In WITF's Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

Review - Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes

Written by Chef Donna Desfor | Jan 13, 2017 5:58 PM
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Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes, by Gina Homolka, with Heather K. Jones, R.D.
Copyright © 2016 by Gina Homolka.  All rights reserved.  

Our Summary:

Skinnytaste Fast and Slow is like having at hand a home-cooks everyday eating manual.  With 140 dishes that are about as basic as it gets, this book spins that everyday hum-drum into quick or slow cooker, vegetarian, gluten-free or dairy-free options.  Portion control wins the day over flavor here, but that's not to say these recipes lack appeal.  They get the job done.

What you need to know:

Get it:  Published by Clarkson Potter, October 11, 2016, Hardcover $30.00 (Amazon: $18.00; Kindle: $15.99)
See it:  304 pages with color photos of virtually all the finished dishes.  Each recipe includes a coded recipe key for Quick, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Freezer Friendly, plus a nutritional breakdown per serving for each recipe.
Make it:  90 Quick and 40 Slow-Cooker recipes, plus a month of meal ideas around 1,500 calories each based largely on the recipes in the book.

Our Review:

It's easy to be skeptical about healthy cookbooks.  There aren't many that deliver practical, delicious food for real people with busy lives.  Skinnytaste Fast and Slow jumps on the healthy eating bandwagon but manages to deliver - manageable recipes, a variety of dishes from breakfast through dinner and dessert, and a reasonable caloric count per serving.  Plus, if you're eating dairy-free or gluten-free, there are enough recipes to satisfy your dietary needs.

That all said, to be fair, the gluten-free recipes in Skinnytaste Fast and Slow have only an asterisk warning to "read the label" to be sure an ingredient is gluten-free.  And, while you're not going to learn to bake a gluten-free birthday cake recipe in this collection, it's a pleasant reminder that much of our food is naturally gluten-free and the addition of flavor in the form of a spice blend or seasoning shouldn't limit you from enjoying that. 

Along the lines of dietary considerations, it is worthy to note the portion sizes for each recipe.  Standard 4- to 6- ounce servings of proteins and up to 1 cup of vegetables or vegetable-based recipes is fair, but might seem a bit small in today's super-sized food culture.  And though the caloric, saturated fat and sugar numbers all seem to be in check, it's the high sodium content of just about every dish that might concern your cardiologist.

Still, when everything is said and done, Skinnytaste Fast and Slow isn't meant to be a new diet or even a way to cook for an old one.  It's about the desire to cook in our own kitchens within the time constraints and dietary needs that we have.  And to that end, this book seals the deal.  You'll find easy, manageable recipes that take you through breakfast (brussels sprouts hash with bacon and eggs), one-bowl meals (slow-cooker chicken burrito bowls), main dishes (slow-cooker turkey meatloaf, Brazilian black beans with collard greens, and baked fish and chips), sides (baked sweet plantains with cheese), and dessert (banana pudding cups or slow-cooker pumpkin flan).  When it comes to managing a busy day, a reasonable approach to healthy eating, and still getting a meal on the table without too much fuss, these are the recipes that will get the job done.

The Recipes (Reprinted with permission from Skinnytaste Fast and Slow. Copyright © 2016 by Gina Homolka. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Helene Dujardin. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.):

Savory Quinoa Breakfast Bowls

Slow Cooker Beef and Two-Bean Chili

Veggie Stuffed Flounder Sheet Pan Dinner

Published in Donna Marie Desfor

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