Cookbook Review: Secrets of a Skinny Chef

by Joanne on February 27, 2010

Great title! Secrets of a Skinny Chef. 


This 196 page book offers 100 recipes to satisfy your taste buds, your body, and your soul. The books author, Jennifer Iserloh, provides ingredients that are nutritious and filling such as whole grains, proteins, and vegetables.  Your favorite recipes are transformed into “healthy and delectable creations”.  Nutritional content is provided after each recipe.


What attracted my attention to this book was Jennifer’s belief that “Maintaining a healthy weight, or getting to that healthy weight, is not about dieting, it’s about celebrating food.”  I love to celebrate food. I think we are so fortunate to be able to appreciate the variety in our diets.  Taste, texture, presentation, it all works together to satisfy our hungry minds and stomachs.

The recipes in the pages of this cookbook look familiar because they are ones you have always enjoyed cooking for yourself and your family but NOW they are healthier.  Although I don’t offer any meat dishes below, the book is loaded with healthy meat meals for the meat eating family.  They look good and healthy and I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to cook one up for Ted. I know he’d love it. 

You will enjoy reading the contents which include “Ditch The Diets and Enjoy Food Again”.  “The Perfect Plate”.  The main recipe section includes the basics:

  1. BREAKFAST (See below, the recipe for “Maple Apple Waffles”, page 14)
  2. SOUPS, APPETIZERS, AND SNACKS (See below, “Cream of Broccoli Soup with Cheddar”, page 36)
  3. MAIN COURSES (See below,  “Seven-Minute Salmon”, page 65)
  4. SIDE DISHES (See below, “Carrot Ginger Dressing”, page 118)
  5. DESSERTS (See below, “Apple Strudel with Walnut Crumble Topping”, page 148)

I enjoyed making every one of these recipes.  They were all made in one afternoon so don’t think these are menus best saved for long hours in the kitchen. It won’t happen.

Maple Apple Waffles, Serves 8  Tip from Jennifer: Don’t skip breakfast. It can cause over eating at lunch and create cravings throughout the day.


*These freeze well.  Wrap them up and take out as you want them.  Just put into the toaster oven to heat up for a quick healthy breakfast.  Note: My Big Boss Grill did not like this recipe. Although they tasted FANTASTIC, they were tricky to remove from the waffle grills. You may need to cook them an additional 1 to 2 minutes.

  • 1 lg. apple
  • 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TBS maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 egg whites ( or egg substitute if you are Vegan)
  • 2 cups fat free milk (or soy milk)
  • 2 TBS trans fat free margarine, melted
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 TBS ground flaxseed
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat waffle iron/grill on high.  Place apples, vinegar, syrup, vanilla in a large bowl and stir until apples are slightly brown from the vinegar.  Add the eggs, milk, and margarine.

Place the flour, flax, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a fine mesh sleeve and shake it over the wet ingredients.  Us a spatula, stir flour until a soft batter begins to form, about 10 turns. *I didn’t do this. I simply mixed the dry and add the wet ingredients to a dry, being careful to not over mix.  

Coat iron/grill with cooking spray. Pour 1 cup of batter in center of iron (I used 1/4 cup) close lid and cook about 5 – 6 minutes. Per Serving (1 waffle)= 189 calories. 8 g protein. 33 g carbs. 3.2 g fat, 4 g fiber, 251 mg sodium.


 Cream of Broccoli Soup with Cheddar


Serves 8 This soup offers the same rich taste as if you were to add cream, but reduced levels of saturated fat.  Gosh this was good!


  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 small red potatoes, peel and cube
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 head broccoli, stalk chopped and florets set aside
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 32 oz reduced sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded reduced fat Cheddar cheese

Heat the oil in a large stock pot. Add potatoes, onion, garlic, broccoli STALKS only and salt.  Cook 5 – 6 minutes. (I cooked over medium high heat).  Add broth through pepper and bring to a slow boil.

Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook 15 – 20 minutes or until potatoes and broccoli stalks are tender.  Add spinach, sour cream or yogurt.  Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth (or use a regular blender). Add the broccoli florets and cook 1 – 2 minutes more. Sprinkle with 2 TBS cheese upon serving. Serve hot.  Per 1 cup serving: 126 calories, 9 g protein, 11 g carbs, 6.6 g fat, 3 g fiber, 350 mg sodium.


Seven Minute Salmon Serves 4  A great beginners recipe for cooking fish


  • 2 small limes, zested and juiced
  • 3 TBS reduced fat peanut butter (I used Natural PB)
  • 3 TBS reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1” piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Non stick cooking spray
  • 4 pcs. of 6 oz boneless wild caught salmon (skin on)


Preheat oven to 425 F. In a small bowl, mix the lime zest, juice, peanut butter, soy, ginger and garlic.  Heat a large skillet over high heat. Coat with cooking spray and place salmon in pan, flesh side down. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until fish begins to brown. turn the fillets over and turn off the heat. Spoon on the lime mixture over the fish and slide the skillet into the oven to bake for 7 – 8 minutes. Salmon should flake when pressed with a fork.   Per 1 pc.: 334 calories, 38 g protein, 11 g carbs, 15.3 g fat 2g fiber, 600 mg sodium


Carrot Ginger Dressing Makes 1/2 cup   DELICIOUS!  We had this with a basic spinach salad.



  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1/2” pc. of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 TBS sesame oil
  • 1 TBS reduced sodium soy sauce

Place carrot, ginger, water, oil  and soy sauce in a mini chopper or blender and process until smooth.  May be refrigerated up to 4 days.   Per 2 TBS: 40 cals. 0 protein, 2 g carbs, 4 g fat, 0 g fiber, 154 mg sodium


Apple Strudel with Walnut Crumble Topping


Serves 8   *Of course I had to make this one. The topping has the perfect crunch with the soft naturally sweet filling from fruit.  We had this with whip cream.  Is that cheating?  Oh what the hey… it IS dessert!


  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 TBS oats
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Non stick cooking spray
  • 3 lg. apples, peeled, cored, thin sliced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup prunes, chopped
  • 1 small orange, zested and juiced
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 2 TBS whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 12 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted.

Mix all the topping ingredients in a bowl until well combined.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat an 8 x 12 baking dish with cooking spray. In a large saucepan combine apples, raisins, prunes, orange zest and juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon, water and stir well. Over medium low heat, bring to a slow simmer and cook 10 –15 minutes. You will have a thick sauce and tender apples. Stir in butter and set aside for 5 minutes.

Lay half of the phyllo sheets (6) across the baking dish so edges hang over sides. Pour half of the apple mix on top. Top with other 6 sheets of phyllo dough and spoon on remaining filling.  Fold the two longer sides of the dough on top of each other and tuck shorter ends underneath.  Sprinkle with topping. **The book says to coat with a thin layer of cooking spray, but I used another TBS melted butter. Bake 15 – 20 minutes until crisp. Per 1 pc.: 255 calories. 4 g protein, 50 g carbs, 5.5 g fat, 4 g fiber, 225 mg sodium


Tips and tricks and all sorts of secrets to easy, quick, nutritious cooking and baking.  My kind of book!

To learn more about the author, Jennifer Iserloh, and about the book, her blog is at this link. Take a look. What do you think?  Is this your type of book?


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