The New Way to Cook Light Recipes

Fresh Food and Bold Flavors for Today’s Home Cook

Fresh, light, fully delicious food

Fresh, Light, Fully Delicious Food

"Fully delicious is what interests us: food that proves that a desire to eat healthfully need not sideline you from what I call the revolution in American eating. Millions of Americans are now excited about food that is local, global, authentic, fresh, slow, organic, heirloom, heritage, artisanal: real food. Our nation’s fantastic stew of cultures has put more and more global ingredients onto store shelves, and more global dishes onto restaurant menus. At the center of all this fun and ferment stands you, the home cook, who wants to turn out great food for the people you care the most about." -Scott Mowbray, Cooking Light Editor

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Classic Fudge-Walnut Brownies

Photo: Francesco Tonelli

Classic Fudge-Walnut Brownies

Crowned our best chocolate recipe ever when we did a 25-year look-back, these deliver that intense, back-of-the- throat chocolate satisfaction from the first bite.

View Recipe: Classic Fudge-Walnut Brownies

Marinated Peppers and Mozzarella

Photo: Randy Mayor

Marinated Peppers and Mozzarella

Use a beautiful olive oil here. With peppers at the base, the hint of lemon, heat, and salt develops into a complex, satisfying appetizer. Reserve excess oil from the marinade, then toss it with pasta and grape tomatoes or sautéed shrimp. The best fresh mozza, made with whole milk, is fantastically creamy and slightly sweet.

View Recipe: Marinated Peppers and Mozzarella

Chickpeas and Spinach with Smoky Paprika

Photo: John Autry

Chickpeas and Spinach with Smoky Paprika

Do not make this until you’ve located real sherry vinegar (nutty and complex) and Spanish smoked paprika (almost bacon-y).

View Recipe: Chickpeas and Spinach with Smoky Paprika

Lattice-Topped Blackberry Cobbler

Photo: John Autry

Lattice-Topped Blackberry Cobbler

Bubbling fruit topped with flaky pastry—it’s stunning and deliciously healthy, with more than 8 grams of fiber per serving.

View Recipe: Lattice-Topped Blackberry Cobbler

Pan-Fried Egg Rolls

Photo: Oxmoor House

Pan-Fried Egg Rolls

This Chinese menu staple gets a makeover with a cooking method that yields crispy egg rolls without the fuss, fat, and mess of full-on deep-frying.

View Recipe: Pan-Fried Egg Rolls

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Photo: Oxmoor House

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Just enough butter for caramel goodness. Peanut butter for heart-healthy richness.

View Recipe: Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Barcelona Hot Chocolate

Photo: Oxmoor House

Barcelona Hot Chocolate

Cocoa and espresso together: not as sweet, deeply flavorful.

View Recipe: Barcelona Hot Chocolate

Pinto, Black, and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado

Photo: Oxmoor House

Pinto, Black, and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado

It’s a three-bean salad with a reason to be—spicy, creamy, beany.

View Recipe: Pinto, Black, and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado

Fennel Salad with Meyer Lemon and Goat Cheese

Photo: Randy Mayor

Fennel Salad with Meyer Lemon and Goat Cheese

A Meyer lemon is not your average lemon. It’s sweeter and less acidic and has a floral essence. It also has a brief season. Grab a good one (usually plump, bright, and thin-skinned—not hard) when you see one. If you can’t find Meyers, use tangerines or oranges, maybe with a spritz of lemon juice.

View Recipe: Fennel Salad with Lemon

Grilled Tilapia with Smoked Paprika and Parmesan Polenta

Photo: Oxmoor House

Grilled Tilapia with Smoked Paprika and Parmesan Polenta

This fish is like the chicken breast of the sea: an American favorite. It’s lean, mild, and pleasantly firm. Creamy polenta complements spice-rubbed fish. Cooking polenta in milk and cheese enriches it with both flavor and calcium.

