My husband’s grandmother Polly makes the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. I won’t say that’s why I married him, but it’s certainly one of the perks of joining his family! The headache I get after eating it is sometimes worth it – it’s that good. But, deep down I know it’s not good for me at all. With more than a pound of sugar between the cake and icing, butter, and white flour, I could really use some Recipe Rehab.
Families like mine across the country are having their favorite traditional recipes madeover on ABC’s new Recipe Rehab, a network cooking show hosted by celebrity chef Danny Boome. He told me it’s the first show to really bring cooking back to network TV since Julia Child. It’s also the first show to have started on YouTube and made the jump to network TV!
On the show, sponsored by Everyday Health, families submit recipes that they love but aren’t loving them back. So far, since the show’s premiere on October 6, they’ve fixed macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, and spaghetti and meatballs. Maybe Danny will hear my cries for chocolate cake help this Thanksgiving!
During the 30-minute show, we see two chefs makeover the recipes with healthier ingredients. The goal is to lower the fat, calories, and sugar while maintaining the flavor, texture, and even ease that the families love. Then, each family receives the two recipes and prepares them in their own home. Of course, no cook off would be complete without a tasting, at which point they reveal a winner.
“The idea of the show is to try to give people choices, open their minds up,” said Danny in our interview. On the phone he is enthusiastic about the work they’re doing and points out the real value the show offers its American viewers.
A lot of the families Recipe Rehab sets out to help have a back story that makes these makeovers vitally important. Some have high blood pressure or lactose intolerance. For a family with a recent pre-diabetes diagnosis, they don’t want a Halloween without their four-generation-old pumpkin bar recipe. Ingredients like applesauce cut the oil and four cups of sugar they used to use.
Danny said they’ve got a Thanksgiving episode everyone can look forward too, when the all-American apple pie gets a Recipe Rehab treatment. For Super Bowl, he says be prepared for a great nacho and chili conversion.
“We’re on a mission to push healthy food forward,” he said, and followed that by standing by the fact that health food doesn’t have to be “granola.” Making small changes that move from a full-fat ingredient to a low-fat ingredient, a full-sodium ingredient to no sodium, or baking instead of frying, will really help families enjoy the foods they love in a healthier way.
For a fried chicken recipe on Recipe Rehab, Danny explained they used only a tablespoon of oil, seared the chicken in a pan, and then finished it in the oven. And the macaroni and cheese was able to cut fat because they used only one cup of quality sharp cheese as opposed to four cups. Danny explained that before you couldn’t even taste the cheese, only the fat. Now, with one cheese as the focus, and ingredients like butternut squash to help reduce the fat, you really get a powerful flavor you can enjoy.
The high-tempo show is competitive with an info-tainment treatment that helps him and the chefs be more relatable to viewers. It’s not a boring stand+stir cooking show; it’s “fun and interactive” according to Danny.
After each Recipe Rehab episode, viewers can visit BetterEats.com/RecipeRehab to get the recipes, shopping lists, and instructional videos so they can make these more wholesome dishes at home.
Try some of our healthy recipe makeovers: