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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format: Ring-boundVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
With the Internet it is literally possible to find hundreds of recipes for any dish you can imagine in a matter of seconds. So why do you need (or want) another cookbook? Well here are some great reasons.

First when you find a recipe on the Internet you rarely know how much you can trust it. Has it been tested? To whose standards? Is it healthy?

With our growing awareness of the need (and benefits) of healthy eating, there is an increasing need for healthy recipes that have been thoroughly tested, are well laid out, easy to follow and most of all tasty.

The goal of America's Test Kitchen was to develop a family cookbook that filled all those requirements. They tested all the recipes numerous times until they found the very best combination of ingredients and cooking times and techniques. The result is their new book.

The book is full of healthy recipes in every category you can think of. It is a complete cookbook. But there is also a wealth of additional information in the book. They give 10 healthy cooking guidelines: Keep balance in mind, include more fruits and vegetables, use whole grains often, choose fats wisely, keep an eye on portion size, watch for hidden sodium, choose leaner cuts of meat, use cheese judiciously, check out low fat alternatives and replace high fat cooking oil with lower fat ones.

They also give you information on essential ingredients to healthy cooking, nutrition basics, some kitchen basics, measuring 101, and essential equipment for a well stocked kitchen.

Throughout the book there are write-ups on different products - from pots and pans to mayo and Dijon mustard. So there is a lot of great information. The book is filled with pictures so you know what the product should look like.

With the growing concern for eating healthier, this would make a great addition to your cooking library.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2011
So far, this recipe book has been disappointing. I have made several of the recipes, including the banana bread and the pumpkin bread -- both were bland and flavorless -- actually kind of gross. The pumpkin bread was thrown in the trash -- what a waste of good ingredients!! For a few more calories it makes a lot more sense to eat a bit less but to enjoy the real deal. as far as some of the dinner recipes -- those have been somewhat tasty but again -- in my opinion do not compare to Ellie Krieger for example. This may be a lighter cookbook but the flavor is just not there. I would not recommend.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2011
I have the original America's Test Kitchen cookbook (which I love) so I was very excited when this one came out. I have seen the complaint that a lot of the recipes are the same (which is true) but that is because they had already perfected a delicious healthy way to prepare a lot of items. Many of the recipes are alternatives with healthier ingredients which are still as delicious as the originals. It is definitely worth the investment. Like in the original, they give detailed instructions that are easy to follow, even for inexperienced cooks.

I have bought this cookbook not just for myself but also for my daughter and two friends at the office, and I have recommended it to numerous other friends -- and they love it, too. One of my friends has made it her standard birthday gift for friends and family.

My only criticism is that they are clearly yankees and do not understand Texas chili because the recipe is way too bland. Everything else I have made has been great.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2012
I just recently became a major fan of ATK. While I had seen the Cooks Country programming once or twice on TV by chance, it wasn't until I needed a recipe that I stumbled upon the ATK website. I initially enrolled in the free trial with all the intention of cancelling after the 14 day period expired. But after trying a few recipes and watching all the videos I was hooked. I've been cooking and baking for years now and feel like I've been under a rock not knowing about them.

While their website is great I wanted to add them to my cookbook collection. And while I have loved all of their recipes I decided after reading so many reviews to get this healthy version over the standard cookbook. Many stated there being a large overlap if you already owned the standard "red book" but did recommend the healthy cookbook for a first purchase. I haven't come across an ATK recipe that I haven't made and enjoyed if not loved. But I didn't want to gain 20 lbs in the process of making them all so I opted for this over the standard Family Cookbook.

