Give in to your cravings and sink your teeth into these All-American comfort foods. Rated for both quality taste and nutrition, these recipes are the shining stars from our latest cookbook: Cooking Light Crave!
Instead of banishing foods we love, we enjoy them in moderation. And when we go for what we crave, we want real cheese. Juicy
meat. A decent slathering of mayo. Intense chocolate. Creamy, thick shakes. Buttery cookies. We want food that satisfies,
not pale substitutes.
All the recipes have been perfected in our Test Kitchen to make sure they hit all the right notes: crispy pizza crusts, juicy burgers, oozy cheeses, irresistible fries, and desserts that make you want to sing a sweet aria. Our staff registered dietitians have made sure every recipe meets the same nutrition guidelines we use in Cooking Light magazine.
Bottom line: The next time a craving strikes, give in—with Cooking Light Crave!
Buy the book!
Here is a crave-worthy, reasonable version of a fast-food icon. With a similarly addictive sauce, this tasty handful is made
healthier with lean ground sirloin and lower-sodium, lighter cheese.
View Recipe: Out-n-In California Burger
This pizza is a classic crowd-pleaser and a beloved family favorite. For a kid-friendly pie, substitute fresh mozzarella for
the blue cheese, and choose a sweeter barbecue sauce over a bold and spicy sauce.
View Recipe: BBQ Chicken and Blue Cheese Pizza
Your family won't believe this comforting sandwich is light. For the kids, use beef broth instead of beer, and try mild wheat
View Recipe: Mushroom and Provolone Patty Melts
Tossing the fries in a small amount of butter and garlic after cooking makes them unbelievably rich, yet still lower in fat
than fast-food fries.
View Recipe: Garlic Fries
This soft, moist, and super delicious Chocolate Buttermilk Cake can cure even the strongest chocolate cravings. Perfect for
any occasion, this cake never fails to satisfy.
View Recipe: Chocolate Buttermilk Cake
Sautéed mushrooms, steak sauce, and Worcestershire sauce create robust flavors in this knife-and-fork burger.
View Recipe: Smothered Steak Burgers
With artichokes, arugula, pesto, prosciutto, and Parmesan, this pizza has intense, addictive flavor. Splurge and try it with
View Recipe: Artichoke and Arugula Pizza with Prosciutto
Pimiento cheese is a Southern tradition. A little Parmesan added to the standard cheddar-mayo mixture creates extra savory
depth. You can make the pimiento cheese ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three
View Recipe: Open-Faced Pimiento Cheese BLTs
These savory Parmesan-Crusted Zucchini Fries are less than 100 calories each, so go ahead and splurge on their cheesy, garlicky
View Recipe: Parmesan-Crusted Zucchini Fries
With their combo of shortbread-like crust, creamy cheesecake, and fresh summer cherry goodness, these bars will make you the
hit of the picnic.
View Recipe: Fresh Cherry Cheesecake Bars
A small amount of tangy goat cheese flavors the creamy spread. Double the spread and use it on grilled chicken or turkey sandwiches.
View Recipe: Grilled Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese Spread
Béchamel is often used in lasagna or as the base for a mac-and-cheese sauce. Here, it's flavored with galic and cheese, and
replaces tomato sauce to make a delicious pizza.
View Recipe: Chicken and Herb White Pizza
This perfectly-seasoned catfish sandwich is ideal for when you are craving something fried and fishy. Set atop a hoagie roll
with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise, it's one hearty and satisfying meal.
View Recipe: Oven-Fried Catfish Sandwiches
Here's a great game-day party dip: You can make it ahead and reheat it when you're ready to serve. Chipotle chile powder is
spicy, so adjust the amount to suit your taste.
View Recipe: Tex-Mex Beef and Bean Dip
If you're a fan of the classic flavor combination of chocolate and peanut butter, you'll love these Peanut Butter Cup Blondies.
Blondies generally have the same dense texture as brownies, but without chocolate or cocoa in the base batter.
View Recipe: Peanut Butter Cup Blondies
Between the beef, egg, cheese, mushrooms, and truffle oil, this burger is an absolute umami bomb, exploding with meaty, savory
flavor. Chopped, sautéed mushrooms in the burger mixture add low-fat moisture to the lean beef as it cooks.
