Blog Posts by CookingLight.com

  • M.O. for best cup o' joe

    Get more gusto from your grinds with our top coffee tips. By Tamar Haspel

    John AutryJohn Autry

    To Stir, With Love
    The warm perfume of fresh beans in the grinder, the morning thrill of the French press plunge: After a quarter-century of coffee mania, it's as important as ever to get the bean-to-mug fundamentals right, and avoid the tragic little crime that is a bad cup.

    See More: Holiday Appetizers and Drinks

    The Weight of Soil
    1. Much depends on the soil-but not everything.
    Coffee talk is all about the terroir, the taste derived from the soil. And flavor profiles follow continental patterns. But processing and freshness tend to have a bigger effect on taste than they do in the case of wine, because beans, after roasting, are volatile. Time between roasting and packing is important, as are the quality of the package and the time between opening the package and brewing the beans.

    Randy MayorRandy Mayor

    See More: Holiday Breads and Extras

    Roasting Freshness
    2. So, when were these beans roasted?

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  • Holiday eating: keep it "clean"

    "Clean Eating" expert, Diane Welland, shares 9 simple tips to keep the holidays healthy.

    Iain BagwellIain Bagwell

    Nine Tips for Clean Eating During the Holidays
    You don't have to give up eating "clean" just because it's the holidays. Many of your favorite special-occasion treats can be "cleaned up" simply by swapping whole grains for refined ones, choosing low-fat dairy products, and using minimally processed sugars like honey or dehydrated cane juice sugar over granulated white or brown. Even if you do splurge on a few items, be smart and don't overindulge. Follow these nine tips and you can eat well, feel great, and celebrate the season without feeling guilty or deprived.

    Related: 5 Best (and Worst) Holiday Foods

    Search Out Healthy Offerings
    While most people associate the holidays with rich, high-calorie foods, there are plenty of other options available. Zero in on produce first by loading up on raw vegetables found on crudite platters and salads. Instead of high-fat dressings,

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  • Food lover's $30-and-under stocking stuffers




















    These goodies are low on cost, but rank high on every food lover's holiday wish-list. Each item is tailored to make everyday life in the ktichen that much more enjoyable.

    Dreamfarm Smood

    It's winter, and lots more than potatoes could use smashing: Try roasted squash, parsnips, turnips, and carrots.

    Price: $20
    Shop: Dreamfarm

    Joseph Joseph Rolling Pin

    The adjustable rings on this roller ensure that the crust comes out a uniform 1/4-, 3/8-, or 1/16-inch thick.

    Price: $20
    Shop: Macy's

    See More: Hostess Gifts

    BeaterBlade Pro

    The nifty silicone trim on this blade cuts down on the need to stop and scrape the bowl.

    Price: $30
    Shop: Amazon.com

    Sagaform Salad Dressing Shaker

    Toss the old pickle jar and shake salad dressing with this: It's elegant enough to bring to table.

    Price: $24
    Shop: Grounded

    See More: Graters, Grinders, and Peelers

    OXO Hand-Held Julienne Slicer

    For when you feel the irresistible urge to reduce a carrot

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  • 6 Luscious Layer Cakes

























    Majestic layer cakes put an exclamation point on your table for holidays and special occasions and double as a stunning centerpiece. Our layer cakes lean less heavily on butter and sugar saving you and your family calories and fat without sacrificing taste.

    1. Chocolate-Orange Layer Cake

    We love the classic flavor combination in this light, moist Chocolate-Orange Layer Cake. Instead of a full frosting, simply spoon a warm chocolaty glaze over the two layers.

    View Recipe: Chocolate-Orange Layer Cake

    2. Vanilla Cake with Italian Meringue Frosting

    Light and fluffy meringue frosting tops layers of moist vanilla cake making this a delicious and beautiful end to any meal. Associate Food Editor Julianna Grimes raves, "It's such an impressive-looking cake, and it tastes as good as (or better than) it looks."

    View Recipe: Vanilla Cake with Italian Meringue Frosting

    See More: How to Make Layer Cakes

    3. Pecan Spice Cake with Maple Frosting

    Work quickly to

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  • What the Thanksgiving cook nibbled

    When it comes to Thanksgiving calorie consumption, our bet is that the cook takes the cake. Realizing we are partly to blame-afterall, we did rank "Not Tasting as You Go Along" number one on our list of Most Common Cooking Mistakes-we give you this fun calorie count to show just how quickly a nibble here and a sip there can add up.

