Sunday, January 11, 2015

Review of The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka

The nutshell: Gina Homolka puts together a cookbook that has you cooking more healthy. The subtitle is: light on calories, big on flavor. An assortment of recipes ranging from appetizers to sandwiches to meat, poultry and fish dishes to veggies. Her introduction helps you learn how to navigate through her cookbook and gives you tips as to what to look for. Some recipes are dairy free, some gluten free, some veggie only. With freezer friendly and slow cooker recipes included, this cookbook covers everything you can think of.

Pro's: I love the pictures. I'm a lover of cookbooks and I love pictures. Being a visual learner, it's what my eye goes to first. I find I skip over recipes that don't have pictures and am drawn to the recipes that do have the pictures. The pictures in this cookbook are vibrant and eye catching.

Con's: As in any cookbook, there are recipes I wouldn't necessarily make. Some I am turned away from as I am cooking for a teenager and a pre-teen and I know they wouldn't eat muscles or seafood stew.

Recommendation: I'm enjoying this cookbook now that my husband and I are counting calories and with it being a low-cal book, it's fitting perfectly in my recipe planning. The recipes are fairly easy and some do call for unusual items (but that depends on your personal cupboard).

The recipe I made out of this cookbook:

Chicken Marsala on the Lighter Side
Serves 4

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour (I substituted gluten free flour)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (I substituted a white onion)
  • 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms (I substituted regular sliced mushrooms for the cremini and shiitake mushrooms)
  • 3 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup Marsala wine (I substituted sherry cooking wine)
  • 1/2 cup Swanson 88% fat-free chicken broth (I used natural chicken stock)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 200°F.

Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 4 cutlets. Put each cutlet between two sheets of plastic wrap and lightly pound them until they are about 1/4 inch thick. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper.

Place an 18-inch-long length of wax paper on the counter. Put the flour in a shallow bowl and lightly dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, shaking off any excess. Put the chicken on the wax paper; reserve the 1 teaspoon remaining flour to use later.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the butter and 1 teaspoon of the olive oil to the pan and swirl the pan until the butter has melted. Add the chicken and cook until slightly golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking dish and place in the oven to keep warm.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon olive oil to the skillet. Add the garlic and shallots and cook until soft and golden, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the reserved 1 teaspoon of flour and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the Marsala wine, chicken broth, and parsley.

Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Return the chicken to the skillet with the mushrooms, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer in the sauce to let the flavors blend, about 4 to 5 minutes.

To serve, put a piece of chicken on each of 4 serving plates. Spoon the mushrooms and sauce evenly over the top, and serve hot.

Per serving (1 breast + mushrooms and sauce): calories 241; fat 8 g; saturated fat 2.5 g; cholesterol 80 mg; carbohydrate 10 g; fiber 1 g; protein 26 g; sugars 2 g; sodium 428 mg.

Adapted from The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka, Clarkson Potter 2014.

Waterbrook Multnomah sent me this complimentary book to review for them. Opinions expressed are my own.

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