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So Easy by Ellie Krieger is subtitled Luscious, Healthy, Recipes for Every Meal of the Week. The recipes do indeed look yummy, healthy, and—best of all—easy.
I love the way the book is divided into fast and leisurely recipes for each meal. That means there are two chapters each covering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. So, for example, the first breakfast chapter is for "grab and go" meals and the second breakfast chapter is for sit-at-the-table mornings.
The introductory chapter explains Krieger's perspective on food and health, how the nutritional information was calculated, and how to stock your pantry. Throughout the book are tips and tricks and fun facts.
Krieger clearly defines what healthy means to her. Basically, she advocates eating minimally processed foods, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats. But she also believes that "no food is ever off limits. Rather, I categorize food as Usually, Sometimes, or Rarely" (p. 11).
The meals are based on a 2000-calorie-per-day diet, allowing a few more calories for dinner than for breakfast or lunch. Only one dessert (as far as I remember) is more than 300 calories, and most are between 150 and 200 calories. I was happy to see that the desserts include fruit and that there are plenty of appealing choices for about 100 calories or less.
All the ingredients should be easy for most people to find at a good grocery store, and the majority of them will be familiar. Adventuresome cooks will be happy to find recipes calling for watercress, arugula, mission figs, quinoa, and porcini. I found the balance of recipes between causal and fancy, quick and slow, everyday and gourmet to be perfect; this is truly a book that I will use often.
Each recipe comes with clear, simple instructions and nutritional information. The directions are not at all intimidating and really are easy. Just about every recipe includes a photograph. The index is thorough and very well put together.
Here are some of the dishes that caught my eye:
- Breakfast: Cheddar-apple quesadilla; Cinnamon raisin toast with honey-walnut spread; Blueberry-almond French toast bake
- Lunch: Greek salad pitas with feta spread and turkey; Curried chicken salad; Grilled beef, jícama, and apple salad
- Dinner: Pork & mango stir-fry, Garlic-basil shrimp, Ratatouille with red snapper and herbed goat cheese crostini
- Dessert: Apple brown betty; Powdered sugar crisps; Fig and ginger truffles (100 cals each!)
Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream
Makes 4 servings (2 peach halves = 90 calories)
- 4 ripe but firm peaches
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- ½ cup light vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
- 8 small sprigs of fresh mint
Cut each peach in half and remove the pits. Brush the cut side of each peach half with oil. Place the peaches cut side down on the grill or grill pan and cook until the peaches soften slightly and grill marks are formed, 2 to 3 minutes.
Place a tablespoon-size scoop of ice cream in the center of each peach half. Garnish with mint and serve.
I can't wait to try this next August when the peaches are plentiful.
Ellie Krieger has a website where you can learn more about her and her recipes. You'll also find a few informative videos.
Published by John Wiley, 2009
Source: Review copy (see review policy)