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If you could only buy one healthy cookbook...?

DH has finally started to eat right. What's a good cookbook that will give me many lowfat healthy recipes that are easy t make?

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  1. "The World's Healthiest Foods" by George Mateljan is amazing and gives a recipe for almost every healthy ingredient ever. It's huge (almost 900 pages) but you can get it for less than 30 bucks on Amazon. Best cookbook I ever bought - I consult it every week and have incorporated so many of the ideas into my daily eats.

    1 Reply
    1. re: crispandverdant

      I haven't bought the book but their website is awesome...great information!

    2. Eatingwell.com and Cookinglight.com both have good recipe databases, though I give the former a slight edge for "healthier", eg focus on whole grains. I'd give Cooking Light the edge for being more "cooking" (eg. discussing techniques and ingredients etc.) focused. Really, I think of Cooking Light as "Cooking LightER."

      Eating Well has a couple of cookbooks out that have been acclaimed, nominated for cookbooks awards, etc. "Serves Two" or whatever it's called and "Comfort Foods." You might get those out of the library and see if they are to your liking. Or just go to their website and do a search on recipes and sort the results by user rating. I find that most of the recipes in their cookbooks are also on their website. I like cookbooks, though, so I prefer the hard copy.

      I like to pickup the Cooking Light "annual" volumes when I can find them used and cheap. Or, again, get them out of the library. But, again, I just like to search their online recipe database and sort by user rating. Be careful, though, as they share their database with Southern Living and some other publications, so, make sure the recipe you choose is actually from Cooking Light.

      I like the New Mayo Clinic cookbook, too, though it is very thin.


      2 Replies
      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Agreed on Cooking Light- they surprised me on how technique-oriented they were, but for many of their butter-or-cream-laden dishes, "light" is a stretch...
        Cook This Not That is a great resource for copycat recipes lightened up so you can ease your husband into eating lighter using familiar restaurant dishes.

        1. re: iheartcooking

          Yeah, I think of Cooking Light as a great source of recipes if you are at a healthy weight and are just trying to watch what you eat.


      2. America's Test Kitchen is putting out a Healthy Family Cookbook. It comes out October 5th. I have LOVED their other two family cookbooks and I have this one preordered.


        6 Replies
        1. re: Becca Porter

          I am cooking from this book for the first time tonight, and it will be my "Cookbook of the Week" for the rest of the week. Tonight I'm making Chicken Chilaquiles. Tomorrow it's Skillet Shepherd's Pie, and Tuesday I'm planning on Stuffed Eggplants. Haven't decided about the rest of the week, but one or two will be seafood.

          1. re: pikawicca

            Pika, I'd love to hear your thoughts about this book, both along the lines of, are the recipes reliable and whether or not you really find it to be "healthy".


            1. re: pikawicca

              I can't wait to get my hands on it. Did you buy it straight from CI?

              1. re: Becca Porter

                I did get it directly from CI. TDQ, I'd have to say these are healthier versions of favorite recipes, not necessarily health food. The Chilaqules were excellent, but labor intensive -- took 90 minutes to prep and cook. However, when I voiced the thought that this recipe required too much work for the return, my family strenuously disagreed. One thing I really like (as opposed to Eating Well recipes) is that portion sizes are realistic.

                My first take is that this is not a weight loss book, rather what sane people with an interest in healthy cooking might feed their families on a regular basis.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  I suppose it's easy to disagree about the work vs. the return when you're not the person doing the cooking! Funny that it took you 90 minutes. I always thought (assumed) chilaquiles were something you made with leftover tortillas and, therefore, would be somewhat fast. But, I've never made them, only eaten them. I'm glad they were delicious!

                  Hopefully the next recipes won't take quite so long!


            2. re: Becca Porter

              Made Skillet Shepherd's Pie last night. This was very good (really liked the addition of beer), but I made a few changes. First, it didn't seem to me that 1 1/2 pounds of mashed potatoes would begin to cover the filling in a 12" skillet, so I down-sized to a 10" and increased the potatoes to 2#, with appropriate additional milk. I'm glad I did, as there was just enough potato to work. Tasty leftovers for lunch today.

            3. I like Ellie Krieger's The food you Crave.

              I like her approach to eating healthy.

