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Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It - Live La Bella Vita and Look Great, Too!

Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It - Live La Bella Vita and Look Great, Too!

3.6 126
by Teresa Giudice, Heather Maclean (With)

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Eat Spaghetti and Still Fit Into Your Skinny Jeans

To many of us, "diet" is a four-letter word. And rightfully so. Starving yourself thin or keeping track of each bite like pennies in your checkbook is no way to live. So what's a girl with skinny jean dreams supposed to do?

Teresa Giudice has the answer. In fact, she was born with it. The


Eat Spaghetti and Still Fit Into Your Skinny Jeans

To many of us, "diet" is a four-letter word. And rightfully so. Starving yourself thin or keeping track of each bite like pennies in your checkbook is no way to live. So what's a girl with skinny jean dreams supposed to do?

Teresa Giudice has the answer. In fact, she was born with it. The first-generation Italian-American mom of four and svelte star of The Real Housewives of New Jersey credits her knockout figure to her Old World upbringing. And now, in her fun, encouraging, and budget-friendly cookbook, she skewers the myth that looking fabulous has to be a chore.

In Skinny Italian, she reveals how to: substitute tedious meal plans with simple, flavorful recipes; choose fresh, flavorful ingredients instead of counting calories; slow down and enjoy a faster metabolism; replace starvation with celebration by adopting an Italian attitude to cooking, eating, and entertaining; love food, love eating, and still love your body afterward!

Teresa shows how anyone can master the cornerstones of Italian cuisine. Learn how to make six different tomato sauces from scratch, how to choose and use the right olive oil, and how to prepare over sixty Giudice family recipes straight from Salerno. From Gorgeous Garlic Shrimp to Beautiful Biscotti, you'll want to make these sumptuous recipes again and again. Discover how easy and economical wholesome, homemade cooking can be.

Skinny Italian is not a diet book. It's an "eat it and enjoy it" book. Join Teresa and discover how gorgeous can be a sumptuous side effect to living la bella vita.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Giudice, famous for table flipping and gushing over her “juicy” husband, Joe, on Bravo's Real Housewives of New Jersey, offers a simple rundown of Italian standards like pesto and puttanesca sauces, veal piccata, steak pizzaiola, almond biscotti and the classic bellini in her authentic yet dishy look into food and family. Few recipes will surprise the seasoned Italian cook, though Giudice gets points for keeping dishes rather healthy while boosting flavor with fresh herbs, pungent garlic, and hot pepper. Coupled with family photos and sidebar comments about their friends and favorite dishes from Teresa and Joe, the book plays well to a younger, hipper home cook. With a focus on steering clear of reputation-ruining no-nos like jarred sauce and rinsing cooked pasta, Giudice dives into some deeper waters with coaching on making pizza dough and canning tomatoes. Though she tries a little too hard to make everything salacious, gorgeous, and fabulous, useful tips abound (the section on olive oil is titled “OO, VOO, EVOO, WTF?”). Take away the overblown catch phrases and effusive references to her mama, The Sopranos, and the motherland, and you're left with a solid mid-week Italian cookbook. Then again, perhaps it's the chatty Teresa and her feisty yet playful anecdotes that make this an irresistible, guilty pleasure. (May)

Product Details

Hachette Books
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
7.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

skinny ITALIAN



Copyright © 2010 Teresa Giudice
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4013-1035-6

Chapter One


The first thing people usually say to me when they find out I have four kids is that they could never tell from my body. I thank them, thinking this is a compliment, only to be quickly proven wrong. Follow-up questions immediately include: "What diet plan are you on?," "Do you live in the gym?," and my favorite, "What's the name of your plastic surgeon?"

If you watched the first season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, you know I was brave (or maybe crazy) enough to allow Bravo to film me going through the process of getting my "bubbies" done. If you saw me in the leopard-print bikini, you are totally on my side on this one. I worried, I cried, I kvetched, I kept changing my mind ... because this was the first surgery I'd ever had in my life.

