Blog Posts by CookingLight.com

  • 4 ways to eat more fruits and veggies

    You've heard it before… Americans just aren't getting enough fruits and vegetables. And as the foundation of a healthy diet, consider fruits and vegetables your fountain of youth. Rich in vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and water, it's hard to understand how so many can resist that gorgeous nutritional profile. But the hard facts tell us that less than 30% of us - that's seven out of every ten Americans - are failing to meet the recommended 5 A Day.

    Enter in The 12 Healthy Habits. We're not asking for a revolution. Just a few small and very simple changes to make you eat better, feel better, and create an overall new sense of well-being. Step one: Eat more Fruits & Veggies. Yes, we are actually asking you to eat more of something. How often do you get to hear that? Here are 4 simple ways to get you eating veggies and fruits today.

    See More: Superfast Vegetarian Recipes

    Tip 1. Double the Veggies

    In soups, salads, pastas, sandwiches, pizzas, and casseroles,

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  • Touchdown! These 100-cal apps score big with flavor

    Think high-brow party nibbles have to be high-calorie? This stellar collection of party-worthy appetizers, all with 100 calories or less, proves you can have your fun without overindulging.

    Grilled Pepper Poppers

    The three-cheese filling is a nice complement for the spicy peppers. You can also use a milder chile, such as a cherry pepper. Shredded cheddar cheese can take the place of Parmesan, if you like.

    View Recipe: Grilled Pepper Poppers

    See More: 20-Minute Appetizer Recipes

    Blue Cheese and Chive Straws

    Blue cheese gives a bit of a bite, but is not overpowering to this delightfully crunchy snack. Prepare up to two days ahead and store in an airtight container at room temperature. We think they make a delightful nibble with drinks.

    View Recipe: Blue Cheese and Chive Straws

    Smoked Salmon and Cheese Mini Twice-Baked Potatoes

    This scrumptious low-cal finger food was developed by reader Abigail McMahon who was inspired Ireland. "I love Ireland and

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  • Taste Test: Best Granola Bars

    From fruity and nutty to chocolately and sweet, these granola bars were chosen best in their class.
    Seemingly healthy, granola bars can have hidden health facts that will leave your diet singing the blues. Keep these facts in mind when choosing the best brand for you:

    • Look for granola bars with a whole grain, like oats, as the first ingredient. Limit your selection to bars with 200 calories or less.
    • Watch the sugar. Granola can pack a lot of the sweet stuff, even if it's called brown rice syrup or organic evaporated cane juice. Keep your daily intake within 25 to 38g.
    • Avoid bars that contain trans fat or hydrogenated oils.
    See More: Top-Rated Breakfast & Brunch

    BEST CHOCOLATE: Nature Valley Dark Chocolate & Nut Chew Trail Mix Bar,
    $2.69 (1 box, 6 bars)
    Chunks of rich, semisweet dark chocolate, chewy raisins, and roasted peanuts push this option toward candy bar territory. But don't worry; it's much better for you, with about half the sugar of a typical candy bar. (1 bar:Read More »from Taste Test: Best Granola Bars
  • 5 romantic (and healthy) dinners for two

    Whether you're planning a luxurious evening at home or a casual dinner date for two, find the perfect recipes for your meal.

    Bistro Roast Chicken
    The French know a thing or two about romantic cooking. This Paris-inspired menu is the perfect example featuring Steamed Mussels, Bistro Roast Chicken, Pommes Frites with Chives, and finishing with a decadent Fudgy Espresso Soufflé.
    View Menu: French-Inspired Menu for Two

    See More: 100 Easy Chicken Recipes

    Filet Mignon with Mushroom-Wine Sauce
    Filet Mignon with Mushroom-Wine Sauce is a quick but posh dinner for two. For easy sides, serve with packaged refrigerated mashed potatoes and bagged salad greens with bottled dressing.

    View Recipe: Filet Mignon with Mushroom-Wine Sauce

    Seafood Risotto
    Risotto must be served immediately so you can best savor its rich creaminess. With this version, there's just enough for two healthful portions. Complete the meal with a salad, bread, and crisp white wine.

    View Recipe: Seafood Risotto

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  • 5 Super Bowl Food Makeovers




    The traditional game day foods are crowd pleasers, but they can also be some of the worst foods for you health-wise. The good news is that with these simple makeovers, you don't have to find new foods to serve on Super Bowl Sunday. By: Holley Grainger, M.S., RD

    BEEFY CHILI

    People love chili because it's a simple one-pot meal that feeds a hungry crowd. Preparing with fatty ground beef and topping with cheese, sour cream, and corn chips can really bump up the fat and calories. This version cuts 70% of the calories, 70% of the total fat, and 83% of the unhealthy saturated fat from traditional chili recipes without eliminating any of your favorite flavors. With just a few simple substitutions, this chili will become a new crowd favorite.

