Cooking Light: Complete Meals in Minutes Review and Giveaway

Heather says:

With the Countdown to Turkey Day Series safely over, I’m ready to jump back into Home Ec 101 Cookbook Reviews.

This week I have Cooking Light’s Complete Meals in Minutes. This 5 ring binder style cookbook checks in at 532 pages with “over 700 great recipes.”  Now most of you should know by now that I’m not a reduced fat kind of cook, but I’m still a pretty big fan of Cooking Light. Their recipes are consistent and usually pretty accessible for cooks in most regions of the US.

Keep in mind the recipes usually call for low fat or low sodium versions of some ingredients. Since I usually make my own chicken stock rather than using canned broth and I can completely understand using the low-sodium version.

The recipes in this cookbook are perfect for novice cooks. The directions, as is the case with all Cooking Light recipes, are clear and simple to follow. Throughout the book there are plenty of tips that are informative, how to choose portabella mushrooms for example, and are a great resource for those just finding their way around the kitchen. Moderate to skilled cooks may find some of the recipes a bit basic or would find this book as a great source of inspiration. Even though a recipe or technique is on file somewhere inside my head, sometimes I still need a reminder to use it once in a while.

The pictures in this book are plentiful, which makes paging through for ideas enjoyable and there are a lot of soup and sandwich ideas which can certainly help keep lunch from becoming boring.

I particularly liked the meatless main dishes section. While we usually do meatless for lunch or as a Monday or Friday (during Lent) night dinner, I’m always open to new ideas. Although I doubt the kids will spark to the chickpea and spinach curry, that just means more for me.  Don’t worry, this book isn’t written only for the nut and granola crowd, there are plenty of great ideas for carnivores, too. My favorite suggestions are the Mongolian Beef (15 minutes) and a very simple Steak au Poivre (15 minutes). If you like peppery beef, I bet you’ll dig the au poivre.

So, who is this cookbook for? I wouldn’t suggest it for those on a very tight budget. The main dish recipes, for the most part, take advantage of quick cooking, convenient cuts of meat such as boneless skinless chicken breasts. While these recipes can be adapted for other cuts of chicken they lose their quick cooking bonus. I would highly recommend this book to new cooks and busy couples and families. It’d be a great resource for those trying to stay out of the drive through, which can be a big budget saver all on its own.


Now for the fun part. Here’s your chance to win my review copy of Cooking Light: Complete Meals in Minutes.

How does one enter this amazing giveaway? It’s pretty simple and open to residents of the US and Canada. Each reader can have up to 3 entries and the winner will be chosen by random selection. If you recently won a cookbook from Home Ec 101, please be courteous and give other Home Eccers a chance.

This giveaway runs through Monday December 13, 2010 at 9:00pm Eastern. The winner will be announced on Tuesday December 14, 2010.

This giveaway has closed, the winner was commenter # 24, also known as Kristy. Congratulations to her!

Only comments on this specific post count as entries. Please don’t respond by email or comment on the Facebook fan page. I mean you’re quite welcome to fan Home Ec 101 on Facebook, it just doesn’t count as an entry.

  1. A plain, old-fashioned how ya doin style comment. Just tell me how excited you are to enter.
  2. A comment with a link to a tweet on Twitter sharing this post.
  3. A comment with link to a blog post or Facebook entry referencing this post. (just copy the url of the timestamp for Facebook)

Good luck.

If you’re curious, I have a policy explaining my cookbook review policy.


  1. Terri on December 13, 2010 at 7:47 pm

  2. Mike on December 13, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    I saw it at B&N but couldn't look through it. It was wrapped in plastic. Looking forward to seeing it when I win it!
    My recent post For my TypePad friends- with a big shout out to you Betas

  3. Terri on December 13, 2010 at 7:46 pm

  4. Terri on December 13, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    What a great giveaway! Thanks for the chance to win

  5. Caanan on December 13, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    You're doing a great job, Heather! Thanks for all the tips!

  6. @simonashton on December 13, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I would like to win. Please. Go on, it is Christmas after all.

  7. edmontonjb on December 13, 2010 at 1:41 am

    I collect cookbooks and don't have this one. Please count me in!

  8. Lara on December 10, 2010 at 12:52 am

    I would love to have this cookbook. I love the Cooking Lite cookbooks because they have quick recipes and they are so delicious!

  9. Michelle on December 9, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    I love Cooking Lights cookbooks!

  10. Kara on December 9, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    I have been eying this book at Costco lately and would love to win it – it looks great! Thanks for the review. 🙂

  11. ThatBobbieGirl on December 9, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    O HAI

    (if you can reach me, you can smack me)

  12. Aileen on December 9, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Please enter me for the cookbook giveaway…thank you!

