I tested recipes from Chrissy Teigen’s new Cravings cookbook, and here are the ones I didn’t ruin

As October wraps us in the beauty and chill of fall, the time is ripe for new fall recipes. With the recent release of her drool-worthy cookware collection at Target and a culinary career that outshines many seasoned veterans, Chrissy Teigen is definitely #goals in the kitchen. I fell in love with her long before she made the People 50 Food Favorites of 2018 list—her willingness to celebrate her whole self is an inspiring thing. That’s why I was excited to try cooking from the latest in her Cravings cookbook series—and yes, “series” is meant to be a hint because I want her to come out with a new cookbook every year.

After fawning over her from afar during #CravingsFest in New York, I decided to try some recipes from the newest Cravings: Hungry For More cookbook. Here are my top five (that I managed not to ruin).

1Breakfast Hash

I am not a fan of hashbrowns—they just don’t do it for me. But I tried this recipe because I had a ridiculous amount of underutilized potatoes on hand the day the book arrived. The awesome thing about the recipe is that I didn’t need to peel the potatoes. Plus, the directions were simple. I chopped and cooked some turkey bacon, I cut and fried up some bell peppers and garlic, I diced up about eight little gold potatoes and let them boil. When they were soft enough, I put everything together with some broth and olive oil and cooked it in a pan. The recipe was even easier than it looks in photos, and the end result gave me that down-home feeling without the overwhelming sense of lethargy. Hashbrowns aren’t the healthiest breakfast option but her version was certainly worth half a cheat day.

2Crispy Coated Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

I’ve had sweet potato fries and loved them, but I’ve never made wedges because I wasn’t sure how to maintain the crisp of the fries with such a big piece of potato. That’s why I liked this recipe. Since I had never cooked with rice flour (which Chrissy’s recipe calls for), I made two batches of this dish. I had some whole wheat flour on hand, because that’s what I’m used to, but the wheat flour batch was still good, but there wasn’t the same crispness as the rice flour batch. Just goes to show that Chrissy really does know best! The rice flour batch had the texture I was looking for and was definitely worth the extra time in the grocery aisle searching for the ingredient. It created a nice balance between the inside and outside of the wedges.

3Shake & Bake Chicken with Hot Honey

This recipe caught my eye because I’ve never tried shake and bake before. It was hard to let the chicken marinate for the whole four hours, though. Honestly, I only lasted about an hour before my soul urged me to get cooking. I definitely made way too many bread crumbs while I waited, but they were so good. The paprika and garlic gave it this great aroma, so each time I opened up the bag it was like the ghost of dinner future slapping me in the face. It was a fairly messy affair and crumbs were everywhere by the time I finished, but I promise you it is worth it. I ate the first piece without the hot honey and it was so juicy. I tried it with the hot honey as well. Both were good, but the red pepper flakes in the hot honey added another layer of flavor and texture that was unexpected. I suggest you try both. The leftovers were still good the next day, so this could be a great meal prep option for the week.

4Butternut Squash & Pomegranate Salad (minus the garlicky honey-dijon dressing)

I was torn about whether to pick this or the taco salad, but the squash and pomegranate were the decision-makers on this one. Yet another simple way to feel fancy, her recipe was just what I needed to compliment dinner. Although I failed at following her tips for “how to seed a pomegranate without staining your life red,” I did create something I was proud of. The flavor combination on this is wild because it hits every taste note—sweet, sour, spicy (I doubled up on cayenne to a whole teaspoon), and salty. Aside from wanting more, I wouldn’t change anything about this salad. It is certainly a good transition into mid-fall.

Now about the dressing—while “garlicky honey-dijon dressing” makes for a great recipe title, I felt like it might overwhelm the dish. I am not a big fan of condiments, and after the initial taste test I could tell it would be stronger than I wanted, so I skipped it.

5French Toast with Whipped Honey Ricotta Topping

This dish will make you feel fancy, and it’s definitely not a combination of ingredients I would have thought of on my own. As soon as I saw that it’s made with challah bread, Chrissy had my heart. The whipped ricotta topping was a little challenging for me to make because I have trouble following directions (weird—I am writing a cookbook review…) but batch number four looked a lot more as it was intended. The honey butter syrup was easy and delicious to make/taste. I loved having a more natural alternative to table syrup. I cut my bread a little thicker than she recommended so my tongue was happy, but my belly was not. This recipe actually does serve six, so eating the entire six servings alone was probably not a good idea, but it was the most delicious choice I made that day.

All the things we love about Chrissy Teigen are reflected in her book. She writes about these recipes in a way that made me feel like I could have a glass of wine with her. There is nothing pretentious about it, and the meals are healthy (mostly). I had a great time sharing these meals with friends and coworkers (well, except for that French toast—I enjoyed that all by myself).

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