I may not be much of a cook, but I do like to find new recipes, especially when they’re healthier remakes of some of my long-time favorites. Sometimes the healthier version becomes a new favorite (see: 100-calorie apple pies or apple-cinnamon waffles), but sometimes not (see: black bean brownies). You can’t win if you don’t play, right? Right.
On Cook Your Ass Off (CYAO), three chefs compete to make over recipes for a guest with a specific health quest (lowering blood pressure, losing weight, managing cholesterol, etc.). Most, if not all, of the chefs have overcome a health problem themselves or were influenced by the health of a family member. The judging panel includes a nutritionist, a chef, and the guest with the quest.
There are three rounds of makeovers: Snack Attack, Meal Makeover, and Ideal Meal. For the first two rounds, the makeover dish is submitted by the guest. For example, one guest who needed to lower his cholesterol wanted a healthier version of his go-to quick snack, nachos. The three offerings were chili-spiced black beans & guacamole (no chips), ground turkey taquitos & tomatillo salsa, and lastly, grilled watermelon, feta, & ceviche. Needless to say, no one bought into the idea that grilled watermelon scratched any sort of nacho itch.
One chef is eliminated after the Meal Makeover segment, leaving the other two chefs to create the Ideal Meal built upon two super healthy, if possibly disgusting, ingredients. Think: octopus.
In the end, the winner moves on to some grand finale in the future and will also work with the guest on developing healthier cooking methods.
Recipe Rehab (RR) focuses on teaching families to make healthier substitutions in the kitchen. Two chefs compete to create healthier versions of the families’ favorite high-calorie meals. The families then attempt to recreate each recipe in their own kitchens and then choose their favorites based on taste, healthiness, and ease of preparation. I found a sample recipe on YouTube: Barbecued Chicken.
I’ve only seen two episodes of RR, but it’s my favorite of the two shows, so far, and I think it’s mainly because the chefs are more focused on remaking a favorite dish in a healthier way rather than replacing it with something else completely. Also, to be honest, the recipes on RR seem more doable for the mediocre-and-happy-being-that-way home cooks, like me. Oh, and I really, really like that they’re trying to engage whole families in the process. Hence, the Saturday a.m. airtime.
Have you seen either of these shows? Maybe you have a perspective I haven’t considered. Sing out if you do!
As luck would have it, I stumbled across two recipe makeover articles the last few days, which I’ll share in case television isn’t your thing:
- Recipe Makeovers from Whole Living, you’ve got to love an article that starts with chocolate chip cookies!
- From Wall St Cheat Sheet: 10 Healthy Versions of Classic Comfort Food Recipes