Pros: Nice photographs, nutritional information, inspiring.
Cons: Not all the recipes are executable.
With Deceptively Delicious already on my bookshelf I was looking forward to this next installment in Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook collection. Double Delicious! Good, Simple Food for Busy, Complicated Lives is Seinfeld’s follow on to Deceptively Delicious. Being familiar with her first cookbook I already had frozen purees on hand which enabled me to jump right in and start cooking. The author’s intent is to get more vegetables and fruits into our diets, even the diets of those that abhor vegetables or anything leafy and green for that matter. Her use of vegetable purees is inspiring. Each recipe contains some hidden vegetable in the form of a puree that has been added to the recipe. If you are careful about texture and flavor it is quite easy to add vegetables that no one can detect into your favorite dishes. The author gives little quips of information on each recipe which makes them fun to read. This would be a great way to increase vegetables in some finicky eaters, or even a way to increase your own vegetable intake.
This is a nice hard cover cookbook with sturdy pages. Seinfeld takes the time to educate the readers on her version of “Shopping Healthfully & Wisely.” She goes over the food label and how to read it as well as the examples of what she purchases for her family. I was disappointed she didn’t touch on organic food, or open range poultry and beef. Every recipe does have the nutritional values listed, which I think is very important in a cookbook. Every ingredient found in these recipes can easily be purchased at your local grocery store. If you are not familiar with purees, there is a whole section in the back of the book giving you step-by-step instructions on how to prepare and store them for later use. I have also noticed a lot more ready make purees available now. I recently picked up sweet potato and squash puree at my local store. This cookbook is definitely geared toward the new home cook with little experience, or someone wanting inspiration on how to incorporate hidden vegetables into their dishes. Also, keep in mind this cookbook is geared to a family with small children so the recipes are bland.
While Seinfeld has successfully added purees to all the recipes, not all of the recipes have turned out. One of the first recipes I tried was the “Sweet and Sour Meatballs” on page 74. The experienced cooks out there will look at this recipe and see right away that it is not correct. One cannot take 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 small chopped onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 slices torn whole wheat bread, ½ cup yogurt, ½ cup broccoli puree, 1 large egg, ½ pound ground turkey, salt, nutmeg and pepper, beat with an electric mixer until smooth and get a meatball. There is way too much liquid in this recipe. I tried it, and it ends up a loose mixture of stuff. In order to make it right I reduced the yogurt to 1 teaspoon, the puree to 1 teaspoon, increased the ground turkey to 1 pound, changed the bread to dried bread crumbs of 1/3 cup and reduced the onion to 1/8 cup. Another error on this recipe was the execution. In the first line of the directions the author erroneously has “Preheat the oven to 350F,” but never has you use the oven. Thinking this must be a mistake on the author’s part I did try to contact her without success. I wanted to put this information in my review so you can make your own decisions about this cookbook. I am on the fence on whether or not this cookbook is a success. I haven’t tried all the recipes in this cookbook, so my advice is to approach it with caution. Putting this negative information behind us, let’s move on to what did work.
The next recipe I tried was Ellen’s Baked Ziti. This was a fun and easy recipe. As prepared it is a bit bland. However for my family I simply added pepperoni and Italian seasoning and it was a hit. I hope you enjoy the recipe.
Ellen’s Baked Ziti (Quick)
Prep: 20 Minutes
Total: 45 Minutes
Yield: Serves 6
Growing up, my mom would prepare this dish at night after my sisters and I went to bed. The next day I would put it in the oven for her so dinner would be ready when she got home from work. Some steamed veggies and an easy salad are great on the side.
14 ounces whole-wheat ziti
2 cups jarred tomato sauce
½ cu carrot puree
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
½ cup cauliflower puree
2 large egg whites
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Cook the pasta a few minutes less than the package instructions indicate so that it will still be firm when baked. Drain and set aside.
2. Pour the tomato sauce into a medium bowl. Add the carrot puree and mix until well combined.
3. In another small bowl, combine the ricotta, cauliflower puree, egg whites, ½ cup of the mozzarella, garlic and pepper.
4. Spread about half of the tomato sauce onto the bottom of a glass pan or casserole dish. Then add a layer with half the pasta. Spoon the ricotta mixture on top and cover with the rest of the pasta. Top it off with remaining sauce. Then sprinkle with the Parmesan and remaining mozzarella. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cheese starts to brown and the filling is hot. Or cover with aluminum foil, refrigerate, and bake the next day.
Calories: 413, Carbohydrate: 66g, Protein: 22g, Total Fat:8.5g, Saturated Fat: 4.5g, Sodium: 520mg, Fiber: 2.5g