Cooking that Counts

Cooking That Counts 

An all new cookbook offering smart, satisfying, and sustainable meal plans, perfect for starting your New Year off on a healthy foot.

Cooking that Counts by the Editors of Cooking Light offers 1,200-1,500 calorie-controlled meal plans that meet daily calorie goals, as well as providing simple serving suggestions for sides to help you stay on track without feeling deprived.

This is no ordinary cookbook. It offer MEAL PLANS to help you keep on a 1200-1500 calorie diet. The book contains breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes and then pairs them together for you to create a ready meal plan. If your not keen on the idea of the meals they have paired for you, you are free to pair up the meals yourself. The recipes are broken down into breakfast, lunch and dinner and then each recipe give the serving size and calories of each serving if followed and prepared the way it suggests.

It also give inspiring stories throughout the book about individuals who have lived on a cooking light diet and come out on top. I liked that aspect of the cookbook. It added a real quality to the recipes as well as motivation to keep trying, which so may people need (especially me!) when starting a new lifestyle change! This cookbook is really designed to help you live a healthy lifestyle not just start a diet.

Experiencing itforMyself

So I decided to put this cookbook to the test and come up with my own meal plan picking a recipe from breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have a family of four, and I often try to incorporate healthy recipes into all of our diets because frankly being a working mom and trying to fix two separate breakfasts, lunches and dinners gives me all kinds of anxiety. So most importantly recipes have to be something my family is willing to try and willing to eat.


For breakfast I decided on the Tuscan Lemon Muffins. I am not a huge breakfast lover and I usually have to grab my breakfast on the go, so muffins seemed a great choice for me. They were pretty tasty. The turbanado sugar that goes on top added a tasty twist.

Tuscan lemon muffins Tuscan Lemon MuffinsTuscan Lemon Muffins


For lunch I decided on the Tart Apple Hazelnut Chicken Salad. As a teacher I am always on the go, a lot of the time eating while I am working or moving around so I need a portable lunch. Salads and sandwiches seems to be my goto. Chicken salad sandwiches are one of my favorite things to eat so I was supper excited to try this out. This did not disappoint.when we were finished one of my boys said “I am stuffed. Thanks for a tasty lunch!” Enough said 🙂

Chicken saladChicken saladChicken salad


For Dinner I choose the One Pan Broccoli Mac and Cheese. I have small boys ages 7 and 9 and so this seems a no brainer. They love Mac and Cheese and I figured they would jump at the chance to have this for dinner since I don’t serve this kind of thing for dinner often. I was a little worried about the ingredients, and that they might figure out I had hid something healthy in there. But, they didn’t! The recipe was really easy to follow and really fast to make. The most important part is that it was a crowd pleaser! I didn’t reveal that there were veggies other than broccoli in there and I even had someone ask for seconds! Overall a successful dinner and a tasty one at that!

Bacon Mac and cheeseBacon Mac and cheeseBacon Mac and cheese

I was pleasantly surprised at the meal I had put together for my family, and the taste and appeal of all that I made that day! I plan to use this cookbook regularly and incoorporate the recipies into our daily routine.

Look below to get the menu I put together for myself and try them out! Let me know in the comments how you worked them into your daily schedule and which one was your favorite! To get a copy of the cookbook click here.

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Catherine’s Cooking That Counts Menu 

Tuscan Lemon Muffins
photographer:Jennifer Causey; prop stylist: Kay Clarke; food stylist: Margaret Dickie

Hands-on: 13 minutes  |  Total: 34 minutes  |  Serves 12 (serving size: 1 muffin)

Using ricotta cheese ensures a light and fluffy texture while also yielding a moist and delicious muffin. Enjoy these lemony treats for breakfast or a sweet snack.

Cooking spray

7.9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 13⁄4 cups)

3⁄4 cup granulated sugar

2 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

6 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese (about 3⁄4 cup)

1⁄2 cup water

1⁄4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place 12 paper cup liners in the muffin cups; coat with cooking spray.
  2. Weigh or lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine the flour and the next 3 ingredients (through salt). Make a well in the center of the mixture. Combine the ricotta and the next 5 ingredients (through egg). Add the ricotta mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  3. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the batter. Bake at 375°F for 16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in the pan on a wire rack.

CALORIES 186; FAT 6.2g (sat 1.5g, mono 3.4g, poly 0.6g); PROTEIN 4g; CARB 30g; FIBER 1g; SUGARS 15g (est. added sugars 14g); CHOL 21mg; IRON 1mg; SODIUM 160mg; CALCIUM 81mg

Tart Apple–Hazelnut Chicken Salad

Oxmoor House, Cooking That Counts, Photo: Greg DuPree, Food Stylist; Margaret Dickey, Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

Hands-on: 10 minutes  |  Total: 10 minutes  |  Serves 4 (serving size: 1⁄2 cup)

Rotisserie chicken makes this recipe a cinch, but feel free to use any leftover cooked chicken you have on hand.

1⁄4 cup canola mayonnaise (such as Hellmann’s)

1 1⁄2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

2 teaspoons water

1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups chopped rotisserie  chicken breast

1⁄2 cup chopped Granny Smith apple

3 tablespoons chopped toasted hazelnuts

Stir together the mayonnaise, tarragon, 2 teaspoons water, and black pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken, apple, and hazelnuts; toss to combine. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

CALORIES 198; FAT 9.7g (sat 0.9g, mono 5.8g, poly 2.2g); PROTEIN 23g; CARB 5g; FIBER 1g; SUGARS 4g (est. added sugars 0g); CHOL 66mg; IRON 1mg; SODIUM 361mg; CALCIUM 22mg

One-Pan Broccoli-Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Hands-on: 25 minutes  |  Total: 25 minutes
Serves 6 (serving size: about 11⁄3 cups)

Butternut squash puree enhances the color here without distracting from the cheesy flavor, and it sneaks in another serving of vegetables. If you can’t find frozen butternut puree, swap in an equal amount of mashed sweet potato or
canned unsweetened pumpkin.

2 slices center-cut bacon, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)

1 cup 1% low-fat milk

1 (10-ounce) package frozen butternut squash puree, thawed

10 ounces uncooked large elbow macaroni

3 cups chopped broccoli florets

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 11⁄4 cups)

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon; cook 4 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove the bacon from the pan.
  2. Remove all but 2 teaspoons of the bacon drippings from the pan. Add the garlic to the drippings in the pan; sauté 30 seconds. Add the stock, milk, and squash to the pan; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the pasta; cover, reduce the heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the broccoli; cover and cook 3 minutes or until the pasta is done and the sauce is thickened. Stir in the salt, pepper, and 4 ounces of the cheese. Sprinkle the bacon and the remaining 1 ounce cheese on top. Cover; let stand 1 minute.

CALORIES 339; FAT 10g (sat 5.7g, mono 2.8g, poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 18g; CARB 45g; FIBER 4g; SUGARS 5g (est. added sugars 0g); CHOL 29mg; IRON 3mg; SODIUM 566mg; CALCIUM 267mg

other cookbook reviews I have completed can be found here: