Now Eat This!: 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories

Now Eat This!: 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories

by Rocco DiSpirito

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345520906
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/02/2010
Series: Now Eat This Series
Pages: 246
Sales rank: 224,817
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

At the age of sixteen celebrated chef Rocco DiSpirito entered the Culinary Institute of America, and at eighteen began working for legendary chefs worldwide. After graduating from Boston University with a degree in business, he began working for such renowned New York chefs as Gray Kunz. In 1995 Rocco opened Dava and quickly earned two stars from Ruth Reichl at The New York Times. At thirty-one, Rocco opened Union Pacific in New York City and received three stars from The New York Times.
 
Hailed as one of Food and Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs, DiSpirito is the first chef to grace the cover of Gourmet magazine as “America’s Most Exciting Young Chef,” and was voted their “Leading Chef of his Generation.” Referred to as America’s original “Rockstar Chef,” Rocco has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, W, The New York Times, Details, House Beautiful, Us, OK! and People, including the Sexiest Man Alive issue.
 
DiSpirito received the James Beard Award for his first cookbook, Flavor. He went on to author Rocco’s Italian-American (2004), Rocco’s Five Minute Flavor (2005), Rocco’s Real-Life Recipes (2007), and Rocco Gets Real (2009).
 
DiSpirito also starred in the Food Network series Melting Pot, the NBC hit reality series The Restaurant, and the A&E series Rocco Gets Real. He is a content partner on Rachael Ray, and a frequent guest on Good Morning America and Top Chef. He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Chelsea Lately, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and NBC’s The Biggest Loser, and was the first chef to compete on the ABC megahit Dancing with the Stars.
 
In 2006 DiSpirito began his quest toward a more active and healthy life, competing in triathlons, including an Ironman 70.3. In November 2009 he was the spokesperson for and completed the Ironman in Clearwater, Florida, setting a personal-best time. Rocco lives in New York City and appreciates all that cooking has brought to him.

Read an Excerpt

how can i be expected to eat “healthy” if the healthy foods aren’t the ones i want to eat?
 
It’s a good question that you’ve probably asked yourself again and again. For many people, the answer is surrender. They make no attempt at all to eat healthfully. The consequence of this type of eating, however, is weight gain and oftentimes heart disease, diabetes, or other health problems, as well as a compromised quality of life, and even premature death.
 
For others, the answer is self-denial. They eat only vegetables, or fish, or soy, or chicken, or restrict their diets to low-fat, low-carb, or high-protein foods. They give up pasta, red meat, pork, cheese, fast food, slow food, pizza, or alcohol. For some it’s desperation. They take diet pills, vitamins, nutritional supplements, or drugs. They try the Hollywood Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet, the banana diet, the grapefruit diet, or the cabbage diet.
 
Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the number of overweight or obese Americans at more than 60 percent. We’ve all heard the stories, read the magazine articles, and watched the talk shows. America is seriously fat and seriously unhealthy. As crazy as it all sounds, you–or someone you know–have probably tried at least one of the aforementioned tactics in an effort to lose weight, get healthy, and look and feel good. I say: Stop the madness.
 
It’s not madness to want to look and feel good–and we should all want to be healthy–but I believe the way we’re going about it is colossally wrong. The real answer to that eternal question about eating “healthy” is to eat the foods you like, but eat healthful versions of them. That’s what this book is all about.
 
“bad boys” made good
 
So why did I write this book? I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or physical trainer. I am a chef. To author most cookbooks, this qualification would be more than enough, as it was for me in writing my previous books. But Now Eat This! differs from my prior cookbooks because it’s informed by my quest to live a healthier lifestyle. And while I don’t make medical claims or offer specific health advice here, I do explore healthful eating within these 150 recipes.
 
More specifically, I take on America’s favorite “bad boys”—those foods that we desperately love but that really aren’t good for us. I call them “downfall dishes” because these are the foods that weaken your resolve to the point of breakdown. No matter what diet you’re on or how healthy you hope to be, you just can’t resist them. For me, it’s fried chicken, mac ‘n’ cheese, and pizza. I am guessing that many of your biggest downfall dishes can also be found in this book.
 
