Okay, so what does Chef Irby have to offer? Julienned carrots? Steamed carrots? Diced carrots? Raw carrots? Mashed carrots? Forget about the carrots. If the relative sweetness of food is your guide to good eating, start at the back of Substitute Yourself Skinny. Tiramisu, banana pudding cake, éclairs, cheesecake, brownies, and strawberry shortcake are just a few of the dessert recipes offered.
Eating a 225-calorie dessert may not sound like good weight-loss or maintenance advice, but if you eat that instead of the 600 or 700 calorie dessert that you would normally eat, you can see how the calorie savings will add up.
Many of Chef Irby’s suggestions are common sense, such as substituting low-fat sour cream for regular. The value in Substitute Yourself Skinny is that it is full of such information, and it is used in new recipes and combinations you may not have imagined.
One of my favorite recipes is for a baked bloomin’ onion (“everything’s bloomin’ with delicious onions and bacon). I loved bloomin’ onions when Outback first introduced them as a menu item. Bloomin’ onions, however, don’t love me. Incredibly greasy, they don’t sit well, although I have a feeling they sit forever (at least on the thighs). I do love onions, but don’t eat many fried foods. Irby’s recipe pares the 576 calories per serving in the original down to a mere 36. Heck, you could eat the whole onion (I save even more, because I skip the bacon)!
Substitute Yourself Skinny recipes include comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, lasagna, and chicken à la king as well as “fancier” fare such as eggs benedict and
"Skinny Stroganoff." There are suggestions for appetizers, soups, desserts, breakfast, lunch, and supper, and they are accompanied by “Skinny Secrets” and mouth-watering photographs (I’m surprised anyone used a cookbook 50 years ago; most of the photos make the food look inedible.).
One of the most appealing things about Substitute Yourself Skinny is that it includes recipes for the foods people actually eat. Burgers, burritos, chicken and dumplings, pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, and club sandwiches all get the lower-cal treatment and many of the recipes inspire tinkering with the user’s favorites.