Blog Posts by CookingLight.com

  • Best big brand coffee



    In eight blind taste tests, eight staffers sampled 34 coffees (house or classic blends) from nationally available brands, prepared according to package instructions via automatic drip and French press.

    BEST DECAF WHOLE BEAN: Peet's Coffee Decaf House Blend, $13.50 (12 ounces)

    Peet's comes alive with a freshly roasted aroma, full body, and a complex, nutty flavor with just the right amount of acidity. It's a bracing pick-me-up even for the caffeine-shy java addict.

    See More: 10 Things to Know About Coffee

    BEST GROUND: Peet's Coffee House Blend, $11.95 (12 ounces)

    Peet's Freshness Pledge, which ensures their coffee is sold within 90 days of roasting, pays off: rich, earthy notes of roasted nuts, vanilla, and bittersweet chocolate, with a round, well-balanced finish.

    BEST WHOLE BEAN: Allegro Coffee Café Blend, $9.99 (12 ounces)

    We loved this coffee before we even took the first sip-it has a rich, fragrant aroma, hinting of pumpkin pie spices. Each cup had a

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  • Healthy fast food drinks


    Liquid calories can add up quickly. Keep yours under control with our top picks at fast food restaurants or local coffee shops in your neighborhood. By Karen Ansel, MS, RD

    When it comes to hidden fat and calories, your drink may be delivering more than you bargained for. In fact, sipping just one extra can of soda a day can add up to nearly 15 new and unwanted pounds in a year. But that liquid refreshment doesn't need to add to your bottom line. We reveal the healthiest - and most waistline-friendly - drinks to grab on the go.

    See More: The Healthiest Fast Food Breakfasts

    Starbucks - Espresso
    Counterintuitive as it may seem, an espresso from Starbucks actually has less caffeine than a cup of Joe. With only 75 milligrams of caffeine per cup, this brew gives you a kick compared to the 260-milligram jolt you'd get from a tall coffee. How so? It all boils down to caffeine per ounce. Ounce per ounce, espresso does have more caffeine than coffee, roughly 75 milligrams

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  • 30-minute takeout recipe makeovers


    Your favorite restaurant dishes made lighter in 30 minutes or less! You don't have to dial out for your favorite restaurant dishes any longer. We have given a few takeout classics healthy makeovers that will be just as craveable as their often guilt-laden counterparts.

    See More: Superfast Italian Recipes

    Pizza Supreme Takeout Recipe Makeover
    First up, Pizza Surpreme. Authentic wood-fired pizza is all the rage, but a great deal of the pies eaten in America are still pepperoni, meat-lover's, and supreme versions from 1-800 sources. But why eat heavy when you can have the same pleasure in a lighter pizza package? We attacked the supreme formula, leaning on veggies and walking back the meat (just one sausage link for the whole pizza). It's enough for flavor but doesn't leave you with pools of grease to blot. Lean turkey sausage stands in for pork, and lower-sodium marinara anchors the toppings. But, knowing when a low-fat swap is not worth it, we use full-fat mozzarella (and a

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  • Top 5 best processed foods


    Trying to eat for good health but short on time? Here's our list of some of the newest and best processed foods to hit supermarket shelves. By: Maureen Callahan, MS, RD

    In a perfect world we'd head to the farm for our locally grown, pesticide-free produce and grass-fed meats and then cook them all up from scratch. But reality dictates that most of us need, or want, a little help in the kitchen. So we scoured supermarkets looking for new beverages, frozen foods, or convenience items that deserve to be on any healthy eater's radar. Some are brand new choices, just introduced in the last few months. Others are a little older, but just as noteworthy. Consider it a snapshot view of what's stashed in our pantry at the current moment.

    See More: 5-Ingredient Pantry Recipes
    Oikos Caramel Greek Yogurt (4 pack)
    Although zero-fat plain Greek yogurt is one of the healthiest snacks on the planet, some folks aren't keen on the tart flavor. This sweetened version of Oikos Caramel

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  • Grab-and-go quick breakfast recipes


    Eating a smart breakfast leads to healthier choices all day long. Make any one of these quick breakfast recipes ahead, and that's one less thing you have to do tomorrow morning.

    Fig, Applesauce, and Almond Breakfast Loaf

    On busy mornings, the first thing to neglect shouldn't be breakfast. With these quick and healthy choices you won't think twice about skipping the most important meal of the day.

    To start our list of on-the-go options we chose a hearty breakfast bread. This recipe takes a bit of time to prepare so we recommend making it on the weekend to have on hand during busy weekday mornings. It is packed with ingredients that will keep you from counting down the hours until lunch. Bonus: The recipe makes two loafs-enjoy one and freeze the other to bring out for the next busy week.

