Every Recipe Birthday Girl Jennifer Garner Has Shared on Her 'Pretend Cooking Show'

“Hi, my name is Jen, and we’re having a ‘Pretend Cooking Show, and it’s nice to see you,” Garner endearingly starts off her most recent video, which features a recipe from the New York Times Cooking’s Melissa Clark. The actress shared in her Instagram caption that it’s “a little something I’ve used to make a blah meal ooh la la for years,” which is one of the best endorsements we’ve ever heard.

Get the recipe HERE. 

“I’m letting you in on a little secret… this is my favorite Winter oatmeal,” Garner said of Taste of Home‘s “one-cup wonder.” The actress shared that playing around with the toppings and balance of water or milk are key to finding your perfect personal breakfast nirvana. 

Get the recipe HERE.

The mom of three proved she’s queen of Super Bowl snacks when she whipped up pal Ina Garten’s Chicken Chili ahead of the big game. She shared that it’s the perfect meal to feed a big group “AND sneakily keep it healthy.” And for those who don’t eat meat, Garner suggests swapping the chicken for a drained can of black beans. 

Get the recipe HERE. 

To celebrate the finale of her HBO series Camping, the actress treated her castmates to a home-cooked meal of Sara Foster‘s bolognese. “This recipe is a staple at my house, especially when it comes to feeding a crowd,” she shared, alongside a slideshow of mouth-watering photos of the meal coming together and a group shot of the cast. 

Get the recipe HERE. 

The “Pretend Cooking Show” made it to the small screen! Garner’s pal Ina Garten invited her to share her Grandma Exie Mae Garner’s Sweet Potato Pudding recipe on the Barefoot Contessa Thanksgiving special. Garner promised that the recipe “is everything cozy and delicious about Thanksgiving,” adding that “there are tons of ways to make this less rich — but is this really the week to go crazy?” 

Get the recipe HERE. 

The actress got into the Halloween spirit as she whipped up a witches’ brew in her “cauldron” — which turned out to be full of spooky tomatillo salsa. The magic ingredient, as always, is salt, and the last step of the recipe playfully calls for taste-testers to “cast a spell.” 

Get the recipe HERE. 

No sad desk salads here! The 13 Going on 30 actress admitted that while the simple starter “used to mean limp carrot shavings and too cold tomatoes,” her tips for a healthy and hearty version elevate the dish to a proper entrée and leave plenty of room for your favorite ingredients. “Salads are a celebration of what is seasonal and handy. They are also what’s for lunch. Always.” Garner suggests swapping croutons out for crunchy veggies like broccoli or peppers and chopping everything up “so that you aren’t battling a dinner plate sized honk of lettuce every other bite.”

Get the recipe HERE. 

“They’re fast. They’re delicious,” Garner promised of her famous fish sticks. “They cook so quickly on the inside that I just kind of go by the outside,” she added before adding a sprinkling of salt at the end. 

Get the recipe HERE. 

Garner shared one of her adapted seafood recipes, which involves soaking shrimp in a lime juice, garlic, red pepper and white wine marinade for five hours. In the series of photos, the actress also shared a picture of herself sneaking a “splash of wine for the cook.” Her tip for cooking the shrimp is to sauté or grill them until they are just pink, but not overcooked.””It’s fast, it’s delicious, it’s healthy — a favorite for sure,” she wrote on Instagram.

Get the recipe HERE. 

Garner is a “big fan” of homemade pizzas and her preferred dough recipe comes from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. While she uses the recipe traditionally for homemade pizzas, she also created her own hack for the dough, which she started making “years ago.” The mom of three rolls out extra dough, brushes it with olive oil, and sprinkles it with crushed dry thyme, rosemary and “a good dose of salt.” Her kids call the snack “#pizzacracker.”

Get the recipe HERE. 

For the first of her chocolate recipes, Garner made Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond‘s “best chocolate sheet cake ever” and called it her family’s go-to dessert. 

