cookbook review: Real Food Real Easy

I’ve been taking a couple days off from cooking because I cut my finger. (It also makes it hard to touch type!) But then I borrowed this book from the NYPL Real Food Real Easy (2010) by George Stella. It’s got low carb  recipes in it and each recipe has a “handful” of ingredients (no more than nine, actually) and an uncomplicated method–3 or 4 steps. So in the next few weeks until the book is due, I’ll be sampling recipes. Here are some interesting ones:

Table of Contents

Starters and Snacks–cabbage wrapped pot stickers sound like a winner, so does tempura asparagus

Breakfast and Brunch–how about blue coconut parfaits?

Lunchtime Favorites–I think  southwestern chicken salad in avocado bowls sounded delicious

Poultry–I want to try all of the chicken recipes, especially spinach and feta chicken breast roulades

Meats–Szechuan beef and broccoli, oh my!

Seafood–salmon with a creamy dill sauce!

Slow Cooker Cookery–ground sirloin chili wonder how hot it really is… But I’ll never know. No slow cooker!

Vegetables and Sides–spaghetti squash with ricotta blush sauce. YUM.

Wholesome Whole Grains and Legumes–quinoa pilaf!

Desserts–flourless fudge brownies? I’m dreaming…

cookbook review: Cooking Light, Eat Smart Guide: 200-Calorie

I borrowed this book from the NYPL (2011, Oxmoor House) to try the low fat-low carb recipes. All of the recipes have nutrition information and all of them are 200 calories or below per serving. What I liked about it was how simple and uncomplicated the recipes were so that the cook need never feel that eating healthy is too much of a pain. Recipes that are quick and easy are helpfully marked. Don’t just look at the calories; also check the portion size, especially if the calories seem too good to be true! For example, one dulce de leche tartlet is 180 calories–it’s a tiny, tiny thing made from a mini phyllo shell. Can you seriously eat just one and not do irreparable damage to your diet?

The table of contents is quirky, with the soups coming just before the desserts.

Appetizers, Snacks & Beverages
Entrées
Salads
Soups
Desserts

In any case, I like to adjust recipes to taste so I seldom follow them exactly. I call it, getting inspiration!  And since I like to go low salt as well, I prefer to substitute my own homemade broths and stocks for canned. The chicken-vegetable-barley soup I made last week was inspired by this cookbook. I am also inspired to bake a lemon pudding cake. But that’s for another posting!