Highly Recommended: Cook Yourself Thin

If you are looking to eat healthier or to lose weight, great recipes are the key, and Cook Yourself Thin: Skinny Meals You Can Make in Minutes can help you get started. This 80-recipe cookbook is a companion to the TV series Cook Yourself Thin, a Lifetime channel reality show that claims that you can have your cake and eat it too by substituting healthier, flavorful ingredients in all sorts of recipes from main dishes, sides, and desserts.

Cook Yourself Thin: Skinny Meals You Can Make in Minutes is not a normal cookbook nor is it a diet book. After the section with short bios of the three women from the TV show, the women discuss the philosophy of the book: cutting calories, changing diets, and improving health without sacrificing the foods people love. This section is actually lengthy, covering pages 21 to 73.

Besides the philosophy-section quiz to discover your dieting downfalls with a scoring section that describes the type of eater you are (on-the-run, sugar fiend, yo-yo dieter, or comfort food craver), there are other useful sections: how to get started, a quick guide to calories, guilty pleasures, ingredients for success, kitchen equipment, comparative cooking methods, smart calorie swaps, skinny alternatives, and exercise.  If you’ve seen the show and understand the women’s philosophy, some of these sections become less important since you already are most likely aware of the information.  I actually skipped this information when I first got the book.

After watching the show (view full online episodes) and looking at the show’s recipes online, I decided to buy the companion book.  I was disappointed that there were no additional recipes apart from the ones seen on the show; however, the book was worth buying.  Some of my favorite recipes are in this book, like Sauteed Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos with Mango and Pineapple Salsa, Spring Rolls with Lemongrass Dipping Sauce and Cucumber Salad, and Cheezy Chicken Parmesan with Zucchini “Pasta.”

While I haven’t made any of the desserts or floury products, I’m intrigued by the healthier substitutions the women use, like beets (for moisture and sugar) in some of the chocolate cakes.  It may not sound appetizing, but with the chocolate, apparently you can’t taste the beets.  In some other recipes, ground almonds are used to substitute for oil.

I do have a couple of problems with the book.  Some of the recipes are incorrect in the ingredient amounts, or they are missing the directions for when to use some ingredients.  I had to watch the online episode to figure out when to add the lemongrass to the cooking dipping sauce for the spring rolls.  Additionally, I’ve had trouble finding recipes in the index that I’ve made before because of the way the recipes are listed.  The latter is a minor complaint, though.

I highly recommend this book to those who are looking to eat more healthily than processed or fried food.  While I’m no longer making some of the recipes (as is) in the book because I’ve cut out almost all sugar, grains, and legumes, I still love various recipes.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ (5 out of 5)