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Taco Salad

A super-quick blend of reduced-fat sour cream and salsa serves double duty as salad dressing and seasoning for the meat in our updated version of Tex-Mex taco salad. Depending on the type of salsa you use, the salad will vary in heat. We keep this version light with lean turkey, but lean ground beef (about 95%-lean) would also keep the nutrition marks reasonable. Just hold the deep-fried tortilla bowl and instead serve this salad with baked tortilla chips and wedges of fresh lime.

Rag alla Bolognese (Classic Bolognese Meat Sauce)

This is a version of the famous meat sauce of Emilia Romagna, of which Bologna is the capital. Giuliano Hazan's family is from Emilia Romagna, and he learned to make Bolognese sauce from his mother, Marcella, who learned it from her grandmother, Mary. Its classic pairing is with homemade tagliatelle or pappardelle but it's also very good with rigatoni, shells or any substantial pasta shape, preferably one with ridges, that has nooks and cavities to trap the sauce. Adapted from How to Cook Italian by Giuliano Hazan; Scribner, 2005.

Chocolate Decadence

Inspired by the old-school, ultra-rich, mousselike chocolate cake that usually called for a whole pound of chocolate, half a dozen eggs and lots of butter, this enlightened rendition has deep bittersweet chocolate flavor and dense melt-in-your-mouth texture. No one will guess it's healthier. The secret is excellent natural cocoa powder and good-quality bittersweet chocolate, preferably with 70% cacao. Although the cake can be eaten once it's completely cool, it comes out of the pan much easier and even tastes better if it has been chilled at least overnight.