30-Minute Get Real Meals: Eat Healthy Without Going to ExtremesBack when Trish hosted the Cook It Up Challenge, which focused on using one cookbook each month, I decided to start with 30-Minute Get Real Meals by Rachael Ray. I chose this particular cookbook because it’s the cookbook I’ve had the longest (my mom bought it for me when I moved from a dorm room to an apartment in college and could start cooking in an actual kitchen), and I had only used it once or twice. I also feared I wouldn’t find much to cook since it’s focused on low-carb which I don’t really believe in (pasta, please. All the pasta!).

The book is divided into chapters for snacks, salads, soups, fondue, burgers, main dishes, pastas (I know, right!), and desserts. The first thing I made was the Indian Summer Turkey Chili. This chili was SO GOOD and possibly my favorite chili I’ve ever made (I love chili and have made many kinds). The kicker with this one is it literally tastes like summer, probably because barbecue sauce is a prominent ingredient. The one thing I can tell you about this dish is that if you make it, choose your BBQ sauce wisely – the taste REALLY comes through in the chili. I’ve made it twice since the first time, truly this was delicious and I will make it lots more times. And it makes GREAT leftovers.

The second thing I made was Pumpkin Sage Pasta. Here’s where it gets tricky because this recipe is the closest one I can find online to the one in the cookbook, and it’s slightly different. But it’s close enough that you get the idea. Yes, there’s pasta and cream in a low-carb cookbook, but she uses such a small amount of each that it’s still pretty healthy overall. I liked this okay. The taste was really good but because of the huge proportion of pumpkin puree to cream, the texture was a little off. I made it a second time using about twice the amount of cream, and while it obviously wasn’t as healthy that way, the texture was way more creamy and delicious. I REALLY liked the use of fresh sage, a herb I had never cooked with before.

The third dish I made was a white chicken chili that I can’t find online. Which is fine, because this chili was nothing to write home about. It was okay the night I made it, but it lacked that something special and wasn’t very good reheated the next day for lunch.

In the end, while I liked one thing I made and loved another, I ended up donating this cookbook. There are just too many things in here that don’t interest me – I don’t make fondue, am not a huge fan of burgers, and never make salads at home (my hubby doesn’t eat salad). While I’ll definitely be making the chili again and again, and will experiment more with pumpkin puree in my cooking, overall I’d only recommend 30-Minute Get Real Meals to people looking for fresh and new low-carb options to add into their cooking repertoire.

Weekend Cooking is a weekly event hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Stop by and check out other posts related to food and cooking!