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Lighten Up, Y'all

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Lighten Up, Y'all by Virginia Willis
Hardcover $24.99
Mar 03, 2015 | ISBN 9781607745730

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“As a Southerner, I appreciate that Virginia makes real Southern food with real ingredients. A natural teacher, Virginia helps to dispel the myth that all Southern food is fatty and not good for you. She also reminds us that being healthy isn’t always about saying no—her delicious recipes are all about making good choices and saying yes!” 
— Carla Hall, cohost of The Chew and author of Carla’s Comfort Food

“In Lighten Up, Y’all, Virginia Willis reminds us that Southern cooking is not all about overindulgence, butter, and fried food; rather, Southern food emphasizes the delicate ingredients that are indigenous to our region. She lightens up the dishes we love while staying true to the flavors we desire.” 
— John Besh, chef and author of Cooking from the Heart

Virginia Willis’s passion for the Southern food she grew up with, her top-notch culinary expertise, and her personal journey to be healthier have culminated in this wonderful book, which celebrates the fresh diversity of Southern cooking. With one incredible recipe after another, it is a real gift for health-minded food lovers!” 
— Ellie Krieger MS, RD, host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite and author of Weeknight Wonders

“With Lighten Up, Y’all, Virginia Willis opens the door to a new way of cooking, which focuses on the bountiful fresh fruits and vegetables that are the true staples of the Southern larder. She writes recipes that will make you feel good cooking in the kitchen, and feel even better eating the results.” 
— Hugh Acheson, James Beard Award–winning chef and author of A New Turn in the South

“Virginia Willis has always been both hilariously funny and incredibly astute in her Southern taste. Her recipes, like Beer-Battered Shrimp with Spicy Ketchup, Broccoli and Cheese “Rice Grits,” and Miso-Glazed Catfish with Edamame and Spicy Winter Greens, ring the bell for us. They are creative, nourishing, comforting, and easy to cook at leisure. Lighten Up, Y’all is a manifesto of gracious living in any era or place: be cool, eat well and mindfully, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water!” 
—Matt Lee and Ted Lee, authors of The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen

Table Of Contents

Foreword by Art Smith  vi
Introduction  1

Chapter 1: 
Starters and Nibbles 15
Delicata Squash Chips  17
Sinless Seven-Layer Dip  18
Smoky Eggplant Dip  20
Hot Mess Spinach and Feta Dip  21
Slice-and-Bake Parmesan-Herb
Cheese Straws  22
Grilled Shrimp and Pepper Poppers  23
Lightened-Up Pimiento Cheese  24
Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken Bites with
Jalapeño Dipping Sauce  26
Barbecue Meatballs  28
Crab and Celery Rémoulade Wraps  30
Baked Onion Blossom  32

Chapter 2: 
Salads and Slaws 35
Shortcut Chicken Pasta Salad  37
Bacon-Wilted Greens with Warm
Pecan-Crusted Goat Cheese  39
Curried Shrimp Salad with Avocado and
Orange  40
Asparagus and Baby Vidalia Onion Salad with
Lemon-Tarragon Vinaigrette  43
Field Pea and Bean Salad with Tomato-Basil
Vinaigrette  44
Grilled Potato Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette  46
Broccoli Slaw with Light Buttermilk Ranch  49
Sassy Slaw  50
Quinoa Cobb Salad with Green Goddess
Dressing  52
Apple-Raisin-Carrot Slaw  55

Chapter 3: 
From the Garden 57
Pan-Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms  59
Spring Pea, Leek, and Cauliflower
“Couscous”  60
Sautéed Green Beans with Summer Corn  61
Creamed Corn–Stuffed Tomatoes  63
Spicy Eggplant Stir-Fry  65
Green Beans with New Potatoes and
Candied Garlic  67
Oven-Fried Okra  68
Summer Squash Casserole  71
Summer Squash “Lasagna”  73
Baked Zucchini Crisps  75
Braised Collards in Tomato-Onion Gravy  77
Collard Greens with Chipotle Potlikker  78
Brussels Sprouts with Raisins and Pecans  79
Roasted Sweet Potato and Pears  80
Pan-Seared Winter Squash  81

