Sunday, October 14, 2018

Book Review: 'The Shredded Chef: 120 Recipes for Building Muscle, Getting Lean, and Staying Healthy' by Michael Matthews

The Shredded Chef: 120 Recipes for Building Muscle, Getting Lean, and Staying Healthy
By Michael Matthews

Review by Rebecca Johnson

Are you looking for exciting gourmet recipes and already know the basics of cooking? This will take some of your cooking skills to the next level. I've tried five recipes from this cookbook and am looking forward to trying more. Some of the recipes need a little adapting but since I know how to write recipes that is no issue for me. The recipes I've tried so far include:

Creamy Blueberry-Banana Smoothie: This smoothie is made with banana, blueberries, honey, Greek yogurt, flaxseeds and milk. I felt it needed to be a bit sweeter so added three packets of stevia and one teaspoon of vanilla powder. It was then perfect.

Beef Stroganoff: This is a lot better than the type of stroganoff you make with ground beef. Instead this recipes calls for beef tenderloin. I took it up a notch and used two beef ribeyes with all the fat cut off. One thing I can't find at my local store is condensed beef broth, so instead I just used 1 1/4 cup water with 1 3/4 teaspoon beef base (look for it in the soup isle). At the end of the recipe I realized it was a bit soupy (probably because I'm using stock not a condensed broth) so I added in two tablespoons butter mixed with two tablespoons flour. Changes the recipe calories a bit but I don't eat this very often. The Dijon mustard is really essential in the recipe. Once I forgot to add it and totally noticed a difference in flavor.

Grilled Rosemary Lamb Chops: Making these is an aromatic experience. I fried the meat in a frying pan since I don't have a grill and they still turned out fantastic. The minute the rosemary heats up with the lemon juice it produces a heavenly scent. I'd use double the rosemary next time. Also lamb bones are really sharp so when you put them in a plastic bag with the marinade it might leak a bit. To solve this problem I put the bag in a metal bowl in the refrigerator. No mess to clean up.

Pollo Fajitas: This recipe has a heavenly marinade that you can taste even after the recipe is done. The combination of Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and soy sauce (I used Tamari) was delicious once heated. You serve the chicken with onions and green bell pepper in tortillas. They are also good with sour cream and salsa. Made these twice already and they are going to be a favorite for a long time. I use two large fry pans and cook the onions and peppers separately at the same time as the chicken. Works out great since everything is hot at the same time.

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp with Asparagus: You can omit the asparagus in this recipe no problem. I felt there were enough veggies just with the red bell peppers. And the author would be happy to know I used organic bell peppers. To me they are a bit sweeter. The only thing with this recipe is it calls for garlic to be sautéed and sometimes it can burn. So I put all the sauce ingredients in a Pyrex glass measuring cup and added the garlic to that and poured it into the shrimp and peppers at the end. Great garlic flavor without burning anything. I added one tablespoons butter mixed with one tablespoon flour to thicken the sauce a bit.

Other recipes I'm eager to try include:

Cinnamon-Spiced Sweet Potato Pancakes
Spiced Caribbean Oatmeal with Yogurt Swirl
Coconut Carrot-Ginger Soup
Thai Basil Chicken
Chile Relleno Casserole
Classic Tiramisu
Triple Berry Crisp

Yes this cookbook also has desserts but some recipes call for Truvia instead of all sugar.

So this recipe book has been really fun to work through and I'm not done yet. I had a question about one of the recipes and the author got right back to me so that was nice.

I look forward to trying new recipes in the near future. I love that so many of these recipes are gourmet. And these are recipes my weight lifting husband also enjoys.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Rebecca Johnson. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.