Review: The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka

October 17, 2016 2016 Review Challenge, 5 Stars, Book Review, Cookbooks, Edu-How To, Food, Hardback, Non- Fiction 0 ★★★★★

Review: The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka five-stars
The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka
Published by Clarkson Potter, The Crown Publishing Group on September 30, 2014
Genres: Cookbook, Nonfiction
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Get the recipes everyone is talking about in the debut cookbook from the wildly popular blog Skinnytaste

Gina Homolka is America’s most trusted home cook when it comes to easy, flavorful recipes that are miraculously low-calorie and made from all-natural, easy-to-find ingredients. Her blog, Skinnytaste is the number one go-to site for slimmed down recipes that you’d swear are anything but. It only takes one look to see why people go crazy for Gina’s food: cheesy, creamy Fettuccini Alfredo with Chicken and Broccoli with only 420 calories per serving, breakfast dishes like Make-Ahead Western Omelet "Muffins" that truly fill you up until lunchtime, and sweets such as Double Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies that are low in sugar and butter-free but still totally indulgent.

The Skinnytaste Cookbook features 150 amazing recipes: 125 all-new dishes and 25 must-have favorites. As a busy mother of two, Gina started Skinnytaste when she wanted to lose a few pounds herself. She turned to Weight Watchers for help and liked the program but struggled to find enough tempting recipes to help her stay on track. Instead, she started “skinny-fying” her favorite meals so that she could eat happily while losing weight.

With 100 stunning photographs and detailed nutritional information for every recipe, The Skinnytaste Cookbook is an incredible resource of fulfilling, joy-inducing meals that every home cook will love.

I was introduced to Gina Homolka and her Skinnytaste Blog by a friend several years ago and I have been following the blog ever since. When The Skinnytaste Cookbook was announced, I was cautiously excited. Sadly, a lot of the food blogs I follow put out cookbooks around the same time so I lost track of this one.

Fast forward some time and I’m once again trying to control my diet. I’d started using some of the recipes on the Skinnytaste blog but rarely. Then I decided to borrow a copy from the library and I loved it. The Skinnytaste Cookbook reminds me of the old school cookbooks I used to get years ago: stuffed to the brim with both photos and recipes. And thank goodness Gina Homolka didn’t feel the need to cram pages and pages of her preaching at me – she got right to the good stuff.

From The Skinnytaste Cookbook:
Make Ahead Western Omelet “Muffins” – pg 29
These are just ok. I can’t rave about them but they are easy to make, to use substitutions with and easy to pack/carry. I made my “muffins” with no meat but I added a couple of slices of portobello mushrooms and paired the muffins with homemade beef sausage. I did attempt freezing these “muffins” to grab and go as suggested. Either I did something wrong wrapping the omelet muffins or this is just a bad idea. The omelet muffins were really…juicy when defrosted and full of ice crystals when frozen. I only kept them in the freezer for a week.

Normally I have non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt with mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, black berries and raspberries) for breakfast(23g of protein) so I decided to try this to see if it was worth the work switching out to a hot breakfast. Mostly? No.

Naked Persian Turkey Burgers (served with Persian Salad) – pg 156
On first bite, these Turkey Burgers were in desperate need of more: more salt, more flavor. It wasn’t until the second bite that the flavors hit me. The Naked Persian Turkey Burgers have a rather different flavor profile but it was tasty enough. I did want to add more salt (I didn’t) but I feel a lack of salt. In defense of The Skinnytaste Cookbook, I really like salt. The zucchini in the burgers kept them so moist I was shocked. I tried using zucchini in a regular burger and it worked so well! And you couldn’t taste the zucchini at all.

I made the Naked Burgers and the Persian salad to take for lunch and it was moderately filling. No matter how I contorted, I was still very hungry by the end of the work day. If I make this again, I will have to eat it with something a little more filling.

Buttermilk Oven “Fried” Chicken – pg 151
So. This tasted fine (if a little buttery) BUT I will not make this again. There are just too many steps considering the outcome. I found that flipping the chicken was the worst part of the cooking process: I lost a lot of the “breading” at that time. While this is lower calorie than traditional fried chicken, I’d rather just eat traditionally fried chicken as a treat/special occasion instead of making this.

Mongolian Beef and Broccoli – pg 190
This is tasty! Very tasty! I put in a little too much brown sugar so it’s a bit sweeter than it should be – but it’s still amazingly delicious. This one is a major hit with Hubby. I served this alone and with rice. Love it both ways!

Slow-Cooker Picadillo – pg 193
So easy but delicious! I spent a lot of time tasting this as it was cooking…with a lot of burning of the tongue, lol. I’m really enjoying these ground beef recipes for lunch. I tried it with rice (basmati) which was fine. BUT then I used it as taco meat in a very simple (and light) taco: soft shell tortilla, .25 oz cheddar jack, some diced mini heirloom tomatoes and diced red onion. OMG. OMG! YUM.

Irresistible Vegetable Medley – pg 274
This recipe is pretty simple and delicious! I’ve made something quite like this before but in honor of my SkinnyTaste Cookbook, I decided to gussy this recipe up a little. I used purple cauliflower instead of regular cauliflower. Please note: purple cauliflower is genetically more like broccoli and has different nutritional value.

I also have tried a decent handful of the recipes located on the Skinnytaste blog. These are delicious, too. I find that the Skinnytaste blog is a great place to go when I’m out shopping and didn’t meal plan. I just pick something tasty right from the blog.

From the Skinnytaste blog:
Avocado Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette *loved*
I made this for my mother-in-law the last time she came to visit. OMG. Both of us LOVED this. But my MIL was in heaven.

Cilantro Lime Cauliflower “Rice”
This is delicious but hubby isn’t a fan of cauliflower rice, lol. I haven’t made this often.

Korean Beef Rice Bowls *loved*
Ok. This right here? This is my jam! I loved this one soooo much. I tried it with and without rice – it was great both ways. I also tried it with Quinoa and I liked it. I also tried it with sriracha and *OMG* divine.

Chicken Parmigiana Burgers
I made this recently but I substituted turkey for the chicken. Not the best idea, lol. It was ok. I spread garlic bread spread on the buns which was pretty delicious. But the turkey tasted strange with the other flavor profiles. I do plan to make this again. One day.

Shawarma-Spiced Grilled Chicken with Garlic Yogurt *loved*
OMG. This has such BIG flavor. HUGE flavor. And the garlic yogurt is strong, lol. Every time I opened my lunch bag the scent of garlic would smack me in the nose. But I really enjoyed it a lot. This is staying in the rotation.

Kenyan Braised Collard Greens and Ground Beef (Sukuma Wiki) *hated*
I was so surprised by how much [hubby and] I disliked this. We both like spicy/hot foods but there was something about this flavor profile that just didn’t work. I’m not sure but I think the cinnamon is what bothered me. One of my co-workers is Kenyan and a fabulous cook. I keep meaning to ask him for his opinion on this one.

Make-Over Breakfast Sausage and Mushroom Strata
I liked this just fine. I would want more sausage for flavor, however. I do plan to try this again.

Crock Pot Chicken A La Criolla
I quite liked this. My mother-in-law liked this, too. Hubby was not a fan.

All in all, I love this book (and the blogs)! I’m so glad hubby got it for me and it will be getting a pretty good workout!

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