“Food for Thought” Cookbook book club – The Skinnytaste and The CSA Cookbooks

“Food for Thought” Cookbook book club – The Skinnytaste and The CSA Cookbooks

For the cookbook club’s September 2015 meeting, we cooked from The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka and The CSA Cookbook by Linda Ly and Will Taylor.

The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka and The CSA Cookbook by Linda Ly and Will Taylor.

The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka and The CSA Cookbook by Linda Ly and Will Taylor.

The Skinnytaste cookbook features 150 flavorful recipes that are low-calorie and made from all-natural, easy-to-find ingredients. The CSA cookbook features 105 seasonal recipes targeted to helping you cook your way through your CSA farm share or farmers’ market bounty using every edible part of the plant, from leaves and flowers to stems and seeds.

Sharon hosted our evening. The group was on summer hiatus for a few months so it was good to catch up with everyone – and what better way than over a delicious meal! We started the evening with two appetizers from The CSA Cookbook.

Bacon and Parmesan stuffed and roasted baby bell peppers from the CSA Cookbook.

Bacon and Parmesan stuffed and roasted baby bell peppers from the CSA Cookbook.

Pat made bacon and Parmesan stuffed and roasted baby bell peppers. Not only are they a cute appetizer but they also a wonderful mix of savory flavors. They were a hit at the dinner as well as with the hubbies who enjoy our leftovers, if we share.

Gruyere grilled cheese with chard and caramelized onion from the CSA Cookbook

Gruyere grilled cheese with chard and caramelized onion from the CSA Cookbook

For our second starter from the CSA cookbook, Terri made the Gruyere grilled cheese with chard and caramelized onion. She cut them into appetizer-sized portions. Thankfully she did, because the mini-sandwiches were so delicious that I would have eaten many more. The cooking method detailed in the recipe is a very clever way to make a large amount of sandwiches all at once in the oven, without sacrificing the crispiness.

Sharon made the core entrée of our dinner – butternut squash lasagna rolls from the Skinnytaste cookbook.

Butternut squash lasagna rolls from the Skinnytaste cookbook.

Butternut squash lasagna rolls from the Skinnytaste cookbook.

It’s a lighter version of traditional lasagnas as it’s packed with vegetables and made in rolls instead of layers – helping to keep the portion size in check. The lasagna rolls are stuffed with spinach and cheese, then topped with a creamy butternut Parmesan sauce and baked in the oven. With the fall season upon us, this is a perfect dish to use the local produce. It was wonderful for dinner, and great for day two lunch leftovers.

The Skinnytaste buttermilk oven “fried” chicken.

The Skinnytaste buttermilk oven “fried” chicken.

Adding another protein packed entrée to our dinner, Susan made the Skinnytaste buttermilk oven “fried” chicken. It’s the lighter version of a popular favorite dish, without the guilt. The chicken was moist and flavorful from the buttermilk soaking.

Accompanying the lasagna and chicken were two sides. Val made Greek chickpea salad from the Skinnytaste cookbook.

Greek chickpea salad from the Skinnytaste cookbook.

Greek chickpea salad from the Skinnytaste cookbook.

This protein-packed, Mediterranean-inspired salad could serve either as a side or as a great meatless main-dish option. It has a wonderful combination of fresh vegetables and feta, dressed with a very light lemon dressing.

I made the second side dish, which were balsamic-roasted green beans from the CSA cookbook. True to the cookbook, I did use fresh green beans from my CSA farm share.

Balsamic-roasted green beans from the CSA cookbook.

Balsamic-roasted green beans from the CSA cookbook.

I’ve roasted many vegetables, but never thought of roasting green beans. The combination of the high-heat roasting along with my 12-year old balsamic vinegar gave the beans a beautiful carmalization and deep flavor.

The overall dinner plate was a delicious assortment of foods from both cookbooks.

The overall dinner plate was a delicious assortment of foods from both cookbooks.

The overall dinner plate was a delicious assortment of foods from both cookbooks.

No cookbook club meeting would be complete without dessert, and we were lucky enough to have two at the meal and one for our take home treat!  Susan made the silky chocolate cream pie from the Skinnytaste cookbook.

Silky chocolate cream pie from the Skinnytaste cookbook.

Silky chocolate cream pie from the Skinnytaste cookbook.

This version has a secret ingredient: silken tofu. It had a delicious graham cracker crust and a light pudding-like quality for the filling.

Using some of the fruits of the season, I made warm apple-pear crumble, also from the Skinnytaste cookbook.

Warm apple-pear crumble, from the Skinnytaste cookbook.

Warm apple-pear crumble, from the Skinnytaste cookbook.

It uses thinly sliced pears and folds them in with Gala apples, honey, cinnamon, brown sugar and oats to make something warm and sweet – perfect on a chilly autumn evening. I’m thinking this would be a great dessert for the upcoming fall holidays and it clocks in at under 200 calories per serving.

For our “take home treats,” Sharon made double chocolate chunk walnut cookies from the Skinnytaste cookbook.

Double chocolate chunk walnut cookies from the Skinnytaste cookbook.

Double chocolate chunk walnut cookies from the Skinnytaste cookbook.

They were so amazingly rich that you wouldn’t believe it’s a “light-in-calorie” recipe. Helping to make the cookies rich and light is the use of avocados in place of butter. In addition to having one myself, I tested them out on a few friends. Everyone loved them and did not detect the taste of avocados at all.

In total, nine dishes were made from the CSA and Skinnytaste cookbooks. I can’t wait to try out a bunch more recipes from each cookbook!

Our next gathering will be in November. We will be cooking from Fabio’s American Home Kitchen cookbook.

For our next gathering will be cooking from Fabio’s American Home Kitchen cookbook.

For our next gathering will be cooking from Fabio’s American Home Kitchen cookbook.

I’m sure it will be another delicious time!

 

Do you have any favorite recipes that you’ve made into a “skinny” version?

Do you try to use the season’s fresh produce in your cooking?

 

 

Disclaimer:  While the cookbook book club was provided with copies of the Skinnytaste and CSA cookbooks, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience with the products.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s