I used social networking sites to research what Americans considered to be their favorite foods, and from this data I compiled a list of America’s top 150 downfall dishes—things like burgers, pizza, pasta, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and ice cream—which I then set out to reinvent with much less fat, far fewer calories, and zero sugar. My goal wasn’t to merely hang on to some sliver of flavor but to bust the code entirely and make over these favorite dishes so that above all, they tasted great—but had a calorie count of 350 or fewer for a main-dish serving and much less fat. In fact, if you look at the traditional fat and calories listed for each dish, you’ll see that I was able to reduce the fat by an average of 66 percent and reduce the calories by an average of 83 percent—and still have it taste delicious.
 
This has not been accomplished by employing the kind of crazy food science that results in yogurt that contains omega-3 fish oils, or peanut butter boosted with antioxidants, but by using real, fresh ingredients—and by swapping high-calorie and high-fat ingredients and cooking methods for far more healthful yet flavorful ones. Nor was it accomplished by making the portion sizes minuscule. The serving sizes here are generous but reasonable. You’ll push away from the table feeling thoroughly satisfied and guilt-free.
 
As a chef, I know how to do one thing: cook food and make it taste great. In this book, I have simply set up parameters taken from personal experience and conventional wisdom that make these formerly high-calorie, high-fat foods taste great in their new skin.
 
be in control: cook for yourself
 
This “I-can-have-my-chicken-cordon-bleu-and-eat-it-too” philosophy may sound impossible, but I guarantee it’s entirely possible. There is just one catch: You have to cook it yourself.
 
Before you throw up your hands and walk into a McDonalds and order another not-so Happy Meal, consider this: When you cook, you are in control of everything you put into your pan and thus into your body. You decide how many calories and how many fat grams you eat in a given day. You can still eat a version of your favorite foods. But you have to cook it. You have to make the choice to step into the kitchen instead of pulling into the drive-through or turning to highly processed prepared foods because it seems more convenient.
 
To help make the choice to cook it yourself easier, I’ve tried to provide 150 of the easiest and tastiest recipes possible—all under 350 calories per serving. With just a few exceptions, these dishes can be prepared in about 30 minutes and call for everyday items found in your local grocery store; none have long lists of ingredients. They also require no special cookware. Most recipes call for only a few pieces of basic equipment, such as a frying pan, saucepan, baking sheet, or mixing bowl.
 
from foie gras to the finish line
 
I am something of a latecomer to the diet/weight loss and exercise experience. I became interested in both in my late thirties, and purely by accident. They were two very different paths that eventually crossed.
 
Back then my idea of a healthy diet was laughable. “Do I spread butter on toast instead of dipping it in melted butter? Do I cut back on the foie gras—just eat it every other day instead of twice a day, for lunch and an after-service snack?” Chefs are exposed to limitless quantities of the best food in the world, and we love to eat it all. And for a while, that’s what I did.
 
But then my body began to protest. I have had back problems my whole life and realized that without a lot of painkillers or a miracle, I wouldn’t be able to stand at the stove anymore—or stand anywhere, period. And when something gets in the way of my cooking, that something has to change.
 
After visiting a few traditional doctors who told me to “get used to back pain” or “stay off your feet,” I realized I needed a different approach. I got the name of a great chiropractor from a trainer I knew, and he not only got me standing straight again but also got me on my feet and running.
 
One day I walked in for my regular adjustment, and my chiropractor asked if I would participate in a triathlon for charity. Chefs are suckers for anything having to do with charity, so before I could think, I said yes. Then I asked what I had to do. It was a race in which you swim half a mile, bike fifteen miles, and then top it off with a three-mile run. I am fairly fearless (some say reckless), so I immediately agreed. I began to look into triathlons, and before it really sunk in that I would have to swim, bike, and run those distances, I fell in love with the gear (chefs are notorious gear heads).
 