Chapter 4: 
Grains, Grits, and Other Starchy Goodness 83
Red Beans and Greens  85
New Soul Creole Dirty Rice  86
Broccoli and Cheese “Rice Grits”  89
Hoppin’ John and Limpin’ Susan  90
Farro and Cabbage  92
Southern Style Shepherd’s Pie with Grits  93
Buttermilk Potato Gratin  95
Makeover Broccoli Mac and Cheese  96
Sweet Potato Gratin with Herb Crumble  99

Chapter 5: 
Seafood and Shellfish 101
Red Snapper Provençal on Stone-Ground Grits
with Parmesan and Herbs  105
Lemon-Basil North Georgia Trout  107
Pan-Seared Fish Steaks with Cherry Tomatoes
and Basil  108
Miso-Glazed Catfish with Edamame and
Spicy Winter Greens  110
Citrus-Grilled Shrimp with Bloody Mary
Cocktail Sauce  111
Beer-Battered Shrimp with Spicy Ketchup  113
Bacon and Chile–Wrapped Scallops with
Lemon Gremolata  115
Salmon Patties with Lemon-Caper Sauce  116
Gulf Coast Seafood Stew  118
Smoky Seafood Étoufée  120

Chapter 6: 
Poultry 123
Smothered and Covered Chicken and Gravy  125
Oven-Fried Chicken-on-a-Stick with
Vidalia–Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce  127
Chicken, Apple, and Cheddar Burgers  129
Basil-Peach Chicken Breasts  130
Slow-Cooked Barbecue Pulled Chicken  132
Spicy Creole Turkey Cutlets with Holy Trinity
Tomato Gravy  134
Turkey Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy  137
Sweet Tea–Brined Turkey Tenderloin with
Chile-Peach Glaze  139
Roast Turkey Breast with Quick
Orange-Cranberry Relish  140
Honey Mustard Carolina Quail with
Grilled Grapes  142

Chapter 7: 
Pork, Beef, and Lamb 145
Cider-Braised Pork Loin with
Apple-Thyme Jus  147
Bourbon Grilled Pork Chops with Peach
Barbecue Sauce  149
Pulled Pork Tenderloin with Red Pepper
Vinegar Sauce  151
Cocoa-Crusted Top Sirloin with
Mushrooms  152
Spinach and Parmesan–Stuffed Beef
Tenderloin  155
Rack of Lamb with Pecan-Mint
Dipping Sauce  157
Grilled Balsamic Flank Steak  158
Coffee-Braised Pot Roast  159

Chapter 8: 
Soups and Stews 161
Creamy Broccoli-Parmesan Soup  163
Chicken Tortilla Soup  164
Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup  166
Garlic Chicken and Greens with Cornmeal-
Herb Dumplings  168
Quick and Easy Turkey Chili  171
Damn Good Dawg Chili  172
Beef and Farro Soup  174
Pork, Squash, and Chickpea Soup with
Collard Green Pesto  175
Georgia Shrimp and Corn Chowder  177
Peach and Tomato Gazpacho with
Cucumber-Herb Yogurt  179

Chapter 9: 
Biscuits, Bread,
and Baked Goods 181
Buttermilk Biscuits with Turkey Sausage
Gravy  183
Vegetable Corn Bread  186
Cheesy Jalapeño Beer Bread Muffins  188
Lemon–Chia Seed Cake  189
Blueberry-Banana Muffins  190
Cornmeal Griddle Cakes  191
Multigrain Pecan Waffles  192

Chapter 10: 
Sweet Indulgences 195
Spa-aah Fruit Cobbler  197
Brown Sugar–Strawberry Shortcakes  198
Baked Apple Hand Pies with
Salted Caramel Sauce  201
Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie  203
Yogurt Piecrust  204
Stovetop Apple Pie  206
Citrus Pudding Cakes  207
Chasing the Carrot Cake  208
Pineapple Right-Side-Up Cake  211
Big Rich Texas Sheet Cake  212
Chocolate “Brookies”  213
Claire’s Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies  214

Acknowledgments  217
Index  218

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