View Recipe: Grilled Tilapia with Smoked Paprika and Parmesan Polenta

French Frisée Salad with Bacon and Poached Eggs

French Frisée Salad with Bacon and Poached Eggs

Lighter, yes, but we did not deviate from the classic ingredients that define this dish. Frisée, also known as curly endive, has lacy leaves and a bitterness that marries with the creamy yolk. If you can’t find frisée on its own, it’s often included in mesclun combinations, along with radicchio—and that’s fine.

View Recipe: French Frisée Salad with Bacon and Poached Eggs

Ranch Steak Bruschetta Salad

Photo: Oxmoor House

Ranch Steak Bruschetta Salad

We’re not above reaching for a bottle of supermarket ranch dressing, if we can jazz it up with horseradish and ancho pepper. Top the toast slices with the salad mixture if you like. Ancho chile powder is made from a dried poblano chile; it has mild to medium heat and a slightly sweet fruit flavor, with hints of coffee.

View Recipe: Ranch Steak Bruschetta Salad

Prosciutto and Melon Salad with Cantaloupe Vinaigrette

Photo: Oxmoor House

Prosciutto and Melon Salad with Cantaloupe Vinaigrette

Rice vinegar and cantaloupe in the dressing completely reset this ham-and-melon classic. Peppery arugula adds bite.

View Recipe: Prosciutto and Melon Salad with Cantaloupe Vinaigrette

Bayou Catfish Fillets

Photo: Oxmoor House

Bayou Catfish Fillets

Crispy-crusted catfish without deep-fat frying—brilliant. Fried catfish is one of the genius dishes of the South. Banish the thought of dull-tasting fish: Today’s farmed catfish is sweet and meaty, with a hint of earthiness.

View Recipe: Bayou Catfish Fillets

Spicy Shrimp and Grits

Photo: Oxmoor House

Spicy Shrimp and Grits

Pour the bacon drippings into a cup; measure 2 teaspoons and pour back into pan to cook shrimp. This recipe offers options for how to spice up the dish: Use hot pepper sauce for bright, vinegary heat, or chipotle chiles for a fruity, smoky burn.

View Recipe: Spicy Shrimp and Grits

Crab Cakes with Spicy Rémoulade

Photo: Oxmoor House

Crab Cakes with Spicy Rémoulade

Crab cake lovers are fierce about the ratio of crab to filler. Our light cakes put the crab forward—and lose calories and fat—by using just enough mayo and breadcrumbs to hold the mixture together. Plus, we skip the deep-fryer and sauté in oil to ensure crunch.

View Recipe: Crab Cakes with Spicy Rémoulade

Tofu Fried Rice

Photo: Oxmoor House

Tofu Fried Rice

A fast version of a take-out classic: American-style fried rice is paired with peas and carrots and crisped cubes of tofu.

View Recipe: Tofu Fried Rice

Fall Vegetable Curry

Photo: Oxmoor House

Fall Vegetable Curry

Madras curry powder is worlds away from the slightly musty regular stuff—it’s brighter, more fragrant, and packs much more heat.

View Recipe: Fall Vegetable Curry

Stuffed Whole Roasted Yellowtail Snapper

Photo: Oxmoor House

Stuffed Whole Roasted Yellowtail Snapper

Many home cooks avoid the whole-fish routine, thinking it tricky. It’s not. Just as cooking meat on the bone makes for richer flavor and extra succulence, so does cooking fish this way. Scoring the fish helps it keep its shape during cooking. Select whole fish with clear eyes, shiny scales, pink gills, and moist skin. Use this versatile preparation with almost any small, whole fish and your favorite fresh herbs. Garnish with chopped fennel fronds.

View Recipe:  Stuffed Whole Roasted Yellowtail Snapper

Carne Asada Tacos with Avocado Pico de Gallo

Photo: Oxmoor House

Carne Asada Tacos with Avocado Pico de Gallo

If you haven’t tried skirt steak, prepare to have your world rocked. It’s one of the richest, beefiest cuts. When you have a very long piece of steak, it’s OK to cut it into smaller pieces so they’ll fit in the pan; just be sure to slice against the grain once it’s cooked.

