cover image The Best of Cooking Light

The Best of Cooking Light

. Oxmoor House, $34.95 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-8487-3002-4

In each issue of Cooking Light magazine, the editors choose the recipes that they feel are the most accessible and delicious for their ""Greatest Hits"" column, which at year's end becomes a book. This large volume collects the magazine's favorites from the last five years to make a trove of tried-and-true dishes covering all the bases, from appetizers and beverages to meats, vegetarian entrees and desserts. There's no text to skip over-just the recipes and accompanying sumptuous photos, many of them full-page. Regular readers and newcomers alike will be eager to try (or return to) the Monterey Jack, Corn, and Roasted-Red Pepper Risotto and the aromatic Saffron and Raisin Breakfast Bread. As in the magazine, cuisines from the world over are represented, including classy American comfort foods like Baked Garlic-Cheese Grits and West African standards like Senegalese Lemon Chicken. Recipes are accommodating, with most ingredients widely available (ideas for substitutions are included, too) and simple instructions that bring fancier dishes like Pepper Steak with Port-Wine Mushroom Sauce down to earth for less experienced cooks. Although avid readers of Cooking Light and its books will have less reason to add this five-year compilation to their libraries, anyone who enjoys creating healthful, appetizing meals will find the collection, with its 500+ recipes, a bargain. 300 photos.