              7 Replies
              1. re: focioncroci

                I have that one and her "So Easy" but have only cooked 1-2 recipes from each. Again, I've liked them both. They weren't mind-blowing or anything I'd rave about, but they were solid, not complicated, and genuinely "healthy" with an emphasis on whole grains, and lower fat without relying on fake foods.

                Do you have any favorites from TFYC that I should put on my "must try" list?


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  I have this book too and I definitely agree with you. I've made a bunch of recipes and they all turned out pretty good- simple to prepare and generally well liked by all who ate it.

                  One that my husband loved was the Tuscan Roast Chicken - it was a one pan dish with the chicken roasted over veggies. There was a pasta recipe that had a sauce made of roasted peppers and feta that I thought was very good.

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    From TFYC: shrimp w/tomatoes & feta, Asian salmon cakes, and the sweet-spicy salmon.

                  2. re: focioncroci

                    I really like her and the book, but I just wasn't happy enough with the recipes. I know I can trust ATK with making sure the recipes are very delicious.

                    1. re: Becca Porter

                      Which ones didn't you like, Becca? (So I can cross those off my list...)


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        It wasn't so much that any were bad. They just weren't great. Nothing that I flipped over. It is still a good book with good ideas. I know I did make her delightfull ranch dressing a lot. It was one really great recipe I remember.


                        1. re: Becca Porter

                          Ah, okay. Yeah, I agree--I haven't had anything of hers that I thought was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, although, nothing's been bad or super complicated either. I've thought they were all good and all "healthy" (to me that means an emphasis on whole foods and lower, thought not non-fat.)

                          I will put the ranch dressing on my to -do list! THanks for the tip.


                  3. Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I eat meat, and it's my "Joy of Cooking" for healthy, interesting, balanced food.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Vetter

                      VCFE was a cookbook of the month a couple years ago. Here's a link to the "master" thread for that month, in case you find that helpful. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5343... as well as to a recent discussion http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7326...


                    2. I've really enjoyed the recipes I've tried in Hudsonb Valley Mediterranean/The Gigi Good Food Cookbook. I think it was one featured on an episode of Oprah and has an emphasis on using seasonal, local ingredients. It's nice because almost every recipe is pretty simple and adaptable for every season.


                      1. The Sonoma Diet Cookbook. I don't follow the diet per se, but all of the recipes I've made from it have been very easy and full of flavor.

                        1. Volumetrics Eating Plan (the companion cookbook, actually). There is an amazing 'tuna salad' in there and the writer is brilliant about what tastes good and blends healthy flavorful ingredients together in a way that gives you a full plate of food for the calories of 1/4 to 1/2 a plate of the original. Has pictures, good ones. I was really impressed. I suspect the writer actually loves to eat, has a great culinary repertoire and put together some very thought-out ideas.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Cinnamon

                            I should revisit this book, thank you for the reminder. I checked it out of the library when I was on weight watchers a couple of years ago, but never actually cooked from it. My understanding is that the author of Volumetrics was a consultant to Weight Watchers when they redesigned their plans to include the "core" plan (they no longer call it that now--last I heard, it was called the "simply filling technique"). I was very successful losing weight on the core plan, which had an emphasis on fresh produce, whole grains, lean meats, nonfat dairy (which I would only do when in a weight-loss mode--otherwise, I think low-fat is truly more healthful), and monitoring your "feeling of satisfaction" rather than counting points.

                            I lost weight and felt great.


                          2. Mark Bittman's "The Food Matters Cookbook" is one book to consider when thinking about healthy eating. His focus is on vegetables and whole grains with meat and seafood playing a secondary role. What I particularly like are the many variations and substitutions that let you take advantage of seasonal produce or whatever you have in your fridge or pantry. Also, there are some nifty stews, casseroles and bakes that help you use up almost over-the-hill veggies. Add his nonfussy approach to cooking in general and his cost savings techniques and you have a cookbook for our times, and only $20.47 at Amazon...


                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Gio

                              I read "Food Matters" last year sometime, but really need to get my hands on the companion cookbook. Thank you for the reminder! Have you actually had a chance to cook from the recipes, yet, Gio? Do they have the same tendency to be bland as HTCE?

