When I saw that Cooking Light was coming out with a comprehensive cookbook, I was super excited. Cooking Light The New Way to Cook Light: Fresh Food & Bold Flavors for Today’s Home Cook is a collection of more than 400 recipes (and over 200 photographs) that show you how to maintain a nutrition-first mentality while enjoying soul-satisfying, deeply flavorful food. It offers recipes for both weekend and weeknight cooks, and are guilt-free takes on many of your favorite recipes.
The first chapter covers everything about cooking light. This includes “The Nine Simple Principles of The New Way To Cook Light” and ” The Challenges of Everyday Healthy Cooking”. Chapters 2-13 take you straight through all the meals including appetizers, snacks, beverages, salads, seafood, vegetarian entrees, meats, pasta and pizza, sides, sandwiches, soups, breads, and desserts. The final chapter includes an expansive collection of tips, tools, and techniques that everyone can achieve. This covers flavor principles, equipment, time & temperature, stovetop cooking techniques, how to be a careful baker, strategies to cook fast & healthy, and portion control. Then the end of the cookbook consists of nutrition analysis, metric equivalents, a seasonal produce guide and finally the recipe index. Oh, and it’s pretty :-).
What better way to start trying recipes in a cookbook than starting with breakfast? I first tried the Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole, but made it with whole wheat bread instead of white to make it even more healthy. I also divided them into individual ramekins instead of one big casserole. This was really easy to prepare the night before but does require about an hour of time in the morning before it’s ready to eat so it is still a weekend breakfast. But the leftovers are great for the weekdays. The only thing I would change is maybe to add a little chopped or powdered onion.
I couldn’t resist making the Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Spinach Lasagna. Especially since I had about two butternut squashes peeled and cubed in my freezer from when they were discounted one day. The flavor combinations of the squash and sage were not new to me but still absolutely wonderful, epsecially with the addition of caramelized onion and spinach. The fontina in the sauce and on top however was probably my favorite part. It’s such a delicious cheese, and I need to use it more often.
Normally I test out two recipes from a cookbook at first when reviewing, but I decided to go out on a limb and try a couple others. Let me start off by saying I dislike meatloaf. It’s mushy and not the texture meat should be in my mind – the texture honestly make me ill when it sits on my tongue. I love meatballs however, because they have a larger surface area than meatloaf and therefore contain less mushy parts. So when I saw the recipe for these Cheesy Meatloaf Minis I decided to give them a shot, thinking they would be like slightly larger meatballs. They totally rocked, and the sharp white cheddar helped my taste buds as well. It didn’t turn me into an all inclusive meatloaf lover, but I’ll have to try mini-fying others in the future.
I have another confession – I don’t like meringue. But after enjoying the mini meatloaves, I decided to try the Chocolate-Hazelnut Meringues out as well, and conveniently I had just enough egg whites reserved from another recipe I had made. As with all desserts, I tasted the batter first and it was outstanding, to the point where I did not want to bake any of it and instead dig in with a spoon. But I convinced myself to let the batter be transformed. The end result was crisp and airy with a slightly chewy center. The chewy center is what sold me, but of course the 135 calories per two didn’t hurt either. Although they are still not my favorite dessert I am more open to trying recipes that call for meringue.
I had high expectations from this cookbook since I am already a subscriber to Cooking Light Magazine, and I think it is safe to say that it ended up exceeding them. After all, I really enjoyed two recipes for foods that I normally wouldn’t even consider eating, let alone cook willingly. And I plan to cook many other things from this cookbook. I have little pieces of paper marking pages all over the place! Definitely a cookbook I would have purchased if I hadn’t been given the wonderful opportunity to review it.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this cookbook from Coburn Communication. I was not compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
One year ago: Cajun Mac & Cheese
Two years ago: Pizza Bagels