Butternut Squash Risotto on a white plate on a blue placemat
Cookbook Reviews

Cooking Light Complete Cookbook

Cookbook by: The Cooking Light Editors

Picture of the cover of Cooking Light Complete Cookbook

“Knowledge is power, and this powerful book will expand your talents while you indulge your passion for healthful cooking,” Mary Kay Culpepper, Editor In Chief. 

I have owned the Cooking Light Complete Cookbook for many years. Even though it was published in 2010 I find myself returning to it again and again. The recipes are easy to follow, healthy and have such complex and intriguing flavors. I have used this cookbook so much that some of the pages in the center have started to fall out. 

Anyone who wants to be a more experienced home cook will appreciate the tips and tricks provide in Cooking Light Complete Cookbook

Photo of BBQ Pork Chops on a white plate on a brown table

Barbecued Pork Chops

I grew up eating pork chops on a regular basis. I normally make boneless pork chops but these bone-in pork chops just look so appetizing. The recipe has you make your own barbecue sauce from scratch and I love this barbecue sauce. Anytime I have a recipe that calls for barbecue sauce I will make a quick batch of this sauce. It stores really well in the fridge. 

I do not have a grill so I always make these in the broiler and they come out caramelized and juicy. My favorite side to serve with pork is mushroom rice, a recipe my Grandma so many times. If you want to make a side of mushroom rice here is my Grandma’s recipe

The barbecued pork chops are a great dish to make for any night of the week – quick and tasty. 

Butternut Squash Risotto on a white plate on a blue placemat

Butternut Squash Risotto

Risotto has always been one of those recipes that frightens me. I always wonder will I be successful in making the risotto or will it just be a waste of time? While looking back through the recipes in this cookbook, I received my fruit and vegetable delivery from Imperfect Foods and got a butternut squash. Immediately I remembered seeing this recipe and decided to try making risotto for the first time. 

All of the ingredients were easy to find except the Arborio rice. At my local Harris Teeter they only had long grain rice. I was able to find the Arborio at Whole Foods. I read the recipe through about ten times to make sure I understood all of the steps. As always I started by completing the mis en place, then I began cooking. 

The process wasn’t difficult but you cannot stop stirring once you add the rice to the pan or it will stick. I did find that the rice soaked up my liquid fast and when I had used the 28 oz. of beef stock the recipe recommended the risotto wasn’t completely done. So I added an additional 4 oz. of beef stock and finished cooking it. 

I was so happy with the results. The dish was velvety and creamy. The butternut squash risotto was worth the effort and I will make it again soon.

Italian Meat Loaf on a broiler pan

Italian Meatloaf

One of the first recipes I ever made out of the Cooking Light Complete Cookbook was the Italian Meatloaf. I had never been a big fan of meatloaf but loved the idea of provolone and sun-dried tomatoes in it. The sun-dried tomatoes packed without oil can be difficult to find but normally they are in the produce section of the grocery store in a bag. I have also found that shredded provolone can be hard to find but normally you can find a block of provolone in the specialty cheese section. If you can’t locate it you can always ask the deli counter to cut you the amount you need in a block instead of slices. 

The recipe is very easy to follow, just remember to soak the sun-dried tomatoes for 30 minutes before you start assembling the meatloaf. Cooking the meatloaf on a broiler pan makes it crispy and easy to serve. I am not big on leftovers but have found that the Italian meatloaf heats up really well. 

Cookbook Ratings: Recipe directions easy to follow: yes, Ingredients easy to find: yes, Specialty ingredients needed: no, Specialty equipment needed: no, Accurate time estimates: yes, Best for home chef skill level: novice, Taste/flavor: delicious, Family friendly: yes, specialty diet: no, How many recipes are unique: most, overall cookbook rating: love it

I have many cookbooks in my collection and Cooking Light Complete Cookbook is one of the cookbooks I use the most. Over the years I have made many dishes and all of them have been a success. I even made a roast lamb  one year for New Years Day that was a big hit. I would recommend this cookbook for anyone wanting to improve their skills and expand their repertoire of healthy meals. Cooking Light Complete Cookbook can be a little hard to find but it is definitely worth the effort – check out your local used bookstores too as they often have older cookbooks. 

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