View Recipe: Carne Asada Tacos with Avocado Pico de Gallo

Simmered Cabbage with Beef, Shan Style

Photo: Oxmoor House

Simmered Cabbage with Beef, Shan Style

This is one of the most delicious dishes we tested in 2011—a sublime Southeast Asian riff on beef and cabbage from Naomi Duguid. Slow simmering like this is favored in northern Thailand and among the Shan people in Myanmar. Ingredients that have been combined with very little water and little or no oil are cooked under a tightly sealed lid. The result is ethereal.

View Recipe: Simmered Cabbage, Shan Style

Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken

Photo: Oxmoor House

Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken

Fast, easy, and terrifically crunchy: the taste of fried chicken for less than 300 calories. It’s versatile, too—use as a stand-alone entrée, perch atop salads, or use as a base for chicken Parmesan. Add kid appeal with a honey-mustard dipping sauce.

View Recipe: Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken

Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca

Photo: Oxmoor House

Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca

Saltimbocca means “ jump in the mouth”—apt for a fast dish that marries woodsy sage, bright lemon, and salty prosciutto. Serve over a bed of angel hair pasta or polenta.

View Recipe: Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca

Old-Fashioned Chicken Potpie

Photo: Oxmoor House

Old-Fashioned Chicken Potpie

Sometimes you just want pure, homey comfort. Our version hits all the flaky, creamy, potato-rich notes of the classic but is much lighter in calories and sodium.

View Recipe: Old-Fashioned Chicken Potpie

Arctic Char with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Arctic Char with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

The fish is sautéed to create a beautiful browned crust, then finished in the oven. Wild arctic char from the northern seas is available only for a few weeks in late summer, when the ice has melted enough for fishermen to reach them. It’s a sought-after delicacy, and one that will cost you. If you find fresh, it’s worth the splurge.

View Recipe: Arctic Char with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

Apple-Poblano Whole Roast Turkey

Photo: Oxmoor House

Apple-Poblano Whole Roast Turkey

A hint of Southwest spice and chile heat blend with sweet apples for a crowd-pleasing change from traditional turkey. Brining is the key to a moist bird.

View Recipe: Apple-Poblano Whole Roast Turkey

Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Photo: Oxmoor House

Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Pop a prepared casserole in the oven and let it bake while you sip coffee—that’s the way to wake up on a lazy Sunday. Seems like every family has a beloved version of this type of breakfast strata. This one is much lower in fat than most.

View Recipe: Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Fresh Cherry Galette

Photo: José Picayo

Fresh Cherry Galette

Spectacular and ridiculously easy—just pile fresh cherries over store-bought crust, and bake. Rainier cherries have delicate, white flesh and yellowish-red skin—they're larger and taste sweeter than Bings. If you can’t find them, add an extra tablespoon of sugar.

View Recipe: Fresh Cherry Galette

Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese

Photo: Oxmoor House

Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese

We set out to make a serious dent in the calorie and fat content of good old mac and cheese, while preserving the creamy comfort-food texture. Solution: Butternut squash. Combined with milk and Greek yogurt, it adds rich flavor, sneaks in a vegetable, and gives color to a three-cheese sauce that contains no cheddar.

View Recipe: Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese

Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Spinach Lasagna

Photo: Oxmoor House

Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Spinach Lasagna

Sage and butternut bring out the best in each other. Caramelized onions, fontina cheese, and sautéed spinach complete the fall festival of flavors. A béchamel-style sauce creams the dish up.

View Recipe: Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Spinach Lasagna

Soy-Citrus Scallops with Soba Noodles

Photo: Oxmoor House

Soy-Citrus Scallops with Soba Noodles

Robust Japanese buckwheat noodles and seared scallops get coated with a marinade that has been reduced to a glaze. Serve with still-crunchy snow peas or sugar snap peas. You can toss them right in with the noodles.

View Recipe: Soy-Citrus Scallops with Soba Noodles

Pepperoni Deep-Dish Pizza

Photo: Oxmoor House

Pepperoni Deep-Dish Pizza

Here’s your knife, fork, and two napkins kind of deep-dish pie, invented at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago more than 60 years ago. We retained all the gooey-cheesy-crusty deliciousness of this dish while lightening it significantly.

