Book Review: The New American Heart Association Cookbook
Book: The New American Heart Association Cookbook, 8th Edition
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Publication date: 2010
Summary: This is one of those thick cookbooks that give you the impression that you will never need to buy another cookbook as long as you live. It’s not as dense, however, as The Joy of Cooking since every recipe gets its own page or two, simultaneously increasing ease of use and decreasing the sheer volume of information available. Each section begins with a list of recipes in that section so that you can easily find your way to the more wintry sounding salads like “Carrot Salad with Jicama and Pineapple” as opposed to the very summery “Ginger-Infused Watermelon and Mixed Berries.” I was somewhat surprised to note that vegetable, fruit, and main dish salads all mingle together in the salad section. I suspect I would be more likely to find the several chicken salad recipes if they were in the poultry section. There’s a large Vegetarian Entrees section that has many pasta recipes at the beginning but eventually branches out to other interesting ideas like “Slow-Cooker Chickpea Stew” and “Meatless Moussaka.”
Thoughts: “Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce” is the recipe we chose from this large collection. I had noticed earlier in the section that they seem to think a chicken breast is one serving. We tend to make that two servings these days. So, this recipe claimed to serve 4 and used a pound of chicken tenders. I wanted to use chicken breast and I needed to make only enough for 2 light eaters. So I reduced the recipe and still ended up with some leftovers.
The first time I served it, I used pitas, as suggested, folding them over rather than opening the pockets. This is the way I’ve had gyros in restaurants. It was tasty but I was unhappy with both the nutrition and the calories involved in that method. The next day, I served Rick a half sandwich with the leftovers, using half a pita and stuffing the filling in the pocket. When I made it a second time (pictured), I used these new Thin Buns. I liked the buns, but it no longer really felt like a gyros sandwich. So, next time, I think I will go back to pitas but use a half pita and fill the pocket.
I don’t suppose this would be very satisfying if you were craving a real gyros sandwich, but I haven’t had one in years. A spicy meat with fresh tzatziki sauce in a sandwich worked fine for me! I served this alongside a salad. The “Fresh Citrus and Ginger Coleslaw” that I made from the Diabetes and Heart Healthy Meals for Two cookbook worked nicely. We ended up with leftover meat both times and used it for a lunch sandwich the following day. There was lots of leftover sauce which was good for several days on sandwiches, as a dip, and as a salad dressing.
Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce
The New American Heart Association Cookbook, 8th Edition, page 256
Recipe modified and reduced to 2 or 3 servings by Joy Weese Moll
1 chicken breast sliced the long way into strips
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cumin
juice from half a lemon (the other half will go in the sauce)
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
2 leaves of romaine lettuce
1 small tomato, sliced
Stir together the dry herbs and spices (oregano through salt) in a small bowl. Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, and pressed garlic in small bowl or glass measuring cup. Place the strips of chicken in a shallow dish and sprinkle both sides of the strips with the spice mix, pressing spices so they adhere to the surface of the chicken. Pour the marinade over the chicken and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Preheat the broiler.
Make the tzatziki sauce (see below).
Broil the chicken strips four to five inches from the heat for 8 minutes. Turn over and broil for 3 minutes or until they are no longer pink in the center.
Cut the pita in half. Fill the pockets with about 1/3 of the chicken, romaine lettuce, and tomato slices. Pour tzatziki sauce over everything. There will be enough leftover chicken for another sandwich if someone is hungry or for lunch the next day.
1/4 c finely grated cucumber
1/4 c plain nonfat yogurt
1 T sour cream
the juice from the other half of the lemon
1 small garlic clove, pressed
pinch of salt
Stir all tzatziki sauce ingredients together. This makes a fine dressing or dip as well as a sandwich spread for gyros.
Appeal: This probably wouldn’t really be anyone’s only cookbook. There isn’t enough basic information about how to roast a chicken or the relative merits of different ways to prepare rice. But there are plenty of recipes to keep someone happy who is exploring how to cook one’s way to a healthy heart.
Challenges: This book contributes to the Foodie’s Reading Challenge as well as the Weekend Cooking meme.
Be sure to check the Weekend Cooking post at the Beth Fish Reads blog today for links to what other bloggers did in their kitchens this week. Beth Fish reviewed Big Night, the movie that prompted my husband’s desire to flip an omelet, something that he routinely does with success now. If my post wasn’t enough about sandwiches for you, see what caite at a lovely shore breeze has to say about The Perfect Cheesesteak. To get a sense of the variety of posts that are submitted to Weekend Cooking, don’t miss the World War II recipe for Welsh Rabbit at The Children’s War, the discussion of the book The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson at A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust, and an introduction to canning at Books, Fitness, and Other Stuff.
that sounds good…i like that spice mix.
I can’t say that I have ever broiled chicken like that but with the nice crispy bits and that sauce…that sounds good indeed.
I never heard of Tzatziki Sauce before but looking at the ingredients, I think I’d like it.
It looks really good! I guess that, with wanting to substitute for healthier ingredients (something that I tend to do all the time), sometimes makes a dish less appealing or at least less recognizable. So maybe you didn’t have a “real” gyros sandwich, you had a really tasty sandwich, and that’s what counts? 🙂
Sometimes cookbooks like these try too hard to show people that eating healthy doesn’t mean eating boring. But the sandwich, even if not authentic gyro, certainly sounds like it would taste really, really good. I’d probably just cut a pita in half and stuff it — I think that would cut down on the breadiness.
This is the cookbook I should be using and will definitely take a look at it. This recipe for chicken gyro souns delicious and I love tzatziki, which I buy to put on cold beets. I never made it, but with a recipe will. Thanks for the inspiration.