The model released Cravings: Hungry for More, the follow-up to her first bestselling cookbook, on Tuesday to the delight of many, including a handful of PEOPLE staffers who couldn’t wait to get cooking. Armed with a few advanced copies, we scoured the pages (all filled with gorgeous photos and Teigen’s hilarious wit by the way), claimed the recipes we wanted to review and took to our kitchens. There was a range in what we chose: a few healthy dishes, some indulgent savory ones, and even a sweet treat—but all were overwhelmingly delicious.
Read on for what we liked, what we didn’t, and which recipes we’d make again and again.
Jalapeño Parmesan-Crusted Grilled Cheese
Chrissy’s second cookbook is filled with really fantastic looking recipes. Fluffy Corn Dogs. Pad Thai Carbonara. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies. Alas, none of those foods mattered after I saw her Jalapeño Parmesan Crusted Grilled Cheese recipe on page 38. Let me set the scene: It was a cold, rainy, dreary day in New York City, my hair had frizzed out to Bob Ross heights, my computer had crashed twice as I was editing a story, and all I could think about was hunkering down on my couch with a cozy blanket and this warm, spicy grilled cheese. And that’s just what I did that night—without even having to stop at the grocery store on the way home—because I had every one of the five ingredients needed for this recipe in my fridge. EVERY. ONE. Guys, when does that ever happen? But back to the sandwich: First up, Chrissy tells you to butter two soft pieces of sourdough bread. (Full disclosure: I used Le Beurre Bordier salted butter, which I smuggle home in my suitcase whenever I visit France. If you take away nothing else from my tale, remember the name of this butter. It’s the best I’ve ever had, and worth risking a TSA calamity at JFK, IMHO.) Next, place thinly-sliced jalapeño slices on the buttered-sides of the bread, and press down to make them stick—really, push them into the slice otherwise they’ll fall off in the next step. Then dip the butter-jalapeño sides into grated parmesan until you’ve created a nice coating. This is getting good, right? Finally, sprinkle the non-butter sides with sharp cheddar cheese, close the sandwich, and cook it in a skillet until the parmesan becomes brown and crusty, the jalapeños crisp up, and the cheese gets gooey and melty. So what does it taste like? Exactly as promised: It’s comforting like a grilled cheese should be but extra crunchy from the parmesan coating and mildly spicy from the jalapeños (another disclosure: I love burn-your-face-off spicy foods so 10 thin slices of jalapeño per sandwich, as Chrissy recommends, may be too spicy for people with a low heat threshold). Next time, I may try rubbing the bread first with a cut garlic clove to add a little extra punch of flavor or amping up the heat by using a spicier pepper—or, you know, just leave it alone because it was pretty darn perfect.
—Sonal Dutt, Food & Lifestyle Director
Fluffy Corn Dogs
As someone who has an entire Instagram account dedicated to amusement park food, I’ve eaten my fair share of corn dogs over the years—but I’ve never actually made them at home, because that seems like something an insane person would do. Chrissy makes a good case, though: The best corn dogs come straight out of the fryer, and their quality diminishes rapidly over time (avoid the ones sitting under a heat lamp at all costs). So why not make them as fresh as possible? The method is simple: skewer some hot dogs on wooden sticks, coat them in a cornmeal-and-buttermilk-based batter, and fry them in hot oil. Chrissy’s specific, detailed instructions for the battering process—including pouring the batter into a tall drinking glass before dipping, which seems odd at first but works beautifully—are extremely helpful in ensuring the coating adheres to the hot dog. The generous amount of baking powder in the batter allows the corn dogs to live up to their “fluffy” name, and the sugar helps give them a nice golden color without adding too much sweetness. Would I make them again? Probably not, because I stand by my position it’s crazy to make corn dogs at home. But from a quality standpoint, I would put them up against the ones at the Texas State Fair, which is the highest compliment I can give.
