Thyme Roasted Autumn Vegetables

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! The High Holidays are quickly approaching—let the feasting begin! If you’re looking for lighter options for the holidays or Shabbat, you’ll find excellent inspiration in Secrets of Skinny Cooking: Mouthwatering Recipes You Won’t Believe are Low Calorie (Artscroll/Shaar Press, 2017). Food writer and cookbook author Victoria Dwek teamed up with nutritionist Shani Taub to create this new cookbook, showing you how to enjoy exciting, flavourful, and filling meals… all for a fraction of the calories they’d typically contain.

From that moist Corn Muffin you grab for breakfast, to your creamy Eggplant Parmesan for lunch, to your Sesame Chicken & Lo Mein for dinner … enjoy all your favourite dishes, now surprisingly low in calories!

Secrets of Skinny Cooking features:

  • Over 135 delicious and easy-to-prepare recipes, with breathtaking photos for each dish
  • Secret techniques and tips for zapping the calories from any dish … without zapping the flavour (such as, “How to Saute and Caramelize Onions Without Oil.”)
  • Make ahead info, family-friendly adaptations, and cooking tips from Victoria Dwek
  • Nutritional information, advice, and motivation from Shani Taub
  • Packed with gluten-free, sugar-free, low carb, Whole30, and Paleo options

Every meal is covered! Enjoy filling breakfasts, super light salads, 5-ingredient veggie sides, friendly carbs, satisfying soups, creamy and dreamy dairy dishes, filling and flavorful mains, and even sweet treats.

Secrets of Skinny Cooking offers more options than you ever thought possible, including a Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie, No-Cal Sushi, Ramen Noodle Bowl, Pulled Chicken Tacos, Friday Rice Salad, Chickpea Salad with Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette, Fish Fajitas, and Salmon with Techina Sauce … even Creme Brulée and Pomegranate Granita for dessert. Why settle for bland, dietetic food when you can enjoy the delectable dishes of Secrets of Skinny Cooking? The strategies shared by Victoria and Shani are inspiring; keep the flavor, eat your favourites, watch your portions, and be mindful of ingredients. Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it?

Shana Tova u’Metukah! Eat in good health!


Pareve ● Gluten-Free ● Low Carb ● Sugar-Free ● Whole30 ● Paleo ● Yields 6 servings

Victoria originally intended to roast these vegetables to make a galette (a type of freeform pie). But then she found herself eating all the vegetables before they could make it onto the dough. So, she decided, this will be a vegetable dish that can stand on its own.

If you’re purchasing pre-cut butternut squash, dice it even smaller so it will roast more quickly. But, if you shop in a market that sells all types of winter squashes, try something new. Victoria loves the flavor of delicata squash. It’s also especially pretty, much easier to slice, and doesn’t need to be peeled.

3 portobello mushroom caps, sliced or 6 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1 tsp olive oil

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tsp salt, divided

1 delicata squash, sliced into half-moons or 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and diced

2 pinches coarse black pepper, divided

1 (24-oz) bag frozen cauliflower, thawed and drained

1 red onion, cut into rings

1 1/2 tsp dried thyme

  1. In a small bowl, toss the mushrooms with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with foil; coat with nonstick cooking spray. Divide squash between baking sheets, spray with nonstick cooking spray, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pinch pepper. Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Divide the cauliflower and red onion between the baking sheets. Spray entire mixture again; toss with thyme, remaining salt, and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Add reserved mushrooms (with the marinade) to the baking sheet; toss to mix with other vegetables. Bake for 10 additional minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

68 calories per serving

Shani Taub exchange: 1/2 recipe = 1 vegetable

Shani says:

We receive most of our vitamins and nutrients from vegetables, our lowest-calorie and most colourful foods. Find your favourite and fill up on it.


Salsa Chicken


Meat · Gluten-Free · LowCarb Sugar-Free ● Whole30 ● Paleo ● Yields 4 servings

Everyone, Victoria included, needs those kinds of dishes in their repertoire—dishes that they can pull out of their back pocket in thirty seconds when there really isn’t time to cook. This is one such dish. Salsa is such a magical condiment (too bad we’re always enjoying it with fried tortilla chips) … it has so much flavour for so few calories! Make sure to keep a couple of jars of really good-quality salsa that you love in your pantry for times like this. This concept also works using your slow cooker. Simply season your chicken, throw it in with the salsa, and go.

1 1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs

Salt, for sprinkling

Black pepper, for sprinkling

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 (approximately 15.5-oz) jar favourite salsa

Taco Spice Mix:

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp oregano

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Prepare the Taco Spice Mix: In a small bowl, combine chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and oregano.
  3. Place chicken into a baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; rub with garlic. Sprinkle chicken liberally with spice mix.
  4. Spread salsa over chicken. Bake for 25 minutes.

221 calories per serving

Shani Taub exchange: 2 proteins per serving

Good to Know:

This dish is even better when prepared ahead and left to marinate.

Shani Says:

You can also cook fish with salsa. I also recommend it as a Shabbos dip with your matzah.


Meat · Yields 2 servings

Victoria was skeptical when cookbook author Leah Schapira told her that she could bake steaks, covered in the oven, for hours. Sure, Victoria had baked steaks before, but only after searing and only for a few minutes, so the inside cooks to a perfect medium-rare. The first time Victoria tried this technique, she accidentally left the oven on when she meant to turn it off (for a couple of hours!). The rest of the food … well, it was all still edible if you’re a fan of all things crispy and crunchy. These steaks? They were still moist and tender. Victoria paired them with this classic steak sauce (she loves its aroma while it cooks!), which she serves or any grilled meats.

2 (4-oz) club steaks (see Good to Know, below)

1 tsp Montreal steak seasoning

1/2 onion, finely diced

Salt, for sprinkling

4 mushrooms, quartered

1/4 cup red wine

1 1/2 cup beef stock

1 tsp Dijon mustard

  1. Preheat oven to 350° Coat a baking pan or baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Season steaks with steak seasoning. Place in prepared baking pan; cover tightly and bake for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: Coat a sauté pan with nonstick cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add onion, lower heat, sprinkle with salt, cover pan, and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover pan, raise heat to medium, add mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes. Add wine; simmer to reduce for 2 minutes. Add beef stock and mustard, cook until sauce thickens. Set aside.
  4. Pour sauce over steaks. Cover and bake for an additional 1 hour. Keep steaks covered to rewarm. 

287 calories per serving

Shani Taub exchange: 2 proteins

Good to Know:

This technique will work with almost any type of steak and even veal chops.

Shani Says:

Want to know which cuts of meat are the leanest? Just look at them and you’ll be able to tell, as fattier steaks have more white areas. Club steaks are one of the leaner steaks available.

Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of eleven cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto, Canada and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at www.gourmania.com or email her at [email protected]

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Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, cookbook editor and now a podcaster. Norene lives in Toronto and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at gourmania.com..