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Steal Celebrity Chef Rocco DiSpirito’s Calorie-Cutting Tips

Written on September 27, 2011 at 11:26 am , by

FITNESS advisory board member DiSpirito's new book is available today. (Image courtesy of Grand Central Publishing)

Rocco DiSpirito has had one busy year. The James Beard Award-winning celebrity chef launched his Bravo reality show Rocco’s Dinner Party, released his Now Eat This! Diet cookbook in March and today his latest book, Now Eat This! 100 Quick Calorie Cuts goes on sale. The FITNESS advisory board member knows weight loss: He dropped 20 pounds training for a triathlon and has kept them off for more than two years.

We asked DiSpirito to share a few of his top tips that offer a taste of all that you can savor in his new book.

Get the Scoop
DIY frozen yogurt and ice cream bars are all the rage, but topping with reckless abandon can lead to a much heftier indulgence than you were expecting! Follow this cheat sheet from DiSpirito of goodies to resist and enjoy. (All calories based on 1/2-ounce scoop of toppings, except cinnamon.)

Shake Some Flavor

  • Resist: Chocolate sprinkles (64 calories)
  • Enjoy: Dash of cinnamon (0 calories)

Pour it On

  • Resist: Hot fudge topping (99 calories)
  • Enjoy: Fat-free fudge (40 calories)

Crush Creaming Cravings

  • Resist: Walnuts in syrup (127 calories)
  • Enjoy: Whipped topping (18 calories)

Get Fruity

  • Resist: Gummy bears (38 calories)
  • Enjoy: Blueberries or cherries (7 calories)

Tote Smart Snacks

We’ve all had those times when our stomachs rumble while we’re stranded far away from our well-stocked fridge and healthy snack stockpile. DiSpirito says that you can save cash and calories by carrying your own 100-calorie snacks rather than relying on store-bought ones (or a supersize cupcake from the bakery down the block). Some suggestions:

  • 12 to 15 almonds
  • 10 walnut halves
  • 2 cups reduced-fat popcorn
  • 6 dried apricots
  • 12 mini cheddar rice cakes
  • 10 baked corn chips
  • 1 Now Eat This! Diet Red Velvet Chocolate Square
  • 2 Now Eat This! Diet PBJ Cookies
Grab your whisks and preheat your ovens, because DiSpirito shared his chocolate square and cookie recipes!

Red Velvet Chocolate Squares

Mashup these tips and use one of these tasty desserts as a topping for low-fat ice cream! (Photo courtesy of Eating Well)

Serves 12

  • Butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup chopped canned beets, drained
  • 7 ounces (about 1 cup) canned red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup liquid egg substitute
  • 3 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons natural red food coloring
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the beets, beans cocoa powder, egg substitute and flour in thr bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl halfway through.
  3. Add the agave, butter, vanilla, almond extract and food coloring. Process until all of the ingredients are combined, about 1 minutes.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes, turning the dish halfway through the baking time. Turn down the temperature of the oven to 300 degrees and bake for another 5 to 8 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a little bit of soft batter clinging to it. It should not come out clean, if it does it’s overcooked.
  5. Let the brownies cool completely in the baking dish on a wire rack. Then put them in the fridge for at least 3 hours. When they’re cold, cut them into 12 squares and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.

PBJ Cookies

Serves 20

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 cup canned white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat peanut butter, such as Better’n Peanut Butter
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 4 packets (about 4 grams) powdered stevia, such as SweetLeaf
  • 1/4 cup puffed millet cereal, such as Arrowhead Mills
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, add the cranberries. Pour in hot water to cover and allow to soak.
  3. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the vanilla, cocoa, cannellini beans, peanut butter and agave. Blend until the mixture is smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the side of the bowl halfway through blending.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whip attachment, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the stevia. Continue to beat the whites until they are creamy and nearly stiff. Add one-third of the egg white mixture to the cocoa bean mixture in the food processor. Blend to combine, about 30 seconds. In 2 batches, fold the lightened cocoa mixture into the egg whites until they are almost fully combined.
  5. Drain the liquid from the cranberries and then add the cranberries to the batter. Add the millet. Fold the batter until the cranberries and millet are evenly dispersed and the cocoa mixture is completely incorporated.
  6. Drop mounded spoonfuls of the batter onto the prepared sheets. Spread the batter out to form cookies about 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the peanut butter chips on top of the cookies.
  7. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans one turn halfway through baking. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool.
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