As many have noted this is not a book for dieters. It will show you how to make great tasting food from wholesome ingredients. Afterall, cooking fresh from home is a very nutritious start to creating a healthier you. This cookbook is filled with all the great tools and techniques you can expect from ATK. The meal makeovers take recipes such as lasagna and shepherd's pie and transforms them into healthier version that you can still love with less of the guilt. You're provided with nutritional information and comparisons when making their version of a traditional recipe. They give you great tips on what ingredients to use and when you can and can't make substitutions. It may seem like an obvious choice to use reduced fat ingredients to make dishes for you. That I already do on my own. But this book will teach you great tricks like toasting flour so that you don't need to use a fat when making a roux. Or blending low fat cottage cheese with boiling water to make a velvety smooth base for salad dressings. These are suggestions that have been tried and tested so you know they are guaranteed to actually taste good.

Bottomline, I can't say enough great things about ATK or their Healthy Family Cookbook. I've tried so far (and highly recommend) the Cherry Almond Whole Wheat Muffins, Skillet Shepherd's Pie, 10 Vegetable Soup and Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits. Do you and your family a smart choice and get this cookbook.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 28, 2010
Format: Ring-boundVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A great cookbook with a large variety of healthy options that your family will love. What makes this cookbook unique from all the other cookbook's you'll ever own is the amount of detail and instruction put into everything from "how to assemble spring rolls" to "how to prepare a variety of different meats for various recipes".

The American's Test Kitchen cookbook includes the following recipes sections:

Healthy Start/Breakfast, Appetizers and Snacks, Soups Stews and Chilies, Salads, Vegetables, Rice Grains and Beans, Pasta, Fish and Shellfish, Poultry, Meat, Vegetarian Entrees, Stir-Fries and Curries, Grilling, Pizza and Tarts, Whole Grain Rolls and Loaves, Quick Breads, Cookies and Bars, Cakes, Fruit Desserts and More, and Kid Friendly.

On top of the huge recipe selection it also has an Equivalents and Conversions section which is extremely handy, especially for baking.

The book also comes with a very detailed Getting Started section, which explains in detail everything from nutritional basics for men and women to the best recommended cutting knives and mixing bowls.

I would highly recommend this cookbook to anyone who not only wants to start eating healthier but it is also useful for beginners and right up to intermediate cooks. Overall I think it is absolutely wonderful.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2013
I bought this book because I've long enjoy the America's Test Kitchen TV show. The physical quality of this book is very high.

That said, I don't completely agree with the authors' definition of "healthy". Their definition largely boils down to reducing calories from fat, especially saturated fat. This is too narrow a focus to be a reasonable definition of "healthy". The book should be renamed "The America's Test Kitchen *Low Fat* Family Cookbook", that way potential customers would better understand what they're purchasing.

The most common implication of the low-fat approach in this book is the use of canola oil almost exclusively. It's easy enough to substitute healthier fats in place of canola oil, but you end up modifying a large number of recipes.

The book somewhat redeems itself however. Many recipes have been modified from their original to include more fruits and vegetables. In others, the authors find ways to bring more flavor into dishes without adding fat, such as roasting vegetables for extra flavor. These alone might warrant a purchase, but you'd be wise to look at all recipes with a critical eye and not just accept the given definition of "healthy".
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2010
This is the best cookbook I own hands-down due to:

-Excellent tasting meals. As a beginner cook, every recipe I've made from this book has tasted pretty good to excellent. Even if you substitute ingredients such as frozen or canned veggies, or dried herbs instead of fresh, onion in stead of shallots, etc. the meals still come out tasting great - a true testament to kickass recipes!

-Adequately fast recipes. Ok so these aren't the fastest recipes, but they sure as heck don't take forever unlike a lot of cookbooks.

-Great tips are populated throughout on topics such as equipment, ingredients, products, and tons more.

-Excellent layout with a useful index and dividers.

-Perfect binder construction that allows one to open the book to a recipe and have it lay flat, unlike bound books.