  13. Deb C. on December 9, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    I am very excited to enter for this cookbook giveaway! It would be great to cook healthier meals, but only if they taste great and I trust Cooking Light! Using this cook book, it would be easier to cook for my 78 year old husband!

  14. Michelle on December 9, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Love it!

  15. Kristy on December 9, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    I love Cooking Light – have been subscribing for years – and would love a consolidated recipe book for meals. If I don't win I will probably buy it anyway!

  16. Milehimama on December 9, 2010 at 10:22 am

    You never know – your kids might like the chickpeas! My kids do. I make a curried chickpea/garlic/onion plus whatever veg I have (bok choy, spinach, kale, chard) skillet meal served over rice my kids love. They like falafels and pumpkin chickpea burgers too.

  17. Mike on December 9, 2010 at 9:51 am

    At my age, low fat and low sodium becomes increasingly important.

  18. Miss Molls on December 9, 2010 at 8:59 am

    I love a good cookbook! Can’t wait to try out some of those meatless mains!

  19. Liza R. on December 9, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Sounds like a great addition to my cooking library! Thanks for the chance.

  20. Tara on December 9, 2010 at 12:34 am

    I would love this book! Cooking Light is a fantastic magazine.

  21. Michael Carnell on December 8, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    And, just because I am a nice guy, here is your twitter link….!/carnellm/status/12696201409
    My recent post Look Homeward- Angel

  22. Michael Carnell on December 8, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Feel free to give it to me! As long as there are no "leach and cabbage soup" recipes….

  23. Ashley on December 8, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    I'd love to win!!! Enter me please.

  24. Anne on December 8, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    I am always looking for good and healthy recipes, do you think many of their recipes would convert well to gluten free? I am looking for GF meatless ideas for Friday's and for Lent.

  25. Sue on December 8, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Sign me up, Heather! I am more than novice but less than very experienced, and am always looking for healthy inspirations!

  26. loriW on December 8, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    <<jumping up and down>> Ohh! Pick me! You can always tell a good cookbook by the number of stained pages. This sounds like a fantastic cookbook!

  27. Caroline on December 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    What an awesome giveaway! Cooking Light is amazing and it's where I get 95% of my recipes. I love it! It's what inspired me to start chocolate&carrots! Thanks for the giveaway Heather!
    My recent post 12 Decadent Days of Christmas 8 Quick Saltine Toffee Bark

  28. amikim on December 8, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Sweet – thanks for doing this giveaway Heather. I've been wanting to lighten up some of my recipes – for some reason everything I've been making has felt heavy.

  29. Courtney on December 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    This cookbook looks fantastic! I would love to win. I am a busy mom, trying to feed my family healthy food. I like to cook, but definitely fall into the basic/novice cook category. Also, we are trying to do at least one night a week as "meatless" so that part of this book really appeals to me. Thanks for the opportunity!
    My recent post WFMW – Seeds Family Worship

  30. Vivian on December 8, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    "Ooh-ooh-ooooh!" (in Arnold Horshack style).

  31. Deirdre on December 8, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    I love Cooking Light and would love to have this cookbook, great ideas.

  32. Vivian on December 8, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Like other working moms, trying to cook quickly, healthfully, and inexpensively, while keeping up the variety can be a big headache. Would love to add this book to my arsenal of "preventive care!" Thanks for the thorough review. Very convincing!

  33. JimK on December 8, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I think I could use this one. Time is a commodity in short supply, and lighter is better for my whole weight loss plan…I'm in!

  34. Jen on December 8, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I'd love to win a copy of this cookbook! I have used several Cooking Light recipes in the past and most of them have worked out pretty well. They are pretty adaptable and you're right that they tend to be written very clearly and are really easy to follow. I also like that they always include the nutritional/calorie information for each one, which a lot of cookbooks don't do.

  35. Mike on December 8, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    It sounds like a great book for a single man like me, someone who loves to cook but hates the fuss of preparing complicated recipes. Toss my number into the hat.

  36. Shari on December 8, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I love the Cooking Light magazine, but have never tried any of their cookbooks, so this would be a great thing to have. Thanks for the chance!

  37. Sue H on December 8, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Thanks for the opportunity! I'm so tired of our "regulars" (marinated pork chops, frozen pizzas and grilled chicken caesar salads) – we need a change!!

  38. rebecca on December 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I would love to win! I am always looking for ideas on fast and healthy meals.