Get the recipe HERE. 

“Today we’re talking pudding, people,” the actress posted on her Instagram along with a video whipping up the dessert in her kitchen. “Basic, delicious chocolate pudding.” Garner called the recipe from Smitten Kitchen‘s Deb Perelman “easy to make and relatively healthy.”

Get the recipe HERE. 

On the eve of her 46th birthday, she decided to share the recipe for her “favorite” granola bars, or as she calls them “pass-it-back” snacks. “You know, those easy snacks you can pass back to hungry kids in a car on the way to wherever your afternoons bring you,” she wrote on Instagram. “Here’s a way to make them at home with ingredients you know and can pronounce.” 

Get the recipe HERE. 

Garner shared one of her go-to soups from Martha Stewart, writing, “I’ve been making this @marthastewart recipe for years—the roast lemon chicken alone is enough to make you sing!” In the post shared on her Instagram, the 46-year-old showed step-by-step photos of the process, from seasoning and roasting the chicken to shredding it and it adding to the broth.“You can dress it up (homemade stock) or make it in a hurry (broth from a box—don’t tell @inagarten!), whatever you do, this recipe is a sure thing,” said Garner, who is a friend of Ina Garten.

Get the recipe HERE. 

Kicking off her dough-based recipe trend, Garner tried her hand at whipping up English muffins from scratch using the Huckleberry cookbook. “One of my favorite restaurants in Santa Monica is Huckleberry run by Zoe Nathan,” Garner said. “I was so happy when she made a cookbook. One of my favorite recipes in here is something I make all the time. It’s a total family-pleaser. Their English muffin recipe.” Since this is a frequently made recipe in the Garner household, she had no problem mastering the overnight process. “If these don’t all get eaten on the first day, I kind of won’t believe you,” she said. “But they freeze really well.”

Get the recipe HERE. 

After successfully making homemade bagels for her family on Christmas, Garner decided to make them again on her “Pretend Cooking Show.” But this time it didn’t go as planned. When pulling the bagels out of the oven, Garner was less than impressed with the odd-shaped and lumpy final product, tossing them into the garbage one by one. “FAIL!!” she captioned the post.  

Just because the bagels didn’t come out right the second time doesn’t mean Garner was giving up. The 45-year-old took on the tricky recipe again, sharing the full episode titled “The Bagel Chronicles, Take 2” on Facebook. This time around, Garner had some specific advice to share with her viewers: “This is what I would say about making bagels: the amount you proof them the last time is the most important thing,” the mother of three says. “If you under-proof them, they’ll sink when you start to boil them. If you over-proof them, then you get the Jennifer Garner special, kind of a flat bagel, kind of a pancake-y bagel.”

“Another hack for when you (me) are craving the crunch of blue corn tortilla chips…BEET CHIPS!” Garner shared on Instagram in March. “Naturally sweet and completely addicting.” In the post, Garner takes you through a 10-slide process from picking the beets fresh from her garden to snacking on the final product. 

Get the recipe HERE. 

To satisfy her craving for something salty and crunchy, Garner exchanged her go-to blue corn tortilla chips for a healthier option.  “I bet your kids like them,” she adds. 

Get the recipe HERE. 

To help prepare for her role in the film Peppermint, Garner began making smoothies designed by celebrity nutritionist Kelly LeVeque. The actress shared the recipe she drinks every morning—but with an added twist. Because she didn’t have any fresh blueberries in the fridge, Garner subbed in a packet of fruit puree from her organic baby food line Once Upon a Farm. 

Get the recipe HERE. 

In the first-ever episode of her “Pretend Cooking Show,” Garner turned Ina Garten’s honey white bread recipe into adorable bread men. “I’m not an expert but if you want to make your family happy over and over again this is one recipe that if you get it down, you can do anything with it. And it’s by Ina. Love you Ina!” Garner said before kissing her copy of the Food Network star’s cookbook Barefoot Contessa at Home.

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