                              I think it's hard to get healthy+delicious+easy/unfussy all on one plate, so to speak. Does Bittman have the secret with this cookbook?

                              For instance, just per this thread:

                              Krieger: healthy and easy and good, but not mind blowing
                              ATK (based on only one report, mind you), healthy and fabulous, but a lot of effort...
                              River Cafe cookbooks (former COTMs not mention in this thread): easy and delicious, but pretty high in fat.

                              I'm just wondering if there really is a book that achieves all three: healthful, easy, and truly delicious, or, if there is a trade off between "easy" and "delicious" when it comes to these kinds of recipes.


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                <"Have you actually had a chance to cook from the recipes, yet, Gio? Do they have the same tendency to be bland as HTCE? ">

                                Admittedly I haven't cooked many recipes from the book yet, TDQ. But, I have made a few salads and a braised vegetable recipe with the remains of a CSA basket. I have marked several others which are in my menu plan for the coming week. I'll report on those here when it happens. What I like about this book as I read it is the tremendous leeway for preparing a dish to your own specifications. That alone is a breakthrough in recipe writing I think.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Sounds exciting! I have high expectations!


                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    TDQ, the Bittman web site has been chronicling the progress of Mark's book tour and has been posting the recipes on line:

                                    Also, The recipes in the initial Food Matters book are reproduced in the new cookbook.

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      It looks like every Monday he'll post a recipe from the book. I'm definitely going to try a few. I think I'll start with this one: Noodles with Broccoli, Beef, and Black Tea Sauce



                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          So, we tried this Grilled Turkey Hash with Red Wine Glaze tonight. Followed the recipe to a T (except for attempting to correct one glitch explained below) and I wanted to love it. http://markbittman.com/food-matters-c...

                                          But, it only pretty so-so. It wasn't bad, but both my husband I agreed that we wouldn't make it again. And we sure as heck wouldn't serve it for Thanksgiving as he suggests! There's nothing about this meal that suggests "special occasion." We tried it with Yukon Gold potatoes and both thought it would be better with sweet potatoes. I did think the red wine glaze stained the turkey and potatoes a lovely wine color.

                                          The glitch: his directions caused the potatoes to get very charred on the outside, but without cooking on the inside, which meant we had to microwave them for about 5 minutes. I was sad they didn't even get that nice texture you'd expect from grilled.


                              2. Bonnie Stern's Heartsmart cookbooks are great.

                                I also like Rose Reisman's Family Favourites.
                                A lot of the recipes can be found here: http://www.artoflivingwell.ca/

                                I also like the Mayo Clinic cookbooks.
                                Again, many of their recipes are here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heal...

                                I love that they are promoting the healthy recipes through free access online. It is a cheap way to get great recipes. :)

                                1. I really like Gordon Ramsey's Healthy Appetite. It's less about diet foods and more about how to make really delicious food that happens to be good for you.

                                  1. I really love Mollie Katzen’s books, especially _Vegetable Heaven_. All the recipes are easy and pretty unfussy, and the flavor combinations are unique and satisfying. I’ve been using her books for years (Vegetable Heaven came out circa 1996). I can’t get enough of the Tomato-Fennel Soup and the Cuban Black Beans w/ Mango.

                                    1. For somewhat adventurous vegan cooking, I love Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld. Some of her recipes are amazing.

                                      Also Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: cathyeats

                                        I'm embarrassed to admit that I own MVK and have never cooked from it! I was so smitten with Berley's Flexitarian Table that when I got a chance to pick up a cheap, used copy of MVK, I jumped at it. I suppose I should have a look!


                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Dairy Queen, the things I recommend you try - these are all great!

                                          Smothered Beans
                                          Seitan Bourginon
                                          Winter Minestrone with Parsley Pesto
                                          Rigatoni with Cauliflower, Pine Nuts and Raisins
                                          Soft Polenta with White Beans, Squash and Sage Ragout
                                          Seitan-stuffed Summer Squash

                                        2. re: cathyeats

                                          Berley taught a class here promoting his Flexatarian cookbook and he seems to really know his stuff, but his emphasizing fresh in season only.. kinda scared me away.

                                          1. re: cathyeats

                                            Try "Easy Vegan, simple recipes for healthy eating." It's marvelous.