Cookbooks That Make Healthy Eating Easy

While the majority of the food photos I post on Instagram are restaurant meals,  I do actually cook at home most of the time. I'm committed to eating clean and preparing healthy and mostly vegetarian meals (we're flexitarian) but I feel as as I may have fallen into a little bit of a rut and end up making the same things all the time. I mean I love all sorts of vegetables and my trusty veggie bowls, long life noodles and kale and black bean quesadillas are satisyfing but I wouldn't mind expanding my repertoire. Since the start of new year,  I've been trying to get into cooking up some new recipes and of course acquiring a few new cookbooks has helped that endeavor. Read on for more on these book and check out some of my favorite new recipes.

100% Real: 100 Insanely Good Recipes for Clean Food Made Fresh, Sam Talbot Cookbook, Cookbook, Healthy Eating, Clean Eating

100% Real: 100 Insanely Good Recipes for Clean Food Made Fresh by Sam Talbot

$20.93 at Amazon

100% Real is based on the concept that eating well is not about following a specific diet but more about eating real food that isn't highly processed and free of additives, preservatives and refined sugars. Given how complicated some diets can be, this is a refreshingly straight-forward approach to healthy eating. Celebrated chef and Top Chef fan favorite Sam Talbot offers up practical advice about clean eating. It's all about striking a balance. Vegetables are real food. Pizza, pasta and burgers are real too but they need to made from the right ingredients. The book is filled with nourishing and satisfying recipes using healthy, wholesome ingredients which prove that eating real food is both easy and enjoyable. A number of of them just happen to be vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or dairy-free as well. A photo accompanies each recipe, the instructions are easy to follow.  Check out this recipe for Avocado Toad-In-A-Hole With Baked Ham And Salsa Verde that I'm obsessed with. I like to skip the ham and add goat cheese for a slightly different dimension of flavor.

Avocado Toad-In-A-Hole With Baked Ham And Salsa Verde

I love taking a whole avocado and cracking an egg in it. It is a fun, healthy take on the classic toast-and-egg recipe. 
Hands-on: 25 minutes  |  Total: 45 minutes |  Serves 4  

8 ounces tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
1 small yellow or white onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 medium jalapeño chile, halved, seeds removed
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1⁄3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 ripe avocados
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 medium eggs
1 teaspoon olive oil 
8 ounces diced baked ham

1 Preheat the broiler with the oven rack 6 inches from the heat. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil. Spread the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapeño on 1 prepared baking sheet. Broil until blistered and lightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the oven, and cool 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 425°F.

2 Process the charred vegetables, lime juice, and 1/4 cup of the cilantro in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in 3/4 teaspoon of the salt. Chill until ready to use. 

3 Cut each avocado in half; remove and discard the pits. (To keep the avocados level, slice about 1/4 inch from the back of the avocado halves so they will sit flat.) Enlarge the hole by scooping 1/8 to 1/4  inch of flesh from around the hole. (Save the scooped avocado for another use.) Sprinkle the avocados with the black pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; place on a second foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. 

4 Bake at 425°F until no residual moisture remains in the hole, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven. Working with 1 egg at a time, break the eggs into a bowl, and, using the eggshell, scoop 1 yolk into each hot avocado. Add enough egg white to fill the hole completely. (Discard the remaining egg whites.) Cover the avocados with foil, and return to the oven. Bake until the whites are set and the yolks are runny, about 5 minutes.   

5 Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium-high, and add the olive oil and diced ham; cook until browned and the edges are crispy, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle the avocado halves with the crispy ham and remaining chopped cilantro. Serve with the salsa verde.