View Recipe: Pepperoni Deep-Dish Pizza

Multigrain Pilaf with Sunflower Seeds

Photo: Oxmoor House

Multigrain Pilaf with Sunflower Seeds

This is about as healthy—and tasty—a side as we can cook up: whole-grain goodness plus sunflower seeds and dried fruit.This recipe calls for long-cooking barley and brown rice (both whole grains), but if you’re in a hurry, substitute instant brown rice and quick-cooking barley. Just be sure to adjust cooking times according to package directions.

View Recipe: Multigrain Pilaf with Sunflower Seeds

Garden Minestrone

Photo: Oxmoor House

Garden Minestrone

Bursting with the goodness of seven vegetables. Make it vegetarian with vegetable or mushroom broth.

View Recipe: Garden Minestrone

Loaded Potato Soup

Photo: Oxmoor House

Loaded Potato Soup

All the appeal of a loaded baked potato, delivered in a hearty soup. It’s about that simple. If you aren’t in a rush, you can chop the onions and cook the bacon in a skillet or baking sheet in the oven.

View Recipe: Loaded Potato Soup

Poblano-Jalapeño Chili

Photo: Oxmoor House

Poblano-Jalapeño Chili

Meaty, juicy, moderately spicy, very delicious. Top with thinly sliced radishes for a bit of crunch.

View Recipe: Poblano-Jalapeño Chili

Peanut Butter–Banana Bread

Photo: Oxmoor House

Peanut Butter–Banana Bread

This easy bread, with far less of the drenching saturated fat than most recipes, is one of the tastier treats to come out of our Test Kitchen. Peanut butter is whipped into the basic recipe for a moist bread with a hint of nutty flavor. A small amount of chopped roasted peanuts offers crunch and more nutty goodness.

View Recipe: Peanut Butter–Banana Bread

Spicy Jalapeño Corn Bread

Photo: Oxmoor House

Spicy Jalapeño Corn Bread

Zing goes the chile, pop goes the fresh, sweet corn, for those who like their corn bread busy. When cutting corn from the cob, corral the kernels in a bowl so they don’t fly all over your counter. You’ll likely have leftovers; seal extra portions in plastic wrap, and store at room temperature for up to one day.

View Recipe: Spicy Jalapeño Corn Bread

Slow-Roasted Grape and Yogurt Parfaits

Photo: Oxmoor House

Slow-Roasted Grape and Yogurt Parfaits

It’s absolutely worth the time to cook grapes for three hours. Low and slow heat concentrates the grape-y sweetness and turns fruit buttery-soft with almost no effort. This is a restaurant-quality dessert, easily made. The yogurt holds the layers together. Chopped walnuts on top add crunch and a dose of healthy fat.

View Recipe: Slow-Roasted Grape and Yogurt Parfaits

Chocolate Baklava

Photo: Oxmoor House

Chocolate Baklava

This is a simply amazing recipe—layers of crisp phyllo interspersed with mixed nuts and hazelnut-chocolate spread, with just enough butter to enhance the flavor yet keep the sat fat low. Lightly spiced honey syrup gives the gooey, sticky quality that makes baklava so heavenly.

View Recipe: Chocolate Baklava

Burgers with Blue Cheese Mayo and Sherry Vidalia Onions

Photo: Anna Williams

Burgers with Blue Cheese Mayo and Sherry Vidalia Onions

Sharp cheese plays against sweet onions in a seriously delicious sandwich, made lighter with lean beef. Lean sirloin has about the same amount of saturated fat as ground turkey. With blue cheese mayo and tangy-sweet onions, it makes a mighty juicy burger—if you’re careful not to overcook.

