballs
  8. Cabbage Rolls
  9. Pork Loin Dinner
  10. Deviled Eggs

Happy Labor Day weekend to everyone and if you want to try my orange sesame chicken, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jul 8, 2016

How to Make Soft Chicken Meatballs

how_to_make_soft_chicken_meatballsNot all chicken meatballs are soft but these are. The secret is to cook them right in the sauce. Ground chicken breast is very lean and healthy but since it contains so little fat, it’s easy for chicken meatballs to become dry. But when they’re cooked in the sauce, they are beautifully soft and even more flavorful from absorbing the sauce.

Using fresh bread crumbs also helps with their beautifully soft texture. Fresh crumbs are made by using fresh bread, in this case whole wheat bread, and running it through a food processor. Since I always bake my own simple whole wheat bread, that’s what I use for the crumbs so it’s important to use a soft whole wheat bread for these fresh crumbs. Click here for my recipe and video on making bread crumbs.

You can put this meal, with sauce, together in about 1/2 an hour if you use my Quick & Easy Spaghetti Sauce. In fact, you can follow my Quick & Easy Spaghetti & Meatballs recipe and just swap the beef meatballs with my chicken recipe. Both of these sauce recipes are exactly the same. If you don’t want to use sauce and would prefer to pan-fry or oven-bake these chicken meatballs, you can do that. They won’t be quite as soft, and not as pretty, but they still taste really good.

I experimented with both pan-frying and oven-baking and here’s how you would do that. To pan-fry, heat a little olive oil in a large pan and cook the meatballs for about 10 minutes, gently turning to brown all sides. They won’t be meatballs any more… more more like meat triangles. To oven-bake, place the meatballs on a greased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400° F oven for about 20 minutes. The meatballs are done when the inside reaches 165° F. As I said, they won’t be as pretty as the sauce version and here is the proof:

IMG_0588 copyPan-fried                                              Oven-baked

I told you they weren’t pretty!! Of the two options, the pan-fried meatballs tasted better, probably because they were browned. So now you have options, but I highly recommend cooking these chicken breast meatballs in sauce for the best result. – Jenny Jones

Click here for the recipe.

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Apr 21, 2016

Easy Lemon Herb Chicken

Lemon Herb Chicken Breast1200_8653You only need four ingredients to make this easy chicken recipe. Well, four plus the chicken. For anyone just learning to cook or simply short on time, this oven-baked chicken is quick, easy and healthy. I make a basting sauce of fresh lemon juice and garlic with olive oil and herbs. The chicken bakes in the oven, you baste it a couple of times, and it’s ready in 30 minutes. And get this: I line my baking pan with foil so there’s no cleanup!

For my herbs, I use a prepared formula of Italian dried herbs that includes basil, rosemary, thyme & oregano but you can use your own favorite mix. Or just use one herb that you like. Once the chicken is cooked, you let it rest for 10 minutes, then slice it and pour all the juices left in the pan over the chicken, making sure you get all the bits of garlic too. The combination of garlic, herbs, and lemon goes perfectly with chicken.

I’m having it tonight with roasted vegetables. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jan 8, 2016

Creamy Chicken Asparagus Bow Ties

Creamy_Chix_Asp_Bowt1200_9936_Edit_2

Here’s a new addition to my 30 Minutes or Less dinner category. It’s lean white meat chicken, bow tie pasta and asparagus in a creamy, low fat Alfredo sauce. It’s super easy, quick, and yummy. The whole meal takes just 25 minutes to make and it also works with broccoli.

Creamy Chx-Broc1200_9976The only difference if you use broccoli is you add a little pasta water to the broccoli when you saute it. This recipe was in my cookbook but that version used butter. My new way does not use butter and it’s much easier to make. In fact, almost any recipe I made ten years ago is not the same today. I’m always finding ways to make things simpler, easier, and faster.

The creamy sauce is my version of alfredo sauce. Did you know they call fettucini alfredo a “heart attack on a plate?” That’s because alfredo sauce is traditionally made with all cream and butter. I will never do that. Mine uses no cream or butter. I use 1% milk and I get a creamy, satisfying comfort meal that I can feel good about eating. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

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Jan 8, 2016

Five Minute Alfredo Sauce

5-Minute Alfredo Sauce1200_0041Do you miss Fettuccine Alfredo? Avoiding it because you don’t want to die? My Alfredo sauce has no heavy cream and no butter, in fact it’s made with 1% milk and it’s deeelish. And you can be eating it in five minutes. That’s how long it takes to make the easiest Fettuccine Alfredo ever, and the healthiest too.

