cookbook review: so easy, by ellie krieger

a while back i mentioned that i’d be cooking recipes from ellie krieger’s new book “so easy: luscious, healthy recipes for every meal of the week” for an entire week and then providing a review of the book for you.

i have to say that there are many positive things about ellie’s book(s) as well as her approach. i really appreciate knowing the nutritional content of each recipe, as well as the serving size. her approach to cooking is measured, but reasonable, which i appreciate. she understands that people can’t deprive themselves of flavorful food, or they will end up binging on chocolate bars and salty chips. she provides recipes that are fully of natural fresh ingredients, and chock full of flavor. her recipes are very easy to follow, and are well-written. the ingredients that are called for are very easy to find, and her recipes are familiar (that is to say they are not “scary” or “different”), which i think is good for a day-to-day cookbook. the only drawback (for me) is the very precise measurements she employs. i’m not a “measuring” kind of cook, and i find this very time consuming. however, i know that most people do not fall into this category, so it’s really only an issue for me.

below is a list of each recipe i cooked and a brief review of how it went over at our house. enjoy!

1. cheddar-apple quesadilla (p. 26) brilliant! this dish is perfect. beyond easy, full of flavor, and packed with nutrients. it’s just quirky enough. we’ve eaten this multiple times since i first made it, as i always have these ingredients on hand. we had it once for dinner and i added two slices of very thin black forest ham to the quesadillas to make them more filling. i served these with a simple garden salad on the side.

2. chocolate strawberry stuffed french toast (p. 53) this is a very nice dish. it’s a nice twist on a classic recipe, and the strawberries add a touch of freshness while the chocolate adds some luxury. i have to say that my husband wasn’t blown away by the ricotta. i would make this again, but only if i had company coming over and wanted an impressive alternative to french toast (though i’d likely replace the ricotta with low fat cream cheese). otherwise, i’d stick to the original and top it with the strawberries and chocolate.

3. asian chicken wrap (p. 83) what an awesome “sandwich”! the filling is simple, shredded rotisserie chicken and chopped veggies. the sauce is divine. it’s easy to make and packs a real flavor punch. i will make these again for sure.

4. egg, ham, and spinach pizza (p. 99) this was ok. i wasn’t in love with it, but i didn’t hate it either. it seemed to be missing something, though i can’t pinpoint exactly what that was. i like the idea of it, and it was a very complete and nutrient-packed meal. i think it needed a sauce or something, though tomato wouldn’t go well here. i don’t think i’d make it again without an overhaul.

5. strawberry mozzarella salad (p. 106) this was amazing. i am in love with this salad. i want to marry it. ok, i don’t really want to marry it, but i want to eat it all the time. using strawberries in place of tomatoes for a caprese-inspired salad was a stroke of genius. it really elevates the flavors. the oft tart berries are tamed by the sweet basil and creamy simplicity of the mozzarella. this salad was a hit at our house, and we’ve had it multiple times since.

6. tri-color pepper steak (p. 118) ellie says that this is sure to be a weekly staple once you make it, however, we did not find that to be so. it was pretty, and quick, but the flavors fell a little flat for us. it needed a bit more kick. more garlic? more pepper (spicy, not sweet)? perhaps. it was ok, but we will not be making it once a week.

7. chicken-mushroom quesadillas (p. 138) yum. we loved these. a lot. the flavors are perfect together, and they are super quick to make because they make use of a rotisserie chicken (the other half of the one we used for the asian chicken wraps). fritz liked the filling so much that i made him a whole separate batch this week to eat at lunch and dinner! this one is going to be in heavy rotation.

8. sesame shrimp fried rice with cabbage (p. 158) this was good. the flavors are very subtle, but it’s a nice dish. i used the rest of the leftover cabbage from the asian chicken wraps. i can see us enjoying this again on a hectic weeknight. very easy to make.

as you can see the bulk of my reviews were very positive (6 out of 8 isn’t bad). there are still plenty of recipes in this book that i’d like to try (and an entirely untapped “dessert” chapter)! up next, a review of gwyneth paltrow’s book, “my father’s daughter: delicious, easy recipes celebrating family and togetherness“. we are eating entirely from that this week…stay tuned!

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