The only books I generally check out of the library – for myself – are “walk-by grabs.” This means I grab the book off the shelf while chasing two preschoolers to the kids’ section.

Using this precarious selection method, I ended up with a cookbook titled Skinny Italian.

I was amused to realize the book was written by one of the Real Housewives (of New Jersey), Teresa Giudice. Trust me, I had no idea who this woman is and still don’t know any of her history on this show. (As I edit this post I am aware of her legal troubles…) Further, I generally wouldn’t blog about a cookbook but have to give it credit: After a couple of renewals, I still wasn’t ready to return it so I purchased it for myself.

This cookbook, which actually reads more like a book with some recipes thrown in, promotes the “cornerstones” of Italian cooking, many of which I have already implemented into my routines with little effort:

  • No more bottled (chemical filled) salad dressing. Well, my husband is still using it sometimes…but I have chosen to get used to simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Speaking of Parmigiano-Reggiano, now I splurge on a block to grate myself, aged 24 months or more. It’s worth it!!
  •  Less butter, more olive oil. I am a butter addict, but lately I have been using olive oil when I would have traditionally used butter. Teresa explains why extra-virgin olive oil is the best and debunks the confusing label claims on olive oil products.
  •  No more alfredo. I’ve always loved it, but Teresa claims there is no such thing in Italy. Instead, she shares a lighter “white sauce” recipe that is delicious.

Other tidbits of interest:

  • Teresa admits using store-bought over homemade pasta most of the time because she says making her own is generally not worth the extra effort; she urges spending the time, instead, on homemade sauce, and gives a couple of easy versions to make.
  • She defends pasta to no-carb enthusiasts…emphasizing portion control.

Still on my to-do list:

  • Her homemade pizza dough recipe
  •  Canning tomatoes during our next growing season (she devotes a whole chapter to this).

All of the recipes I’ve implemented into my routine have been husband and kid approved. It’s truly one of the most useful “cookbooks” I’ve ever owned.