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The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor Hardcover – September 30, 2014
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"These easy-to-assemble dishes keep both family mealtime planning and healthy eating in mind with kid-friendly, 'simplified and skinny-fied' dishes. Using Homolka’s strategies, home cooks can deliver balanced, delicious meals even when time is an obstacle."
- Publishers Weekly
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First, let's touch on how "now" this cookbook is...by that I mean it has stepped out of old school cookbooks and how they have always been done, and considered today's audience and what they might need. So many of us are on special diets or have to entertain for a family member or guest who is and pull something together--whether that be gluten-free, vegetarian, something for a family who works during the day and needs crockpot meals, something for a family who works all the time and only wants to cook on weekends and then freeze the meals... this book took that all into account. Beside each recipe there is a color and letter coding-V for vegetarian, GF for gluten free, freezer friendly, crockpot etc. And, for those of us who count calories and want to know nutrients or carbs, it also has all that too! That took some time, but boy is it handy, even if you yourself only use it occassionally.
The photos are plentiful and throughout and professionally done with good lighting that makes you want to eat it. I have had a few cookbooks that actually made me turned off to the meal due to the grey lighting or even ones I knew were fake like a slow cooker photo of mac and cheese that showed it browned on top (that does not occur in a slow cooker). Not so for this one, it's how the recipe turns out and they make you want to lick the page!
But no cookbook is complete without good recipes and this one sets the bar. You could honestly set down any of these dishes in front of a family of boys who who never diet in their lives and they will want seconds and thirds--the taste is fantastic! These are truly restaurant quality meals, that are obviously tested and tried and perfected. I have seen many recipes for fish tacos, for example, but the ingredients here are totally different and more full of flavor. It's also easy to substitute things for even stricter diets.
I LOVE that when the author finds brands that work best in a recipe, she also lists those. It feels like you are reading someone's personal cookbook that has cooked the recipe many times but found what brands stand out (for example King Author flour when using wheat flour. I agree.) Not in a commercial way or trying to sell it, but just to say which ones she personally uses. Some authors will not do this unless the company pays them to use their name in the book. This is clearly not the case and also clearly only done when it makes a difference in taste.
There are great make ahead recipes and these feel original. I rarely ever eat out, preferring to cook all meals at home so I feel like over the years I have seen the same old tired recipes made the same old tired ways on the internet. These have new ways and methods and often they are with not only dieting in mind but they have a clear angle of a focus on health as well and satiety. The pages have facts for back up, like a recipe for PB & J overnight oats in a jar (make ahead the night before for a busy morning where you still need a good breakfast.) notes how filling and healthy oats are and why. (Which is true.)
These are FANTASTIC recipes, not just the same ones redone with diet ingredients, but original and loaded with flavor. Nothing comes out bad, nothing comes out off, these are good enough to serve at dinner parties and more importantly--to make you feel like you are not dieting.
TUSCAN PANZANELLA SALAD WITH GRILLED GARLIC BREAD
SUMMER LOBSTER ROLLS
MONGOLIAN BEEF AND BROCCOLI
FRENCH BREAD PIZZA SUPREME
TERIYAKI GLAZED STUFFED PORK CHOPS WITH PINEAPPLE SALSA
ROAST BEEF SANDWICHES WITH CREAMY HORSERADISH SPREAD
CHICKPEA AND POTATO CURRY
SPICY BLACKBEAN BURGERS WITH CHIPOTLE MAYO
PEAR AND BRIE GRILLED CHEESE
BLACK BEAN BURRITO BOWLS
CILANTRO LIME SHRIMP
CHEESY BAKED PANNE WITH EGGPLANT
SILKY CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE
LOADED NACHO POTATO SKINS
ITALIAN SAUSAGE WITH PEPPERS AND ONION
WARM APPLE PIE CRUMBLE
GUMBOS, STIR FRIES, MAIN DISH SALADS, MEATLESS MAIN DISH CHAPTERS
SHRIMP AND GRITS
COCONUT PANNA COTTA WITH RASPBERRIES
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHUNK WALNUT COOKIES
WINTER POTATO, KALE AND SAUSAGE FRITTATA
THAI COCONUT MUSSELS
C ROLLATINI STUFFED WITH ZUCCHINI AND MUSHROOMS
LASAGNA (ZUCCHINI STRIPS ARE USED RATHER THAN PASTA AND I SWEAR YOU WON'T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE!)
CUBANA STYLE STUFFED PORK TENDERLOIN
SALISBURY STEAK WITH MUSHROOM GRAVY
You get the idea. That is a very small sampling. At nearly 350 pages, you get loads of recipes and loads of photos. Whether you never eat red meat, eat only white meat, eat only seafood, eat no animal protein...or switch it up all the time, you can easily find a chapter on whatever suits your fancy or your mood that day.
The dishes are GREAT, not just recipes but really things you savor.
This one is done right, not just recipes grabbed to fill a cookbook but original ways of making skinny dishes taste better. It's a gem.