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“MY ITALIAN KITCHEN: Homestyle Recipes Made Lighter and Healthier,” by Janet Zappala, Addicus Books, $19.95

Zappala left an Emmy-award-winning career in journalism to return to school and become a certified nutritional consultant. In this book, she keeps in touch with her Italian culinary heritage while reinventing some old favorites to be more healthful. Some of the recipes include stuffed shells marinara, panzanella salad, chicken cacciatore and tiramisu, all coming in at fewer than 350 calories.

“BBQ MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER,” by Aaron Chronister and Jason Day, Scribner, $30

The book advertises on the front that it contains the Bacon Explosion, the authors' signature recipe. The recipe was developed after a group asked what they could do with bacon on a grill, and now it has become a sensation. Their first chapter covers the equipment, methods and sauces, and the book goes on to cover sides, main dishes and even dessert. The authors are part of the Burnt Finger BBQ team and have created award-winning barbecue sauces and rubs. Both live in Kansas City and cook in that style.

“EDIBLE: A Celebration of Local Foods,” by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian, Wiley, $29.95

The authors are co-founders of Edible Communities Publications and now bring their experience to a book that combines recipes and stories. The first part of the book profiles local people who are making a difference in their communities. The second section features 80 recipes covering six culinary regions of North America, taking into account seasonal and regional availability.

“PANTRY-FRIENDLY MEXICAN COOKING: Economical Ways to Stretch Your Budget Without Cutting Back on Flavor,” by LeAnn Bird, Outskirts Press, $31.95

With nearly 100 Mexican recipes, this book shows you how to save money by buying exactly the ingredients you need and storing them correctly to easily make dozens of dishes. The author also mentions when you can use convenience foods to speed up the process.