Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What to Cook? What to Eat?

I don't know about the rest of you but I go through stages where I am completely bored with what I am eating.  I tend to have a few things that I keep in rotation for breakfast and lunch (mostly because I eat both meals at work) and then I vary dinner.  When I get in one of these moods I generally sit down and start reading cookbooks or go through my file with index cards of recipes.

A couple weeks ago, I was in BJs (a warehouse store) and I walked by the book section as usual.  This book caught my eye:

Of course I've seen the "Eat This, Not That" book series before but never purchased one because honestly, I already knew most of their suggestions.  This book is different because they've taken dishes from popular restaurants and come up with a healthier version or come up with a different dish that gives the same flavors for less fat and calories. It is divided into sections: Breakfast, Appetizers & Small Bites, Doups & Salads, Sandwiches & Burgers, Off the Grill, Pasta, American Classics, Ethnic Dishes, Sides, Snacks & Sauces, and Desserts & Drinks.  Additionally there are pages and pages of information on how to stock your pantry, buy pots and pans, and has pages like the snack matrix or the skewer grid.  The whole book appealed to me because I do quite a bit of cooking - we just are not folks who eat out a lot.  I purchased the book and read it cover to cover like a novel.  On Sunday, I tried my first dish.  I went to the Ethnic Dishes section and chose the Chicken Fried Rice.  The authors compare this to PF Chang's Fried Rice (means nothing to me as I've never eaten at a PF Changs) and say that by making their version you save 1,142 calores, 54g fat, and 3828 mg of sodium!  Sold!

I did make a couple of changes to the recipe.  The original recipe calls for using boneless, skinless chicken thighs and I used breast meat instead.  I also used 12 ounces instead of the 8 oz. called for.  I did this because I knew if I didn't Mr. Helen would be yelling, "Where's the meat?!"  The result was a delicious veggie loaded stir fry!  I will be making this again and would even consider making it meatless as a side dish. Here are a few photos of the process.

My 12 oz. of chicken breast, diced.  You can see I had to microwave thaw a bit
 so some of it started to cook, sigh!

Here are all the veggies as I began to cook them:
Broccoli florets, diced zucchini, julienned carrots, mushrooms, green onions, garlic - yum!

Added the rice to the pot

The finished dish - so delish!

The recipe is supposed to be 4 servings but even Mr. Helen agreed that it made more like 5-6 servings for us.  I am glad I spent the $12 on this cookbook and added it to my repertoire.  It really is a visually beautiful cookbook with gorgeous full page photos of the finished dishes.

I would recommend this cookbook as a great investment to anyone who is willing to cook at home - especially if you do like the flavors in dishes that you could buy in national chain restaurants. 

Disclaimer:  I purchased "Cook This, Not That" on my own.  This review is entirely mine and my experience and I have not been compensated in any way! (Other than a great meal, that is.)


  1. I got the first one, and love it! Minus the broccoli (LOL), that looks delish!

  2. I'm so bored with my food too!!! I'm buying that book this minute. Amazon here I come!

  3. That does look really good, and I have to have pretty pictures. I just like to browse through my cookbooks every once in a while. THanks Helen! I think I'm gonna keep the trail to Amazon hot!

  4. I've seen that book and now I'm going to have to buy it. I'm like you, I get bored and I now have a bunch of Clean Eating or Healthy Cookbook magazines in my cupboard and on Saturdays I start flipping through them to see what I can make that is different. I've been fortunate to have found a few that I really like.
    The recipe you did, looks so delish - I like my stir frys....

  5. I do love cookbooks! But try not to buy them! )hello! library!) This cookbook looks like one to but and the price is right!
    The fried rice looks good. PF Changs is good but like the cookbook says-way too much fat/calories/sodium and everything is way too expensive!


  6. Looks yummy! Thanks for the great review and pictures. I think I'll try this this week. May have to get the book too. I love you cool bowl, too!

  7. I haven't heard of that book, but I have seen the Eat This, Not That - and passed it by for the same reason as you.

    I have had P.F. Chang's Fried Rice and it is stunning - but very oily so that probably jacks up the calories and fat.

    Yours looks delicious!!

  8. I, too, am a cookbook (and food) lover. That recipe looks great. I love that you called him Mr. Helen. That cracked me up!

  9. That looks great! I just bought Pioneer Woman's cookbook yesterday at Sam's Club, but I probably should have gotten the one you did as hers is not diet-friendly. It is, however, funny and full of beautiful pictures...and I am supporting a fellow blogger, so there's that!

  10. Thanks for the great cookbook recommendation! Most of our meals are cooked at home. I'll be checking it out from the library and then I'll buy it if it's as good as it looks!