View Recipe: Mushroom Burgers with Fried Egg and Truffle Oil
Brighten a homemade version of a take-out favorite wth two different colors of bell peppers. Use your own color combo or any
bell peppers you have on hand.
View Recipe: Pizza Supreme
Good barbecue doesn't require hours over the grill. Our chicken sandwich starts with a rotisserie chicken and super easy homemade
barbecue sauce. This sandwich is the perfect solution for those busy weeknights.
View Recipe: Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
This easy, five-ingredient grilled corn gets its flavor from jalapeño peppers that are roasted, chopped, and stirred into
View Recipe: Grilled Corn on the Cob with Roasted Jalapeño Butter
This heart-warming cherry crisp is full of tasty flavors that are sure to leave you begging for seconds. Serve warm with a
small scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt for a creamy-crunchy dessert.
View Recipe: Cherry-Almond Crisp
Small but loaded with flavor: Caramelized onions, blue cheese, arugula, and sirloin fill your mouth with sweetness and pungency.
View Recipe: Caramelized Onion-and-Blue Cheese Mini Burgers
Premium ricotta—like Calabro brand, which has a creamy texture and rich, full flavor—makes a big difference in this recipe.
View Recipe: Four-Cheese Pizza
A Dagwood sandwich, popularized by the comic strip character Dagwood Bumstead, is characterized by layers of sodium and fat-laden
meats and cheeses. We've slimmed ours down by using no-salt-added and lower-sodium deli meats and lower-fat cheeses held together
with a tasty homemade spread.
View Recipe: Dagwood Sandwiches
This summer salad features seasonal tomatoes, watermelon, and peaches to create a sensationally delicious side dish that's
appropriate for any occasion.
View Recipe: Heirloom Tomato, Watermelon, and Peach Salad
On a hot summer day, there's nothing better than a creamy and deliciously sweet Mocha Banana Split. Make sure you love a kick
of coffee flavor!
View Recipe: Mocha Banana Split
It's no surprise that these Salmon Burgers are seething with delicious flavors. The Dijon mustard adds a creamy touch, while
the sliced red onion adds a nutritious crunch.
View Recipe: Salmon Burgers
This pizza is fresh, tasty, and a clear winner if you are a big fan of tomatoes and cheese. If olives are a deal breaker,
leave them off; the pizza is still yummy.
View Recipe: Fresh Tomato-Feta Pizza
With sauerkraut, corned beef, and rye bread, sodium is a serious issue in a traditional Reuben. Add dressing and cheese, and
the saturated fat and calories start to climb, too. Not to fear: Our lighter, lower-sodium version is just as delicious. Chili
sauce is a ketchup-based sauce. If you can't find it, substitute ketchup.
View Recipe: Reuben Sandwiches
When you're tired of the same ol' queso and chips, try these smoky adobo chips with some warm goat cheese and a zesty cilantro
View Recipe: Adobo Chips with Warm Goat Cheese and Cilantro Salsa
Many folks say banana pudding is best the next day, after the cookies have softened and the flavors have mingled overnight.
View Recipe: Roasted Banana Pudding
These top-rated Cast-Iron Burgers prove that you don't have to own a grill to enjoy juicy, amazingly flavorful hamburgers.
View Recipe: Cast-Iron Burgers
Slice-by-slice this yummy roasted vegetable pizza will disappear before your eyes. Ingredients like ricotta cheese, cremini
mushrooms, and fresh zucchini will keep you from ordering for delivery every again.
View Recipe: Roasted Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza
If you can't find tahini, substitute an equal amount of peanut butter to make the sauce for these Middle East-inspired sandwiches.
You can prepare the sauce and chicken ahead of time and stuff the pitas when you're ready to eat.
View Recipe: Chicken Souvlaki Pitas with Tahini Sauce
Regular yellow onions will work in this recipe, but sweet onions have a milder flavor. Coating the onion rings with breadcrumbs
in batches keeps the crumbs dry for maximum crispness. Rotate pans during cooking for even browning.
View Recipe: Barbecue-Flavored Onion Rings
This lightened cream pie classic is sweet-tart perfection and a delicious lemon ending to any meal. You'll love the make-ahead
convenience. Brush edges of crust with egg wash for nice browning.
