Hungry Girl Simply 6 by Lisa Lillien (St. Martin’s Press, 2019)

The woman who created a chocolate oatmeal recipe that is so good you are convinced that it is a gourmet chocolate mousse, Lisa Lillien (or Hungry Girl), is back with her 13th cookbook, and it is the best one yet!  Hungry Girl Simply 6 is the pipe dream of every career calorie counter; a recipe book with ingenious creations that fit all dieters’ needs: gluten free, vegetarian, Slow Cooker, no cook, Simply Sheet Pan, Simply Peanut Butter, Simply Family Size, Simply Chocolate, Simply Blended Batters: it’s all here in this one heavenly, healthy manual on cooking with six ingredients or less.

Lillien’s fans have been begging her to do a cookbook like this one for years, and she is delighted with the outcome. “In this book, my favorite recipe may be the Eggplant Lasagna (p. 167) . . . or it could be Instant Pot Honey Barbecue Meat Balls (p. 163) . . . or possibly the Greek Z’phaghetti (p.237) or the Garlic knots.” (p. 280)

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Each recipe offers servings of less than 375 calories, more than half of which take 30 minutes or less to prepare. Two dozen of the recipes taken less than 15 minutes to prepare, and 18 of them require no cooking at all. 95 of the offerings are gluten free, and 91 of them are vegetarian . . . and Lillien guarantees that all of them are delicious.

Low calorie breakfasts that are interesting and quick to create are challenging. But, how does Bageled Eggs sound, made with hard-boiled eggs, light/reduced fat cream cheese, red onion, smoked salmon, and cherry or grape tomatoes? For six egg halves, (3 eggs),there are only 168 calories. Also simple to make are Easy Freezy Breakfast Sandwiches, which has a mere four ingredients and take five minutes to whip up, using egg whites, light English muffins, reduced-sodium ham, and reduced-fat cheddar cheese.

If you like to prepare breakfast the night before, try Peanut Butter and Jelly Overnight Oat Parfait. This recipe consists of old-fashioned oats, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, powdered peanut butter, no calorie sweetener, fat free yogurt, and strawberries. Hungry Girl’s oatmeal creations are my favorite breakfast offerings.

From pancakes to muffins, to a wide range of yummy oatmeal offerings, breakfast with Hungry Girl becomes an adventure rather than a bore.

Another challenge for many of the diet conscious is how to make veggies palatable. How about Sheet-Pan Roasted Veggies, which combine butternut squash, carrots, parsnip, and beets, drizzled with a little olive oil and baked on a sheet. One cup of this colorful array of yummy vegetables nets a mere 128 calories. For those who like a little spice in their lives Lillien offers a simple recipe for Spicy Slow-Cooker Veggie Chili. The ingredients in this dish are crushed tomatoes, red kidney beans, brown mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, and jarred jalapeno slices. Add a tablespoon of chili seasoning mix and cook for 7-8 hours in a crock pot, and yum! Quick and easy lunch or dinner.

Of course, everyone wants dessert, and the new HG cook book offers original sweets made mostly of fruit. Take, for example, Bananarama Egg Rolls. These delectable delights are prepared with bananas, powdered peanut butter, creamy peanut butter, honey, egg roll wrappers, and whipped butter. Just looking at the photo of them makes one drool. A No-Melt Banana Split uses peanuts, freeze dried strawberries, bananas, almond milk, and just enough semi-sweet chocolate chips to address that chocolate craving so many of us need to feed.

For those who need crunch in their diet, Oatmeal Raisin cookies (only 49 calories per cookie), Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies (51 calories per cookie), and Chocolate Chip Cookies (47 calories per cookie) uell the yen. For a chocoholic, HG gives us Peanut Butter Midnight Fudge Bites, Chocolate Cake in a Mug, and Double Chocolate Brownies. These scrumptious desserts give relief to those with an insatiable sweet tooth.

The Hungry Girl cookbooks always include pictures of every suggested dish, and most of my meals do come out looking like the photos because the recipes are so simple to make. HG is cognizant also of the importance of using color in every meal so that weight watchers are not bored with bland and colorless foods.

One note before concluding, to get the WW point values for each of Lillien’s Simply 6 recipes, visit hungry-girl.com/simply6. Also, if you are not already on the daily Hungry Girl e-mail list, visit hungry-girl.com and sign up. This is one e-mail that you will look forward to every day.