A few weeks ago I was sent a copy of Rocco Dispirito’s Now Eat This! cookbook to review on Healthy and Sane. In this cookbook, Rocco set out to recreate 150 of “America’s favorite comfort foods” but make them all under 350 calories/serving and in most cases lower in fat. As you can see in the cover of the book below, recipes for burgers, mac & cheese and chocolate chip cookies were among the favorites. Yup, they are my favorites too!
I love the concept of this book but was still skeptical about Rocco’s ability to truly recreate such classic dishes. Can a chef really cook something delicious without oodles of butter/oil? But I carried on…
- Nice quality paperback
- Lots of pictures
- Good variety of recipes – all of my favorite comfort foods were included!
- Everything I made from the book was delicious
- Pictures used were often stock photos (there is NO WAY in hell the picture of brownies on p.234 was of the brownies from this book. I will bet a lot of money on that!!)
- Some recipes needed slight modifications (did they really try all of them or just conceptualize them on paper?)
- Use of artificial sweeteners. I really doubt that Rocco actually consumes splenda. I understand it keeps the calories down but I think this book would be stronger if it recreated favorite comfort foods in a natural way. I subbed artificial sweeteners with sugar (1:1) in every recipe I tried. It’s worth the extra calories to me (but that’s a personal choice, of course)!
There you have it. Taste wins at the end and like I said above, with a few small modifications, I was happy with every recipe. Wanna see what I made?
Crispy mozarella sticks
I had a bit of trouble with the panko crumbs actually sticking to the string cheese so I subbed a real egg for egg whites (called for in the book), dipped the sticks in egg first, then flour, then egg again… and then panko crumbs. I also refreshed the panko bowl often (once they got wet, they just clumped up and wouldn’t stick to the cheese sticks). At the end, I was happy with how they were covered.
10 minutes in… look what I saw in my toaster oven!
The cheese broke through the crust and started oozing out through the wire rack (the idea for using a wire rack is so that heat can evenly access the food instead of the bottom sogging, but clearly this doesn’t work with cheese!).
I took them out, placed them directly on the pan and continued baking.
They looked like little monsters at the end but still delicious. I mean, we’re talking about battered warm cheese here!!
These were a hit at the party I brought them to. I will definitely be baking mozzarella sticks in the future, but I will place them directly on the pan and turn them occasionally.
Next up… dessert!
Chocolate frozen yogurt
This was a really easy recipe! While I hesitated for a minute when the directions said to pour the mixture straight from the (warm) pot into the ice cream machine, I went ahead and did it anyway. I was expecting this to fail but nope, 25 minutes later I had a gorgeous, rich, chocolaty treat. Adam and I both LOVED this!
The next day the froyo hardened into a rock but 20 seconds in the microwave remedied that. There were no icy crystals, just pure creamy goodness. I will definitely be making this again!!
These brownies look nothing like the ones in the picture in the book but I still enjoyed them. I loved that everything was combined (within seconds!) in a blender and then was ready for baking. Can you see how fudgy these are?
I used real sugar in these with a 1:1 ratio. Since artificial sweeteners typically are twice as sweet as regular sugar, these brownies were not too sweet… but I liked them that way! I also added some raw cacao nibs to amp up the chocolate flavor.
[3 Points Plus per brownie]
I did not bring these brownies to the football party we attended. They are definitely an acquired taste, but I truly looked forward to them as my after-dinner treat every night. If you like fudgy, sweet brownies, just double the amount of sugar and I think you’ll love them. They are even better the next day!
(Almost) general tso’s chicken
I thought this recipe was a true test. Adam LOVES Chinese food (I think these caps don’t even do it justice) and I actually hesitated to tell him what I was making. I mean, can you really make a healthier version of this fried sticky saucy dish?
The answer it turns out is YES.
I really was shocked how spot on the flavors were. This tasted sinful but it wasn’t. Adam said this dish would really satisfy his future cravings for Chinese food (we’re both trying to lose weight so it’s a rare indulgence) and that I should put it on my go-to recipes list!
This was the last recipe I tested and I am really looking forward to trying many others. Would you like to win your own copy of Now Eat This! cookbook?
Here are the rules: there are 7 ways to enter.
1) Leave a comment on this post – Tell me whatever you want, like what your favorite “American classic” food is.
2+3) Follow me on Twitter (please tell me in the comments what your twitter name is so I can confirm). For an additional entry, you can also tweet about this giveaway (my twitter name @elinacooks must be included to qualify)
4) Subscribe to Healthy and Sane by email
5) Like Healthy and Sane on Facebook.
6) Add Healthy and Sane to your blogroll.
7) Link to this post on your blog, if you have one. If you don’t, let someone else know about this giveaway and tell me so in the comments section after they’ve entered the giveaway.
Please leave a separate comment for each entry. The giveaway will end on January 29. I will randomly choose 2 winners (U.S. Residents only, sorry) using random.org and announce them on the following Monday. Good luck!