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Rachael Ray's My Year in Meals is one of the Five Worst Cookbooks of 2012, according to an annual report released by the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

Also on PCRM's list this year are The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, Fifty Shades of Chicken, Emeril's Kicked-Up Sandwiches, and Southern Living: The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook.

"One serving of foie gras in The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook contains more cholesterol than 10 Big Macs," says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., director of nutrition education at PCRM. "These recipes are ticking time bombs for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease."

The Five Worst Cookbooks of 2012 are:

  • The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook
  • Emeril's Kicked-Up Sandwiches - One serving of Emeril's Monte Cristo sandwich contains as much sodium as half a medium Papa John's pepperoni pizza.
  • Rachael Ray's My Year in Meals
  • Fifty Shades of Chicken - Just four Bacon-Bound Wings contain more cholesterol than a 10-ounce New York strip steak at Outback Steakhouse.
  • Southern Living: The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook - One serving of the Sausage-Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole has more cholesterol than eight Cinnabon Classics.

Food stylist Patricia Bainter brought in low-fat brownies made with black beans, dates and raspberry jam for a healthy recipe option. The recipe is below:

So-Good-for-You Brownies
Makes 16 brownies

  • 2 15-ounce cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup all-fruit raspberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with 1/4 teaspoon of water.
  2. Combine the black beans, dates, jam, and vanilla in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt and process again.
  3. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top looks set. Remove from the oven and cool completely, then cut into 16 squares. The brownies will keep, refrigerated in a covered container, for up to 1 week.

Per serving (1/16 of recipe): 145 calories, 5 g of protein, 1 g total fat, 7% calories from fat, 8 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 110 mg sodium. Recipe from natural foods chef Christine Waltermyer, C.H.H.C.

Healthful Tips for Recipe Makeovers:

  • Trim the fat. Trim calories and fat by swapping puréed fruits for oils and high-fat dairy products, like eggs, milk, and butter.
  • DIY: Swap 1/2 mashed banana or 1/4 cup applesauce for one egg in your next recipe.
  • Cut down on sugar. Opt for all-fruit jams, agave nectar, or maple syrup instead of refined sugar.
  • DIY: Swap 1 cup of pitted dates for 1 cup of sugar in your next recipe.
  • Fill up with beans. Beans are high in fiber, calcium, and protein, making them a nutrition powerhouse.
  • DIY: Bring these fiber-packed brownies to your next tailgate or holiday party. Or opt for a spicy three-bean chili.
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