Cooking + Cold = No go

Poor Janet and Greta. It was their turn to shine during April. There are so many great looking recipes in their most recent book, Eat, Shrink and Be Merry, that I had a long list of things to try.

Then I caught the devil of all colds. So nasty that I have missed TWD challenges, some work and 4 of my last 5 swims. Food didn't interest me, unless it was cold and soothing on the throat.

Fortunately I managed a few recipes before the cold hit.

As I understand it, Eat, Shrink and Be Merry is recently making itself known in the US cookbook market. Here in Canada, however, the sisters have been around for years. Their first cookbook, Looneyspoons, has been on my shelf almost since it was first published (and if you have a copy, hold onto it for dear life as I just read on Janet and Greta's blog that it is no longer published!) Their follow up book Crazy Plates has lived in my home for almost as long as Looneyspoons has, and has been a book that I gifted to a few people.

When the sisters came out with their own frozen food line several years back, I even had the chance to meet them and chat with them briefly.

With their prior history with me, it is no wonder that I snapped up Eat, Shrink and Be Merry when it first hit Canadian bookstores. My copy has notes and dog ears. I've read it from front to back, enjoying the jokes and puns, but also enjoying the nutritional facts, cooking tips and little stories. But typical of me, I read more of the book than I ever cooked from it.

I decided to start with a recipe from "Don't have a cow, Man!" Pizza for the Upper Crust, otherwise known as Grilled Margherita pizza, on page 70. This vegetarian pizza is a basic pizza, made only with tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella. It was tasty, with a nice crispy crust, but would not have fed a crowd, though it cut into 8 slices.

After that, I moved onto a recipe from "Poultry in Motion", The Better Butter Chicken (page 82). Not only was butter chicken from scratch on my to do list for this year, I had seen the sisters make their version of butter chicken on their TV show, also called Eat, Shrink and Be Merry.

This recipe was tasty, but it was not my idea of butter chicken. Nor was it my children's idea, and they love butter chicken. I would call this creamy, tomato chicken, and would make it again, but would not tell people it was butter chicken.

This next recipe was made with no plans to feed it to the children at all. From the section called, "A Chorus Loin, " Wok This Way, Asian beef stir-fry with basil and red bell pepper (page 115).

My husband and I love going out for Thai food together, and beef with basil was one of the things we had together the first time we went out. So I had high expectations for this dish. Perhaps too high. It was good, the beef was flavorful and tender, but it was not what I was expecting. We both agreed that we enjoyed it, but would stick with our usual Thai restaurant if we wanted real beef and basil, though, again, I would make this again.

Staying in "A Chorus Loin," I moved on to making Kebob's Your Uncle, beef kabobs with pineapple and vegetables, found on page 128. I actually changed this a tiny bit, grilling the pineapple and veggies separately from the beef, knowing that my children would not enjoy quite as many vegetables as we adults would. I also added chunks of red onions because I like red onions. And the children don't. Nor do they like red peppers, though they like pineapple. Hence the small change.

These were very good. The beef was tender and flavorful, the veggies were nicely grilled and also tasty. This would be a nice company bbq meal, though with 1 3/4 lbs of sirloin steak, a bit pricey.

I had a chance to get one more recipe in before the cold struck, from "A Beautiful Grind," the Ooh-la-la-sagna! on page 137. This recipe came together quickly, and baked up nicely, a generous pan full of lasagna, filled with chunks of sausage, beef, spinach and ricotta. Mine looks like it has huge amounts of cheese on the top, and it does, but only because I forgot to add them in between the ricotta spinach layer and the last layer of whole wheat noodles, so I added them all on the top instead.

This recipe didn't do much for me, but I admit, I am not a huge fan of lasagna. It was good, and I'd make it again for the family, but would be sure to make bread and salad with it, so I could fill up on those and only have a small piece of the lasagna.

This book has alot of variety in it, including dessert recipes that I did not get a chance to make, though I had previously made the Died-and-Gone-to-Heaven Chocolate layer cake (which is NOT a healthy, low fat, low calorie recipe, but is instead Janet and Greta's fun recipe, listed under the chapter of "You're Gonna Die Anyway.")

There are more recipes in this book that I have made before, though not during the month of April. And this book will stay on my main shelf.

Now, I am finally feeling better, finally getting back to cooking, and eating, so I will have to go figure out what book I want to use for the month of May.


Helene said...

You sure gave it your best! Everything looks fantastic!

Deborah said...

You have my tummy growling and I just ate lunch!

Half Baked said...

They all looks good! I'd love that pizza right now:)

BC said...

I have all their cookbooks and some are pretty dog eared. The desserts are fantastic but do not freeze well! Too low in fat.

Brilynn said...

I generally find that lightened up versions of many dishes don't live up to the original, but they can still be good and therefore shouldn't market themselves as something that they're not, (like in the case of the butter chicken) because they end up disappointing that way.
Hope you're feeling better now!

breadchick said...

Oh Jenny,

I hope you are feeling better. That pizza looks excellent too!

Anonymous said...

Wow, everything looks wonderful!

Hamster said...

theres a good recipe for Thai basil chicken fried rice at
It's got about 30 recipes each one with a cooking video to go along

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That looks like one wonderful book. Actually I think I just need to come for dinner at your house especially if you're over the cold.