If it’s been a while since you made a home-cooked meal, you may want to dust off your stovetop. Some of your favorite food bloggers are coming out with new must-try cookbooks full of healthy recipes (and a few splurges) you’re going to want to try. Plus, celebrity chefs like Martha Stewart and Mark Bittman are saying enough with dishes that take hours of prep, and are releasing new tomes detailing how to make cooking faster and easier for everyone.
Why not just order takeout instead? Cooking for yourself, as opposed to ordering in or dining out, can be the healthiest way to go. One 2011 study revealed that a home-cooked meal can put you in a good mood, make you more likely to load up on greens, and less likely to go wild with desserts. And the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recently stated that cooking and eating a meal at home with family leads people to consume more fruits, vegetables and fiber. So skip the Seamless order, locate your set of measuring spoons, and prepare to whip up something good.
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The Best Cookbooks for Fall
1. The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor
Calorie conscious foodies will dig these “light on calories, big on flavor” eats. Author of the crazy popular SkinnyTaste cooking blog, Gina Homolka makes her print debut with this volume of 150 recipes — and they all contain detailed nutritional information outlining calories, fat, sodium and sugar in each dish. Tips from Registered Dietician Heather K. Jones are scattered throughout, along with advice on how to “skinny-fy” not-so-good-for-you favorites like chicken Parmesan, fettuccine alfredo and more. ($18.30; available Sept 30, 2014)
2. Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook
Warning: NSFW! If you have kids at home, we wouldn’t recommend leaving this book lying around the kitchen. No kids? You’re going to want to display it prominently. Based on the foul-mouthed Thug Kitchen blog (slogan: Eat Like You Give a F*ck), this read has an in-your-face approach to cooking that sets it apart from your average recipe book. Cooking how-to’s are referred to as, “Basic sh*t” and pro-tips are delivered under the header “Dropping knowledge.” But while the language inside may be cringe-worthy to some, there’s nothing off-putting about the healthy, entirely plant-based recipes inside. ($14.99; available Oct 7, 2014)
3. The Kitchn Cookbook: Recipes, Kitchens & Tips to Inspire Your Cooking
True kitchen newbies will appreciate this book’s schooling on cooking techniques, tips on how to set up and care for your kitchen, and lists of tools to buy. Oh, and did we mention the 150 recipes? Based on the sister site to home décor blog Apartment Therapy, this book helps glam up the cooking-at-home lifestyle, with tons of photos of drool-worthy kitchens in addition to snaps of recipes. Recipes for guilt-free eats like the Sweet Green Smoothie, Roasted Garlic and Lemon Hummus, and Black Bean Edamame Burgers are interspersed between more decadent options. ($21.56; available Oct 7, 2014)
4. Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics
Italian food without real cheese? Before you say, “No thanks,” let’s remember that chef Chloe Coscarelli first gained attention as the winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars with a vegan creation. Now, she’s coming out with her fifth cookbook and she’s not afraid to go where few vegans have gone before. Full of tips on how to make vegan Italian creations feel just as creamy as traditional dishes (one tip: stock up on cashews), her recipes for dishes like White Lasagna with Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach may convince you to go cheese-free on your next pasta night. ($14.20; available Sept 23, 2014)
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5. Seriously Delish: 150 Recipes for People Who Totally Love Food
A glance at the cover of Jessica Merchant’s first cookbook will tell you that it’s not exactly packed full of fat-free fare. The blogger behind How Sweet It Is dedicates the book, “For my mom, who taught me about bacon. And therefore, taught me about life.” Nonetheless, a chapter called “Lighten Up” offers healthier options, and many recipes feature whole-wheat flour and heart-healthy coconut oil. You can bookmark recipes like Brown Sugar-Bacon Biscuits or Obsessed-With-Cheese Mac & Cheese for splurge days. ($19; on sale now)
6. From the Kitchen of Martha Stewart Living: One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals from Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and More
If you’ve cooked a few Martha Stewart recipes, you know they can leave your kitchen looking like a disaster zone — dishes everywhere, a million spices scattered around and probably a few tears shed over attempts to emulate Martha’s culinary prowess. But the gourmet guru unveils her simpler side with this new manual of meals that require just one pot to make. Featuring a slew of chicken, fish and lean veggie dishes (OK, and a cookie you can make in a skillet), cooking healthy never looked so doable. ($16.45; available Sept 23, 2014)
7. How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food
We’re not going to lie: This new guidebook from New York Times columnist and award-winning cookbook author Mark Bittman is a little intimidating. It’s the size of a dictionary; completely devoid of photos, and the print is undeniable small. But in it you’ll find more than 2,000 recipes diverse enough to satisfy any palate and guaranteed to be ready in 15, 30 or 45 minutes. It may not be pretty, but if you want a book that delivers a whole lot of bang for your buck, this might be the opus for you. ($23.48; available Oct 7, 2014)
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