Will 2014 mark the year when the heat of negative publicity cools off in Paula Deen's kitchen empire? Her team, including her son Chef Bobby Deen, hopes so. And in the first steps to redemption, the company led by Bobby helped a non-profit to improve the diets of senior citizens in the area, reported WSAV 3 News on Feb. 1.
Paula Deen Enterprises celebrated its 25th anniversary by helping to pack 800 boxes with food for America's Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia. With Bobby in the lead, the team loaded boxes with meals earmarked for the region's senior citizens.
"It's all a program to make sure they can get through at least one week of having food in their homes," said Executive Dir. of Second Harvest, Mary Jane Crouch.
At the end of the month, some elderly people must make a choice between food, utility bills and medicine, she added.
"Many seniors at the end of the month have to decide: 'Am I going to eat, or am I going to buy my medicine, or am I going to pay my electric bill,'" said Crouch.
Although he'll always be known as son of the now-infamous Paula Deen, Bobby also has been trying to carve his own path in the competitive cooking world. He's already made a name for himself cooking up reduced calorie recipes.
The entire family, from Paula to her husband to Bobby and his brother Jamie lost a combined 178 pounds over the past year by dieting.
But Bobby is the one who's become known as the king of calorie-cutting with his cookbook "From Mama's Table to Mine: Everybody's Favorite Comfort Foods at 350 Calories or Less."
Now he's written a new cookbook that combines weight loss recipes with time-efficient methods: "Bobby Deen's Everyday Eats: 120 All-New Recipes, All Under 350 Calories, All Under 30 Minutes" (click for details).
And Bobby walks his talk. Because he "invests time in the gym, why wouldn’t I pay close attention to what I eat? Because I work so hard on the physical side, I don’t want to blow it all on the food I put in my body,” writes Bobby.
Chapter titles range from "Salad Meals" to "Meatless Mains" to "Good for You Grains." Try a sample below of the great grains recipes.
HOPPIN’ JOHN SALAD Ingredients
• 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
• 1 1/2 cups cooked brown or white rice
• 1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
• 1 cup grape tomatoes (about 1/4 pound), halved
• 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped
• 1 T olive oil
• 1 T fresh orange juice
• 2 t red wine vinegar
• Pinch of Cajun spice blend
• Salt, to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Directions: In a large bowl, toss together the black-eyed peas, rice, bell pepper, tomatoes and scallions.
In a small bowl, toss together the oil, orange juice, vinegar, Cajun spice blend, and salt and pepper, to taste. Pour over the pea and rice mixture and toss to combine.