If your New Year’s resolution is to eat smarter in 2012, it’s no secret that fresh fruits, vegetables, substantial proteins and healthful whole grains will become your best food friends this year. For a light meal that is easy to make and incorporates those hearty grains and good-for-you veggies, try serving a few simple yet satisfying salads in place of a traditional, heavy meal. Ditch those basic leafy green salads and opt for ones that boast interesting ingredients and textures.
Food Network Magazine’s Warm Beet-Orange Salad (pictured above) is packed with such in-season eats as tender roasted beets and bright citrus. Toasted walnuts add a welcome crunch to this colorful plate.
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Though I’m known as something of a baker in my circle of friends, it wasn’t until very recently that I tried my hand at homemade coffee cake. You see, for most of my life, I didn’t really think it was something one could make at home. My experience had taught me that coffee cake was something you bought, packaged in a square white box that was emblazoned with the word “Entenmann’s.”
Part of the reason for this is that I didn’t grow up in a coffee cake household. On those rare occasions that we had a sweet morning baked good, it would be hearty, whole-wheat banana bread or a dense, barely sugared scone. My mother did not approve of cake for breakfast.
The only time I experienced this thing called coffee cake was when we’d visit my grandparents. They bought them regularly and kept them tucked into the space on top of the toaster oven. My grandfather’s habit was to have a small square around 10am, with a second cup of coffee and whatever scientific journal he was reading at the moment. As a perpetual dieter, my grandmother rarely sat down to a full slice, instead picking at the edges and crumbs each time she passed through the kitchen.
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Though there’s no question it’s been an unseasonably warm winter, the temperatures are finally starting to dip toward average January numbers and we’re once again craving rich, stick-to-your-ribs dishes that fill you up and keep you cozy. Nothing delivers that warmth quite like hearty soups, stews and chilis do. This weekend, cook up some steaming bowls of our favorite comfort foods and share the decadence with your family.
This thick, cheesy Chicken-Corn Chili (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine is loaded with protein-rich white beans, tender corn kernels and fragrant herbs. Ground cumin and a jalapeno pepper add flavor and subtle spice to the chili, while a dollop of sour cream offers tang. To save time in the kitchen, use store-bought rotisserie chicken and have the dish ready in just 40 minutes.
Danny Boome’s indulgent Braised Lamb Stew boasts cubes of cardamom-marinated lamb shoulder that are simmered until tender in a tomato-based sauce featuring chickpeas, chewy apricots and refreshing lemon zest.
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Not sure what crème fraiche is or why you should care?
Consider it a relative of sour cream. Except that while both are white, thick and creamy, crème fraiche is the richer, sexier and more talented relative.
Here’s the deal. Like yogurt, sour cream and crème fraiche are dairy products produced thanks to the miracle of beneficial bacteria.
But while yogurt is made by adding those bacteria to milk, sour cream and crème fraiche are made from cream.
So what’s the difference? Sour cream is made from cream that is 20 percent fat; crème fraiche sports an even more succulent 30 percent. That may not sound like a big difference, but it matters in both taste and versatility. That extra fat turns crème fraiche into a kitchen workhorse.
But first, taste. While sour cream tastes, well, sour, crème fraiche is rich and tart. And as a byproduct of the bacteria added to produce it, crème fraiche tends to make other foods taste buttery. But unlike yogurt, crème fraiche isn’t particularly acidic (so it’s not great for marinades).
Get the recipe for Croque Monsieur »
The ultimate bowl of piping-hot comfort food, chicken soup is family-friendly fare at its best. Instead of resorting to the red and white soup can for a quick meal, try Food Network’s top five chicken soup recipes that are both easy to prepare and classically flavored. Serve up a bowl of our best today and bring a little warmth to these chilly winter nights.
5. Hearty Italian Chicken and Vegetable Soup — Simmer the broth with a Parmesan cheese rind to add a subtle salty, nutty flavor to this veggie-packed soup (pictured above).
