Holding up a bottle of ketchup in disgust, Chef Rocco DiSpirito revealed that it's the number one vegetable in America - and then he tossed it in the trash. That was one of the highlights of his visit to Queen Latifah's Jan. 22 talk show, where Rocco gave a complete refrigerator makeover and discussed his weight loss plan.
In providing his tips on what to toss and what to substitute, Rocco emphasized that you can keep the flavor while cutting the calories. He's authored several cookbooks putting the proof in the pudding (literally), including "Now Eat This! Italian: Favorite Dishes from the Real Mamas of Italy--All Under 350 Calories" and "Now Eat This! Diet: Lose Up to 10 Pounds in Just 2 Weeks Eating 6 Meals a Day!" (click for details).
Among Rocco's key refrigerator makeover tips for weight loss and health:
- Fruit juices are usually loaded with sugar, and some milk alternatives like coconut milk also contain too much sugar. Instead, try unsweetened coconut water.
- Ketchup is high in corn syrup and sugar. Rocco suggests using chili sauce or mustard, both of which spices boost your metabolic rate to burn more fat.
- Fruit yogurt contains mostly sugar, warns Rocco. Enjoy plain Greek yogurt instead.
- Ice cream is a once-in-awhile treat. In general, try pureeing frozen berries and adding monk fruit or stevia as a natural, zero-calorie sweetener if desired.
Rocco also discussed his new diet book: "The Pound a Day Diet: Lose Up to 5 Pounds in 5 Days by Eating the Foods You Love" (click for details).
Designed to follow the Mediterranean diet approach, Rocco's new weight loss book reduces carbs and calories while providing filling meals to turbo-charge weight loss. He noted that the recipes are quick and easy. Try his burger recipe below.
Prep Time: about 3 minutes
Processing time: about 3 minutes
- 1 cup puffed rice
- ¼ cup cold water
- 12 ounces 96% lean ground beef
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 ½ tablespoons reduced-sugar ketchup
- 4 ½ tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
- 4 low-calorie hamburger buns
In a food processor, process the puffed rice until it’s broken up, about 10 seconds. Add the water and mix until all the water is absorbed into the rice, about 20 seconds. Add the ground beef and process until evenly incorporated.
Working on squares of wax paper, form the mixture into 4 patties about 5 inches in diameter and season the tops with salt and pepper.
Spray a large nonstick skillet with 2 seconds of cooking spray and place over high heat. Turn the patties into the skillet, peel the paper off the top of each petty, and season with salt and pepper. Brown each side until cooked through, about 1 ½ minutes per side.
Meanwhile, mix the ketchup and mayonnaise in a small bowl and set aside. Place each patty on a bun, top each patty evenly with the sauce, choose your toppings (see below), and serve.
- If you like your buns toasted, place the buns cut side down in the skillet before you cook the patties.
- Keep the patties cold before cooking; they’ll be easier to handle.
- Use unsalted chicken stock instead of the water for a little flavor boost
- Garnish burger with healthy options such as:
- Up to 8 slices dill hamburger pickles for 0 calories
- Iceberg lettuce leaves for only 1 calorie per whole leaf
- Fresh tomato slices for 3 calories per slice
- 1 slice of fat free cheese for 25 calories