When in Rome ... Salute = sah-LOO-tay

I swear on Us magazine, I have never had lipo, a tummy tuck, a "mommy makeover," or even a C-section. All of my children were born the old-fashioned way: with lots of pushing, screaming, cursing, and, thank God, pain medication, am a big fan of the epidural. Big knives near my body? Not so much.

I must exercise religiously then, right? Our lady of the heavens, no! I have four little ones to chase after; I barely have time for a manicure. We don't have a workout room in our house (unless you count the bedroom, which I do ...). I don't have a personal trainer or yoga master or whatever. I have no strict exercise regimen, although I'll admit, I like how I feel after I work out. But it's not my thing. I'd rather enjoy life with my kids than live in a gym.

And, let me assure you, I eat. I freakin' love food. Always have. Always will. Food is an integral part of my life and the lives of my family and friends. It's how we communicate, how we love, how we laugh. Food is our second language. It's lovingly prepared, shared, toasted, savored, slathered (you read that right), and occasionally, if you push my buttons, thrown. Food is such a sensual pleasure. The thought of shoving your fingers into freshly made dough, of licking the dripping tomato sauce off the spoon ... I'm making it sound like a giant aphrodisiac, and as I sit here, looking at the four beautiful kids Joe and I created, I'm thinking maybe it is.

Eating is definitely one of the greatest joys on earth, and I wouldn't give it up for anything. My mother, who never dieted a day in her life, used to shake her head and say, "Think of those poor women on the Titanic who refused dessert!"

In other words: life is short; pass the cannoli.

I'll admit, before I was on TV, I never thought so much about my own body and the way I eat. You think you've spent your entire adolescence in front of the mirror, but until you're cornered at Costco with curious fans literally picking through your cart to see what you're buying, you have no idea. It's bizarre. Suddenly, everyone wants the skinny on my ass.

And honestly, I don't blame them (although, if you see me, please keep your hands off my fresh vegetables-that kind of skieves me out). I like to know what my friends eat. I'm interested in Oprah's favorite foods. Actually, I like Gayle's picks better; girlfriend knows how to enjoy her food!

And everything about food and nutrition in this country has become a big confusing mess. Is Splenda safe? Nutrasweet? Olestra? Which one gives you the runs? Seriously, somebody tell me because I am not having that.

What's in one day is out the next. Remember when eggs were the enemy? Now, they're fine. For a while, you were supposed to eat lots of meat-was that the Atkins, Pritikin, or caveman diet?-then suddenly, meat wasn't okay. Now, half the "experts" say you need protein at every meal, and half say you don't need it ever. Milk was bad, then it was good, then it was even better because it was supposed to help you lose weight. Now I've heard it's going back on the bad list. Too bad, because my girls drink milk, milk, milk all day long, and there's no chance I'm stopping them. They love it! Me too.

Even the government and all those nutritional experts don't know what's what, since they had to change their little nutrition pyramid guide into some weird triangle thing that nobody understands.

Like you, I have more than one friend who's been on so many different food plans, she's completely forgotten how to eat. Jill pours salt over her food to make herself stop eating. I've actually found Leah picking brownie crust out of her trash can. And Heidi went to a no-carbs boot camp and went so crazy, I had to block her number from my cell phone until she promised to eat a piece of bread.

I'm not a nutritionist or food scientist or a fancy chef. I'm just like you: a regular girl with two eyes and a brain and enough common sense not to buy any of this crap. I've always loved my body, and I've been eating the exact same way since the day I was born. I can tell you in two words why I can eat, eat, eat and still look fabulous: Italian food.