View Recipe: Burgers with Blue Cheese Mayo and Sherry Vidalia Onions

Bell Pepper, Tomato, Cucumber, and Grilled Bread Salad

Photo: Gentl and Hyers

Bell Pepper, Tomato, Cucumber, and Grilled Bread Salad

Bread salads put day-old loaves to brilliant use. The crunchy bread (it needs to be good, chewy bread) sops up the dressing, softens, and makes a counterpoint to the vegetables. Toss in grilled shrimp or chicken.

View Recipe: Bell Pepper, Tomato, Cucumber, and Grilled Bread Salad

Chermoula-Marinated Lamb Loin Chops

Photo: John Autry

Chermoula-Marinated Lamb Loin Chops

A North African garlic-coriander spice paste is the key to this bold, simple lamb dish. Less expensive loin chops cook quickly to a nice pinkness.

View Recipe: Marinated Lamb Loin Chops

White Beans with Prosciutto

Photo: John Autry

White Beans with Prosciutto

The convenience of canned beans is a gift. In less than 20 minutes, you can have a meaty, herbed bean side. For lower-sodium beans, buy organic or no-added-salt canned versions.

View Recipe: White Beans with Prosciutto

Shaved Summer Squash Salad with Prosciutto Crisps

Photo: Anna Williams

Shaved Summer Squash Salad with Prosciutto Crisps

Ribbons of squash have a cool, delicate quality that only a sushi master could achieve with a knife. So we use a vegetable peeler or a mandoline. A sprinkling of salt brings out the flavor and helps put a fine curl on the squash. Ricotta salata is an Italian sheep’s milk cheese: At its best, it’s dense, crumbly, earthy, and milky.

View Recipe: Shaved Summer Squash Salad with Prosciutto Crisps

Bucatini with Green Peas and Pancetta

Photo: Francesco Tonelli

Bucatini with Green Peas and Pancetta

The cured-pork flavor of the best pancetta is worth hunting down from a good specialty shop. Just a little makes a dish sing.

View Recipe: Bucatini with Green Peas and Pancetta

Spinach and Smoked Gouda Quiche

Photo: John Autry

Spinach and Smoked Gouda Quiche

The trick here is to pull the quiche from the oven when it’s still a bit wiggly in the middle for the creamiest, most custardy texture.

View Recipe: Spinach, Green Onion, and Smoked Gouda Quiche

Whole Roasted Endives with Pear, Arugula, and Walnut Salad

Photo: Nina Choi

Whole Roasted Endives with Pear, Arugula, and Walnut Salad

Bosc pears have a crisp bite, but a red-skinned pear such as Starkrimson, Red Bartlett, or Red Anjou is gorgeous here, too.

View Recipe: Whole Roasted Endives with Pear, Arugula, and Walnut Salad

Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Shallots

Photo: Jonny Valiant

Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Shallots

Jilt the traditional super-sugary sweet potato casserole for this more streamlined, fresher, and certainly healthier version. Sweet potatoes are already naturally sweet. Why lay on more sugar? Here caramelized shallots add a savory note. Olive oil provides richness and bypasses the saturated fat you’d get from butter.

View Recipe: Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Shallots

Margarita Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Photo: Anna Williams

Margarita Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Fresh lime zest and coarse sea salt mimic the flavors of a margarita in a treat that’s lickably good. Two sugars and two salts serve their purpose; turbinado and coarse sea salt add texture to the tops of the cookies, while table salt and granulated sugar mix well into the cookie dough.

View Recipe: Margarita Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Cabernet Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta

Photo: John Autry

Cabernet Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta

Don’t skip the gremolata. It melds all the elements and adds bright notes to a hearty dish. Larger ribs will obviously take longer in the oven to get fork-tender, and one of the big ones will be a serving.

View Recipe: Cabernet Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta

Beef Pot Roast with Turnip Greens

Photo: Nina Choi

Beef Pot Roast with Turnip Greens

Slightly bitter greens, parsnips, and cipollini onions: Here’s our new favorite interpretation of the Sunday dinner classic. Beef cuts that require a slow and moist cooking method go by many names: blade roast, cross rib roast, seven-bone pot roast, arm pot roast, and boneless chuck roast.