TIP: You can double up on the salsa verde and keep it in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Everyday Vegetarian, Everyday Vegetarian Cooking Light, Vegetarian Cookbook, Cookbook, Cooking Light, Healthy Eating

Everyday Vegetarian: A Delicious Guide for Creating More Than 150 Meatless Dishes by the Editors of Cooking Light

$14.92  at Amazon

Eating more vegetables and whole grains is beneficial for your health as well as the environment, but it can sometimes be hard to find recipes that are simple enough for everyday meals or have enough  flavor.  Packed with over 150 recipes, Everyday Vegetarian is a wonderful resource for that will help vegetarians and non-vegetarians transform vegetables, and grains into nutritious, hearty meals. This book is definitely a useful primer to vegetarian cooking with recipes for a variety of hearty meatless meals categorized by rice and grains, as well as soups, salads, pastas, pizzas and tarts including ones which are vegan. It includes a handy guide to building an everyday vegetarian kitchen with a list of versatile, flavor building ingredients along with various protein options and a description of how they can be used and the type of flavor they provide. I also appreciated the seasonal produce guide and the complete nutritional information for every recipe. I've definitely discovered a few new favorites including this Black Bean, Hominy, and Kale Stew which is so hearty and full of rich flavor.  I've subbed in cabbage and it bring in a sweeter dimension of flavor than kale This one is also good with the addition of goat cheese. I like the tang of goat cheese okay...

Black Bean and Kale Stew Recipe, Vegetarian Stew, Vegetarian Recipe, Everyday Vegetarian, Cooking Light, Cooking Light Recipe

Black Bean, Hominy, and Kale Stew  

You can use whatever leafy greens you like in this hearty, stick-to-your-ribs stew.
Hands-on: 25 minutes  |  Total: 35 minutes  | Serves 6

2 poblano chiles
8 ounces tomatillos, husks removed and halved (about 4)
2  teaspoons olive oil
11/2    cups chopped onion
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 15.5-ounce) cans unsalted black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8-ounce) bunch kale, stemmed and chopped (about 4 packed cups)
1 (15-ounce) can hominy, rinsed and drained
6 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat the broiler to high.

2. Place the poblano chiles on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 7 minutes on each side or until blackened and charred. Place in a zip-top plastic or paper bag; fold to close tightly. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel the chiles; cut in half lengthwise. Discard the seeds and membranes; coarsely chop.

3. While the poblano chiles roast, place the tomatillos in a food processor; process until smooth.

4. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil to the pan; swirl to coat. Add the onion and jalapeño; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cumin; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the tomatillos, broth, and next 4 ingredients (through kale); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the roasted poblanos and hominy; cook 2 minutes or until heated through. Ladle the stew into each of 4 shallow bowls. Top with the sour cream and the cheese. Sprinkle evenly with the cilantro.

(Serving size: 11/4 cups stew, 1 tablespoon sour cream, and about 1 tablespoon cheese): CALORIES 240; FAT 7.7g (sat 3.5g, mono 2.7g, poly 0.8g); PROTEIN 11g; CARB 33g; FIBER 8g; SUGARS 5g (est. added sugars 0g); CHOL 16mg; IRON 3mg; SODIUM 573mg; CALCIUM 210mg

Broiling Chile Peppers:
1. Broiling chiles gives them a soft, silky texture and deep smoky flavor. Place the chiles on a foil-lined baking sheet for easy cleanup and broil until they’re blackened and charred.
2. Placing the charred peppers in a zip-top plastic bag or paper bag lets them steam, loosening the blackened skin so you can easily peel it off.

Cooking that Counts by the Editors of Cooking Light, Cooking that Counts Cooking Light, Cookbook, Cooking Light, Healthy Eating

Cooking that Counts by the Editors of Cooking Light

$14.83  at Amazon

The editors at Cooking Light are constantly looking to come up with recipes and strategies that inspire readers to create meals that are delicious and healthy without being complicated. Cooking that Counts provides 1,200 -1,500 calorie-controlled meal plans that meet daily calorie goals. These are complete meal plan solutions prepared with whole foods and guidance is offered on proper portion sizes with simple serving suggestions for sides and snacks to help people stay on track without feeling deprived. The emphasis is on what people can have rather than what they can't to keep the focus on sustainable healthy meal plans. There are a range of recipes (including vegetarian, low carb and gluten-free) which are easy to prepare and complete nutritional and calorie information is listed for each. Although this book may be targeted to those looking to lose weight, it can be used by anyone who wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This book has a nice variety of recipes but I could do without all the energy bars and the sweets because lowering the intake of sugar should be a factor in healthier eating. I recently tried this Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner which is super tasty and easy to make!

