I developed the habit this year of borrowing cookbooks from the library. It’s a win-win: it’s economical, provides for plenty of culinary inspiration, and allows the opportunity for boosting kitchen skills.
Most of the cookbooks I’ve borrowed have been a success (and if they’re not, no big deal – I just return them and choose another), but I want to highlight my latest find because it checks off all of my boxes:
- Ingredients are available in Squamish;
- Ingredients are relatively inexpensive;
- Meals are healthy;
- There are a wide variety of recipes; and
- Recipes are straightforward.
I like cooking, and I’m willing to devote a fair bit of time (an hour, maybe) towards making dinners – but I don’t like overly rich foods or meals that require the use of every pot, pan, and utensil in the kitchen. This cookbook accommodates these needs.
I happen to think The Dude Diet is not the best name. I get it – the girl who wrote it (she attended Harvard and Le Cordon Bleu Paris) wrote it to show guys (like her boyfriend) who generally ate horribly that healthy food can be delicious and easy to put together – but the aggressive dude-isms peppered throughout the recipes are a little cheesy.
If you can get over the dude factor (and I did), you’ll be rewarded with a wide variety of recipes split into ten sections:
- Badass Breakfasts: Self explanatory.
- The Classics: With a twist, like the Dude Diet Shepherd’s pie with ground turkey and cauliflower (instead of beef and potatoes).
- Game Day Eats: Quintessential dude snacks and appetizers made healthier.
- On the Grill: Kicking the basics up a notch – Grilled Mahi Mahi with citrus-jalapeno salsa; grilled chicken paillard with avocado, corn, and cherry tomato relish, and the like.
- Serious Salads: My favourite chapter – salads that are entree-worthy.
- Take-Out Favourites: DIY versions made a little lighter (Pork un-fried rice; smarter sausage pizza)
- Sexy Sides: What it sounds like.
- Back-Pocket Recipes: Easy and delicious quick meals.
- Chronic Cocktails: With disclaimers in the preamble such as, “Moderation, moderation, moderation” and “Slowwww down”.
- Sweetness: Desserts made simple.
I didn’t cook recipes from all of these chapters, but I spent a bit of time on the salad, take-out, and back-pocket sections. A few of my favourites:
- Arugula Salad with Crispy Prosciutto, Parmesan, and Fried Eggs: Okay, maybe not the healthiest, but this was a delicious combination. We ate it with some avocado toast (of course we did).
- Sesame-Orange Chicken: Lots of flavour and super filling, and surprisingly easily to put together – with broccoli, a few bell peppers, and rice.
- Coconut Green Curry Chicken: Soooo delicious. I don’t make curries very often, but when I do, they’re usually pretty boring compared to the stuff you get at restaurants. This recipe delivered.
- Smoky Black Bean Chicken Stew: Smoky indeed – a few recipes in this cookbook call for chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, which I found at Nesters (they don’t have it at Craig’s). I did the smoky spiciness it added to this stew.
- Dude Diet Shepherd’s Pie: I mentioned this one above – it uses cauliflower puree instead of mashed potatoes and it completely blew my mind. I feel like this crafty swap changes everything.
I recommend this book for quick(ish) weeknight dinners, people looking for some healthy inspiration, or those that are a little new to the kitchen and seek some inspiration (i.e., people living on their own for the first time).
The Dude Diet = it’s a winner.
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