Both of my parents were born and raised in Italy. I was actually conceived there right before my parents moved to America in 1971. (My ma didn't even know she was pregnant. She just wondered why her clothes kept getting tighter.) My brother and I grew up in Paterson, New Jersey, but inside our house, it might as well have been Salerno. We ate real Italian food-not the bastardized fast-food version of it-every single day. My ma shopped at the farmer's market and the local Italian grocery to make sure she could get the same little envelopes of spices and secret ingredients from home. Real Italian food uses olive oil, not heavy cream. We grill and sauté; we don't bread, dunk, and deep-fry. And we use fresh ingredients, not stuff floating in formaldehyde (I know canned foods don't really have formaldehyde in them, but all those preservatives and artificial flavorings are still like poison to your body).

You and I both know gorgeous Italian women who are skinny not because they eat healthy Italian food, but because they starve themselves. But that's the exception, not the rule. You can find neurotic people who obsess about food from any ethnicity. (Bethenny, honey, you really want me to order a steak and only eat three bites of it? Are you freakin' kidding me?) Need proof that Italian women who cook and eat up a storm of true Italian food can still have fabulous figures? Google Giada De Laurentiis, drool for a minute, and then come back to me.

I want everyone to be able to enjoy la dolce vita. I'm going to teach you how to throw painful portion control (and even your measuring cups) out the window, to enjoy, entertain, and eat the most luscious foods on the planet, and to love-love-love your life and the body that comes with it.

Welcome to the Italian way of life. Salute!

What exactly do the Italians know about food and health? In a word: everything. We've had more than two thousand years of practice. The oldest surviving cookbook in the world, De Re Conquinaria, is from Italy. Apicius is believed to have written it in the first century A.D., and you can bet your ass it doesn't include wheatgrass or tofu.

Italian food was named the favorite cuisine of 72 percent of the 500,000 Americans polled by Food & Wine magazine (and you know why). It's easy to forget, however, that it's some of the healthiest food in the world. Our national toast, salute, means "to your health." And we mean it. According to the CIA's World Factbook 2009, for all our fancy technology and advanced medicine and world-class hospitals, the average life expectancy in America for a woman is eighty years. In Italy, it's eighty-three. Imagine adding three entire years to your life! And for eating bread and pasta? Gimme some of that!

Before we get into more of my Italian heritage, I want to get into yours. Italians are famous for their hospitality, and I want you to feel truly at home here, together in our little Italian book. No matter where your family is actually from, considering the Romans conquered pretty much the entire world, it's safe to say that you're Italian too, whether you like it or not. But you will love it, I promise!

I've got a college degree in fashion, not food, but I think growing up in a 100 percent Italian household, speaking the language since I could talk, and eating my ma's cooking since I could walk, more than qualifies me to dish on the deliciousness of Italian cuisine. I make my own sauce (of course!), and also my own sausage, and even wine (not to sell or anything, just to always have what we like on our table). My husband and I opened a traditional Italian restaurant in Hillside, New Jersey: Giuseppe's Homestyle Pizzeria. My dad is there every day, helping plan the daily specials from the Old Country.

My husband and my in-laws are Italian too. My "juicy" husband, Giuseppe (most people call him Joel, was born in Italy. Both Joe's and my parents are from the same small town in Salerno, Sala Consilina, although they didn't become friends until they all moved to America in the 1970s. When he was three years old, Joe was actually in the hospital with his parents the day I was born, waiting to meet me; so I guess he's been chasing me since I came out of the womb.

We had a crush on each other all through our childhoods (yes, we even "played house"), although my mother always warned me against liking him because he was a "bad boy." He was a whole twelve years old at the time.

We've been married for ten years and are blessed with four beautiful children. Food is such a major part of our lives, and I'm so happy I now get to cook in the kitchen with my kids.

When we were growing up, both Joe and had kitchen chores and had to be at the dinner table cleaned up and on time every night. Things were different back then: the man expected dinner on the table, kids quietly waiting in their seats for him, when he walked in the door. Yeah, I know there are tons of men-Joe included-who would love that to be the rule today, too. But the men used to come home at 5:30 every night. That's right, 5:30. When's the last time you or your man were home for dinner at that time? Joe comes home at a different time every night. I never know when to expect him. How am I supposed to have a hot dinner ready?