Chicken Skillet Dinner, Lemon Chicken, One Pot Dinner, Cooking that Counts, Cooking Light, Cooking Light Recipe

Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner

Hands-on: 20 minutes  |  Total: 30 minutes | Serves 4  (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 3⁄4 cup potato mixture)

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. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer 12 minutes or until tender. Drain.

3. 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.

4. 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.

CALORIES 342; FAT 8.6g (sat 1.8g, mono 3.9g, poly 1.2g); PROTEIN 43g; CARB 23g; FIBER 4g; SUGARS 4g (est. added sugars 0g); CHOL 110mg; IRON 3mg; SODIUM 642mg; CALCIUM 77mg

serve with:
• 1 small whole-grain dinner roll (60 calories)
1,300-calorie plan: Spread the roll with 1 teaspoon butter (34 calories).
1,400-calorie plan/1,500-calorie plan: Serve with 1 (5-ounce) glass wine (116 calories).
Pounding Chicken Breasts
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.

These cookbooks have me excited to try out new recipes to add to my current repertoire. I like that the majority of the recipes are simple enough to make for everyday.  The inclusion of the hands on time as well as the total time for prep is extremely helpful when it comes to meal planning. These books balance an appealing visual aesthetic with a variety of recipes that encourage healthy eating in an enjoyable and attainable way. I look forward to cooking my way through them.

Have you tried out any new cookbooks or recipes lately?

Disclosure: I received these books for free for editorial consideration. All words and opinions are my own. It may contain affiliate or referral links. For more details about my product review policy, copyright, and information about affiliate links, please refer to the Policies page of this blog.

Recipes/Photos Credits:
Excerpted from 100% Real by Sam Talbot. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House.
Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Excerpted from Everyday Vegetarian by the Editors of Cooking Light.
Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Excerpted from Cooking that Counts by the Editors of Cooking Light.
Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.



I think it's always good to change things up when it comes to meals. I love to cook and usually do in the week. I might check out the 100% Real book. Have a great new week!

Lilli said...

Morning Rowena! Wow, Im impressed, I think you are an amazing cook! Im committed to eat clean and healthy as well, I'm vegetarian so I need one of these books for sure since I'm not good at cooking..I do the basic recipes lol but not much complicated! The veggie stew looks very delish, Id like to taste it! Happy Monday my dear xo

Jackie Harrison said...

These recipes are perfect to light eating and the books are amazing love cookbook by paper is so much fun to be creative in the kitchen.

Amy Aed said...

I have something really similar to Everyday Vegetarian and I hope to use it a lot more in 2018. I'm trying to prioritise my health, and so cookbooks like this can be an absolute lifesaver!

Little Moon Elephant

Gabrielle said...

The lemon chicken skillet dinner looks absolutely delicious - so appetising! I'm so impressed you cook most nights, I only have a few dishes I put together and so cook just a few times a week, but it's a lot of fun adding recipes to our lists though, right?! :)

Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice | Worldwide Giveaway: Hotel Chocolat Valentine's Heart Chocolate Box! x

R.ChamberofBeauty said...

Oh wow, the lemon chicken looks delicious. I'm really impressed with your talent about cooking! I love cooking too. Would love to try this lemon chicken recipe <3 Have a happy Monday!! Kisses <3

Oh to Be a Muse said...

I'm sure these books are great; I'm just so not into cooking. But I would love if someone came to my house and cooked some of these meals for me. If I had the money to do so, I would totally invest in a personal chef.

