Awesome new cookbook!

Now eat this!

This is the title of a new cookbook by Rocco Dispirito that my husband and I bought this weekend while we were in St.Cloud. As usual, we spent some time at Barnes and Noble – one of our favorite hangouts. The subtitle of the book is “150 of America’s favorite comfort foods all under 350 calories.” Of course, THAT caught our attention. Plus, the picture of Rocco on the front is pretty cute – well, at least to me. He has this boyish smile that just drew me in.

Anyway, as most of you know, my husband loves to cook. And since I/we have started this healthy living journey, we have both looked for ways to trim down, or make healthier, some of our favorite recipes, as well as try new and different recipes. What can we say, we do LOVE food.

Well, this cookbook does the same thing. Rocco said his goal for the book was, “to take the foods we love – no matter how bad they are for us – and make them healthy and flavorful, something I really want to eat.” He provides an 11-page introduction including a list of his “can’t-live-without” ingredients. There was one part of the introduction, though, that really grabbed my attention:

be in control: cook for yourself

“This ‘I-can-have-my-chicken-cordon-bleu-and-eat-it-too’ philosophy may sound impossible, but I guarantee it’s entirely possible. There is just one catch: You have to cook it yourself. Before you throw up your hands and walk into a McDonalds and order another not-so-Happy Meal, consider this: When you cook, you are in control of everything you put into your pan and thus into your body. You decide how many calories and how many fat grams you eat in a given day. You can still eat a version of your favorite foods. But you have to cook it. You have to make the choice to step into the kitchen instead of pulling into the drive-thru or turning to highly processed prepared foods because it seems more convenient.” Yes, Rocco, that’s it.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. It all comes down to YOU! Everyone is in control of their healthy living destiny. Truly, YOU ARE!

Most of Rocco’s dishes in the cookbook, with just a few exceptions, can be prepared in about 30 minutes and call for everyday items found in your local grocery store – none have long lists of ingredients.

The cookbook includes recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and pizza, fish and shellfish, chicken and turkey, beef and pork, pasta, sides sauces, desserts and more.

My husband dove right into the book and found a new recipe to try – barbecue ribs. Yes, believe it or not, my husband has never tried his hand at ribs. Crazy, huh? Well, let me tell you…they were simply DELICIOUS. My son, who I have never seen eat ribs is life, actually ate them and the best part, he even like them. They were really, really good. So good, that I am including the recipe here:

1 rack baby back ribs, trimmed of all visible fat

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 tablespoons liquid smoke

3/4 cup reduced-sugar ketchup

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 large Vidalia onion, roughly chopped

12 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1. Preheat over to 425 degrees F. Lay a two-foot long piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet, and set it aside.

2. Cut the rib rack in half; season it generously with salt and pepper. Place the ribs on the prepared baking sheet.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the paprika, liquid smoke, ketchup and red wine vinegar. Pour the sauce over the meat, turning to coat it completely. Scatter onions and garlic over the sauce. Place another piece of foil on top and fold up the edges of the foil to make a tightly sealed package. Roast the ribs for 30 minutes.

4. Reduce the heat to 275 degrees F, and bake until the meat is tender, about one hour. (My husband put them on the grill for about 25-30 minutes after they were done baking.)

5. Slicing between the bones, cut the ribs into four portions and serve.

Okay, now here’s the cool part – in Rocco’s cookbook, he includes the fat and calorie content for the “normal” way to cook the recipe and then the fat and calorie count for his way to cook the recipe, along with the protein, carbs, cholesterol, fiber and sodium of his recipe.

Before – Fat: 68 grams, Calories: 990

After – Fat: 17.3 g, Calories: 330 (protein: 28 g, carbs: 13 g, cholesterol: 87 mg, fiber: 2 g, sodium: 328 mg)

Now that’s what I call  healthy. And the best part? It was awesomely tasty and deliciously good! I highly suggest you take a look at Rocco’s new cookbook – Now eat this!

I’m sure glad we did!

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