I have a guilty secret. My kids think lasagna starts with frozen ravioli.

That’s why “Woman’s Day Easy Everyday Lighter Dinners” cookbook works for me. I want to serve up healthy multi-course meals for my family every night, but I don’t always have the time or pocketbook to make that happen.

So I welcome “food hacks” and try to be honest with myself about how much time I have to put together a healthy meal. Having a cookbook that’s forgiving on that front, and uses healthy cooking techniques and ingredients is like talking to that best friend who “gets” you, doesn’t judge and has some really good ideas to share.

This cookbook delivers on all fronts for a family trying to eat right, plan ahead and keep track of both cost and nutrition. Each recipe has a breakdown of how long it will take to prepare, the cost per serving and the fat, cholesterol and sodium breakdown per serving.

It’s a modern take on traditional women’s magazine recipes in many ways.

Woman’s Day actually started out as an in-store flier at A&P markets, suggesting recipes using their products, just like Hannaford uses its Fresh magazine today.


But instead of the post-World War II love affair with pot roasts and fatty cuts of meat, this cookbook features lots of fish, lean meats and side dishes with kale, chickpeas and wheat berries.

Sauces rely on olive oil and lemon, not heavy cream and butter. A fettuccine Alfredo recipe uses blended cauliflower as the base for the sauce.

And the authors make no apologies for taking shortcuts to save time.

The first ingredient in a hearty kale, white bean, chicken and butternut squash soup is a rotisserie chicken – something that became a grocery store staple only in the last decade.

A sweet potato flatbread recipe starts with pre-made frozen pizza dough.

But my favorite example of this is in the recipe for pierogies with sautéed cabbage and bacon, which starts with, you guessed it, a box of frozen pierogies.


That last one may be going a bit too far for a “cookbook.”

I did appreciate the lighter, healthier version of potato salad, made with lots of lemon and fresh herbs. It was a far cry from the guilt-inducing egg- and mayonnaise-version that can be more filling than healthy.

This version uses lots of lemon for bite, and fresh herbs for color and bright taste, a welcome summer side dish for your next barbecue. — NOEL GALLAGHER

Potato salad with celery and herbs

Active 25 minutes. Total 30 minutes. Serves 12. Cost per serving 45 cents.

3 pounds red new potatoes


Kosher salt and pepper

1 lemon

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

4 stalks celery, very thinly sliced

¼ cut fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


¼ cup fresh dill, chopped

2 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely grated, for serving

Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool.

Cut the potatoes in half or quarter if larger.

Meanwhile, grate 2 teaspoons lemon zest into a large bowl, then squeeze in the juice (you should have about 3 tablespoons juice total).

Whisk in the oil, mustard and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Add the potatoes and celery to the bowl and gently toss to coat. Fold in parsley and dill and top with the eggs, if desired.

Per serving: 153 calories, 5 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat,) 31 mg cholesterol, 178 mg sodium, 4 grams protein, 22 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber.

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