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  • Oops! Our Most Common Holiday Cooking Mistakes

    Your cookies gain unwanted holiday width.Your cookies gain unwanted holiday width.

    Life Lived DeliciouslyLife Lived DeliciouslyLumpy gravy, pasty potatoes, shredded turkey-what's a holiday cook to do? Find out how to avoid these and other holiday kitchen calamities with Cooking Light magazine's Most Common Cooking Mistakes.

    Mistake #1: Your cookies gain unwanted holiday width.
    Sad gingerbread men.

    Baking holiday cookies can go from a labor of love to an exercise in frustration when your gingerbread men come out more bloated than a Macy's parade float. The problem is too much heat-but not at the baking stage, at the mixing stage: Your butter is too warm.

    See More: 100 Best Cookies

    The solution: Keep your butter cool, right until baking. Butter starts to melt at 68°, and once that happens, its water-fat emulsion breaks and there's no getting it back. Cold, emulsified butter helps give baked goods structure by taking in air when mixed with sugar. For cookies, you want butter well below room temperature; between 50° and 65° is optimal. Cut the butter into chunks, and let it stand at room

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  • Top 9 general cookbooks

    Find our top nine picks for the best general cookbooks published in the United States since 1987.

    Top 9 General Cookbooks

    Next year is Cooking Light's 25th anniversary, and by 2012 more than 50,000 cookbooks will have been published in the U.S. in a quarter century. Since our launch there's been a furious boiling up of interest in food, restaurants, ingredients. Chefs left their cloistered kitchens to become media superstars. Nutrition "rules" were made, then overturned, and healthy cooking blossomed. Then the Internet supernova rocked the publishing world. Yet cookbooks keep coming, and as some book categories wilt, this one is amazingly resilient. As we contemplate turning 25, we decided to pick our favorite 100 cookbooks, which we'll unveil over the next year across 15 categories. In this first category, General Cookbooks, we include compilations, comprehensive instructive tomes, and books with wide-ranging focus. These are the best nine books in no particular order.


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  • The great Halloween candy comparison

    Our handy guide gives you the stats on the most popular Halloween candies-ordered from least to most in added sugar.

    Sugar-overload is a given on Halloween. Which perfectly portioned Halloween candies are worth the indulgence and which ones should you leave at the bottom of the bag? We've compiled the stats on 40 of the most popular Halloween candies. Find them here, ranked from least to most in terms of sugar.

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    Halloween Party for Adults: Spooky Recipes

    Healthy Halloween and Fall Favorites

    Sweet Treats

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  • Monkey bread lightens up

    This pull-apart brunch favorite undergoes a slimming transformation yet miraculously keeps all of its irresistible sticky-buttery essence. By Sidney Fry, MS, RD

    Monkey around with the likes of canned biscuit dough, a stick of butter, and gobs of cinnamon-sugar, and you've got a mountain of fatty calories. I knew that the nutrition analysis of the traditional monkey bread recipe would show that-but 960mg of sodium per serving surprised me.

    To build a better base, we give the premade biscuits a pass-they're high in sodium and contain trans fats. Instead (and here's where convenience takes a backseat to quality), we start with fresh, homemade dough, made with nutty whole-wheat flour and delicately sweetened with orange juice and honey. In place of the stick of butter, each bite is dipped in a combo of milk and butter, then rolled in cinnamon and sugar. A finishing drizzle of cream cheese icing sends this treat over the top in taste-with about 80% less sodium and saturated fat

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  • 6 steps to better stir-fries

    Mix and match your favorite batch for less than 500 calories. Precooked noodles and proteins help you bring it to table in next to no time. Sidney Fry, MS, RD

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    Superfast Stir-Fries and Sautés

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  • 11 dense, fudgy brownie recipes

    The best brownies are fudgy, chewy, and dense, with the thinnest sugar crust on top. Achieving all this in a light recipe can be tricky: If you use too little fat or too much flour, or leave the brownies just a minute too long in the oven, results will range from springy cakes to dry pucks. These recipes, though, yield decadent success, from full-throttle chocolate with meaty walnuts to salty-sweet caramel-drenched bars and even a bonus blondie (or two).