Paola Lauretano said...

Interesting books, I would like to try all your recipies!
Kisses, Paola.


Coco said...

Yummy!! Amazing selection, thanks for sharing!!
Baci, Valeria - Coco et La vie en rose FASHION & BEAUTY

Emmylou said...

Thanks for sharing these awesome recipes from these books, Rowena:) That Toad-in-a-hole....nomnomnom. Eating healthier is always a goal in our household. It's like a "two steps forward, one step back'' thing, but hey....trying is half the battle here, I say:P

Jenny said...

I usually just find my recipes online, but I do like the idea of "themed" cookbooks like these, especially since eating healthy is one of my goals this year! The black bean stew sounds yummy and easy enough to make, thank you for sharing the recipe! I'll have to add that cookbook to my Amazon wishlist :)

Jenny | Geeky Posh

Pilar said...

These cookbooks sound amazing! I've been wanting to eat more healhty meatless meals so I definitely would like to get the Everyday Vegetarian Cookbook!

Midnight Cowgirl said...

100% Real looks like a yummy cookbook!

ALLIE NYC said...

Oh of these books look really good. That kale soup sounds amazing. Did you make these recipes and take these photos? They look and sound soooooo good! I got a great cookbook from my sister called Half Baked Harvest. I can't wait to try it out.


Ivana Split said...

All of these 3 cooking books seem great. I love the concept behind 100% real. There is always a way to customize meals. Pizza can be healthy too, as long as it is prepared the right way. It is all about figuring out a healthy and a balanced diet and that doesn't have to mean living on a salad. As you said, burger can be real food too, as long as the ingredients are right.

I would love to try this avocado Toad-in-a- hole with salsa verde recipe. I would leave out ham because I don't eat it, but I'm really curious to try the combination of eggs and avocado as I'm sure it must be pretty tasty.

That vegetarian cookbook also caught my eye. I've been a vegetarian for most of my life and even if I'm not one now, most of my meals are based around that kind of diet, vegetables are always the core of my dishes. This cook book seems like the perfect inspiration for nice veggie meals!

Cooking that counts also sounds like a great cook book. I got into a habit of counting calories, making sure I get enough of them in a day. Some people are against calorie counting but honestly I think it is actually a good way for us to monitor what we are eating. When we count calories, we become more conscious of how nutritious our meals are. The problem is not in food that has both calories and nutrition, problematic food is more about empty calories. So, I think it is great that this cook book provides information about the calorie intake of every meal and even breaks it down to ingredients and so on.

Doctor Anne said...

My mother does the cooking, so you won´t find me reading cookbooks unless I have to, which is basically only when my parents are away and I want to cook healthy for the kids.

Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

Shireen L. Platt said...

The chicken dish sounds absolutely delicious! The best part is I have almost everything needed but probably have to substitute fresh thyme with fresh rosemary.

Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity

Beauty Unearthly said...

Interesting post dear! xx

A Very Sweet Blog said...

That black bean stew and chicken & lemon look delicious Rowena. Saving this post. I want to cook healthier dishes :D

Unknown said...

I love reading cook books, I know that sounds weird but its so much fun to me. Cooking light is my jam! They always have the best recipes. OMG I need that Avocado Toad-In-A-Hole right now.

little luxury list said...

I just realized I've never tried hominy (or made only unknowingly!) The weeknight chicken dinner sounds like something I've made before. I'll try adding the roux which is so much healthier than cream!

sonia // daring coco said...

I'm a flexitarian too. I've actually been one my whole life and finally found a term to coin my eating habits hahaha! I don't eat a lot of meat, it actually doesn't appeal or is appetising to my taste buds so I am very fussy, hence I opt for more vegetarian meals. It's great to see more awareness coming out. After decades of having friends rolling their eyes at me when I ask for vegetarian options, it's nice to finally have a label.


Unknown said...

thanks for sharing