—Shay Spence, Food Editor
Sesame Salmon Soba Salad
I try to eat as healthy as I can. I avoid white flour, white sugar and processed foods (with a few, rare exceptions of course), so when I found out that Chrissy was “unintentionally cooking lighter” for her second cookbook, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Fast forward nearly two years later and she did not disappoint. There are quite a few recipes that work for my finicky diet, but this flavorful dish is my all-time favorite. Though the finished salad filled with fresh mango, cucumber and scallions is divine, the dressing is really what takes it over the top. The combination of lime juice, rice vinegar (my new go-to ingredient) and honey is the perfect balance of tart and sweet. I’d put it on just about anything. Also, Chrissy’s method for cooking salmon by placing a seasoned fillet skin-side up under the broiler for 7 minutes, then removing and continuing to cook the skins for added crunch, really does lead to, as she puts it, “fish bliss.” I swapped out the soba noodles for a box of Banza penne chickpea pasta because it’s both the best gluten-free pasta there is and it’s all I had in my pantry, and it worked like a charm.
—Ana Calderone, Associate Food Editor
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Fluffy Popovers with Melted Brie & Blackberry Jam
As a die-hard Great British Bake Off fan (that’s the Great British Baking Show for those just catching up on this purest of joys on Netflix), I felt compelled to try and make these charmingly irregular, very English, breakfast treats, or as Chrissy dubs them, “beautiful weirdos.” Even without Paul Hollywood lurking over my shoulder, I was nervous about one particularly intense-sounding portion of the instructions in which you stick the buttered muffin tin in the oven for just long enough that it’s hot, but not long enough that it fills your kitchen with burnt butter smoke, then “working fasssssssst (but don’t burn yourself!)” fill them with batter. I enlisted a second set of hands and it actually went off without a hitch or any singed fingertips. The fact that these aren’t supposed to look uniform in the slightest was also a relief — the more they balloon out the better. My only two suggested adjustments would be that you don’t really have to take the rind off the brie, if you’re a rind lover like me, and you may want to make the jam first. It takes 25 minutes (the exact amount of time the popovers bake for), which makes for a very stressful moment of assembly when you pull them out of the oven. Especially because, according to Chrissy, “you gotta eat [them] fast to enjoy at 100 percent.” With that, I 100 percent agree!
—Mackenzie Schmidt, Home & Travel Editor
Everything Bagel Cream Cheese Breakfast Bake
If you’re looking to feed a crowd at breakfast, this is your recipe. Made with four (!) different types of cheese and a generous amount of carbs, this is the perfect casserole for the morning after a long night out. To make things easier on yourself, I’d suggest preparing it the day before and reading through the entire recipe before you get started. There are several steps where ingredients require prep work and it has to refrigerate for at least an hour and a half before you bake. My shopping trip for this recipe was also a little pricey, so reserve this dish for a special occasion, but trust me, when you do, the cheesy, hearty end result is totally worth it.
—Jessica Fecteau, Writer & Reporter
Shake and Bake Chicken with Hot Honey
Chrissy’s recipes aren’t exactly known for being healthy (take this video of her frying stuffed chicken breasts for a recipe from the new book, as one example) but that doesn’t mean she can’t do it—and make it delicious. I tried and loved her Shake and Bake Chicken with Hot Honey, modeled after the classic boxed version from Kraft. The recipe was super easy—I marinated the chicken thighs in a quick mix of olive oil and spices, before literally shaking them in breadcrumbs and popping them in the oven. I cheated a little and used Mike’s Hot Honey instead of making my own, but I can’t imagine that would require all that much more work. The chicken was crispy without frying, spicy and totally satisfying.
—Julie Mazziotta, Health Writer & Reporter
Skillet Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies
I think John Legend and I would get along. Not only has he openly admitted to not knowing how to chop an onion correctly (same), but he also dedicated an entire paragraph in Chrissy’s cookbook to how much he loves chocolate and peanut butter. “Chrissy made this dessert because she loves me and knows how much I love this magical combination,” John writes in the cookbook. I love to bake, and I’ll try anything I can that mixes together this sweet and salty combo, so I was excited to try Chrissy’s version. And I promise you, it didn’t disappoint. The recipe was super easy to follow (though I’ll admit I added a few more chocolate chips than recommended because I like my balance of chocolate a little higher than peanut butter). I trusted Chrissy when she said the dough should look under-baked when you pulled it out of the oven, and once I let it cool, the result was rich, thick, crumbly cookie that tasted delicious with vanilla ice cream. My friend and I could have polished off the whole pan in one sitting, hands down. Thankfully, we didn’t so we were able to keep enjoying the re-heated leftovers for days.
—Madison Roberts, Home & Travel Editorial Assistant