Many people make New Year’s resolutions about eating healthier or losing weight. But usually a few months, or sometimes weeks, into the new year those healthy resolutions fall by the wayside. If this is your story, the new cookbook from the editors of Cooking Light magazine, Cooking That Counts, will help get you back on track and keep you on that track. It’s full of easy, delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, all around 400 calories or less, that the whole family will enjoy.
Cooking That Counts: 1,200 – 1,500 Calorie Meal Plans to Lose Weight Deliciously starts off with an introduction to the meal plan which includes must-have ingredients, heathy cooking basics and the calorie level 30-day menu plan. Calorie level means how many calories you want to consume per day to lose weight, anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500. There are also helpful hints to keep you on track so you reach your goal. The sample menu plan offers a nice variety, with options for leftovers so you don’t need to cook everyday. Change up the menu and substitute as you choose.
It’s very easy to write your own meal plan as well following the sample but customizing with recipes you enjoy. The cookbook is separated by meal – breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Each recipe offers the calorie count in a big circle next to the recipe title. You certainly won’t miss it.
In addition to the nutritional information at the bottom of each recipe there are adjustments depending on what calorie plan you are following. For example, if you are having the muesli with cranberries and flaxseed but are following the 1,500 calorie plan, you would increase the yogurt by an additional 1/4 cup per serving. The additional calories are noted in parentheses so you can calculate.
Nutritional information can be difficult to demystify. At the back of the book there is a page devoted to the topic. The Cooking Light editors, cooks and registered dietitians derive their numbers from the current USDA dietary guidelines.
What really seems appealing about this cookbook and the meal plan is that you won’t feel deprived. Many times in an effort to lose weight, people are unsuccessful because they are missing something, like sweets, bread or pasta. Butterscotch bars, lemon squares, and strawberry cheesecake pops will satisfy your sweet tooth. Sandwiches include Reubens, roast beef sandwiches with watercress slaw and grilled turkey-plum sandwiches, all made with various breads. Pastas include everything from salads to main dishes like tortellini salad with zucchini and peas and classic lasagna with meat sauce. No need to feel deprived with this cookbook.
- 12 ounces baby red potatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 3⁄4-inch thickness
- 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1⁄4 cup whole milk
- 5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 13⁄4 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
- 8 very thin lemon slices
- 1 (8-ounce) package trimmed haricots verts
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 small whole-grain dinner roll (60 calories)
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer 12 minutes or until tender. Drain.
- Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to the pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken with 1⁄4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add chicken and thyme sprigs to pan; cook 5 minutes or until the chicken is browned. Turn chicken over. Place the pan in the oven; bake at 450°F for 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan.
- Return pan to medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan; swirl. Add potatoes, cut sides down; mushrooms; and 1 tablespoon thyme. Cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring once. Combine milk and flour in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture, stock, lemon, beans, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper to pan; simmer 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Add chicken; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender. Sprinkle with parsley.
Pounded chicken cooks more evenly and quickly in the pan. Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap or in a zip-top plastic bag and pound them to an even thinness using a meat mallet or heavy skillet.
Editor’s note: This recipe is printed courtesy of the publisher. The author of this review received a copy of the cookbook, Cooking That Counts. No other compensation was received from the publisher. Links to the cookbook are affiliate links.
Many thanks to the publisher Oxmoor House who is sponsoring one copy of this wonderful cookbook for a giveaway, open to US residents only. Please check out the book on Amazon and leave a comment on the post – What recipe from Cooking That Counts would you try first? – to enter. The rafflecopter has several options for earning more chances to win! The more you do, the better your chances. No purchase necessary. The winner will be notified by email. If the winner does not respond in 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected.
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