Friday, June 11, 2010
Rocco DiSpirito's Now Eat This!
Comfort Food. We all love it. We all have our favorites. In his latest book, Now Eat This! Rocco Dispirito chronicles his personal weight loss and his desire to indulge in comfort foods. Now Eat This! is all about comfort foods, 150 comfort foods all under 350 calories.
The book is broken down into eleven chapters: Appetizers; Soups; Salads; Sandwiches and Pizza; Fish and Shellfish; Chicken and Turkey; Beef and Pork; Pasta and More; Sides; Sauces; and Desserts. There are lots of pictures of food and lots of pictures of Rocco (ladies, you know what I'm talking about here). The book does rely heavily on many products, such as: nonstick cooking spray, low-fat cheeses, greek yogurt, bacon bits, whole wheat panko, Truvia, Splenda, and also egg substitute. While these products will appeal to some, they will not appeal to all, and for this reason, this book is probably not for everybody.
I based my review on my favorite types of comfort foods: Macaroni and Cheese, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Pizza, Potato Soup, and Chocolate Ice Cream.
The first recipe I made from the book, and probably our favorite of the five, was his Macaroni and Cheese with a Crusty Crunch. Coming in at 227 calories a serving, Rocco's Macaroni and Cheese was a combination of an onion-garlic puree, mixed with reduced-fat cheddar and Greek yogurt, topped with crispy whole wheat panko and Parmigiano.
The final result was very creamy and the portion was pretty big for 227 calories. We all enjoyed it!
The second recipe I made was Rocco's Mama-Approved Spaghetti and Meatballs. The meatballs were a mix of ground turkey breast, eggplant, onion, egg white, garlic and chicken broth. They were served over marinara sauce and whole wheat spaghetti. At some point during the cooking process, my nine year old daughter decided to "help me" by "stirring the pot of meatballs". You can imagine how well that went over. Needless to say that our meatballs ended up being meat sauce. Regardless of whether we had meatballs or meat sauce, this was not Mama-Approved and wasn't one of our favorites. Saying that, spaghetti and meatballs is probably our number one favorite meal and maybe I should have known better than to try a diet version.
The third recipe we tried, was Rocco's Deep Dish Pizza. I had seen Rocco make this pizza on an episode of Rachel Ray and it did really look good. I was excited to give it a try. A homemade whole wheat pizza crust is made using molasses and then the dough is topped with low-fat mozzarella cheese and reduced-fat pepperoni. At 218 calories a slice, this pizza was pretty good. We did like the crust and I would definitely like to make a veggie-loaded pizza next time.
Creamy potato soup is one of my very favorite comfort foods, so I chose Rocco's Cheddar Cheese and "Potato" Soup. Rocco's "potato" soup relies on cauliflower instead of potato to make a creamy, cheesy-based soup that is low calorie. Cauliflower, milk, onion, and garlic are pureed to make a hearty and thick soup. Reduced-fat cheese is added to give it a cheesy consistency. A huge bowl of this "potato" soup comes in at only 190 calories. I found that I didn't really miss the real potato in this soup. I liked this recipe and ate it for lunch most of this week. With the calories you save from using cauliflower I think you could definitely indulge in the real full-fat cheese!
I had a hard time picking out a dessert recipe. Most of the desserts contained Truvia or Splenda and I had never worked with either of those ingredients before. I opted for Rocco's Chocolate Frozen Yogurt, made from 99% unsweetened chocolate, agave nectar, skim milk, and Greek Yogurt. The final product was not real great. The frozen yogurt was very bitter (probably because the recipe calls for 99% unsweetened chocolate) and tasted very strongly like coffee. I also had trouble getting the ice cream to "set up". I don't know that I would recommend this recipe. The ingredients were pretty expensive and the end results weren't that great PLUS one serving is 276 calories and I don't know if that is a real savings in the calorie department. I think you could probably find some tastier options for the same calorie content.
Like everyone, I love the concept of indulging in comfort food without the guilt. Although I had some hit and miss results, there are still some more recipes that I would like to try. I'm crossing my fingers that I'll find a new favorite!
I'm submitting the Cheddar Cheese and "Potato" Soup to my friend Deb @ Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sundays roundup!
What are some of your favorite comfort foods?