Hooray! It’s cookbook giveaway day! As I mentioned yesterday, I jumped at the opportunity to review a The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook. Probably the best way to test a cookbook is to try out some of the recipes. So, first I tried the fruit, yogurt and granola parfaits, and then these stovetop chicken fajitas. I’m a fajita kind of girl. I almost always order them at Mexican restaurants, and I make them quite frequently at home as well. When I saw this recipe, I instantly knew it would be one of the first I tried. I was very interested to see how a health-ified version would measure up to the others. Of course, as always, I should know, the extensive testing behind all of the ATK recipes means that they will turn out well – even when they are made healthier. I made these fajitas exactly as the recipe stated (except I used regular tortillas because we already had them on hand). Honestly, these were just as good as any other fajitas I’ve eaten. I really appreciated the ease and convenience of making these on the stovetop, especially since it is winter and the grill is out of commission for now.
Now, let’s discuss this cookbook. As you may know from reading the blog, healthy recipes are not my primary focus. Sure, I love them when I come across them and I do work to keep our diets well balanced, but I’m definitely one who subscribes to the “everything in moderation” philosophy. So, even though this is an ATK cookbook, I wasn’t sure whether this book would really be my kind of thing. Turns out, it is. It’s an extremely well put together cookbook full of recipes designed with a focus on nutrition. The book is divided into several categories:
Healthy Start (Breakfast)
Appetizers & Healthy Snacks
Soups, Stews & Chilis
Rice, Grains & Beans
Fish & Shellfish
Stir-Fries and Curries
Pizza & Tarts
Whole Grain Rolls & Loaves
Cookies & Bars
Fruit Desserts & More
I could go on for pages discussing the things I love about this book, but I’ll do my best to keep it brief in bullet form:
- Nutrition facts for every recipe, obviously an important thing to consider in a cookbook with a focus on health.
- Lots of lovely color photos. This differs from the other ATK cookbooks I have, which contain very few pictures, and not many in color.
- Numerous flavor variations for many of the recipes (for example, you see the variations of the omega-3 granola and the fruit yogurt parfaits). I mean, four different versions of shrimp cocktail sauce? Awesome!
- In particular, the section on veggies has so many recipes and variations, it could make your head spin. I can never again feel like I don’t know how to prepare an interesting veggie side dish. There are just so many options!
- Special features labeled “Makeover Spotlight”, which compare the classic version of a recipe to the health-ified version, highlighting the differences in the ingredients and the nutrition facts. (Example: Green Goddess Dip went from 210 calories and 22 g fat to 50 calories and 3 g fat per serving).
- Various kitchen tips and important information peppered throughout the book – classic ATK style.
- A symbol designating “fast” recipes (30 minutes or less). I didn’t count, but I would estimate that somewhere around half of the recipes fall into this category.
- Section divider tabs that make it easy to flip to whatever category you are interested in.
- A ring binder interior, allowing the book to lay flat on the counter – no need for a cookbook holder (or weighing it down with some random kitchen item, like I usually do).
The nerd in me couldn’t resist working out the percentages, so I actually counted up the number of recipes in the book I would be very likely to make myself or would want to try if someone else served them to me. The calculation worked out to just under 75% of the recipes. Of the recipes I wasn’t interested in, the reason was nearly always an ingredient that I just don’t care for. For a cookbook with around 500 recipes, wanting to try 3 out of 4 of them is pretty impressive in my opinion.
So, does this book sound like something you would like to own? How about a copy autographed by Christopher Kimball, the publisher and editor of Cook’s Illustrated, etc. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite healthy dish to make. The Rules: One entry per person, U.S. residents only. Commenting will close on Sunday, January 23 at 10:00 am, EST. Entries that do not follow the entry requirements will not be considered. One winner will be chosen at random and announced next week. Good luck!
Full disclosure: I received a free copy of The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook in exchange for hosting this review and giveaway. Though this review was sponsored, all of the opinions expressed above are mine alone.
Stovetop Chicken Fajitas
Yield: 4 servings
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced thin
1 red onion, halved and sliced thin
Salt and pepper
4 (6‑ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed, pounded if necessary
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¾ cup minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 tomato, cored, seeded, and chopped medium
3 scallions, sliced thin
8 whole-wheat flour tortillas, warmed
Cilantro, lowfat sour cream, and lime wedges, for serving
Heat the oil in a 12‑inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the bell peppers and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and well-browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cover to keep warm.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Combine the orange juice, ½ cup of the cilantro, Worcestershire, garlic, and chipotles in the skillet. Add the chicken and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes. When the liquid is simmering, flip the chicken over, cover, and continue to cook until the chicken registers 160 to 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes longer.
Transfer the chicken to a plate and shred it into bite-sized pieces when cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, continue to simmer the sauce over medium heat until slightly thickened and reduced to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes.
Off the heat, stir in the mustard, tomato, scallions, remaining ¼ cup cilantro, and shredded chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with the pepper-onion mixture and warm tortillas.
Per Serving (2 fajitas): Cal 550; Fat 11g; Sat Fat 1g; Chol 100mg; Carb 57g; Protein 49; Fiber 7g; Sodium 670mg