4. Thai Chicken Soup — Made with coconut milk and green curry paste, this Asian-inspired dish boasts a burst of color, thanks to sliced red bell peppers.
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It’s a new year and headlines tell us it’s time for a “new you,” too. That’s easier said than done, as any mom will tell you. The responsibilities of parenthood don’t magically disappear with the change of the calendar year.
After a month of eating on the run, lots of baking, and perhaps lots of snacking, it’s hard to find the motivation to break up with those bad habits. Throw in a few major personal curve balls and well I found myself really down on my ability to find my way out, so to speak. What I realized while making a simple recipe for muesli the other day is that I need to be as kind and gentle with myself as I am with others.
How does any of this apply to getting the three meals plus snacks ready we need for our families each day? For starters, don’t try to change everything at once in terms of how you cook. Just because you know whole-grain flours are better for you, doesn’t mean you have to start using it in every recipe immediately. Give yourself time to learn how it works in your favorite dishes, and time to find new recipes you like using it in. Take a cue from your kids here, and learn how to walk before you leap right in.
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Nearly 1,400 Food Network Facebook fans responded when we asked the simple question: “Sweet or savory?” Many of you said savory, but even more of you said both. Find inspiration for your next meal in these highly rated recipes from your Food Network favorites.
Keep your New Year’s resolution on track by cooking up Giada’s Roman-Style Chicken (pictured above). Hearty diced tomatoes, prosciutto and bell peppers give this dish tons of flavor without a ton of calories. (One serving is only 266 calories!)
Try Ellie’s Three Bean and Beef Chili to warm up on a cold January day. Quick and easy, don’t be surprised if this becomes your go-to chili recipe.
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If you think you’re not a tofu fan, think again. Though tofu is inherently plain, it can easily adopt robust flavor when marinated or cooked with savory herbs, garlic, olive oil, barbecue sauce and more. In this Asian-inspired recipe, cubes of soft, silken tofu are stir-fried with a mixture of sweet and salty balsamic, hoisin, soy and chile sauces, fresh shitake mushrooms and bright snow peas. Serve with white or brown rice for a healthful dinner that is ready in fewer than 30 minutes.
Get the recipe: Tofu-Vegetable Stir-Fry from Food Network Magazine.
Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.
When I was growing up, my sister and I always sat down in September and set our new school year resolutions. It just seemed like the right time to initiate new habits as we entered new grades and classrooms. Of course, these lists featured childhood basics like “Be nicer to my sister” and “Remember to help Mom clean the cat box.” Nothing earth-shattering, but it was the principle of it that mattered.
To this day, fall has always felt like the more appropriate time for fresh starts to me than January. However, in my current life as a freelance writer, I need all the structure and discipline I can get. So I’m taking advantage of this new year to institute change.
Chief among my resolutions this year is to eat better (I can’t imagine I’m alone in naming this as a goal). One recipe that I’ve bookmarked for regular rotation in this new regime is this Veggie Meatloaf With Checca Sauce from Giada. It’s built on a base of brown rice and red lentils and features carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes and spinach (talk about packing in the good stuff!). It includes egg and cheese for flavor and binding and is topped with a tasty blender sauce that is good on just about anything (if you have any left over, heap it on scrambled eggs). It is a many-stepped recipe, which means you’ll want to cook it on a chilly Sunday afternoon and then eat the leftover for lunch on Monday. Just the thing for The Weekender.
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It’s a new year — time for fresh starts, changed perspectives and, of course, solemn promises to never eat “bad” foods again. Carbs, sweets, deep-fried anything — it’s all gone for many as of January 1. At least until February 1. This year, however, instead of making sweeping declarations of limited eating and swearing off your favorite foods, learn how to savor these dishes in moderation using easy-to-remember portion control guidelines. Check out below examples of portioned plates and find what constitutes a single serving of food to prevent overeating. Then, cook up our easy and lightened-up versions of your favorite meals, so that you can have your cake and enjoy it, too.
Pasta or Rice: Just one cup of these starches (pictured above) equals a serving and, when plated, is similar in size to a tennis ball.
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