But when I started training, the other shoe dropped. I could hardly walk a mile, much less run one. My 20 percent body fat probably had something to do with that. So I got serious. I got back in touch with a trainer I had worked with a few years earlier, and he told me what I had to do. I started with a focus on cardio and a modified Atkins diet. I gave up alcohol and carbs and ate high-protein foods. I added to that a regimen of double-cardio sessions six days a week. Within six months my weight and body fat percentage was down substantially (the body fat to 12 percent) and I could run a mile or two without calling the paramedics.
 
In June that year, I competed in my first triathlon. My goal was simply to finish the race without stretchers being involved.
 
For a starting time, the participants were broken into male/female age groups called “waves.” I was in the second wave. The last group was the “Athena” wave—women who were age sixty and older. On the swimming portion of the race, wave after wave passed me like I was treading water—and most swam over me. When the Athena group eclipsed me, I knew I was in trouble. I had a thirty-minute head start on them!
 

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Now Eat This! 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 174 reviews.
NormaHartie More than 1 year ago
I just spent about an hour reviewing Now Eat This! 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories, by celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito. As a former chef and avid cook, my passion is cooking healthy and delicious meals. So, it was with interest that I read this book, as I wanted to see how Rocco brought flavor--not calories--to America's favorite comfort foods. The trick to cooking flavorful, healthy and low calories meals is using--no surprise--flavorful, health and low calorie ingredients and understanding how to combine them to make a dish that satisfies. Using such ingredients is how Rocco achieves this. He uses aromatic herbs and spices that are packed with flavor, for example. Another great substitute that Rocco uses for butter, sour cream or cream is Greek yogurt--yum! If you haven't tried Greek yogurt, you're in for a treat. I substitute it all the time in dishes and don't miss a thing. Rocco was inspired to write this book after being a guest cook on The Biggest Loser. He was asked to turn traditional comfort foods--laden with fat and calories--into low calorie, tasty and healthy dishes. The book itself is eye candy--bright, beautiful colors and lots of sexy photos of the dishes. To keep the calories at a minimum, Rocco uses cooking spray. Cooking spray is great for faux frying and in some other instances, but I would use a bit of extra virgin olive oil in some of the other recipes. Olive oil is a "good fat" and is good for you. Sure, it adds calories, but it also adds flavor and gives the diner the feeling of satiation and satisfaction. (I can't help but believe that some of these meals are so light in calories that they would lead to hunger an hour or so later later and a possible unhealthy binge! For instance, his macaroni ann cheese recipe calls for 4 ounces of pasta for 4 servings!I do not know any pasta lover who could eat 1 ounce of pasta and be satisfied...) That said, these are terrific recipes if you are trying to lose weight! Instead of the same old boring diet dishes, this book could keep you on track because of the variety in the dishes. If you just want healthy and tasty meals, this cookbook is still fine. You can always eat a bigger portion or add some olive oil! :) Overall, I like this cookbook and have earmarked several recipes to try very soon. Author, HARMONIOUS ENVIRONMENT & SELL YOUR HOME FAST
Mosplaz More than 1 year ago
Loving food has become a national pastime. The popularity of Food only cable networks are evidence of the fascination we have with gustatory delight. Yet this comes with a price, the obesity epidemic. No where else in the world is it more evident than in the good ol' USA. We have become fat and our love of food is the villain of our ever increasing waistlines. I must admit I am guilty! I have always loved food. All kinds, rich, full of fat, carbohydrate and lacking nutrional benefit, but oh so tasty! I bought this book as a gift for my mother - the worlds greatest cook. After getting it and looking it over I was shocked! Could this be true, 350 calories or less? Fried Chicken, Brownies, Cookies; impossible! Forget the narrative portion. I skimmed it enough to realize it is the filler, the heart od this Cook Book is in the recipes. Brownies made with Black Beans. Now if you are like me you love rich, chewy, chocolaty Brownies. The calories and sugar are what keep me from scarfing them non-stop. I had to try this. I mean guilt free Brownies would be like the Sutter Gold strike! I followed the recipe but had to replace espresso powder with a brand of instant coffee. After combining the ingredients and poring the batter in the pan I put the concotion in the oven, but was doubtful of the end result. How could a 350 calorie Brownie be any good? When the oven bell went DING! I leapt like a schoolgirl off the couch and pulled them out of the oven. They looked