Cookbook Review

About the Author
    Arthur Agatston, MD, is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine and has authored numerous scientific publications, as well as reviewed manuscripts for major medical and cardiology journals. He is the author of the best-selling books The South Beach Diet and The South Beach Diet Good Fats Good Carbs Guide and has appeared on Dateline, Good Morning America, CNN, Fox and Friends, and 20/20. In addition, Dr. Agatston is frequently quoted as an expert in cardiac health and diet in the media. He maintains a private cardiology practice, focused on prevention, in Miami Beach, where he lives with his wife, Sari, and their two children.
About the Cookbook
    The South Beach Diet was developed in the late 1990s and introduced with its manual-type book in 2003. Since then, it's been a top-selling book and diet program. Now, Arthur Agatston is back with a cookbook that focuses on quick and easy recipes ... something most dieters crave almost as much as food!

    The South Beach diet consists of three phases: a short induction period in which almost all carbohydrates are eliminated from the diet (the only place where this author has a problem with the diet), a second weight loss phase and a final maintenance phase. The cookbook indicates which recipes are appropriate for which phases, although I would imagine that someone in Phase Three could enjoy recipes from all phases while someone in Phase One would be limited to Phase One only recipes.

    All 200 recipes in the cookbook are designed to be put together in 30 minutes or less. There are some brief hints, tips and other resource-type chapters and information given in the book, but its bulk is devoted to recipes. These recipes are organized into the following chapters:

    • Breakfast
    • Soups and Snacks
    • Salads
    • Fish and Shellfish
    • Poultry
    • Beef, Pork, and Lamb
    • Vegetarian Entrees
    • Sides
    • Desserts

    With its focus on the difference between good and bad carbohydrates and fats, this diet cookbook often offers recipes that feature ingredients that you might find surprising, but that make for satisfying and even creative meals. Avocado, nuts and olives find themselves paired with the exotic flavors that are brought by roasted peppers, fish sauce and ginger. With such a nice blend of flavors and variety of ingredients, you might forget it's a diet cookbook! To give you an idea about the kind of recipes included in The South Beach Diet Quick & Easy Cookbook, I'm including some recipes from its pages on the following pages.

      Apple-Butternut Squash Soup

      Unsweetened apple cider adds body and a natural hint of sweetness to this thick and flavorful soup, and creamy winter squash delivers ample amounts of beta-carotene, B vitamins, and fiber. This recipe is very easy but it does take slightly longer to cook, which allows the flavors to meld perfectly. Look for packaged cut squash to help you save prep time.
      • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
      • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
      • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
      • 3 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
      • ½ cup unsweetened apple cider
      • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

      Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add squash, cover, and cook 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add broth and simmer until softened, 15 to 20 minutes.

      Using a slotted spoon, transfer solid ingredients to a blender with apple cider and purée until smooth. Add 1? cups of the cooking liquid and purée until smooth. Stir back into the pan. Serve hot.

      • Makes 6 (1 1/2-cup) servings
      • Prep Time: 10 minutes
      • Cook Time: 35 minutes
      Nutrition at a Glance
        Per serving: 160 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 6 g protein, 28 g carbohydrate, 4 g dietary fiber, 135 mg sodium

      Shrimp and Celery Salad

      Fresh lime, curry powder, and creamy sour cream make a zesty dressing for this refreshing summer salad. In later phases, spoon it onto toasted whole-grain bread for a heavenly open-faced sandwich.
      • ½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
      • ¼ cup mayonnaise
      • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
      • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
      • 1½ teaspoons curry powder
      • ¼ teaspoon salt
      • 1½ pounds peeled, deveined, and cooked medium fresh or frozen shrimp (thaw if frozen)
      • 4 large celery stalks, thinly sliced
      • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced

      Whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice, lime zest, curry powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add shrimp, celery, and cucumber; toss gently to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

      • Makes 4 (1½-cup) servings
      • Prep Time: 15 minutes
      Nutrition at a Glance
        Per serving: 330 calories, 17 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 37 g protein, 6 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 670 mg sodium

    South Beach Chicken Paella

    Saffron makes this simple one-pan classic a real treat, lending brilliant color and pungent flavor. This is one of the few recipes that takes a little bit longer to cook than most of the others in this book; it's a great dish to serve for company.
    • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch pieces
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • ½ cup whole-grain, quick-cooking brown rice (page 10)
    • ¾ cup roasted red bell peppers (from a jar), drained and thinly sliced
    • 2 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
    • ¼ teaspoon powdered saffron
    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onion; cook, stirring often, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

    Stir in rice. Add red peppers, broth, and saffron; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. If paella has excess moisture, cook uncovered for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

    • Makes 4 (1½cup) servings
    • Prep Time: 10 minutes
    • Cook Time: 35 minutes
    Nutrition at a Glance
      Per serving: 360 calories, 7 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 45 g protein, 26 g carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber, 440 mg sodium

    Vietnamese Pork Rolls

    These rolls are special, yet not hard to make. A simply dressed green salad with cucumber or radish would be a perfect accompaniment. Cut them on the diagonal or cut the lettuce leaves into thirds and roll up smaller, hors d'oeuvre-size pieces. Dressing:
    • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • Pinch red pepper flakes
    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • 1 pound pork cutlets
    • 1 (½-pound) head napa cabbage, shredded (3 cups)
    • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
    • 8 large Boston lettuce leaves
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    For the dressing: Whisk together fish sauce, lime juice, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.

    For the pork: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season pork with salt and pepper and sauté until lightly browned, 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat and slice into thin strips. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the dressing.

    Combine cabbage, bell pepper, and remaining dressing in a large bowl. Lay lettuce leaves on a clean, dry work surface. Divide pork among leaves. Top with cabbage mixture and roll tightly, tucking edges in as you go. Place rolls, seam side down, on a cutting board, cut in half, and serve.

    • Makes 4 servings
    • Prep Time: 15 minutes
    • Cook Time: 20 minutes (includes assembling rolls)
    Nutrition at a Glance
      Per serving: 220 calories, 10 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 26 g protein, 6 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 490 mg sodium
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