The poached salmon recipe is worth this book alone (the taste is out of the world!). The Brussels sprouts were some of the best I've had. The pan-roasted broccoli with chickpeas was pretty tasty. Overall, as a beginner cook I love knowing that if I follow the recipes in this book (even if I have to fudge it a tad here or there) the dish will still come out great, which disappointingly many cookbooks fail to achieve.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2012
At first, I wasn't all that impressed with this book. I felt like the recipes were good, but we weren't trying to lose weight and I love the original CI recipes. Recently, after having a baby, my husband and I decided to join Weight Watchers as a resolution. The WW online recipes are okay and blogs are helpful, but sometimes they focus on sugar free, etc. and I'd just rather eat better proportions/more fiber, and not substitute with fake ingredients. Cooks Illustrated doesn't use fake junk, and they really take the time to research the best stuff. This book has the nutritional facts, so you can plug it in the points plus calculator and get the values - which are comparable with the WW recipes' values. Hooray for good food!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 18, 2010
Format: Ring-boundVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Healthy meals to satisfy the dietary needs of everyone in my family - that are also filling and taste good - can be a challenge in my household. I have to balance the needs of a family member who is a celiac (wheat and gluten allergic) who struggles to gain weight, another with high cholesterol, and three vastly different calorie intake requirements. Cooking with a lot of processed food is not an option, but neither do I have the time to spend hours and hours in the kitchen every day. Thus, I'm always on the lookout for the few recipes that meet all of our needs.

Bottom line is that I'm thrilled with this cookbook. This is a "healthy living" cookbook, not a diet plan. First up, there are no games with serving sizes -- portions are on the generous side, so you'll leave the table satisfied. The book also makes judicious use of real ingredients, going for small amounts of flavor in lieu of large doses of non-fat ingredients. Typically, I find that the recommended cooking methods do a great deal to reduce the final calorie count.

The book is filled with tips and illustrated techniques to make an recipe within reach of even a novice cook. If a recipe calls for matchstick carrots, there's a reference to the page where it shows you how to cut them, complete with pictures. Don't know what a floret is? The guide to cutting cauliflower makes it clear. The roast pork loin with root vegetables recipe points to a discussion of enhanced pork and brining techniques. After reading this section, I was inspired to follow the brining guide to treat a venison roast. When I served this to a group of hungry hunters, they devoured the entire pot and wanted to know what special seasonings I had used. The answer -- only salt and pepper; it was the cooking technique that brought out the flavor and tenderized the meat. Similarly, the chicken in a pot recipe yielded up a flavorful chicken accompanied by a sauce composed of pureed garlic and onion that had been carmelized during the roasting process -- no oil or flour required.

I also appreciate the fact that the recipes do not call for unusual ingredients, or provides reasonable alternatives for them. For example, while yogurt cheese might be readily available in a west coast grocery, it is not to be found in my rural groceries. No worries -- the book provides instructions for making it at home without a lot of hoopla.

This book has earned a permanent home on my counter; it should be on yours, too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 22, 2010
Format: Ring-boundVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am a long-time user of recipes from America's Test Kitchen. Their recipes always have produced restaurant quality food for the home cook. This book in particular has nutritional breakdowns for all the recipes. This is a big book with lots of choices broken down into the usual categories.

Another feature I like is how they give variations on a recipe. You can make the basic recipe or change it up a few different ways.

For example: I made Mashed Sweet Potatoes, which had a little thyme in it. You could vary the dish by making Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Maple and Orange, or Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Indian Spices, Golden Raisins and Cashews.

Another GREAT feature is make-ahead instuctions. When I have lots of people over, I have to make some things ahead without compromising quality. This book will help you with that.

Lots of photos!

Intro and chapters on basics and approach

Healthy Start
Appetizers and Healthy Snacks
Soups, Stews and Chilis
Rice, Grains and Beans
Fish and Shellfish
Vegetarian Entrees
Stir-Fries and Curries
Pizza and Tarts
Whole Grain Loaves and Rolls
Quick Breads
Cookies and Bars
Fruit Desserts and More
Kid Friendly

Conversions Etc

There is something for everyone. The ingrients are readily-available. The choices are abundant. Most of all, it tastes great.

I have hundreds of cookbooks, but always know I can trust America's Test Kitchen. If you have their other publications, there may be some overlap, but not much.

I highly recommned this book.
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