This is the same sauce I use in my Creamy Chicken Asparagus Bow Ties recipe but if you just want pasta alone with a creamy, easy sauce, this is it. Alfredo sauce is traditionally served with fettuccine but today, I’m making Bow Ties Alfredo. Put it on bow ties, elbows, or any pasta shape you like. You won’t feel weighed down after this light sauce… or tired from all that 5 minutes of work! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Sep 18, 2015

Skinless Thighs & Fries

Skinless Chx Thighs&Fries2_1200_8009

I’m posting my new simpler way to make one of my favorite one pan meals. This no-fuss dinner cooks in one pan and it takes almost no work. Plus the whole house smells divine with all the spices as they cook. Both the chicken and the potatoes are coated with a mixture of aromatic spices & olive oil and as they’re cooking along in the oven, you have plenty of time to make a salad or cook a side vegetable.

What I like most about this recipe is that the two foods can be separated at the end if either the chicken or potatoes need a few more minutes. Chicken thighs come in all sizes – sometimes I get four in a pack and sometimes six. So smaller pieces will cook faster.  And depending how big you cut your potato wedges, they may need more or less time. So at the end, you can separate the chicken from the potatoes and cook just one of them a little longer if needed. I only had to do that once.

The broiler-type pan is important because chicken thighs have a lot of fat and all the fat cooks off and stays in the broiler pan, not touching the chicken, and not spreading onto the flat part of the pan where the potatoes cook and that keeps the potatoes crispy.

I had posted this recipe before when I used to cook asparagus on the same pan but it was too much trouble so now I just cook my green vegetable separately. This chicken dinner goes really well with asparagus and I’ve had it with broccoli and brussels sprouts, too. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

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Aug 31, 2015

Simple Meat Sauce in 30 Minutes

Simple Meat Sauce1200_6612

I’m spoiling myself by creating so many quick and easy recipes that I’m no longer willing to take all day to make a good meat sauce. So I changed my recipe from 2 1/4 hours to 45 minutes and now I’ve decided even that was too long. So I just posted a new, simpler, faster recipe for a delicious meat sauce and here’s the best part: Thirty minutes! And it’s delicious!

I didn’t give up any flavor with my new meat sauce recipe. Mainly, I eliminated the carrots, the celery, and the extra liquid which needed all that cooking time.  I love the new simple meat sauce. It leaves me time to make my homemade gnocchi to have with it. This recipe is perfect for beginners with simple ingredients and hardly any work. Click here for the new recipe.- Jenny Jones

If you still want the older 45-minute version, click here.

Jun 25, 2015

Fast Rice & Beans

Fast Rice & Beans1200_4224This 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.

ortegagreenchiles-1

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.

Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jun 17, 2015

Manicotti that melts in your mouth

Manicotti1200_3865You won’t need teeth to eat this soft and tender manicotti made with crepes. And these are whole wheat crepes! I’ve tried stuffing manicotti pasta – you know, the ones that break when you boil them, and slip and slide when you try to stuff them. It’s easier and faster to make homemade crepes and just roll them up with a simple ricotta cheese filling.

This recipe uses two of my other recipes: Crepes and Quick & Easy Spaghetti Sauce. I make the crepes with whole wheat pastry flour. You can use all-purpose flour but trust me, they are beautifully soft and tender made with w.w.p. flour. The best part is that you can make the crepes and sauce a day or two in advance and when it’s time to make dinner you only have to put the easy filling together, roll up the crepes, and bake. You’ll have just enough time to make a salad and some steamed broccoli on the side.

The stuffing is a simple combination of part skim ricotta and mozzarella cheeses with parmesan, parsley, and an egg yolk. You can cover them all over with sauce or sometimes I leave the sides bare and put sauce down the center. I’m a big fan of my homemade spaghetti sauce but you certainly can use a bottled sauce if you like.

When stuffing and rolling the manicotti, you can tuck in the ends to seal in the filling but I like to leave the ends open and let a little cheese show itself. Plus it’s less work just to roll them up, no tucking. Remember it’s important to have vegetables at every meal so while this bakes for 30 minutes, be sure to take time to make a salad and a cooked vegetable on the side.

Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

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