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Cookbooks offer light, flexitarian, family dinner meals

.TITLE: Make It Lighter — Healthier Versions of Your Favorite Recipes by Angela Nilsen (Hamlyn, $24.99, 224 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: Cooking lighter never looked so good. The full color photos are deliciously inviting and will make your mouth water. Many recipes have multiple photos of the cooking process making it easy for even novice home cooks.

FOR: Anyone looking to lighten up classic recipes or find some new ones.

RECIPES: Shepherd's pie, chicken cacciatore, spaghetti carbonara, coq au vin, lamb tagine, blueberry trifle, apple and blackberry crisp, Thai green chicken curry, pizza Margherita, burgers with roasted red pepper salsa, fish chowder, quiche Lorraine, beef Wellington, chocolate tart, coffee panna cotta, risotto primavera, coffee and walnut cake, onion tart, Spanish omelet, and salmon teriyaki.

. TITLE: The Flexitarian Table by Peter Berley with Zoey Singer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $19.95, 304 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: The recipes in this cookbook are full of flavor. It is apparent many recipes are influenced by Mediterranean, Middle Eastern or Asian cooking. The full color photos of select recipes. Some recipes have a lot of ingredients, some of which may be challenging for lesser experienced home cooks. Start with the less intimidating dishes.

FOR: Those households that have members that eat differently, some vegan, some vegetarian, some meat. A flexitarian is someone who eats a little bit of each. Basically primarily a plant-eater with some meat occasionally.

RECIPES: Summer vegetable simmer, couscous with dried fruit and pine nuts, rice with herbs, goat cheese frittata with spiced red onion marmalade, lemon thyme tofu, chestnut apple soup, penne with beets, beet greens, goat cheese and walnuts, roasted broccoli with Parmesan, white bean shrimp with brown butter and tons of herbs, lasagna with fall vegetables, Gruyere and sage bechamel, pan-seared lamb steak with thyme, lemon and mustard, carrots with black olives and mint, Autumn stew with miso and duck/tofu and spiced lamb croquettes.

. TITLE: The Good Housekeeping Cookbook — Sunday Dinner Collector's Edition1,275 Recipes from America's Favorite Test Kitchen (Hearst Books, $25, 752 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: Many have happy memories of family meals while growing up. Today's busy lifestyles make family meals difficult to plan but this new collection from the Good Housekeeping test kitchens offers a plethora of recipes suited to every taste. There are Spanish, Asian, Italian, Southern, Mediterranean, Mexican recipes and more. You'll find classic and traditional dishes along with more modern recipes. Throughout the cookbook there are many boxes with helpful information such as how to carve a rib roast, how to pit an olive and more.

FOR: This cookbook won't find the time for your family to sit down to a meal together but the recipes will certainly inspire you to make an effort. There are recipes for all skill levels.

RECIPES: Corned beef hash, Mexican meatballs, pasta with tuna puttanesca, quinoa and corn, golden sauteed plantains, double-cheese batter bread, sticky toffee pudding, vanilla chiffon cake, chicken saute with artichokes, lemon and mint, ham steak with creamy cheese grits, chipotle skirt steak with avocado salsa, country pot roast, chicken mole, trout meuniere, spinach strata, flank steak with red onion marmalade and pork medallions with melon salsa and grilled limes.

>>MODERATE

Spaghetti Carbonara

2 extra large eggs

1 ½ cups frozen peas

12 ounces spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ounces lean back bacon, trimmed of excess fat, chopped into small pieces

2 plump garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Handful of snipped chives, to garnish

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Beat the eggs in a bowl with a little black pepper. Cook the peas in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, reserving the water, and set aside.

Return the pea cooking water to the pan, bring back to a boil and cook the spaghetti until al dente, following package directions. While spaghetti is cooking, heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or saute pan. Cook the bacon for several minutes, or until it starts to turn crisp. Stir in the garlic and cook briefly until pale brown. Add the peas, and keep warm over low heat until spaghetti is done.

Remove the pan with the bacon from the heat. Lift the spaghetti out of the pan with a pair of tongs, reserving the cooking water, and drop it into the skillet with the garlic, bacon and peas. Mix most of the cheese into the eggs, reserving a handful for sprinkling over each serving. Quickly pour in the eggs and cheese, lifting and stirring with the tongs so everything mixes well and the spaghetti is coated. Ladle in a little of the reserved pasta water, enough to coat the spaghetti and create some sauce in the pan.

Spoon or twirl the pasta into shallow serving bowls using a long pronged fork. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of the reserved cheese, some snipped chives and a grinding of black pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Make It Lighter — Healthier Versions of your Favorite Recipes by Angela Nilsen

>>EASY

Summer Vegetable Simmer

cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced

Sea salt or kosher salt

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 small jalapeno, seeded and chopped or a large pinch of red pepper flakes, or to taste

3 medium zucchini halved, seeded and sliced ½ inch thick

3 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons torn fresh mint leaves

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeno or pepper flakes and cook, stirring for another minute or two.

Add the zucchini and tomatoes and season with another pinch of salt and a few grinds or pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat slightly and simmer rapidly for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover the pan, add the mint, and simmer, stirring, until the liquid has thickened, 4 to 5 minutes more. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste, remove from the heat and let cool. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Serves 4.

Source: The Flexitarian Table by Peter Berley with Zoey Singer

>>Easy

Flank Steak With Red Onion Marmalade

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided

3 medium red onions, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 beef flank steak, 1 ½ pounds

¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

In a nonstick 12-inch skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar, sugar and ½ teaspoon salt. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Spoon red onion marmalade into small bowl; keep warm.

Wash skillet and wipe dry. Sprinkle steak with pepper and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. In skillet, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add steak and cook 6 to 8 minutes per side for medium-rare or until desired doneness.

Slice steak and serve with red onion marmalade.

Serves 6 as a main dish.

Source: The Good Housekeeping Cookbook — Sunday Dinner Collector's Edition

Cookbooks offer light, flexitarian, family dinner meals 05/05/14 [Last modified: Monday, May 5, 2014 7:39pm]

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