Lighten Up, Y'all!

Lighten Up, Y'all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome by Virginia Willis promises that amazing Southern cooking taste we all love, but instead of deep fried, soaked in grease, whole sticks of butter, and pounds of sugar; healthy and wholesome. The book description reads:

"A collection of classic Southern comfort food recipes--including seven-layer dip, chicken and gravy, and mudslide cookies--made lighter, healthier, and completely guilt-free.

Virginia Willis is not only an authority on Southern cooking, a French-trained chef, and a veteran cookbook author; she is also a proud Southerner who adores eating and cooking for family and friends. So when she needed to drop a few pounds and generally lighten up her diet, the most important criterion for her new lifestyle was that all the food had to taste delicious.

The result is Lighten Up, Y’all, a soul-satisfying and deeply personal collection of Virginia’s new favorite recipes. All the classics are covered—from a comforting Southern Style Shepherd’s Pie with Grits to warm, melting Broccoli Mac and Cheese to Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie. Each dish is packed with real Southern flavor, but made with healthier, more wholesome ingredients and techniques. Wherever you are on your health and wellness journey, Lighten Up, Y’all has the recipes, tools, and inspiration you need to make the nourishing, down-home Southern food you love."

I was super excited to receive this book, because I love Southern food and cooking, but am also always counting my calories and trying to make healthier choices. This cookbook didn't completely measure up to my expectations, but I did like it quite a bit and am looking forward to trying out many of the recipes. My main complaint about this book is that I wish it included some more pictures. I like to see a picture of every recipe before I make it, but I understand this isn't always possible due to size limits of the book. The pictures that were included were appealing and appetizing, though, so that was a plus.

Some recipes included are: Sinless Seven-Layer Dip, Hot Mess Spinach and Feta Dip, Barbecue Meatballs, Summer Squash Casserole, Red Beans and Greens, Southern Style Shepherd's Pie with Grits, Makeover Broccoli Mac and Cheese, Gulf Coast Seafood Stew, Smothered and Covered Chicken and Gravy, Slow-Cooked Barbecue Pulled Chicken, Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup, Buttermilk Biscuits with Turkey Sausage Gravy, Baked Apple Hand Pies with Salted Caramel Sauce, and Big Rich Texas Sheet Cake.

I enjoyed reading Virginia's stories and insights, and the recipes are carefully and thoughtfully written and easy to follow. I recommend this cookbook to anyone who enjoys Southern food!

I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


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