like brownies but hadn't risen to thickness as in the lucious picture in the book. I was disheartened, thinking my initial assumption was correct. I let them cool a bit, then cut them into squares. They developed that crusty, bubbly, cracked surface and had the sheen of freshly baked brownies. I used the spatula to scoop one onto a plate. Still tentative about them, I let it sit for few minutes more. I sat down, grabbed a fork, and took the first bite. Now I have made many brownies in my life and eaten many more. The first bite was telltale of the truth of this book. It was wonderful, and chocolaty and chewy and rich and delicious! I was in heaven! Imagine that, brownies from Black Beans, less than 350 calories, almost no sugar with protein from the beans to boot. Guiltless! Rocco has revolutionized how we think about food and the book has enouhg recipes to keep even the most addicted foodie's palate satisfied. It proves you can love food and enjoy eating flavorful and healthfully without being bored to death with raw Celery stalks and Carrots. If you want to eat well, healthier and guilt free I recommend "Now Eat This!" At any price this is a cook book must have for every kitchen in America our national waistline depends on it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love food - GOOD food. Why eat healthy when everything that isn't tastes so much better? I saw Rocco DiSpirito with this book on the Rachael Ray show several weeks ago. I thought it might be a good way to eat what I like and be healthy as I HATE dieting. I have now tried at least 6 of the recipes in "Now Eat This!" and I am quite surprised at how delicious they are and how I don't miss the regularly prepared dishes. I tried the Fettucine Alfredo with the Greek yogurt rather than cream and found that it tasted a little different but was so good that it could compete on it's own. Cutting most of the calories and fat was an added bonus. The Chicken Parmigiano was really good and easy to prepare as well. Next on my list are some of the turkey dishes. I thought I couldn't go wrong with the Italian guy's cookbook because I figured he had to know and understand how important it is for food to look and taste good. I was right - there are some ingenious tricks and tips in some of the recipes that only a gifted chef would know. Plus, these recipes cover lots of American favorites like mashed potatoes and mac and cheese so that you can still eat what you crave without feeling so guilty. Overall, I'm quite impressed with the recipes and would recommend it to anyone that likes good food regardless of the calorie count.
bookjunkie69 More than 1 year ago
Althought the book was not available at the time I discovered on the Rachel Ray show, I pre-order my copy, and I have to say, it has the greatest confort food that you might want to make and eat. Of course it not the type of food I would eat everyday, however, Rocco Dispirito does gives you such food with alternative healthy option ingredients. Great illustrations which are always helpful, but great tasty recipes with under a 350 calories. I love the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I belivee after eating rich foods your palate has to adjusts to eating foods with less fat, salt and more herbs and flavors. This book delivers and is easy to follow, most ingredients are easy to find. As with any cookbook there may be some receipes I don't care for only because of my personal perference . I have not found one of these yet. Great job. has inspired me to get back on the band wagon for healthier living. This is one of Rocco's better books. The price is right it is not a big investment but I would have paid more. I would recommend anyone looking for easy not time consuming receipes that are not high in calories to buy this book.
Ethansmom More than 1 year ago
I am a health food junkie that is always looking for new recipies to feed my family. This book is fantastic!! As a personal trainer and lifetime Weight Watchers member I can tell you that these recipies really hit the mark. I have been using greek yogurt for years but he really takes it to a different level and using it like I would have never thought possible. His carbonara is on our families heavy rotation dinner list right now. I serve it with grilled chicken and salad and my family loves it. Chicken Marsala and Shrimp Pad Thai, how can you go wrong?? Some of his recipies include sauces that you have to make ahead of time. I like to choose two recipies which use the same sauce to make in one week. That way things are quick and economical. Love it, Love it, Love it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having seen the author on Today Show and other tv shows demonstrating and talking about various recipes in this book, I had to have it. I especially love the brownies made totally nutritionally. I can even have them, even though I am diabetic. Excellent, good tasting, not too expensive recipes. I love it.
Pockets More than 1 year ago
