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Hi HG!

I have severe nerves when it comes to cooking. I don't make anything in the kitchen, because I'm afraid I'll screw it up. Please help! I want to make your recipes. Thank you!

Rachel's Really Scared

Dear Rachel,

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not be scared to cook. I promise you, Hungry Girl recipes are SO easy to make. I am not a professional chef. I'm really a regular person with very basic kitchen skills. And that's EXACTLY the type of person that HG recipes are for. There are no fancy cooking terms or complicated instructions (NONE!). And the ingredients called for are familiar and easy to use. Most of the recipes are more like food "assembly" than anything else. To get you started, here are some insanely easy recipes now...

"Egg Mug" Scrambles - You don't even have to work a spatula to make these morning mini-meals. They cook up in the microwave!

Foil-Pack Recipes - People love these because they're basically foolproof. Just plop your food in the center of some foil, wrap it up (doesn't have to be perfect, I promise!), and toss in the oven. Then unwrap and eat!

Hip, Hip, Parfaits! - If you can get dressed in the morning, you can put together a parfait. It's all about layering. A little of this, a little of that, and you're good to go!

So do yourself a favor and work up the courage to go into the kitchen and try a few. Look for recipes that appeal to you at or in the book Hungry Girl 200 Under 200. They are CRAZY-SIMPLE and you will succeed with flying colors. I am sure of this! Just do it... for me? You'll be so happy you made the leap. Good luck and stay in touch! :)

Hungry Girl,

What are some foods that people assume are pretty good choices but really aren't? By now, everyone knows that tuna salad is a bad choice because of all that mayo. But what else is lurking out there?

Warn Me

Dear Warn Me,

There are definitely a lot of fattening foods around that people THINK are good choices. The biggest offenders, in my opinion, are as follows:

1. Wraps. Try a little experiment: unfold a wrap and see how HUGE the tortilla is. A lot of times the tortilla itself contains 300 - 400 calories. And that doesn't include any of the filling!

2. Salad dressing. This isn't really a "hidden" source of calories, but most people don't realize just how bad it can be. Full-fat dressing can easily add 500 calories or more to your meal. (Don't believe me? Click here!) Wasting that many calories on some goo is just silly.

3. Grilled veggies. In THEORY these are good, but often they're loaded up with oil, so WATCH OUT. (Case in point? The Cheesecake Factory's 1,133-calorie Grilled Portabella on a Bun!) Order veggies steamed or grilled DRY. If they arrive looking shiny, blot them with a napkin to soak up some fat.

Other things to look out for -- low-fat muffins (they're usually too big and have too many calories), cottage cheese (ask if it's low-fat or fat-free -- if it isn't, it's more fattening than you'd think), and smoothies (often have 400 - 700 calories each... Eeeks!). Be careful out there!

September 30th (a.k.a. TODAY) is the very last day of National Biscuit Month. (How sad!) But there's still time to celebrate with our Southern-style So-Good Sausage Gravy 'n Biscuits. Hooray!
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