Chef Ellie Krieger: So Easy
Food Network chef Ellie Krieger says New Year’s is a time when people feel obligated to deprive themselves of tasty foods, especially after all the holiday parties and food. In Krieger’s world, no ingredient is off-limits. She says the minute someone tells her she can’t have something, suddenly she wants it ten times more.
According to her new book So EasyKrieger says a lot of foods frequently found on people’s banned lists can make food taste really good. Most people think the words luscious and healthy can’t be used in the same sentence.
“I can hardly blame them since many foods billed as ‘good for you’ are either boring – dry broiled fish and plain steamed vegetables – or a lame replica of what we really want,” says Krieger.
She says food gives pleasure, helps you unwind, brings you together with friends and family and is one of life’s great joys, but food can also provoke feelings of guilt, stress and frustration.
Instead of forbidding use of certain food items, Krieger came up with the Usually-Sometimes-Rarely philosophy for all of her recipes. Usually foods are the backbone of each recipe and the cornerstone of a healthy diet: colorful fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, beans, nuts, low-fat dairy and healthy oils. Sometimes foods are more refined, like regular pasta, white flour, sugar or some cuts of red meat.
“They are not the healthiest, but boy, can they make a meal more crave-able,” she says.
Rarely foods are off limits to most nutritionists, like butter, full-fat cheese, bacon and cream. Krieger uses these rarely foods strategically so you get the most flavor punch out of them but the recipe is still healthy.
Her philosophy is not a diet plan at all. “DIET is a four-letter word,” she says. “People either diet and avoid eating certain foods then binge eat. This allows you to get off the horrible diet roller coaster and have a peaceful relationship with food.”
Krieger’s recipes prove to the world that cooking healthy food can be quick, easy and most of all delicious. Her recipes are fast and simple and are designed to help you live and eat well, no matter how busy or stressful your life may be. Filling your kitchen with fresh, real ingredients is the starting point. Fresh vegetables, ripe berries, creamy yogurt, tangy buttermilk and heady spices are just a few.
“You will have the highest quality convenience food at your fingertips so you can whip up a delightful meal even on the busiest days,” she says. As a true lover of food and a registered dietitian, Krieger says to get people to eat well, don’t say a word about health. “Just cook fantastic food for them. It just happens to be good for them, too.”
NEW YEAR’S SHORTCUTS
Krieger says her top five healthy-eating shortcuts are easy to incorporate in any household.
- Wheat ravioli: Use her Ravioli Toss, page 165. Eat a bowl full of pasta without overdoing the carbs.
- Microwavable brown rice: Use Tri-color Pepper Steak, page 118. Peppers are a great source of Vitamin C.
- Rotesserie chicken: Ready to eat and already cooked. Eat thighs/legs and make Curried Chicken Salad with the breast meat the next day. (Curried Chicken Salad, page 67)
- Pre-washed greens: ready to eat salads. Serve the Curried Chicken Salad on top.
- Jarred pesto: Use her Grilled Portobella Benedict, page 49. Use pesto instead of mayonnaise on anything.
Krieger graduated with a Masters degree in Nutrition from Columbia University. She did her undergraduate work at Cornell University and was an adjunct professor at New York University in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health.
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