Hold on to your panties, ladies, Rocco DiSpirito’s got something special for you, and it’s not just his pretty face. His new cookbook, Now Eat This! showcases 150 new options for eating your favorite splurge foods the healthy way, all at under 350 calories (just in time for this calorie-laden season).
As he explains in the book’s first few pages, Rocco takes on America’s favorite “bad boys” — “those foods that we desperately love but that really aren’t good for us.” (Cute, Rocco). He takes dishes like fried chicken, mac â€˜n’ cheese, pizza…and makes them over with less fat, fewer calories, and zero sugar, while still managing to make them taste satisfying.
He does this through “flavor-saving fat-free” cooking techniques…like “Faux Frying,” what Rocco calls the “superstar technique” of this book. Using this method, things like onion rings and chicken fingers are made using whole wheat flour instead of white flour, whipped egg whites instead of whole eggs, and whole wheat panko instead of breadcrumbs. Then, rather than deep frying, the breaded item is placed on a baking rack and sprayed with cooking spray, then baked in high-heat. Rocco swears you won’t miss the deep-fry with the delicious crisp crust you’ll get using this method. (Hmm… Faux Fried Twinkies, anyone? Thoughts?)
Two recipes – both of which employ the Faux Frying method – that caught my eye were the Gooey Jalapeno Poppers and Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Puree. Made the Rocco way, the Poppers went from 36 grams of fat to 5.3 grams per serving. The Coconut Shrimp plummeted from 33.2 g to 3.6 g. Now, I’m not a girl who typically counts her calories…but even I will admit, those comparisons are pretty impressive. I’m bookmarking these recipes for the next game day or cocktail party.
For today’s Friday Freebie, we’re giving away 2 copies of Now Eat This!, signed by Rocco himself.
To win, simply leave a comment here telling me:
Who’s What’s your favorite “bad boy” guilty pleasure dish (i.e. What’s that broodingly indulgent dish you keep going back to?)
Giveaway deadline is Thursday 11/18, 11:59 pm PST. (Contest is open to US residents only.)
Disclosure: This giveaway was made possible via free sample and giveaway donation by Rocco DiSpirito.
If you are so inclined to
stalk Rocco pick up some real time healthy tips and recipes, follow him @RoccoDiSpirito.
Recipe from Now Eat This! by Rocco DiSpirito
- 6 jalapeno peppers
- ½ cup shredded 75% reduced-fat cheddar, such as Cabot
- ¼ cup reduced-fat whipped cream cheese, such as Weight Watchers
- 4 scallions (white and green parts), chopped fine
- ½ cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 ½ cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs, such as Ian’s All-Natural
- 4 large egg whites
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Nonstick cooking spray
- ½ cup fat-free sour cream, such as Breakstone’s
- Preheat the broiler on high. Place a wire baking rack on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Cut each jalapeno in half and scrape out the seeds and membranes. Place the jalapenos on the prepared baking sheet and broil until they begin to char slightly and are partially cooked, about 2 minutes. Allow the jalapenos to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 450 F.
- In a small bowl, mix together the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and half of the scallions. Using a teaspoon, fill each jalapeno half with the cheese mixture, packing it in tightly.
- Put the flour in a shallow dish. Put the panko in a small dish. In a medium bowl, whip the egg whites with a whisk until they are extremely foamy but not quite holding peaks.
- Working in batches, dredge the jalapenos in the flour, shaking off any excess. Add the jalapenos to the egg whites and toss to coat completely, being careful not to let the filling come out. Add the jalapenos, a few pieces at a time, to the panko and coat completely.
- Spread the jalapenos out on the wire rack and season them generously with salt and pepper. Spray the jalapenos lightly with cooking spray. Bake until the breading is golden brown and crispy and the cheese is melted throughout, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the sour cream and the remaining scallions. Season with salt to taste.
- Serve the scallion sour cream with the hot poppers.
Recipe Source: LickMySpoon.com.
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Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Puree
Recipe from “Now Eat This!” by Rocco DiSpirito
¼ cup unsweetened large coconut flakes
¾ cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs, such as Ian’s All-Natural
¼ cup whole-wheat flour
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon coconut extract
8 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 8-ounce can unsweetened crushed pineapple in juice
½ teaspoon chili garlic sauce, such as Twong Ot Toi Vietnam
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread the coconut out on the prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until it is pale golden brown, about 7 minutes. Allow the coconut to cool completely.
- Place 3 tablespoons of the toasted coconut in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until it is finely chopped. In a small bowl, combine the pulsed coconut with the panko. (Reserve the remaining 1 tablespoon whole coconut flakes.)
- Raise the oven temperature to 450 F. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and set it aside.
- Place the flour in a shallow dish. In a medium bowl, whip the egg whites with a whisk until they are extremely foamy but not quite holding peaks; whisk the coconut extract into the egg whites. Dredge the shrimp in the flour, shaking off any excess. Add the shrimp to the egg whites and toss to coat completely. Then add the shrimp, a few at a time, to the coconut-panko mixture and coat completely.
- Place the breaded shrimp on the wire rack and season them generously with salt and pepper. Bake until the breading is golden and crispy and the shrimp are cooked through, about 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the pineapple (with its juice) with the chili garlic sauce until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon coconut flakes over the shrimp. Serve with the pineapple sauce for dipping.