LOW-CAL DIET COMFORT FOODS
Review by Barb & Ron Kroll
Now Eat This! - 150 of America's favorite comfort foods all under 350 calories
(Ballantine Books) ISBN 978-0345520906 0345520904
This diet cookbook provides 150 low calorie healthy recipes for fried chicken, pizza, coconut shrimp, macaroni and cheese, mayonnaise, creme brulee, brownies and other comfort foods.
Chef Rocco Dispirito helps you convert high-calorie recipes into healthy alternatives that are low-carb, low-fat and low-calorie. His nutrition advice and recipes for low-fat snacks, meals and desserts make healthy dieting easy.
Low-fat comfort foods
The healthy meal ideas, in this 246-page diet cookbook, are arranged by course, from appetizers to desserts. In each introduction, Rocco Dispirito explains the differences between the high-calorie original recipe and his low-carb, low-calorie recipe.
In his gooey jalapeno poppers recipe, for example, Chef Dispirito says he reduced the fat from 36 grams to 5.3 grams per serving by using low-fat cheddar cheese and baking, instead of deep frying.
Each comfort food recipe features a nutrition analysis, listing fats and calories before and after Rocco Dispirito altered the recipe to make it less than 350 calories per serving. The dietary analysis also specifies protein, carbohydrates, cholesterol, fiber and sodium for each serving.
Healthy eating tips
Several recipes in Now Eat This! feature Healthy Tips. One explains that adding a small amount of cornstarch to a dish provides body and creaminess without adding butter or cream. Another tip explains that capsaicin in chile peppers decreases cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood and burns calories by increasing your body's metabolism for 20 minutes after eating.
Color photos by Kritsada Panichgul depict Rocco Dispirito and low calorie dinners, such as chicken cordon bleu.
Now Eat This! suggests alternatives to high-calorie ingredients, such as Greek yogurt and evaporated skim milk for cream. In his recipe for no yolk deviled eggs, for example, Rocco Dispirito uses mashed sweet potatoes and mustard as a low-calorie substitute for egg yolks.
Although the safety of artificial sweeteners is debatable, Chef Dispirito tested sugar substitutes and recommends the sugar substitute, Truvia, for savory dishes and Splenda, for low-calorie dessert recipes like tiramisu.
Rocco Dispirito helps you stick to a low-fat diet plan with healthy alternatives to deep frying. To faux fry crispy onion rings and chicken fingers, he breads the foods with whole wheat flour, whipped egg whites and panko breadcrumbs and “fries” them on a baking rack sprayed with cooking spray in a very hot oven.
Sample low-cal, low-fat, low-carb recipes
Faux fried onion rings with smoky mayonnaise. Spicy fried calamari with lemon. Crab cakes with red pepper dressing. Coconut shrimp with pineapple puree. Lobster bisque. Shrimp pad Thai. Jumbo un-fried shrimp. Grilled chicken with warm mango salsa. Steak fajitas with avocado and salsa. Smothered pork chops with apples and cheddar cheese. Red apple coleslaw. Sweet potato fries. Sweet and spicy garlic wing sauce. Mint chocolate chip frozen yogurt.
- Sandwiches and Pizza
- Fish and Shellfish
- Chicken and Turkey
- Beef and Pork
- Pasta and More
Rocco Dispirito opened Dava and Union Pacific restaurants in New York City. Now Eat This! is his sixth cookbook.