    View Recipe: Fig, Applesauce, and Almond Breakfast Loaf

    See More: The Healthiest Fast Food Breakfasts

    Frozen Banana Latte, Spicy Mango-Orange Slush, Triple Berry Freeze

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  • 5 convenience foods that are actually healthy


    Cooking Light recipes rely on the freshest ingredients possible, but there are some convenience products that make even the freshest cooking easier and faster. Through years of recipe testing, we've learned that there are great time-cutting products out there that meet our standards-for nutrition and flavor. When buying any prepared foods, read labels carefully, paying particular attention to sodium. We've identified our top 10; comment below and tell us your favorites.

    1. Jarred Pasta Sauce

    A good basic bottled marinara sauce can make quick work of so many dinners-from spaghetti and meatballs to lasagna-plus it makes a great quick pizza or dipping sauce. Instead of creamy white sauces, choose tomato-based sauces, which are lower in calories and provide valuable nutrients. In our taste test of store-bought pasta sauces, we selected Rao's Homemade Tomato and Basil Marinara Sauce as our top all around pick, and our choice for the greatest value was Classico Tomato and Basil

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  • Keep cool in the kitchen with 7 freezable recipes


    Freezing is a great make-ahead strategy and certain recipes freeze better than others. Find our picks for healthy freezable recipes.

    Preparing double or even triple recipes and freezing portions for later means you don't have to cook every night to have a delicious and nutritious meal on the table. And some food is better suited to freezing and reheating than others. For example, casseroles, soups, chilis, and meat loaf all stand up to the freezer well and most cooked dishes will keep for two to three months in the freezer. Here, find our picks for the best freezer-friendly recipes.

    1. Pork and Herbed White Beans

    Although this dish takes a while to cook, the majority is hands off. You can easily prepare it over the weekend and reheat during the week. Plus at only $2.37 per serving, it's easy on your budget.

    View Recipe: Pork and Herbed White Beans

    See More: Superfast Comfort Food


    2. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas

    Mild sweet potatoes and black beans

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  • Restaurant Snack Menus Decoded


    Snack menus are popping up at restaurants everywhere. But how healthy are they? We reveal the best and worst picks. By: Karen Ansel, MS, RD

    Move over appetizers, entrées, and desserts. Thanks to our love affair with snacking, restaurants everywhere are now offering snack menus. In the last four years the number of snack foods on restaurant menus has exploded 170% and that growth is expected to continue to skyrocket. While snack menus might sound like a great way to get a grip on between-meal hunger, most of their offerings aren't always healthy (think sliders, quesadillas and wings), often packing enough calories and sodium to qualify as a meal.

    Our guide to the best and the worst of the new snack menus will keep you on the right track.

    See More: Superfast Appetizers

    McDonald's

    Thumbs up: Grilled Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap (pictured)
    They sound so small and innocent, but many of McDonald's Snack Wraps hardly qualify as snacks. With 10 varieties to choose from these

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  • Top 5 Healthy Chips







    The classic potato chip is getting a makeover to reveal a healthier side. This favorite snack now boasts veggies, whole grains, fiber, and protein. By: Holley Grainger, MS, RD

    The CookingLight.com team never passes up a snack, so when charged to find the healthiest chips on the market, we rolled up our sleeves and began crunching. The variety of fried, baked, and "popped" options were endless as well as the ingredients used in these healthy chips. We saw (and tasted) chips made with everything from quinoa, chia seeds, and brown rice to chickpeas, black beans, lentils, and of course, the classic potato. After sampling dozens of options, we landed on our top ten. Do you have a favorite? We want to hear about it so we can add it to our snack repertoire.
    See More: 5-Ingredient Pantry Recipes


    Popchips, Salt & Pepper

    Popchips reigned supreme as the favorite among our tasters with positive comments ranging from "best tasting" and "great crunch" to "perfect portion size." Neither baked nor

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  • Love at first bite--6 lightened chocolate desserts

    Chocolate is a Valentine's Day staple that doesn't have to be deadly to your diet. Try one of these lightened-but still decadent!-chocolate desserts to share with the one you love.

    Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes

    These hot-from-the-oven dark chocolate desserts are the perfect grand finale for any celebration. Between their decidedly rich flavor and sumptuous textures that combine a crusty top with a molten interior, these cakes earned our Test Kitchens' highest rating.

    View Recipe: Hot Chocolate Fudge Cakes

    See More: Holiday Desserts

    Double-Chocolate Cupcakes

    These cupcakes are easy to make, and because simple ingredients are used, it's best to purchase premium cocoa powder and dark chocolate. Since they're studded with dark chocolate chunks, just dusting them with powdered sugar is enough to decorate these treats.

    View Recipe: Double-Chocolate Cupcakes

    Upside-Down Fudge-Almond Tart

    Coarsely chopped almonds, two kinds of chocolate, and golden cane syrup

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