I do make dinner for him and my family, of course, five nights a week (Friday is family restaurant night and Saturday is date night), but I generally don't get started until he gets home. The beauty of Italian cooking, though, is that most dishes are so simple, especially if you have certain sauces and herbs around at all times, that they can be made pretty quickly. Fresh, quick, easy, and delicious? Sign me up, right?

I'll cook anywhere. My husband and I go over to Chris and Jacqueline Laurita's house a lot. The men play poker while we cook. Well, let's be honest, I cook and Jacqueline watches. I'm kidding (sort of). She makes appetizers and Ill make the main course. Open a bottle of wine, catch up on all our gossip, it's the best!

Jacqueline is allergic to seafood, which is fine since my husband has a tendency to let all of the crabs we catch at the Jersey Shore go when he's had too much to drink. (There's this little bushel with a top on it that sits in the water to keep the crabs alive and fresh, and what does Joe do? He flings the entire freakin' crate into the ocean so hard, the top falls off, and the whole bucket swims away. He had to make the trip of shame to the grocery store that night for store-bought crabs ... and gelatos of apology. I'd forgive anyone who brings me Gelotti's, my favorite ice cream shop in Paterson. Well, almost anyone.)

All right, I have a confession to make. It's been ten years since my first solo Italian meal. If you do the math, you'll quickly figure out I haven't been cooking since I was a kid. In fact, I didn't know how to cook at all until I got married. I helped in the kitchen, of course, but I wasn't allowed to touch anything important or mix things or taste and experiment, so mostly, like any kid, I did my chores in a trance. Italian mammas are famous for taking care of their families so well that their kids never want to leave. Most Italian boys go right from their ma's house to their wife's. Same with me and Joe. I was super excited to get married, but once it was all over and I was standing in the kitchen, preparing to make my first "married" meal, I panicked I had no idea what to do. When you're dating, everything you make for your guy is good. But now l felt like the bar was raised a bit. Like he was going to compare whatever I cooked him to his mom's fabulous food.

I reached for the phone, called my own ma, and cried to her like a baby (in Italian, of course).

She actually taught me how to cook over the phone. That should tell you how easy it is to make delicious Italian food. Me, I'm not going to wait until my girls get married to teach them how to cook. I'm starting now, even though they're tiny. They have their little jobs in the kitchen, and I just love to be around them and cook with them.

Since not everyone has a relative from the Amalfi coast to call in a cooking crisis, I decided to write this book to pass on some of our family's tips, tricks, and traditions. It's a love letter to my mamma. It's a lesson plan for my kids. And it's a "welcome to the family" for you. I'm far too young to be your mother, but I'll be your Italian best friend-the fiery, kind of crazy one, who's always good for a bottle of wine, a big dish of pasta, and a million laughs.

Some stereotypes are true: everyone loves an Italian girl. I'll teach you how to embrace your inner paesan, how to cook like Mamma, entertain like an angel, and how to stoke the fires in your kitchen, relationships, and even the bedroom.

Allora! Let's get started!

Chapter Two

The Cornerstones of Italian Cuisine (or Things Not Found at the Olive Garden)

I'm sorry if this dashes your dreams, but you gotta know this: the Olive Garden does not serve Italian food. They serve American-Italian food; and there's a big, big difference-a difference you will see in your big, big butt if you only eat that kind of food.

Every one of our families came to America from another country at some point in time, and brought with us our cultures, traditions, languages, and, of course, food But when it's all thrown into that great big "melting pot," sometimes the ingredients get more than a little muddled,

I love-love-love my country, but we're not known for having the healthiest national foods. (God love us, but what other country serves deep-fried butter-on-a-stick?) The Americanization of Italian food has unfortunately given a lot of Italian food a bad rap for being unhealthy.

