cover image Southern Living's Slim Down South Cookbook

Southern Living's Slim Down South Cookbook

Carolyn O'Neil and the editors of Southern Living magazine. Oxmoor House (Hachette, dist.), $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8487-4282-9

Registered dietician O'Neil shows us how to "[eat] well and [live] healthy" in this acceptable if uninspired collection of healthier riffs on Southern classics. The book includes digressions on how others sidestep extra calories typically by substituting ingredients and the author has a predilection for pontification regarding southern cuisine, but ultimately the end product is a perfectly acceptable compilation of classic Southern recipes without all the calories. Cheese grits are lightened by the use of low-calorie margarine and light cream cheese, while chicken is pan-fried rather than deep-fried, as are the green tomatoes for the "Fried Green Tomato Sliders." Diners with a sweet tooth will surely appreciate the book's "Vanilla Bean Baby Pound Cakes with Whiskey Sauce." Most won't even taste the substitutions of fat-free milk, reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese and fat-free evaporated milk in the "Baked Smokin' Mac & Cheese" recipe, which includes smoked ham, smoked Gouda and a crunchy cornflake topping. The recipes include nutritional information and brands, helping devotees stay on track. Even if readers never give up on deep-fried chicken and other traditional indulgences (cheat days are encouraged), they'll likely find one or two healthier dishes to incorporate into their meal plans. (Dec.)