09 January 2010

Weekend Cooking: So Easy by Ellie Krieger

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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, j√≠cama, 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!)
I can't resist sharing this easy, easy dessert. All measurements are U.S. standard.

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
Preheat a grill or nonstick grill pan over medium heat.

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.

So Easy at Powell's
So Easy at Amazon
These 3 links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by John Wiley, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780470423547
Challenges: 100+
Source: Review copy (see review policy)
YTD: 2
Rating: B+


caite 1/9/10, 7:07 AM  

I have never grilled fruit, but that sounds yummy. Of course the ice cream may have something to do with it.

Heather 1/9/10, 7:42 AM  

This sounds yummy! I love grilled pineapple, but never thought of grilling a peach. I can't wait for fall fruits at the Farmer's Market now!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 1/9/10, 8:19 AM  

SO EASY looks so good (and easy!)

I've never had jicama; I remember it from the children's book (Lois Ehlert) EATING THE ALPHABET :)

Julie P. 1/9/10, 9:33 AM  

This sounds like my type of cookbook. I'm going to see if our library has it!

Beth 1/9/10, 9:49 AM  

Oooh I love grilled peaches. This sounds like my kind of cookbook! Thanks for sharing.

JoAnn 1/9/10, 9:51 AM  

I'm off to the library website now to see if they have this! Sounds like a cookbook I'll want to own though...

Dana 1/9/10, 11:24 AM  

This cookbook sounds awesome! Thanks for posting about it!

Nise' 1/9/10, 11:46 AM  

I may have to check it out for the Blueberry Almond French Toast Bake!

Kim 1/9/10, 12:32 PM  

Ummm yeah. You hit a good one with this book Beth. I just checked my library system. 75 holds on 33 copies! I may need to go buy it. Thanks. ;)

Margot 1/9/10, 12:52 PM  

This book sounds quite good. I love the idea of the grilled peaches with ice cream. So easy but then often the best ideas are so easy.

No Weekend Cooking post for me this week as I am forcing myself to to concentrate on Bloggiesta. Just had to take a minute and see what's happening.

Lynda 1/9/10, 1:03 PM  

This sounds a great book. I like the idea of fast and leisurely recipes.
Cinnamon toast and honey walnut spread sounds fab! ;0)

Sherrie 1/9/10, 2:44 PM  

Hi Beth,
This sounds like a great cookbook. Love the Grilled peaches with ice cream, yum. Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend.

Sherrie's Stuff

Sandy Nawrot 1/9/10, 3:00 PM  

Doesn't this lady have a program on the Food Network? She looks familiar to me. This seems like a perfect cookbook for post-Game On. I know I'm going to have to change my butter and oil ways if I'm going to keep any weight off...

Heather 1/9/10, 3:42 PM  

HI Beth, Thanks for posting your recipe. yummy. bit too cold for grilling this week but maybe soon...

I travelled (virtually) to Australia for my recipe this week. Lamingtons.

Michelle 1/9/10, 6:06 PM  

You have me considering picking up this book! My husband and I are looking to eat healthier, and I've been struggling to find recipes that are appealing and non-diet-like. Thank you for sharing!

Jill 1/9/10, 9:12 PM  

I love her...and I'm likewise drawn to the delineation between quick and leisurely recipes. On the list it goes!

Amy 1/10/10, 10:26 AM  

I like her show on Food Network and the book looks like a nice combination of recipes and not too preachy on the diet end. I think I might pick this one up. I need a new cookbook for ideas.

S. Krishna 1/10/10, 12:32 PM  

Thanks for posting this review! I was curious about her cookbook, your review has made me put it on hold at the library!

Andi 1/10/10, 12:35 PM  

Yum! I love Krieger's show, and this book sounds wonderful! I've seen the grilled peaches on various television shows, but I haven't tried it myself. Now that I have a good reminder, I will! I ate breakfast a while ago, and I'm hungry again reading this.

Booksnyc 1/10/10, 5:50 PM  

Thanks for the review - a healthy eating themed book for Jan is perfect - seems like a great time to re-dedicate myself to healthy eating.

I have seen Kreiger's show on Food Network and like her recipes so maybe I will pick this up.

Anonymous,  1/12/10, 1:12 PM  

Looks like a cookbook I need to get ahold of.

Bonnie 1/25/10, 10:43 AM  

Thanks for letting me know about your review of this book on twitter today! I'm going to look for a copy. I enjoy Ellie Krieger's show when I have a chance to watch it. I like your weekend cooking feature and hope to participate it in it sometime soon.

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