Ravioli is a perfect example The Italians have been eating the small envelopes of pasta stuffed with herbs and meats for more than seven hundred years It's a cheap, easy, and nutritious food supposedly invented by sailors when they stuffed bits of their leftover dinner into balls of pasta to save it for later. Fast-forward to America and the invention of "toasted ravioli"-where a perfect ravioli is prepared, but then dipped in eggs, coated in bread crumbs, and thrown in a deep fryer full of freakin' vegetable oil like common French fries. Now you have 50 percent more calories and more than twice the fat. (I'm sorry, Andy Cohen at Bravo, I know you grew up in St. Louis where toasted ravioli was "invented," I know they even served it at your high school, but it's a big fat fake! It's not Italian food, and p.s., it's not even "toasted"!)

And pizza?

Don't get me started. What began in the Mediterranean as a lovely, rustic flatbread topped with local vegetables, herbs, and eventually tomato sauces morphed in America into a giant, doughy, greasy, cheese-filled monster with entire other meals like cheeseburgers and barbecued chicken thrown on top. I'm not sayin' American (especially Chicago-style) pizza doesn't taste good. But it's a bastardized, belly-bulging version of what the Italians would eat.

Of course pizza and ravioli and pasta alfredo are all Italian words, so it's easy to think they are Italian foods. But, if you're in a typical American store or restaurant, they're probably as authentic Italian as the Dolce & Cabbana handbags sold on the corner of Fifth Avenue.

No one likes a poser. So how can you tell the difference between true Italian cuisine and a knockoff? Here's a handy cheat sheet.


Excerpted from skinny ITALIAN by Teresa Giudice HEATHER MACLEAN Copyright © 2010 by Teresa Giudice. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Teresa Giudice is the star of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. After a career in the fashion industry, Teresa and her husband opened a restaurant in Hillside, New Jersey: Giuseppe's Homestyle Pizzeria. Giudice has been married to fellow Italian and childhood sweetheart Joe Giudice for 10 years. The couple has four daughters: Gia, Gabriella, Milania, and Audriana.

