The ladies love celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito. He recently took part in "Dancing with the Stars." And he's got a new, best-selling cookbook.
Rocco heated up "The Early Show Saturday Edition", accepting our "Chef on a Shoestring" challenge!
He's helping cooks in kitchens all over prepare healthy comfort food. That's right - comfort food that's healthy!
Rocco's most recent cookbook is already topping New York Times sales charts. And he used recipes from "Now Eat This: 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All under 350 Calories" on the show (Click here to see excerpt).
As our "Chef on a Shoestring," he sought to prep a three-course meal for four on our measly $40 budget.
His menu started with a Steakhouse Style Salad with blue cheese and bacon, followed by Charred Beef Burgers with sweet potato french fries and, for dessert, a Peach and Blueberry Cobbler.
Rocco could also claim another bit of notoriety if he wins our "How Low Can You Go?" competition. The "Shoestring" chef with the lowest ingredients costs will be invited back to whip up our year-end holiday feast!
• Wedge of Lettuce with Bacon and Blue Cheese
• Charred Beef Burgers with Baba Ghanoush
• Sweet Potato Fries
• Peach and Blueberry Cobbler With Ginger And Cinnamon
Baba Ghanoush: A Middle Eastern puree of eggplant, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. It's garnished with pomegranate seeds, chopped mint or minced pistachios and used as a spread or dip for or Middle Eastern Flat Bread. (Source: Epicurious.com))
Blue Cheese: This genre of cheese has been treated with molds that form blue or green veins throughout and give the cheese its characteristic flavor. Some of the more popular of the blues include dana-blu , gorgonzola, roquefort and stilton. Blue cheeses tend to be strong in flavor and aroma, both of which intensify with aging. (Source: Epicurious.com))
Heirloom seeds (heirloom tomato): The advent of megaagriculture in America has seen the gradual depletion of ancient varieties of native nonhybrid plants. Unfortunately for those who appreciate full-flavored fruits and vegetables, produce-seed conglomerates focus only on those strains that have mass-market appeal - which means they're beautiful and hardy, but not necessarily the best-tasting. Fortunately, about 25 years ago some dedicated individuals began saving what they could of the remaining open-pollinated (without human intervention) seed varieties, which have become known as "heirloom seeds." Among the many heirloom fruits and vegetables grown today are beets, carrots, corn, dried beans, lettuce, potatoes and tomatoes. As the public becomes more aware of these wonderful alternatives, farmers are also becoming more interested. Heirloom produce can be found in some specialty produce markets and farmer's markets. (Source: Epicurious.com))
Wedge of Lettuce With Bacon and Blue Cheese
1 small head iceberg lettuce
1 small red onion, sliced very thin
1 large heirloom tomato, cut into large dice
3/4 cup of 3-Grams-of-Fat Blue Cheese Dressing or Bolthouse Farms Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing
6 tablespoons crumbled reduced- fat blue cheese, such as Treasure Cove
6 tablespoons real bacon bits, such as Hormel Real Bacon Bits
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut the iceberg lettuce into 4 wedges. Place 1 wedge on each of 4 salad plates, and top each wedge with some red onion and tomato. Drizzle each wedge with blue cheese dressing, and top it with crumbled blue cheese and bacon.
Season the salads with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
FOR MORE ROCCO RECIPES, GO TO PAGE 2