View Recipe: Lemon Cream Pie
Chipotle chiles and fresh salsa give these burgers a Southwestern kick that will heat up the dinner table in just 20 minutes.
View Recipe: Southwest Salsa Burgers
Add bacon to anything and it becomes instantly irresistable–like this pizza. The refrigerated French bread dough used as the
crust is quick, but it's also delicate. To work with it, find the seam in the dough and carefully unroll.
View Recipe: Bacon, Onion, and Mushroom Pizza
This traditional Middle-Eastern meal is a healthy and hearty choice for lunch or a heavier snack. The tahini-yogurt sauce
drizzled overtop the falafel and the veggies adds a creamy texture and appetizing flavor.
View Recipe: Mini Falafel Pocket Sandwiches
Serve this classic favorite alongside your favorite barbecue dish or just enjoy it plain. This simple side is chocked full
of flavor and will bring happiness to anyone's taste buds.
View Recipe: Creamy Potato Salad
Whether you're craving an afternoon snack, or a smooth, creamy, and fruity dessert, this shake will hit the spot. Put the
ice cream in the blender last to easily make a smooth shake.
View Recipe: Peach Melba Shake
Marinated tofu slices acquire a golden crust when grilled; the olive-garlic mayonnaise on the sandwich adds a Mediterranean
flavor. Serve with grilled asparagus for a simple side.
View Recipe: Grilled Lemon-Basil Tofu Burgers
Add quick-cooking chicken cutlets and refrigerated pizza dough to a mix of fresh vegetables for a light and lovely superfast
View Recipe: Cobb Salad Pizza
Piled high with steak and veggies, the real treat on this sandwich is the sauce, a pesto mayonnaise. Use sirloin for a more
tender bite than you get with cuts like flank steak.
View Recipe: Steak Baguettes with Pesto Mayo
Forget the boxed mixes and chilled store-bought versions: This warm onion dip is on a deliciously different level. Serve it
with hearty crackers or slices of French bread.
View Recipe: Warm Caramelized Onion Dip
If you've ever bitten into an ice-cream sandwich only to feel cheated of cookie, these little rounds deliver what you've been
View Recipe: Chocolate Cookie Ice-Cream Sandwiches
Get out of your burger rut with these grilled ground-chicken burgers that are a twist on a popular Italian-American dish.
Serve on ciabatta rolls and top with marianara sauce and mozzarella.
View Recipe: Chicken Parmesan Burgers
Look for apricots that are slightly underripe so they'll stand up to the heat, or you can substitute two medium peaches. We
like the smooth texture and intense flavor of imported Parma prosciutto in this dish.
View Recipe: Apricot and Prosciutto Thin-Crust Pizza
Serve up mini versions of a weeknight favorite. Make the sauce ahead of time, if you like. Just reheat it and toast the buns
to finish the sliders.
View Recipe: Sloppy Joe Sliders
Get back to the basics with this easy slaw featuring thinly sliced radishes and fresh mint. Instead of a creamy dressing,
it’s tossed with a citrusy vinaigrette. This easy slaw is just the side to serve with hamburgers, fish, sandwiches, hot dogs,
or pulled barbecue.
View Recipe: Cabbage Slaw
The layer of sauce in the middle of the pudding is the secret to the velvety-rich interior. It's a decadent pairing, but if
you want to gild the lily, add a small dollop of whipped cream.
View Recipe: Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce
A poblano chile is the perfect mix of fruity flavor with a little bit of heat. Leave the seeds in your poblano if you want
more fiery flavor.
View Recipe: Spicy Poblano Burgers with Pickled Red Onions and Chipotle Cream
The crisp cracker crust of this pizza makes a pleasing contrast to the velvety soft salmon.
View Recipe: Smoked Salmon Thin-Crust Pizza
Two breakfast classics merge in this dish, perfect for weekend brunch or a light dinner. Toss any leftover hollandaise sauce;
because it is made with egg yolks, it doesn't keep well.
View Recipe: Eggs Benedict Waffle Sandwiches
Serve this quick after-school snack to your kids as an alternative to traditional fried cheesesticks.
View Recipe: Baked Mozzarella Bites
Decadent, warm, and gooey turtle brownies meet creamy vanilla frozen yogurt drenched in a drool-worthy fudge sauce. Licking
your screen yet? This dessert is perfect for any occasion and will always leave you begging for seconds.
