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Norene's Healthy Kitchen by Norene GilletzReview from www.LeslieBeck.com written by Emily Kennedy, Nutritionist

Norene Gilletz is a Canadian food consultant and writer best known for her delicious kosher or non-kosher recipes. Her new cookbook offers hundreds of meal ideas for people with diabetes, heart disease, weight-loss goals and other specific dietary needs. This book is family-friendly, with a healthy dose of good ol' fashioned common sense tips for preparing home-cooked meals.

Variety is the key to a healthy diet and this cookbook has it. With over 600 fast and tasty recipes, there's something for everyone.  The first quarter of the book is filled with information on healthy eating, starting with nutrition know-how, an explanation of the Glycemic Index (GI), and guidelines of safe food storage and handling. Quick reference charts help the reader estimate portion sizes, substitute high GI foods for lower GI choices, and lighten up baking with lower-fat substitutions.

The recipes are divided into 13 chapters including super soups, meatless entrees, and sauces, marinades and dressings. Most recipes come with variations just in case you're missing an ingredient or need to make it kosher, vegetarian or lactose-free. The instructions are easy to follow with plenty of details to guide less experienced cooks.  Advice on nutrition and chef's secrets make cooking for good health interesting and enjoyable. Nutrient analysis is also provided - a huge plus for those who are counting calories, carbs or grams of fiber.

The Taste Test!

First, I tested Curried Carrot and Cashew Soup, a mildly spicy vegetarian soup that warms and fills you up on a cold winter's day. Using baby carrots cuts down on the labor and time needed to dish this out to a hungry family. Sautéing the apple, onion, potato and 2 pounds (1 kg) of carrots took a little longer than the stated five to seven minutes. However, that's the hardest part of this recipe. Once the vegetables have softened, all you have to do is add 8 cups of vegetable broth and let it simmer away for 30 minutes while you prepare other dishes. Try to use an extra large pot to minimize the splatter when pureeing the soup with a hand blender.

Next, I tried Citrus Roast Turkey. This recipe is all about the marinade, and marinating for the recommended two days with occasional basting yields the most flavour.  This turkey turned out sweet, slightly tangy with a wonderful golden brown skin from the caramelized honey, orange and lemon juices. I recommend setting a timer for one hour into the cooking time as a reminder to baste the bird and maximize use of the marinade. As with all large roasts, once out of the oven, cover the turkey with foil (tenting) and let it rest before serving to increase the tenderness of meat.  I would definitely use this marinade for chicken or other turkey dishes.

Lastly, I tested Grilled Salmon Patties, a recipe that can be done on the grill or the frying pan. This fish dish is very easy with only five ingredients and one optional herb for extra flavour. If you don't have a lid for your indoor grill or frying pan, these patties will take a little longer than the six to seven minutes stated in the cookbook. The crisp Special K cereal adds bulk and texture to these patties. Next time, I would serve these salmon patties on a bun as an open-faced burger.

Final Word

Norene's Healthy Kitchen is an informative and practical cookbook for the kosher or non-kosher home, especially if you, or someone you cook for, want to shed a few pounds. The wide range of recipes and recipe variations would save any dieter from boredom. This is an all-in-one cookbook that considers convenience, taste and nutrition in every unique meal idea. It would make a wonderful addition to any cook's library.

More Info | Order Now

Norene's Healthy Kitchen - Eat Your Way to Good Health
by Norene Gilletz

Published by: Whitecap Books
ISBN 978-1-55285-802-8
CDN $34.95, paperback
8" x 9", 512 pages
colour photographs throughout


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All images and recipes © Norene Gilletz 2009 unless otherwise noted.
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