View Recipe: Beef Pot Roast with Turnip Greens

Baked Flounder with Fresh Lemon Pepper

Photo: Oxmoor House

Baked Flounder with Fresh Lemon Pepper

Abandon your commercial lemon pepper in favor of this perfect homemade fish seasoning. Though generous with the spice, this preparation is perfect for the mild, delicate flavor of flounder. It’s also good over pork or tofu. Add asparagus spears to the pan and roast along with the fish.

View Recipe:  Baked Flounder with Fresh Lemon Pepper

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Plum Barbecue Sauce

Photo: Anna Williams

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Plum Barbecue Sauce

A fusion BBQ sauce: Asian and Southern, sweet and vinegary. Once it’s cooked, set aside 2 1⁄2 cups sauce to serve with the pork, and use the rest to baste as it cooks.

View Recipe: Roast Pork Tenderloin with Plum Barbecue Sauce

Tempeh and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce

Tempeh and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce

Tempeh’s soy-nut quality and considerable chew are matched with a spice-spiked peanut sauce.Tempeh is a textured, high-protein soy product that originated in Indonesia; we love it, but substitute extra-firm tofu if you want subtler flavor and softer texture. Everything is cooked in one skillet using different techniques—stir-frying, steaming, and glazing—to bring out the best in each ingredient.

View Recipe: Tempeh and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Roasted Jalapeño Butter

Photo: Anna Williams

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Roasted Jalapeño Butter

A flavored butter takes grilled corn into the stratosphere. Blistered jalapeño chiles mellow, tasting more fruity and “green” than fiery. You don’t need to slather on lots of butter—just a little, combined with honey and oil, is plenty to coat the corn and keep it moist.

View Recipe: Grilled Corn on the Cob with Roasted Jalapeño Butter

Meyer Lemon Chicken Piccata

Photo: Randy Mayor

Meyer Lemon Chicken Piccata

The caper-dotted classic gets a beautiful, light update, fragrant with the perfume of Meyer lemons. If Meyer lemons are unavailable, put 3 tablespoons orange juice in a 1-cup glass measuring cup, and add enough lemon juice to reach 1⁄3 cup juice for the recipe.

View Recipe: Meyer Lemon Chicken Piccata

Argentinean Pork

Photo: Nina Choi

Argentinean Pork

Tenderloin pairs beautifully with an herb-packed sauce based on classic South American chimichurri. Serve with mashed potatoes and garnish with fresh cilantro.

View Recipe: Argentinean Pork

Classic Roast Chicken

Photo: John Autry

Classic Roast Chicken

Here’s one of our Test Kitchen discoveries: Reversing the usual roasting technique makes for a moister bird. This chicken starts at moderate heat and finishes at high heat, as opposed to the usual high-heat start and low-heat finish. Be sure to turn on your vent: The final blast may generate some smoke.

View Recipe: Classic Roast Chicken

Chicken Spaghetti

Photo: John Autry

Chicken Spaghetti

Retro comfort food—wonderful. Here, we break the processed cheese rule (we rarely use it) because it lends a creaminess to the sauce that we just otherwise couldn’t achieve. It’s a nostalgic flavor and texture throwback.

View Recipe: Chicken Spaghetti

Pizza Margherita

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Pizza Margherita

For this ultra-simple pizza, use the best fresh mozzarella and basil available. The thin, lightly crisp yet chewy crust is blistered and bubbly. Fresh mozzarella may exude water as it cooks, making for a soggy crust. To prevent that, pat the slices dry with paper towels before placing them on the pizza.

View Recipe: Pizza Margherita

Shrimp Pad Thai

Photo: Levi Brown

Shrimp Pad Thai

This dish is a Thai-restaurant standby, but worth making at home, especially if you can put your hands on some excellent shrimp. To avoid mushy noodles, undercook them a bit—they continue to absorb liquid from the sauce during the stir-fry action. Heat lovers will want to lace the bowl with bit of extra Sriracha.

View Recipe: Shrimp Pad Thai

Haricots Verts with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Photo: Ellen Silverman

Haricots Verts with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Delicate, slender French beans are punctuated with walnut oil, toasted walnuts, and the welcome salty crunch of bacon.

