Jessica Seinfeld's Double Delicious Mission
"People are working double what they used to do in this country, and lives have gotten more complicated," Jessica says. "Food is something that's suffered in this country."
To put Jessica's culinary expertise to the test, The Oprah Show challenged her to help some of the worst cooks in America learn to cook.
Instead of storage for scrunchies, Jessica says a slow cooker could be the key to Darlene's easiest dinner ever. "A Crock-Pot is actually a great place to start to learn how to cook because there's no flame," Jessica says.
While slow cookers are often thought of as 1970s throwbacks and only good for making heavy stews, Jessica says she uses hers to make everything from whole small chickens to oatmeal and even lasagna.
Get Jessica's recipe for Crock-Pot Lasagna.
"There's no tricks and fancy stuff with my food," Jessica says. "This is giant noodles, tomatoes, some spices, some garlic, cheese—boom! Done!"
And if she does want to go a step further with entertaining, Amanda says she usually opts for frozen, packaged appetizers.
While there's nothing wrong with premade hors d'oeuvres, Jessica says they aren't the healthiest things to serve your guests. "Those have a ton of sodium and fat in them," she says. "Do you ever go to a party and you have appetizers and [they're so filling] you can't even eat dinner?"
For three fresh appetizer options, Jessica shows Amanda how to prepare Shrimp Dumplings, Protein-Packed Grilled Cheese and Pesto Crostini.
"I think these are great options," Jessica says. "Really simple and doable."
To help her avoid another trip the ER, Jessica shows Sherry how to make 20-Minute Turkey Tostadas.
The tostadas start off with browning ground turkey meat in a crushed tomato sauce. After layering it on a tostada shell, you can customize the toppings, Jessica says. "You can put in avocado. You can put in all different toppings that make it healthier and more colorful and beautiful," Jessica says. "However, you can just know that you've already made it and you're good to go.
Even though it's a healthy dinner, if your family is anything like Jessica's they'll still love it. "It starts with a chip," Jessica says. "Anything that has a chip, in my house, is the greatest."
For this dinner intervention, Jessica introduces Victoria to her recipe for simple steak, rice pilaf and roasted asparagus.
Watch Jessica teach Victoria how to spice up her cooking.
The best part of this recipe, Jessica says, is that the technique for roasting asparagus can be adapted to just about any other vegetables. "This works for broccoli and cauliflower and carrots," Victoria says. "So we're having steak night for the next three months, but it gets a vegetable with it."
Watch Jessica and Ali Wentworth show you the step-by-step path to a perfectly roasted chicken.
To make sure your bird is perfectly cooked, Jessica says it's a great idea to truss the chicken's legs—using a figure-8 pattern, tie the legs together—and to tuck the wings under the body. These steps aren't just for show. "The purpose of it is to make the chicken as compact as possible so it cooks evenly," she says.
Get Jessica's recipe for her Seriously Basic Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables.
Another key is to put the chicken in the oven with the legs in the back. That is the area of the bird that needs to cook the longest," Jessica says. "And the most heat is in the back of the oven."
Don't let those leftover go to waste! Use the extra meat to make Chicken and Rice Soup, Chicken Satay and Pasta with Pea Pesto and Chicken.
Here are a few of Jessica's tips:
- Instead of picking out a sugar-laden breakfast cereal, choose a healthier version and sprinkle just a little sugar on top for a treat.
- Skip the sodas and opt for no-sugar-added, 100 percent fruit juice. Then, be sure you only give your kids the recommended daily serving—it's probably a lot less volume than you think.
- Avoid packaged lunches made with large quantities of sodium.
- Make your pasta dinner using a mixture of regular noodles and whole wheat noodles, which will boost your fiber intake.
- Don't go shopping hungry! Make a shopping list and stick with it.
Watch Jessica's guide to buying produce.
See all of Jessica's healthy cooking advice for busy families.