Sneak Peek at "Mad Hungry Cravings," Lucinda Scala Quinn's Newest Cookbook
Cravings Worth Caving To
When cravings run wild, outsourcing dinner seems like a good idea, but reality often falls short of expectations. Executive food director Lucinda Scala Quinn’s latest book features healthier, tastier, cheaper versions of the dishes your family craves. Click through to preview the recipes for dishes we want to eat right now.
Caramelized Onion and Bacon Dip
If you love yet hate that packaged onion soup mix dip, this is the version for you. It is a richer, deeper-flavored, cleaner-ingredient excuse for a potato-chip-dipping marathon. The dip can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
My Philadelphia-born friend is so devoted to her city's most famous sandwich that the first thing she did after her big fancy wedding was to head, gown and all, to her favorite local spot for a cheesesteak to end the night. On a recent visit, I comparison-shopped the cheesesteak sandwich shop. Here's my standard order: onions, whiz (i.e., Cheez Whiz), provolone, and giardiniera -- the pickled vegetables perk up the whole meaty, cheesy business. Regardless of where you buy it, everything starts with the vigorous chopping and flipping spatulas cutting through the frying beef a-sizzle on the flattop. Beyond that, the rest is personalized. Add the whiz? provolone? onions? peppers? giardiniera? You better know what you want before you step up to the counter.
When I first made these at home, the fam asked if I'd ordered from the local taqueria. Talk about a coup! Flautas are those addictive deep-fried skinny tacos. This version became a total repeat-recipe hit. I call them "fake-out" because unlike their messy, deep-fried cousins, they are a quick low-fat, baked, vegetarian gem of a recipe. Serve with guacamole, the ultimate scoopable flavor bomb.
Baked Potato Poppers
These crispy potato puffs unabashedly copy, but far surpass, the commercial brand found in the frozen section of your supermarket. Baked rather than deep-fried, they are perfectly crispy on the outside and meltingly soft on the inside. They will fool even the most die-hard tater tot fiend. You can't stop eating them. Panko bread crumbs are essential to the dish's success, providing the crispiest crunch.
Boston Cream Pie
It's called pie, but let's face it, it's a cake -- with an oozy, luscious pastry cream filling between moist layers and chocolate ganache dripping down the sides. It so gripped the taste buds of nineteenth-century Bostonians at the Parker House Hotel that it became a classic dessert -- in fact, in 1996 it was named the state dessert of Massachusetts. A good way to tackle this cake is to make the cake layers and the pastry cream in advance. When ready to assemble, make the ganache topping.