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[NOV. 12, 2004]  URBANA -- A new cookbook that presents the many ways soy can be used as a healthy and delicious ingredient in quick meals suitable for the average American kitchen has been published by the Illinois Center for Soy Foods at the University of Illinois. This illustrated, full-color publication, entitled "Soy for the Last Minute Chef," is the fourth in an ongoing cookbook series, "Soy in the American Kitchen."

"The recipes in this book rely on a few proven strategies to help people get nutritious meals on the table with a minimum of hassle," said Barbara Klein, editor of the book and co-director of the center. "Some recipes shorten the preparation process by using ready-made mixes and handy pantry items that reduce the time it takes to make a meal. All of them include soy, which is the ultimate healthy convenience food."

She points out that there are many ready-to-go versions of soy available on supermarket shelves.

"Frozen fresh green soybeans cook in three to five minutes, and canned black or yellow soybeans are just a can opener away," Klein said. "Using frozen soy crumbles is as quick as cooking with ground beef. Soy versions of chicken, sausage and hamburger patties are ready even more quickly than the dairy versions because they are precooked."

Klein further notes that tofu and soy milk can be easily substituted for dairy products in quick recipes like shakes and smoothies.

"Flavored tofu, whether purchased or homemade, makes for a great sandwich," she said. "Once you get started using soy in quick meals, you will wonder how you ever cooked without it."

Klein notes that this new book fits well with the goal of the Illinois Center for Soy Foods, which is to encourage consumers in the U.S. to eat more healthy products made from soy.

"With this book, we hope to inspire a broad range of people to use and enjoy soy products in quick and delicious meals," Klein said. "We show step-by-step how average consumers can do that while still enjoying the same tastes and textures in the foods that they have grown up with."

"Soy for the Last Minute Chef" contains a wide range of tasty recipes ranging from lemon poppy seed bread to fruit pops. The recipes were developed and tested by staff from the center, led by Cheryl Sullivan and Marilyn Nash.

"In this new cookbook, we directly address the issue of how to get nutritious food on the table fast," Klein said. "There are 34 recipes in this book, covering all the major types of quick and easy meals that we all eat on a daily basis."

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She points out that adding soy to the diet also represents an easy way to gain the many health benefits from soy protein. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a health claim for soy foods that acknowledges the connection between consuming soy and decreasing the chance of developing cardiovascular disease.

"Extensive research has confirmed that eating 25 grams of soy protein per day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease," Klein said. "This fact provides another example of how using soy foods can add affordable, flavorful and healthful components to the diet."

The cookbook was designed in an easy-to-use format, with a spiral binding that allows it to lie flat for efficient use in the kitchen. Nutritional information, including calorie, fat, carbohydrate and protein counts, is provided for each recipe. The cookbook also contains helpful information on buying, storing and efficiently using soy products.

"Soy for the Last Minute Chef" is available from the Center for Soy Foods at a price of $18, including shipping. The center will also be offering a special price of $30 for both a Soy Foods Starter Kit and any one of the four cookbooks in the series. Besides the new publication, the others are "Tofu in the American Kitchen," "Textured Vegetable Protein in the American Kitchen" and "Baking with Soy in the American Kitchen."

The Soy Foods Starter Kit contains all the essential ingredients for using soy in the average American diet, such as soy flour, textured soy protein, tofu, soy nuts and soy milk. It also includes an instructional booklet filled with easy recipes and tips on how to purchase and use soy products. All the products in the kit are shelf-stable and can be stored for several months without concerns.

"The kit contains enough of each ingredient so that consumers can try one or two recipes containing each product," she said. "The idea is for people to try them without making a huge commitment by purchasing larger quantities of each ingredient."

Both the new cookbook and the special starter kit and cookbook package can be ordered by calling (217) 244-1706. Sample recipes and an online order form are also available on the Internet at

[University of Illinois news release]

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