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Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It - Live La Bella Vita and Look Great, Too! 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 124 reviews.
Nickolet More than 1 year ago
Worth every dollar and wish it was hardcover because it's a definite keeper!!! This one will get worn out for sure, I just love-love-LOVE what she offers to the common housewife! It is well written in that she makes you feel right at home as you're reading the book and like she is right there with you helping you along the way. Like you're already a part of the family! She is very educational in plain language and I especially love the olive oil and pizza sections! The Juicy Bits from Joe are awesome and Chapter 11 is a special bonus, THANK YOU! If you're looking for a glimpse into what REAL authentic Italian home cooking & living is like, this one is for you! If you're looking for a healthy way of life, this one is for you too! It's beautiful, just get it and enjoy! My kitchen smells fantastic from the very first recipe!
Heather_Maclean More than 1 year ago
Full disclosure: I helped Teresa write this book, so of course I think it's phenomenal (it's very informative, very funny, and the full-color photographs on every page are as delicious as the recipes). But I'm also the first case study on whether her authentic, Italian recipes and advice on Mediterranean living really work. Will they make you skinny? In a word: YES. I lost 12 POUNDS the first month of writing this book. If you know anything about writing a book, it's the most sedentary thing you can do--you sit for hours, stay up late, and snack to stay awake. I usually gain weight when I'm writing. And if you know anything about me, I hate to exercise, and I can't cook. But of course, I couldn't write a book I didn't believe in, so I followed Teresa's advice, made all the recipes like a reader would, and changed my eating habits to live like Teresa lives. And it worked!! "Skinny Italian" isn't just the best, most delicious diet ever, it's a way of life. My family and I are olive oil converts (we even use it to make pancakes now), I gained so much confidence in the kitchen, and I feel like I'm taking better care of my kids, feeding them good food full of love. I've kept the weight off, I feel so much healthier (especially heart healthier), and I enjoy cooking now. Of course I want people to buy the book, but more than anything, I want other people to feel as great as I do all from cooking and eating great food. (If it didn't work, believe me, I would just keep my mouth shut...) I can testify truthfully that Teresa's recipes are easy to make, incredibly delicious, and skinny, skinny, skinny! - Heather
CCinME More than 1 year ago
Love Teresa from RHONJ - had to buy this book immediately - I even paid retail for it which I never do! I have made several meals and each one has been quick, easy and sooooo delish! My family has declared that the pizza made from this book is the only pizza they will ever eat. This is more than a cookbook. You can read it cover to cover - which I did - and then tab your favorites. I have so many sticky notes sticking out of mine already! Teresa has put alot of practical information and research into this book. I found it entertaining, informative and practical. Joe's juicy bits are a hoot! Best of all, this is healthy eating which is delicious - I have never made a dish from a recipe that I did not have to "tweak" somehow - until now. Each recipe is clear and easy - I have followed them to the "T" and would not change a thing. I hope Teresa comes out with more recipes - another book - a show on Food Network - LOVE LOVE LOVE HER!!!
ciciri More than 1 year ago
if you're looking for a "diet" book... don't look here... this is not a "diet" book... instead it's way better... this book made me feel like I was sitting across the kitchen table from Teresa having a friendly chat --- it's fun and informal and the recipes are wonderful... Teresa takes you into her home, her life, her family and makes you feel warm and welcome... wish it was in hard-cover because this book is a definite keeper... Hope she writes another one...
Bella25PA More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading this book.....yea I said READ. Imagine that a cookbook you can actually read! I have loads of pages flagged and can't wait to start cooking. The recipes list normal ingredients and not complicated. I love how Teresa talks to you like a your girlfriend and explains olive oil, spices, and herbs for all us everyday cooks. I love her straight-from-the hip language it's written it too. Thanks Teresa!! And who cares if you flip a table or two.....La Bella Vita!!
amyfrommo More than 1 year ago
Easy to read and organized. Recipes require "normal" ingredients. Love it. Thank you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This cookbook is incredibly boring and unoriginal. None of the recipes I tried were any good. They had no taste at all.
RunningWithScalpels More than 1 year ago
I don't know if it's because I have the ebook version of Skinny Italian and an autographed hard copy of Fabulicious, but I like Fabulicious better. I think the digitization of this one kind of ruins it a bit for me. However, there are some great recipes in here and sound advice on buying olive oil, when to use fresh vs. dry herbs, ect that I liked. I just like the recipes in Fabulicious more.
gem18tam More than 1 year ago
I was never a huge fan of the show so I bought this only because it looked like a good cookbook, and am very glad I did. The recipes are easy to follow, and the ingredients are so reasonable - not like a lot of recipes that call for 20 or more ingredients, half of which you'll never use again. Some of Teresa's recipes are faster than others, but so far none of the ones I've tried have taken so long to make that I wouldn't do it on a normal weeknight. I've tried a lot of the recipes and the red sauces really stand out, as well as the pork chop recipe. As a bonus to the tasty food, this cookbook really is fun to read - Teresa's anecdotes and explanations are interesting, and I love that there are pictures of almost every recipe. I haven't had the chance to try out the cocktails or desserts yet, but they look delicious. I took off one star because several of the pasta dishes that don't call for a red sauce look creamy in the pictures but come out pretty dry when made exactly as described in the book.
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I found the book to be like a copy of other italian cookbooks already in print. I was hoping for an old family cookbook with great flavors and I was greatly disappointed. I love healthy Italian cooking but this one wasn't worth the money.
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Duffy52 More than 1 year ago
I took the chance in buying this and I'm glad I did! Just came back from Italy for the third time and wanted to start learning the Italian way. Boy, did I learn a lot from this book! Great, simple recipes and an emphasis on REAL food and ingredients. Great job, Teresa. Now start being nicer on your show:)
wmf More than 1 year ago
I think that the recipes should be from her ( Teresa) and not from her mother and her mother in-law. But the recipes do looking good
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