Rocco Dispirito's new cook book "Now Eat This!" is incredible. All the dishes are low in calories and taste surprisingly good and are very healthy. I've tried some of them and am very please. I watched him prepare one of the recipes (in the book) on the Rachel Rae show and I couldn't believe the ingredients he was using and still be able to call it low calorie. He brought a 1100 calorie meal down to 345, so I had to get it. I immediately went online to Barnes & Noble and ordered it, and not for the asking price, but half of the asking price. I had the book in less than a week and started using it the day I received it. Thanks Barnes & Noble, you have never disappointed me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rocco DiSpirito does an amazing job of converting high fat foods into more healthy alternatives. I like how there are condiments, salads, appetizers, main courses, and desserts included into one cookbook. The pictures are beautiful as well. My only concern is the sodium content in some of the recipes. In order for foods to be revamped and completely healthy, they can't have 1000 milligrams of sodium or more in just one dish. Certain recipes have to be chosen carefully if a person is concerned with their blood pressure or has diabetes. However, the ideas he brings forth are great and appetizing at the same time.
redroamer More than 1 year ago
Oh. My. Goodness. These recipes are delicious. A few of the ingredients might be hard to find (whole wheat panko breadcrumbs for example) but for the most part, you can either find ingredients at your local supermarket, (I live about 30 miles past the middle of nowhere, so if I can find it, you can find it), or else you can order it online. (That's what I did after trying enough recipes to feel like it would be worth the time/effort to special order a few things.) The recipes are easy to use for the most part. Though Rocco does try to focus more on lean protein and cut way back on carbs/fat, most of the recipes are not appropriate for someone looking for low carb recipes. But for the majority of people trying to cut fat, calories and just generally eat healthier, this book is amazing. The only negatives I've found are that many of his desserts are, to put it nicely, not that tasty. And I do wish that there were photos of all the recipes.
detroit_tiger More than 1 year ago
This is a great book, easy to follow recipes- even my fiance can make them :) We have tried probably half the recipes so far- all of the main courses have been amazing, you will not miss the calories or fat in there. This definately does not taste like diet food! The only disappointment has been the desserts- we have tried the brownies and the mousse and both were pretty awful- even so this is the best cookbook we have.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the new cookbook. The brownies rock and it is hard to believe beans could taste so good. The entire cookbook has great recipes and ideas that can be used in other home recipes. I highly recommend this book to all who are looking for healthy alternatives to your favoriate foods with out loosing the flavor.
Debbiewake More than 1 year ago
As someone who is always watching my weight and the nutritional content of the food I prepare for my family, I was especially pleased to find when I ordered the cookbook that the fat, fiber and calories (all less than 350!)were included with the recipes. I also enjoyed reading how Rocco Dispirito became interested in converting comfort foods from high fat to low fat, low calorie dishes. I would recommend this to anyone on Weight Watcher (lifetime member) or any other diet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a major purchaser of cookbooks and a novice cook. I was intrigued with the concept of taking a "restuarant" type meal and lowing the caloric intake. I tried two recipes so far and they were excellant. I liked that some of the spices or special ingrediants that i don't normally have on hand are used in other recipes, therefore, the cost is minimal. I find the recipes are less intimidating than those of high profile chefs.
PatriciaAnne More than 1 year ago
I have made 5 recipes out of this book including my own caesar salad dressing and teriyaki sauce. My family all rated the recipes favorably. Almost all of the ingrediants are easy to find and the recipes themselves are pretty simple to make which is nice. Rocco has some useful information in the book about how to cut back overall. I would definitely recommend this book if you are looking to cook some good food with lower calorie counts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Delicious, healthy recipes for some of your favorite foods! A good variety of recipes, easy to follow, available ingredients, useful tools and great ideas. Helpful food substitutes for calorie filled ingredients.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perfect for everyday as a great lifestyle change.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this cook book. Easy to follow. Healthful recipes. Recipes that make sense. Why haven't I discovered him before this? Thank you Rocco for making me healthier with some of the most delicious recipes ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have tried several of these receipes; if this is a diet, why eat? Uninspiried and taste lacking. No thanks.
KPAC More than 1 year ago
Great recipes!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago