Cookbook Review – Cooking Light Comfort Food

I like comfort food.  Mac and cheese, pot pies, apple crips, meatloaf etc.  But I don’t make these foods frequently, and when I do I usually make mine on the healthier side.  It’s just how I cook.  So sometimes I was a bit surprised when reading Cooking Light Comfort Foods: Home Cooked, Delicious Classics Made Light by the nutritional information and label of “light” for a recipe that still has 10 grams of fat and 50 grams of carbs.  But most recipes give a reason why it’s lighter than the classic version which is helpful to those who fry cook, use lots of oil, full fat dairy and fatter cuts of meat.  Suppose that’s why comfort foods are so flavorful  and hearty and well loved?.  That said, there are some tasty recipes in Cooking Light’s Comfort Foods, and it never claimed to be a diet book.  So if you don’t already make these foods on the lighter side or need a new version of your grandma’s strawberry shortcake, then this is a good guide to get you cooking lighter.  I made…

Creamy Tomato Balsamic Soup

I thought making this soup would wreck my oven.  The cooking is done in the oven rather than the stovetop like most soups.  I was quite worried the mixture would bubble and overflow on my oven bottom (I even put a pan under), but luckily it didn’t happen.  This was good as a soup with grilled cheese sandwich points, and I would even use it over pasta (and not use add milk, as shown above).  It was hearty and had a bit of a tang from the vinegar.  It was a bit spicy for my youngest.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This was a classic chocolate chip cookie.  Of course best warm right out of the oven.  Nothing new here – sugar, butter, all purpose flour.  They came out nice and round and held shape rather than spreading (when using more buter).  Called for fewer chocolate chips than I’m used to, which my kids noticed, but still liked.

Buttermilk Pancakes

These were a hit.  These pancakes puffed up and cooked quite easily.  I substitute the usual syrup and butter topping with yogurt and fruit. Yum.

Overall Book Review

Pros: Foods that are classic and mainstream for all tastes.  Lighter versions of some classically guilt induced foods. Helpful nutritional information and comparisons to non light versions.  An appetizing color photo for just about every recipe.

Cons: Not as light as they could be.  Some of these recipes are pretty basic – you may feel like you’re competing with your family favorites (grandma’s secret recipes).

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Cookbook Review- Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

I’ve received a great many cookbooks lately.  Some good and some not so good.  Because I believe in the adage “If you can’t say something nice, don;t say anything at all”:  I am not going to share, trash and criticize books I don’t like.  I’m going to tell you about those I used and liked.  Of course there will be pros and cons (nothing is perfect).

Cookbooks are a perfect holiday gift for a home cook and food lover.  You can never have too many (although I’m sure my husband thinks so) and there’s always room for something new and surprising in your collection.  I have a core 8 or 10 books that I use most often, however I have about another 50 that I use maybe one favorite recipe or I pull out when need something fresh or a new inspiration.

Simply Suppers: Comfort Food You Can Get on the Table in No Time Flat by Jennifer Chandler is a great book for busy people who want to make dinner, but don’t have much extra time to shop or cook.  All ingredients are easy to find and the recipes are straight forward and many of them can be made in about a half hour.  There’s some good weeknight options which I made, such as Sloppy Joe’s (which was my family’s favorite) as well as Sauteed Spaghetti Squash and Lemon Salmon.  The recipes are basic and comforting.

Pro: Helpful recipe icons with cooking, freezing and variation tips

Con:  Good solid food, but lack of surprises

Sauteed Spaghetti Squash
Lemon Salmon
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