View Recipe: Chocolate Turtle Brownie Sundaes
Cinnamon, ginger, and cumin give these burgers the warm, spicy flavor of the eastern Mediterranean. The burgers would pair
nicely with a simple cucumber or cucumber-tomato salad.
View Recipe: Lamb and Turkey Burgers
We're jazzing up a classic pizza favorite by adding olives and thinly sliced sweet onion to the pepperoni.
View Recipe: Pepperoni, Onion, and Olive Pizza
This classic New England sandwich comes together in a snap if you purchase lobster tails and have them steamed at the fish
counter. You can make the lobster salad a few hours in advance; fill the sandwiches right before they're served.
View Recipe: Picnic-Perfect Lobster Rolls
Bacon, bourbon, and maple syrup make this American classic special. Check your beans 10 to 15 minutes ahead of time to make
sure they're not drying out.
View Recipe: Bourbon Baked Beans
These bar cookies are also known as seven-layer bars. Dress them up by replacing the flaked sweetened coconut with toasted
shaved fresh coconut.
View Recipe: Hello Dolly Bars
Tender, golden shallots lend a lovely sweetness to this classic cheeseburger. Don't be afraid to cook the shallots to a deep
golden brown: It will improve their flavor.
View Recipe: Cheddar Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Shallots
Enjoy your eggs sunny-side up on a pizza that bears the same name. Mâche, red onion, and Parmesan cheese join these savory
eggs for an outstanding, savory Sunny-Side-Up Pizza that's perfect for brunch or a light supper.
View Recipe: Sunny-Side-Up Pizza
What kid (or grown-up, for that matter) wouldn't love this ooey-gooey sandwich? Serve the souped-up PB&Js with fresh fruit.
View Recipe: French Toast Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Macaroni Salad pairs well with just about anything. Cut back on the black pepper for a more kid-frendly version of this cookout
View Recipe: Macaroni Salad
Use fresh blueberries and peaches that aren't super ripe for this cobbler recipe so they'll hold their shape when cooked.
To prevent spills, place the baking dish on a foil-lined baking sheet before putting it in the oven.
View Recipe: Blueberry-Peach Cobbler
This burger has some of the same flavors as a popular sushi roll. Be sure to process the tuna using quick pulses to prevent
the meat from being overworked and overheated by the blade.
View Recipe: Asian Tuna Burgers
A slice of this pizza makes a tasty hors d'oeuvre, or serve two slices with a tossed salad for supper. Roast the garlic a
day ahead; cool, extract the pulp, and refrigerate until you're ready to assemble the pizza.
View Recipe: Roasted Garlic Pizza
Try a slightly new interpretation of the classic BLT with a flavored mayo. You can prepare the mayonnaise mixture and cook
the bacon up to one day ahead.
View Recipe: Heirloom Tomato, Arugula, and Bacon Sandwiches
These less than 50-calorie BBQ Potato Chips will be a huge hit with your tastebuds and your waste line. To get perfectly thin
slices, use a mandoline or the thin slicing blade of a food processor.
View Recipe: BBQ Potato Chips
Cool off on a hot summer day with these Orange Cream Pops. They are a healthy choice for both kids and adults.
View Recipe: Orange Cream Pops
Thyme, garlic, and Dijon Mustard give these burgers a French twist. Pan-grilled tomatoes enhance the already-juicy texture.
View Recipe: Garlic-Thyme Burgers with Grilled Tomato
Ditch the tomato sauce and give pizza a makeover by topping with fresh peach slices and two types of cheese. A drizzle of
tangy balsamic reduction perfectly balances the sweet summer fruit.
View Recipe: Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza
Tarragon and rye bread make a classic chicken salad sandwich extra special. You can make the chicken salad ahead. If you're
packing it to go, keep the salad cold, and make your sandwich right before you're ready to eat to keep the bread from getting
View Recipe: Herbed Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Veggies bathed in balsamic vinegar are truly irresistible. This colorful vegetable medley pairs perfectly with just about
View Recipe: Marinated Asparagus-and-Carrot Salad
Make the combination of peanut butter and chocolate even better by stirring in instant coffee granules and topping the fudge
with chopped peanuts.
View Recipe: Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Fudge