    10:00 AM

    Stack the cake layers and mix the frosting. Lick spatula...
    75 Calories

    10:30 AM
    Brown bacon for gratin. You're working hard-you deserve a slice...
    42 Calories

    See More: Holiday Sides

    11:00 AM
    Toast bread cubes for stuffing. Need to keep energy up, so take opportunity to carbo-load...
    15 Calories

    11:35 AM
    Whip heavy cream for pumpkin pie. Wonder if it's sweet enough? Good cooks taste as they go...
    26 Calories

    11:35 AM
    Maybe a shot of Grand Marnier would liven up the cream. Better have a sip to see...
    38 Calories

    See More: Holiday Staff Favorites

    11:40 AM
    Feel sudden

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  • Mexican Turkey Stew


    Sign up now!: Be part of Yahoo! Shine's What's for Dinner newsletter to get quick new dinner ideas, veggie sides, easy desserts, drinks, and more.


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    While usually an ingredient in moles, roasted pumpkinseed kernels add another layer of nutty flavor to this posole-style broth. Look for them in specialty markets and health-food stores. Substitute ancho chile powder if guajillo is unavailable.

    See More: Global Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

    Mexican Turkey Stew

    Yield: 8 servings

    3 large Anaheim chiles, seeded and halved lengthwise
    2 teaspoons canola oil
    Cooking spray
    1 1/2 cups chopped onion
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons ground guajillo chile powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
    4 cups water
    3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
    1 (15-ounce) can golden or white hominy, drained
    4 cups leftover shredded cooked turkey breast
    1/3 cup chopped fresh

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  • Pasta Bolognese

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    This tastes-like-you-cooked-it-all-day sauce is perfect tossed with linguine. It also freezes well and can be ready in minutes with a quick thaw in the microwave.

    See More: 20-Minute Pasta Recipes

    Pasta Bolognese
    Prep: 3 minutes, Cook: 12 minutes

    1 (13.25-ounce) package whole-grain linguine (such as Ronzoni Healthy Harvest)
    2 (4-ounce) links hot turkey Italian sausage
    Olive oil-flavored cooking spray
    1 pound 93% lean ground beef
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 (8-ounce) package button mushrooms, chopped
    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
    1 (28-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
    1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

    1.

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  • Festive foods around the globe

    This time of year, many Americans tend to focus on Christmas and New Year's Day. But a number of other cultures mark this season in their own special ways, and be it Hanukkah or Pongal, a central part of each celebration is food. We've gathered some of the best of the world's holiday dishes, and we hope they'll inspire you with their wonderful flavors, and soon become a part of your traditions.

    African: Kwanzaa

    First celebrated in the United States in 1966, Kwanzaa was created for those of African descent around the world to reconnect with their common heritage. The name is derived from traditional harvest celebrations in Africa called matunda ya kwanza, literally "first fruits," which were seven days of gathering, reverence, commemoration, recommitment, and celebration. Beginning on December 26 and lasting for seven days, modern Kwanzaa celebrations esteem one of the seven core principles of African American unity, the Nguzo Saba, on each night. Karamu, a lavish feast of

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  • Stock your healthy holiday pantry for $25

    With our lightened recipes for home-baked sweets, you'll feel great about treating your guests (and yourself) to some guilt-free goodies. If you already have the basics―sugar, milk, eggs, butter, baking powder/soda, cream of tartar, vanilla extract, cake and all-purpose flours, spices, and so on―you're in good shape. For $25, add 8 key ingredients that expand your options for delicious holiday treats. Remember, a well-prepared host is a happy one. By Katherine Brooking, MS, RD

    Shopping List:

    Walnuts $4.49
    Pecans $2.99
    Oatmeal $2.65
    Flaked sweetened coconut $2.19
    Unsweetened baking chocolate $2.39
    Semisweet chocolate baking chips $1.79
    Unsweetened cocoa powder $2.79
    Seedless raspberry jam $4.99

    Total: $24.28

    See More: Budget Cooking: Feed 4 for $10

    Raspberry Linzer Windowpane Cookies

    Key Ingredients: Raspberry jam

    These elegant cookies―as delicious as they are stunning―are perfect for gifts, cookie swaps, and holiday

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  • 5 Best (and Worst) Holiday Foods

    We love the holidays, but we know they can be a nutritional minefield. Temptations lurk everywhere. Those extra calories add up to an average weight gain of about a pound during the festivities between Thanksgiving and New Year's, studies show. That may not sound like much, but if it becomes a yearly tradition, the years can pack on the pounds.

    Don't let that curb your merriment, though. There are plenty of good-for-you foods lurking in between the calorie bombs. Here's our guide to good-for-you holiday dishes…and foods you'll want to avoid. By Katherine Brooking MS, RD

    1. Best: Sweet Potatoes

    Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse. An excellent source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant, they're also a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and potassium. Best of all, they taste like a dessert! The "sweet" in these potatoes comes from an enzyme that converts most of the tuber's starches to sugars as it matures. This sweetness intensifies during storage and as

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