Cookbook review: 'Comfort Food Makeovers' cuts a lot of calories, fat at the cost of a little flavor

Published: Tuesday, May 20 2014 3:40 p.m. MDT

"Comfort Food Makeovers" is from the editors at America's Test Kitchen. (America's Test Kitchen)

"COMFORT FOOD MAKEOVERS," America's Test Kitchen, $26.95, 336 pages

The chefs at America's Test Kitchen provide a way for people seeking healthier fare to indulge in some of their favorite recipes through their cookbook "Comfort Food Makeovers."

More than 175 recipes are included for all kinds of classic dishes ranging from appetizers to salads, casseroles to meats and sides to desserts. The "before" and "after" amounts of calories, fat and saturated fat in each dish are listed alongside each recipe.

The recipes were created with the goal of staying "as true to the original as possible" and putting flavor first, according to the book's introduction, while decreasing each recipe's calories by at least 33 percent and total fat and saturated fat by at least 50 percent while maintaining the original portion sizes.

For the most part, the cookbook succeeds.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese, pictured on the book's cover, has had its calories lowered from 750 to 470 per serving, grams of fat from 40 to 11 and grams of saturated fat from 25 to 5.

An attempt at the recipe proved it easy to follow with its straightforward directions and helpful tips. Less simple was locating one of the key ingredients: 50 percent light cheddar cheese; it was nowhere to be found, and another not-as-reduced-fat cheese had to be substituted.

Although not as tasty as an original version, the mac and cheese was good, and the loss of flavor was compensated for by the knowledge that it was much easier on the arteries.

For a cook who sees cutting a little flavor to save a lot of calories and fat as a necessary compromise, "Comfort Food Makeovers" could be a huge help in the kitchen.

Email: rbrutsch@deseretnews.com

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