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  • Healthy breakfast for dinner recipes

    Moving rise-and-shine favorites to the evening time slot feels both fun and indulgent. We've dressed up those favorites.

    Cooking first-of-the-day dishes for dinner seems oddly indulgent, somehow, and liberating, maybe a bit frisky, like lounging around in pajamas with a martini. It's also a little like eating dessert first: You're an adult, and you're going to eat what you want, when you want it! That said, a breakfast dish time-shifted to the dinner hour needs some dressing up. A few ingredient twists or technique tweaks are required. Upgrade French toast, for instance, with chewy, crusty Italian ciabatta bread stuffed with savory Gruyère cheese, and top it with a fresh, tart apple syrup. Or, make over your basic egg sandwich by pairing fried eggs with sweet caramelized onions, peppery arugula, and smoky bacon-still striking breakfast notes, but the tune seems downright decadent. Get out the PJs, pour a nice bottle of red, and dig in.

    See More: Top-Rated Breakfast and

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  • Recipe Makeover: Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese

    We squashed out half the calories and three-fourths of the sat fat by using a new trick in the sauce.

    This isn't the first time we've tackled this dish, of course, but this time we wanted to retain as much cheese as possible for both flavor and that nonnegotiable gooey texture, so the real work happened with the béchamel. Instead of the traditional buttery, heavy sauce, we turned to an unlikely hero for a boost: butternut squash. Combined with nonfat milk and Greek yogurt, the squash adds a rich, nutty flavor, sneaks in some vegetable, and brilliantly mimics the color and creaminess of cheddar sauce. A trio of bold cheeses packs more flavor than a one-cheese approach, while grooved pasta ensures full sauce coverage for a saucy favorite with all kinds of comforting goodness.

    See More: Vegetarian Pasta Recipes

    Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese


    3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 [1-pound] squash)

    1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

    1 1/2 cups

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  • 10 healthiest fast food burgers and sandwiches

    These grab-and-go bites are the ultimate convenience foods, but choose wisely to avoid a diet downfall.

    Think your turkey sandwich is a better bet than a burger? Not necessarily. Often filled with too much meat, extra cheese, and fatty spreads, sandwiches and burgers aren't always what they seem. Done right, they're packed with good-for-you ingredients like lean protein, complex carbs, and fiber. On the flip side, they can be calorie, sodium, and fat nightmares. Our top picks show you how to get between the bread - the healthy way.

    See More: Superfast Sandwiches

    Starbucks Roasted Chicken Breast with Cranberries and Tarragon Dressing on Whole Wheat Bread

    Finally, a chicken salad sandwich without all the fat. How does Starbucks do it? Their secret is swapping fresh tarragon dressing for mayo. That trade doesn't just cut the fat and saturated fat (each sandwich has less than 1.5 grams), it pumps up the flavor as well as tart dried cranberries and crunchy lettuce and

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  • 5 worst frozen yogurt scenarios

    Trendy tart frozen yogurts start out as skinny treat, but it's wickedly easy to bring them into hazardous nutrition territory.

    Giant self-serve cups and a dizzying array of colorful toppings have a way of tempting even the most scrupulous froyo eater to scale their dessert to unhealthy new heights. After watching friends, family, and scoopers at five different shops, we couldn't help but notice a few combos that demonstrate how easy it is to go horribly wrong. See if you find yourself in any of these five scenarios.

    See More: 8 Healthy Frozen Yogurt Toppings

    1. Flavor Mixer

    Pull down the nozzle on four different flavor favorites (plain tart, pomegranate, blueberry, white peach) so you get a taste of everything and before you know it you've filled the smallest size self-serve cup to the top and crowned it with a generous swirl. End portion: probably 2 cups. Calories: 370. And sugar? You'll be mainlining 20 teaspoons (85 grams) right down the old gullet.


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