View Recipe: Haricots Verts with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Boston Cream Pie

Photo: John Kernick

Boston Cream Pie

The state dessert of Massachusetts isn’t a pie at all but is welcome anywhere that approves of vanilla pudding between cake layers, coated with chocolate glaze. Our version boozes up the chocolate glaze with a bit of Cointreau, though that can be omitted.

View Recipe: Boston Cream Pie

Cheesy Meat Loaf Minis

Photo: John Autry

Cheesy Meat Loaf Minis

Diced white cheddar makes this comfort food seem more indulgent than it actually is—fewer than 300 calories per serving. Serve with a salad or mashed potatoes. To make fresh breadcrumbs, place torn bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until fine crumbs form.

View Recipe: Cheesy Meat Loaf Minis

Onion Tart

Photo: John Autry

Onion Tart

The essence of French onion soup in a flaky pastry shell.

View Recipe: Onion Tart

Cheesy Polenta with Mushroom Saute

Photo: John Autry

Cheesy Polenta with Mushroom Saute

Each bite has you spooning through meaty mushrooms, then cracking that cheesy crust to reach velvety polenta.

View Recipe: Cheesy Polenta with Mushroom Saute

Blackened Tilapia Baja Tacos

Photo: Levi Brown

Blackened Tilapia Baja Tacos

Every cook needs a fish taco in her repertoire; it’s one of the world’s finest fast foods. We ditched the fried fish commonly used by those irresistible food trucks and loaded on onion relish to make up some crunch. Shrimp would be a good sub for fish.

View Recipe: Blackened Tilapia Baja Tacos

Beet, Blood Orange, Kumquat, and Quinoa Salad

Photo: Anna Williams

Beet, Blood Orange, Kumquat, and Quinoa Salad

About 30 minutes: You won’t make a healthier meal. Quinoa, avocado, beets, and citrus: This baby is packed with monounsaturated fat and fiber and is a good source of iron and calcium. When blood oranges and kumquats aren’t in season, substitute a combination of oranges, tangerines, and Meyer lemons.

View Recipe: Beet, Blood Orange, Kumquat, and Quinoa Salad

Shrimp Cobb Salad

Photo: Francesco Tonelli

Shrimp Cobb Salad

A very fast riff on the classic, taking a few liberties. Several shortcuts—packaged lettuce greens, shredded carrots, and frozen corn—put this on the table in just 20 minutes.

View Recipe: Shrimp Cobb Salad

Crab Eggs Benedict

Photo: Oxmoor House

Crab Eggs Benedict

A mock hollandaise sauce, made from mayonnaise and buttermilk, replaces the traditional clarified butter. Big chunks of sweet lump crabmeat drenched in creamy egg yolk are a welcome, fancier change from the traditional Canadian bacon. Serve with steamed asparagus.

View Recipe: Crab Eggs Benedict

Smoked Potato Salad

Photo: Charles Masters

Smoked Potato Salad

If the same old potato salad has you snoozing, this is a wonderful left turn, courtesy of the grill.

View Recipe: Smoked Potato Salad

Prosciutto, Fresh Fig, and Manchego Sandwiches

Photo: John Autry

Prosciutto, Fresh Fig, and Manchego Sandwiches

The salty ham and sweet fruit sing a classic Italian aria. Along with the cheese and jam, the sweet-savory notes are irresistible.

View Recipe: Prosciutto, Fresh Fig, and Manchego Sandwiches

Herbed Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Photo: Levi Brown

Herbed Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Basic chicken salad is boosted with a hint of sweet onion, tarragon, and tangy Greek and lemon yogurt. Greens surround the chicken salad, giving it a delicate crunch and preventing the bread from getting soggy.

View Recipe: Herbed Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Photo: Sang An

Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

A lighter version of the soup served in Thai restaurants around the world. Light coconut milk smooths the edges of tart lime, salty fish sauce, and fiery chile paste.

