Ellie Krieger is a registered dietitian and a food lover. She's also the star of Healthy Appetite, a cooking show on the Food Network. Krieger just published The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life. I've never seen her TV show, so I didn't know what was in store for me when I opened her book. The Food You Crave lives up to the title. You'll find recipes for comfort food made with real ingredients, packed with flavor and all offered up in decent sized servings.
Many cookbooks are geared to specific types of diets that avoid whole categories of food, or call for so many processed "light" ingredients that you know you are eating diet food and wonder what else you are eating. Not so in this case. It's apparent that Krieger believes in real food, and takes care in creating flavor and texture combinations that will please everyone, not just the ones watching their weight. She also includes cooking tips and sidebars that explain why a little of the real thing is better than a whole lot of the fake stuff.
Every recipe includes all the important data a dieter needs, such as calories, fat, and fiber. Krieger goes one step further by letting us know which recipes are good sources of specific nutrients such as fiber, potassium, manganese, etc. I don't think we've found a cookbook that offers this added benefit before!
Included in the cookbook are more than 200 recipes, and it's loaded with gorgeous color photos of many of them. There's a delicious sounding Macaroni and Cheese that contains pureed winter squash along with four cheeses. You'll find a Tomato, Olive and Parmesan Pizza recipe, Crab Cakes with "Smarter Tarter" sauce, and Garlic Fries that look and sound mouth-watering! We're vegetarian, but if we weren't then we'd surely try the Cowboy Steak with Coffee and Ancho Rub. The steak is seasoned with a flavor-popping mixture of ancho chili powder, espresso coffee, brown sugar, mustard, coriander, salt and pepper. I wonder how it tastes on tofu!
We chose Marinated Feta and Olive Skewers as our sample recipe. We brought these to work for our mid morning snack, and found them very satisfying! The flavors are intense, so the 4-skewer serving was just right, and each skewer contains an amazingly low 20 calories. Krieger includes a tip at the end of the recipe to let us know that soft cheeses like feta and fresh goat cheese naturally have about one third less fat than hard cheeses like cheddar. That's good to know!
Marinated Feta and Olive Skewers
2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
3 Tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. cracked black peppercorns
4 oz. feta cheese, cut into twenty-four 1/2 inch cubes
24 fresh mint leaves
12 pitted green olives, cut in half
1/4 large English cucumber (seeded if desired) cut into 1/2 inch chunks
Twenty-four 6 inch skewers
In a medium bowl, combine the fennel seeds, orange zest and juice, and pepper. Gently stir in the feta and marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or up to 3 hours in the refrigerator.
To make the skewers, place a mint leave about 3/4 inch up the skewer, then add a chunk of cucumber, and an olive half. Gently place a cube of the marinated feta on the end. These can be made several hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
Per 4-skewer serving:
6 grams total fat
3 grams protein
3.5 grams carbs
Good source of calcium, riboflavin.
If this sounds like it's up your alley, look for The Food You Crave at your local bookstore or on Amazon. You can also check out her TV show on the Food Network. We know we'll tune in!