Cookbook review: Giada’s Feel Good Food

An inside look at how it's done!

Looking to make sense of your mealtime and lifestyle habits? Giada De Laurentiis has some tips for you! Her latest cookbook, Giada's Feel Good Food: My Healthy Recipes and Secrets, lets you in on a thing or two.

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More than likely, you've seen Giada De Laurentiis on TV, whipping up delightful and sometimes decadent recipes. You've probably also wondered, "How does she cook and eat these dishes and still stay fit?" You're not alone. That's the number one question Giada hears from her fans.

Secrets to share

Giada's secrets are out. In her latest cookbook, Giada's Feel Good Food: My Healthy Recipes and Secrets, she shares her favorite healthy recipes with readers and also divulges her health and beauty tips. From exercise to acupuncture to tips on eating in restaurants, this book covers many of the personal habits that keep her healthy and energetic.

She's quick to note that this isn't a diet cookbook and admits that diets are not for her. Giada has adopted a balanced way of cooking, eating and living that works for her and her family. Her number one philosophy on eating? "Eat a little bit of everything but not a lot of anything." She points out that she doesn't believe in deprivation, but she's mindful of what she eats.

Mouthwatering meals for everyone

At the beginning of this book, you'll find "a month of feel good meals." This is a handy menu that offers ways you can mix and match recipes from within the book, for each meal within a month. It's a framework that offers appealing suggestions.

You'll find gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan recipes within the book that cover breakfast; juices and smoothies; lunch; snacks; dinner; and dessert. Each of the 120 recipes in the book include a calorie count and nutritional analysis — a first for Giada's cookbooks — as well as many vibrant photos.

So wonder no more. This book will give you an inside look into how Giada does "it," and it presents readers with many healthy, flavorful recipes.

Try a recipe from Giada's Feel Good Food:

Grilled scallops with orange-scented quinoa

This is a light yet very satisfying dish. Scallops are rich and meaty, so you don't need to serve a lot of them to do the trick. Chickpeas add some texture and body to the quinoa to make it more substantial and the orange zest infuses a nice bright citrusy flavor into the dish, flecking the grain with its pretty color.

Grilled scallops with orange-scented quinoa

Serves 6

Ingredients:

For the quinoa

  • 1-1/2 cups quinoa
  • Grated zest of 1 large orange
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the scallops

  • 1-1/2 pounds (1-1/2- to 2-inch) scallops (16 to 20)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from about 1 large orange)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Special equipment:

  • 12 (8 inch) wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes to prevent scorching

Directions:

For the quinoa

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups water and the quinoa, orange zest and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so that the mixture simmers. Cover the pan and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Fluff with a fork, cover the pan and let the quinoa sit for 10 to 12 minutes.

For the scallops

  1. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.
  2. Thread 3 scallops onto a skewer. Thread another skewer (alongside the first) through the scallops about 1/2 inch apart to make flipping the skewers easier. Repeat with the remaining scallops and skewers to make 6 skewers in total.
  3. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

For the dressing

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, salt and pepper until smooth.

Assemble the dish

Put the quinoa into a large serving bowl. Add the dressing, chickpeas and parsley. Toss until coated. Arrange the grilled scallops on top and serve.

Per serving: Calories 441; Protein 28g; Carbohydrates 46g; Dietary Fiber 7g; Sugar 1g; Total Fat 17g; Saturated Fat 2g; Sodium 838mg

About the author

Giada De Laurentiis is the star of Food Network's Everyday Italian and Giada at Home, a judge on Food Network Star, a contributing correspondent for NBC's Today show, and the author of six New York Times best-selling cookbooks. She has three new books: Giada De Laurentiis's Recipe for Adventure: Naples! and Giada De Laurentiis's Recipe for Adventure: Paris!, the first two books in a new children's chapter book series that transports readers to famous food cities around the world; and Giada's Feel Good Food, a collection of Giada's secrets for staying fit and her healthy recipes. She attended the Cordon Bleu in Paris and worked at Wolfgang Puck's Spago restaurant in Los Angeles before starting her own catering company, GDL Foods. Born in Rome, she grew up in Los Angeles, where she now lives with her husband, Todd, and their daughter, Jade.

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