Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Cook Yourself Thin Faster - cookbook review

by: Lauren Deen

The premise of Cook Yourself Thin Faster, is lowering the fat content of the individual dishes, so you can eat well and still lose weight. There's a snack list for staying under 100 calories, notes on losing weight (including keeping a food diary) and success stories scattered among the recipes. I tried several of the recipes, with mixed results.
The 2 deserts I tried (no machine ice cream and white chocolate delight) turned out extremely well.
Of the main dishes, the stuffed peppers with orzo and olives was great (the orzo didn't dry out during baking the way rice does, and the olives added flavour to the stuffing mixture), and the pizza with sweet peppers and goat cheese was very flavourful (but follow the recipe and use 2 bottles of peppers as one won't cover a full pizza). The fettuccine con funghi and the white pizza with roasted mushrooms were underspiced. With the pasta, adding salt or another spice fixed the blandness, with the pizza, the ricotta cheese used as a base was too bland to work without more flavourful toppings than those requested. Of course, everything with cooking is (as with most things) a matter of taste. So what I considered bland others might find very flavourful. So take my comments as intended, as an indication that adjustment might be required depending on your own personal tastes.

The author is clever with her substitutions. Using sweetened condensed milk and half and half cream for the ice cream rather than whole cream and sugar still gets a sweet (almost too sweet) ice cream but without a lot of the fat content. The secret to the cream sauce for the fettuccine con funghi is mixing heavy cream with nonfat evaporated milk. These are easy tricks to lower the fat without sacrificing taste. And it really works.

The cookbook has over 75 recipes and a menu planner in the back.

Here's a sample:

Stuffed Peppers with Orzo and Olives

1/2 cup whole wheat orzo
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/4 tsp salt
1 zucchini, diced
1 tomato, cored and diced
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and halved

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a 13X9-inch baking dish with aluminum foil.
2. Cook the orzo until al dente according to package directions.
3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, just until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the tomato, olives, and orzo.
4. Divide the orzo mixture among the peppers and arrange in a single layer in the prepared pan. Bake until the peppers are tender, about 25 minutes.

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