Diets in Review - Find the Right Diet for You

Chef Devin Alexander and introduce the Cook at Home Challenge, in which we want you to cook five more meals at home during the week than you already do. Then, share your experiences with the Cook at Home Challenge community by posting blogs, videos or photos, and you’re entered to win prizes each week. Prizes include a variety of cookware packages, all leading up to our Healthy Kitchen Makeover grand prize package, valued at $1,895. You could even win a copy of Devin’s new book “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Fattening!”.

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Cook at Home Challenge Wrap-Up

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Cook at Home Challenge!

We hope you enjoyed being a part of the challenge as much as we enjoyed hosting it. It was great to see everyone stay so committed to the task and the delicious results. Be sure to continue the trend of preparing healthy, flavorful meals at home. We certainly don’t have to remind you that it’s a key step toward losing or maintaining weight, managing your budget, and finding more quality time with your family.

The grand prize winner is challenger DietDiva. She will be receiving the “Healthy Kitchen Makeover” package valued at $1895!

Thanks to everyone who shared their cook at home experiences. Remember to get out of the drive-thru and get back in the kitchen!

If you would like to receive a sticker, please submit your address here.

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Southwest Chicken Black Bean Soup

Thanks to challenger DietMom for sharing her family’s positive experience with what sounds like an incredibly tasty soup.

Southwest Chicken Black Bean Soup

I made this wonderful soup for supper tonight, everyone loved it. We even got our picky 3 year old granddaughter to try a couple of bites. Its always a challenge to find something that everyone will like. I am extra happy when it turns out to be something that’s good for them as well.

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Healthy but Tasty Meal with Whole Wheat Pasta

Thanks to challenger Angelaim for sharing this recipe for a spicy twist on whole wheat pasta. This definitely counts toward the pasta mini challenge.

Usually for me whole wheat pasta is such a turn off but the Whole Foods 365 brand whole wheat spaghetti doesn’t have the usual gritty and chalky taste of other brands. It’s light and chewy and perfect for a healthy meal.

I like to add grilled shrimp with a light salsa with a freshly cooked pot of pasta and a simple and healthy dinner is created in less than 30 min!

See below for the salsa recipe:
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 habanero pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1 tomatillo, finely chopped

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No Oven Used?

This is what the challenge is all about, Cece9599!

Hi, DIR Family… This was simple and not out of the ordinary, but the weather has been great here so we pulled out the grill! Grill Chicken breast with some seasoning, oil and vinegar wrapped in foil with asparagus. No cleaning oven and no dishes to wash, just threw the paper plates away. The family loved it and spent time with playing volley ball while we waited for the food. Now, isn’t this what the challenge is about cooking healthy and spending more time with family? til tomorrow DIR Fam

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Penne and Asparagus with Ricotta Cheese

Thanks to challenger DietMom for sharing her positive experience with this new recipe from Chef Devin. We’ve tried it too, and it’s a new fave!

Penne & Asparagus with Ricotta Cheese

I made Chef Devin Alexander’s recipe for Penne and asparagus with ricotta cheese from her It’s not Fattening Cookbook tonight. It was so easy to make and very tasty. Only 318 calories for a very satisfying 2 cup portion, you’ve got to try it.

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Testing Secret Ingredients on My Family by Mary

Challenger Mcoram70 takes the sneaky approach to cooking, and the result is healthier treats for friends an family.

Ok…So I bought a box of pre-packaged brownie mix since my family was wanting brownies and they love my cooking. Normally, I don’t bake brownies; I make homemade cakes from scratch with homemade frostings, like buttercream, peanut butter, etc. and I always replace the oil with an equal amount of applesauce or mayonnaise. My family doesn’t know about the replacements….yet. Anyway….

I absolutely detest oil of any kind to cook with…hate the mess and the splatters, especially on the clothes, not to mention all the fat ingested! Since the directions called for a half-cup of oil, I decided to do a little experimenting. I made the brownies with a half-cup of low fat cream cheese, since I’ve never used it before in a recipe, and only on a bagel or cracker. When they came out of the oven, they were more of the fudgier variety instead of cake-like. Cool. I tried one….really awesome; in fact I didn’t think none of the flavor was lost at all.

I asked my family and a few of my friends to try them, and told them that they could be honest with me about my brownies since I put an ingredient in there because I was experimenting, so they wouldn’t hurt my feelings if they didn’t like them. THEY ALL LOVED THEM AND ASKED WHAT THE EXPERIMENT WAS! I told them and they told me to always make them like this….woo hoo! I am happy to have made others that are high-fat eaters happy! One of them even hates cream cheese, but she said she couldn’t taste it!

By the way, should I tell them about the cakes?

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Orzo Pasta

Challenger DietDiva takes the try a new pasta mini challenge and finds that orzo can be a healthy addition to her made-from-scratch meals.

I love pasta and was so excited to incorporate it into a few meals this week! But for my diets sake I knew I couldn’t have a large serving of pasta each night as a main dish. I decided to make blackened fish with fresh veggies and orzo pasta with fresh garlic and a little bit of olive oil! I didn’t use any recipes but it’s sometimes fun to just get in the kitchen and play with flavors that I’ve learned work well together! It was absolutely delicious and I’m looking forward to keeping it on hand to switch instead of our usual brown rice with some meals.

I’d really like to try risotto as well! Maybe I’ll find another night to do that this week.

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Whole Wheat Pasta – It’s Actually Delicious!

Yes, yes it is! Challenger 2BeFitN10 takes this week’s try a new pasta mini challenge and rediscovers whole wheat pasta. With so many varieties available, it’s worth the effort to try a few until you find one you like.

Whole Wheat Pasta - It's Actually Delicious!

I had tried whole wheat pasta years ago, but didn’t care for the taste. So, I wasn’t too keen on this week’s challenge. I made tuna casserole tonight and substituted whole wheat penne for the regular pasta I usually use. I was actually surprised to find that I liked it. In fact, neither my husband nor my son mentioned anything about the taste. I’m assuming they didn’t notice the switch. Next time, I will venture a little further and use whole wheat angel hair pasta!

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Put ins

Thanks to challenger Renski-Pipski for sharing this fool-proof way of sneaking vegetables into your family’s diets.

The men in my life (a great husband and two wonerful boys) hate vegetables. Getting them to eat them is difficult, so I sneak them in. One of my favorites is sweet potato into spaghetti sauce and it’s easier than you think. Just use baby food – already pureed and so quick, they’ll never know.

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Individual Sausage-Rigatoni Bake

In the spirit of this week’s find a new pasta mini challenge, challenger DietMom tries a leaner baked pasta recipe.

I don’t have a lot of recipes for low calorie pasta dishes, but the sausage rigatoni bake from the biggest loser cookbook is really good. I just multiply it, to make enough for the whole family. They make their own sausage with extra lean ground pork and use whole wheat rigatoni. It still comes up to 427 calories a serving but it is very satisfying and delicious, worth it for a little splurge. I’m looking forward to finding a few more pasta recipes to fit into our diets.

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