Fresh Food and Bold Flavors for Today’s Home Cook
"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
Buy the Book! The New Way to Cook Light
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
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
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
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
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
Just enough butter for caramel goodness. Peanut butter for heart-healthy richness.
View Recipe: Peanut Butter Caramel Corn
Cocoa and espresso together: not as sweet, deeply flavorful.
View Recipe: Barcelona Hot Chocolate
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
Madras curry powder is worlds away from the slightly musty regular stuff—it’s brighter, more fragrant, and packs much more
View Recipe: Fall Vegetable Curry
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
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
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
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
View Recipe: Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken
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
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
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
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
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
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
View Recipe: Fresh Cherry Galette
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
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
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
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
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
Bursting with the goodness of seven vegetables. Make it vegetarian with vegetable or mushroom broth.
View Recipe: Garden Minestrone
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
Meaty, juicy, moderately spicy, very delicious. Top with thinly sliced radishes for a bit of crunch.
View Recipe: Poblano-Jalapeño Chili
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
View Recipe: Spinach, Green Onion, and Smoked Gouda Quiche
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
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
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
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
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
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
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’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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
View Recipe: Boston Cream Pie
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
The essence of French onion soup in a flaky pastry shell.
View Recipe: Onion Tart
Each bite has you spooning through meaty mushrooms, then cracking that cheesy crust to reach velvety polenta.
View Recipe: Cheesy Polenta with Mushroom Saute
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
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
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
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
View Recipe: Crab Eggs Benedict
If the same old potato salad has you snoozing, this is a wonderful left turn, courtesy of the grill.
View Recipe: Smoked Potato Salad
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Truffles typically have lots of cream and butter. Our bite-sized treats forgo those riches while maintaining the soft, creamy
View Recipe: Bourbon-Caramel Truffles
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
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
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