Sunday, June 11, 2017

Secrets of Skinny Cooking - A Review

When Artscroll contacted me and asked if I was interested in receiving a reviewer's copy of their new cookbook - Secrets of Skinny Cooking - I was very excited.
My friend and I have been joking lately that what is missing from the Kosher cookbook aisle in Jewish bookstores is a cookbook entitled "Diet Food Your Family Will Eat" or "What to Cook for Shabbos Guests When You Are On a Diet".  Well that's almost exactly what this cookbook IS, albeit with a slightly more eloquent title. 
In this volume, bestselling cookbook author, Victoria Dwek, teams with successful nutritionist Shani Taub to creating delicious and easy to prepare meals that are low in calories but seriously high in flavor. Unless you want them to, no one will know they are eating "skinny"
Not only are over 135 easy-to-prepare recipes beautifully presented in this book, but they also come with tips on clever ways to reduce calories from your dishes without sacrificing flavor. For example, how to saute and caramelize onions without oil and how to bulk up carbohydrate dishes with vegetables.
I've already tried out numerous recipes on my family and it seems like every one is a winner - from the Portobello Mushroom Towers and the Forever Crunchy Snap Pea Salad to the Better with Veggies Spanish Rice and Warm Roasted Garlic Farro, my family has asked that I make them all again.
Every meal is covered. There's even an extensive section on breakfast.
Every course is covered. Yes, even dessert.
There are meat, fish, soup, salad, friendly carb and dairy sections as well, all served up with a healthy dose of encouragement and inspiration for those either seeking to lose weight or merely to find a healthier style of eating for themselves and their families.
This cookbook is unlike any other on the shelves today and offers flavorful dishes and ideas that will help you make this style of eating a way of life, not a "diet".

Portobello Mushroom Towers
Yields 2 large servings
Dairy ▪ Gluten-Free ▪ Low Carb ▪ Sugar-Free
Calories: 181 per serving; Shani Taub Exchange: 1 protein, 1 Vegetable

One summer Sunday afternoon, my family and I passed through Monsey, stopping at the Evergreen shopping center. I really wanted iced coffee, so I headed to Hava Java. As I waited for my Skinny Frappe (one of the best ever), I watched the hot dishes emerge fast from the kitchen. One dish that caught my attention was the towering Portobello Mushroom Sliders. I went home and recreated the dish … and it was just as
good as it looked.

2 Portobello mushroom caps
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp salt

1 red pepper
½ onion, sliced
1 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling
½ onion, diced
8 oz frozen spinach, thawed, drained
2 (1-oz) slices Muenster OR mozzarella cheese

[1] Place mushroom caps into a ziplock bag. Add red wine vinegar, garlic powder, basil, and salt. Seal; marinate for 1 hour or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

[2] Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place mushrooms and marinade into a baking pan; bake for 25 minutes.

[3] Meanwhile, place red pepper into the oven (on its own or in a baking pan). Roast until skin is blistered, about 35-45 minutes. Let cool; peel and discard peel and seeds. Slice pepper; set aside.

[4] Coat a sauté pan with nonstick cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion; lower heat and sprinkle with salt. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from pan; set aside.

[5] Coat the sauté pan again with nonstick cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add diced onion; lower heat and sprinkle with salt. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add spinach; cook an additional 2 minutes. Season with salt.

[6] Assemble the towers: Top each mushroom with half the spinach mixture, half the peppers, and half
the onions. Top with one slice of cheese; bake until cheese is golden and bubbling, 9-10 minutes.

Make Ahead: All the components of this dish can be made ahead and stored separately in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Simply assemble and bake when ready to enjoy.

Recipe(s) from SECRETS OF SKINNY COOKING: Mouthwatering Recipes You Won’t Believe are Low Calorie
By Victoria Dwek and Shani Taub C.D.C.
Artscroll/Shaar Press; May 2017