View Recipe: Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Apple-Cinnamon Bundt Cake

Photo: Levi Brown

Apple-Cinnamon Bundt Cake

A homey comfort classic made special with a dusting of sugar and a hidden filling of apple and nuts.

View Recipe: Apple-Cinnamon Bundt Cake

Quick Chicken Noodle Soup

Photo: Randy Mayor

Quick Chicken Noodle Soup

An almost-homemade chicken noodle soup made faster with store-bought stock. The broth mixture is heated in the microwave to jump-start the cooking. Meanwhile, sauté the aromatic ingredients in your soup pot to get this dish under way.

View Recipe: Quick Chicken Noodle Soup

Seafood Cioppino

Photo: Johnny Autry and Randy Mayor

Seafood Cioppino

Use best-quality clams, scallops, and wild-caught shrimp, and cook gently for beautiful texture and sweetness. Serve with warm sourdough bread.

View Recipe: Seafood Cioppino

Christmas Stollen

Photo: Jonny Valiant

Christmas Stollen

Jewel-like brandy-soaked fruit in an enriched dough—this bread is a joyous celebration of the season. It’s also a mighty fine gift that’s a big step beyond fruitcake. You may need to order candied citron online, or omit it and add extra dried apricots and increase lemon rind to 1 tablespoon.

View Recipe: Christmas Stollen

Vanilla-Bourbon Pumpkin Tart

Photo: Ellen Silverman

Vanilla-Bourbon Pumpkin Tart

A fluffy, delightful hybrid—part classic spiced pumpkin pie, part creamy cheesecake. Wrap foil around the springform pan to make sure water doesn’t sneak in from the water bath.

View Recipe: Vanilla-Bourbon Pumpkin Tart

Key Lime Pie

Photo: John Kernick

Key Lime Pie

Billowy meringue crowns a sunny citrus filling in a pie with about one-fourth the fat of classic versions. Vastly lighter but with that crucial balance of lime and sweetness. Best enjoyed the day it’s made.

View Recipe: Key Lime Pie

Sesame Albacore Tuna

Photo: Oxmoor House

Sesame Albacore Tuna

This dish is rich with the umami notes of soy and mushroom and the fragrance of sesame. Fresh albacore (also called tombo) is firm, meaty, and lighter in color than other tuna species. Here, you virtually have a complete meal. But for a healthy starter, try steamed edamame in the shell, sprinkled with sea salt.

View Recipe:  Sesame Albacore Tuna

Texas Sheet Cake

Photo: Francesco Tonelli

Texas Sheet Cake

A big, flat classic. Toasty nuts and fudgy cake get topped with a thin, crackly glaze. It’s easy, and it’s been a reader favorite since it first appeared in the magazine in 2000.

View Recipe: Texas Sheet Cake

Bourbon-Caramel Truffles

Photo: Randy Mayor

Bourbon-Caramel Truffles

Truffles typically have lots of cream and butter. Our bite-sized treats forgo those riches while maintaining the soft, creamy texture.

View Recipe: Bourbon-Caramel Truffles

Agua Fresca de Pepino

Photo: Gentl and Hyers

Agua Fresca de Pepino

A lime-and-cuke Oaxacan cooler, lovely with spicy food. The small amount of serrano provides a hint of heat. Use the rest of the pepper in your favorite salsa, or toss it into a lime-based salad dressing with cilantro.

View Recipe: Agua Fresca de Pepino

Peach Lemonade

Photo: Oxmoor House

Peach Lemonade

Buy fruit at its peak for perfect peachiness in a glass. When a peach smells like a peach, you know it’s ripe. Add light rum or vodka for the grown-ups.

View Recipe: Peach Lemonade

Cilantro-Jalapeño Latkes with Chipotle Sour Cream

Photo: John Autry

Cilantro-Jalapeño Latkes with Chipotle Sour Cream

The traditional Jewish favorite gets a makeover with the lively flavors of lime, jalapeño, cilantro, and smoked chiles.

View Recipe: Cilantro-Jalapeño Latkes with Chipotle Sour Cream

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