    Makeover Tip: Replace high-fat ground beef with lean ground turkey breast and lean ground sirloin to lower the saturated fat, and add extra flavor with bacon and beer (which has less sodium than canned broth). Top with reduced-fat cheese and you're sureRead More »from 5 Super Bowl Food Makeovers
  • Herb-Crusted Chicken with Feta Sauce

    A tangy Greek sauce made of mint, lemon, and feta cheese is a welcome addition to succulent breaded chicken breast. Serve it over a bed of orzo combined with chopped fresh basil. Use leftover sauce as a dressing spooned over Romaine lettuce or tossed with fresh veggies such as tomatoes and cucumbers.

    See More: 100 Easy Chicken Recipes

    Herb-Crusted Chicken with Feta Sauce
    Prep: 2 minutes, Cook: 11 minutes

    2/3 cup whole wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
    2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
    4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    4 teaspoons olive oil
    6 tablespoons Feta Sauce

    1. Combine panko and Italian seasoning in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; dredge in panko mixture.
    2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken over; reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes or until done.

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  • How Much Fruit Is Actually in Fruit Products?


    Fruit is so tasty and has such a nutrition halo that it ends up in a lot of processed foods. But those foods may not contain a lot of fruit.

    Here's the reason why 60 percent of Americans don't eat enough fruit: It's hard to do. Two to three cups of fruit per day, which the Food Pyramid recommends, is simply a challenge.

    Complicating matters is the huge selection of foods "made with real fruit." This claim could drive you bananas. Who doesn't prefer real apples in, say, their toaster pastry? Problem is, nutritionally, fruit products are not whole fruit, or even mostly fruit. Some barely pass a piece of fruit on their way to the box. The real-fruit claim requires a look at the nutrition label and the ingredient list, to see what you're actually getting in a piece of, for example, strawberry fruit leather.

    Here we give you the full fruit spectrum, from fruit-flavored to, well, fruit. The more you eat from later in the list, the more fruitful the eating.

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  • 8 Top-Rated Veggie Recipes


    When it comes to veggies, it won't be hard to get in your daily quotient with these scrumptious (and top-rated) picks.

    1. Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Tian

    Don't push the veggies to the side! Put them center stage, like in our satisfying Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Tian. Fresh summer squash, eggplant, and tomatoes are the stars in this recipe. A crunchy, salty, breadcrumb coating atop layers of eggplant, zucchini, and tomato give the fresh ingredients the ideal complement. An 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish works well for this recipe, but if you have a 2-quart tian or gatin dish, all the better.

    View Recipe: Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Tian

    2. Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken

    Fresh and light describe the flavors of this salad. With pops of green onions, herbs and cucumber, and bright red bell pepper, this dish will be a delight for both the eyes and the palate.

    View Recipe: Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken

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  • Party on—5 healthy holiday indulgences

    You can feel good about splurging on these holiday treats. Here's why.

    Smart Splurges
    Here's some good news about the season of indulgence. If you make smart choices about how you splurge, you can reap the health benefits of certain power-packed foods that are popular on holiday tables.

    Consumed in moderation, these 5 foods are research-proven to deliver benefits that range from helping prevent some types of heart disease to reducing blood pressure. Here's our guide to these treats, including the latest research about their benefits and how best to enjoy them.

    Related: Holiday Appetizers and Drinks

    NUTS
    Health benefits:
    Mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids―the types of fats that have been linked to heart-health benefits. All nuts contain quality protein and fiber, and are excellent sources of vitamin E, folate, and magnesium. English walnuts are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that may help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease by decreasing arterial

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  • If you knew this you'd be baking better

    This year, before you step into the kitchen to wield your holiday whisk, consider brushing up on a few kitchen science fundamentals. By Lisa Bell & Nicole Rees

    Basics of Holiday Baking
    The first thing you must know is that successful baking can be summed up with one simple formula: You have to strike a balance between structure and moisture. Everything else is frosting on the cake. The main ingredients responsible for providing structure are flour and eggs, while sugar and fat contribute and hold moisture. Too much flour in your cookie dough is what results in those sad little hockey pucks. But too little structure-which is to say too much moisture-can make your cake too dense or, worse, a wet, gooey mess. And that's before you tackle light baking, which by definition alters and adjusts this delicate balance.

    Here, we offer a collection of healthful recipes developed by a couple of pastry chefs and put through the paces in our Test Kitchen. We've added annotations that

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